Tag Archives: FEI World Cup

Fuchs’ Sinner Is a Saint in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs brought his storming year to a close with a superbly ridden win in the eighth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™.

The reigning European Champion, fresh from a big win in Geneva last weekend, was second to go in a six-horse jump-off and pulled off a brilliantly accurate turn to the wall on The Sinner to achieve a time of 31.99 seconds that no one could match.

Austria’s Max Kühner (Elektric Blue P) and Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels (Delux van T & L) were also immaculate over the fences, but had to surrender to Fuchs’s speed, taking second and third places, respectively.

Marcus Ehning from Germany, a three-time winner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, was fourth with a fence down on the grey Cornado NRW.

Scott Brash, who won this class in 2016 on Hello M’Lady, was the best Briton in fifth on the promising 10-year-old Hello Jefferson, his mount in the winning FEI Nations Cup™ team in Dublin in August, and looks to have sealed his place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas in April as well as having a potential horse for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

His Team GB teammate Holly Smith, who produced the only clear of the first 20 horses, enjoyed her best Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ result so far, sixth on her Nations Cup horse Hearts Destiny.

Irish course-designer Alan Wade set a fair but deceptively testing track, as befits a competition of this stature, and many of the distinguished names faulted unexpectedly.

“It was a great course. I wasn’t sure it would be stiff enough, but it had some light questions – and it got the right result!” said Fuchs. “I had a great round in the jump-off. I knew I would have to take all the risks to put the pressure on the others and it came off exactly as I wanted. I probably couldn’t repeat it if I tried.”

The FEI’s Director of Jumping for three decades, John Roche, described Olympia as “a shining example to other organisers,” and was echoed by second-time visitor Fuchs, who said: “It’s an amazing Show with a beautiful atmosphere and you really feel when you’re in the ring that you’re in a unique place.”

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Fuchs on Fire as The Sinner Shines at Olympia

Martin Fuchs with The Sinner. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs scooped his second win of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at the London International Horse Show at Olympia, London (GBR), while Austria’s Max Kuhner lined up second ahead of Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels in third.

Partnering his top ride, the lightning-fast grey Clooney, Fuchs took the third leg in Lyon (FRA) by storm last month, and in today’s eighth round of the 14-leg series he galloped to victory with a stunning performance from The Sinner. He’s the reigning European champion, and looks set to take over the No. 1 spot on the Longines World Rankings as 2020 gets underway after an incredible run of recent form.

He also became the first Swiss winner of the Olympia leg of the FEI World Cup™ series in 29 years. The 27-year-old rider wasn’t even born when his uncle, Markus Fuchs, stood top of the podium at the London fixture back in 1990.

Just six horse-and-rider combinations made it through to the jump-off, and Fuchs was fulsome in his praise of Irish course designer, Alan Wade.

“The first round wasn’t crazy big, but Alan set a great course as he always does – it was another of his masterpieces!” — Martin Fuchs (SUI)

It was definitely no walk in the park, with the relatively small Olympia arena jam-packed with fences and an intense atmosphere in the packed Grand Hall adding to the pressure. Only six of the 37 starters qualified for the deciding round but it was a classic, Fuchs, who was second to go, putting it up to the rest with a great ride that saw him take a brave turn to the wall, now the fourth fence on the track, and a super-tight line to the penultimate oxer followed by a great gallop to the last. Throwing down a time of 31.99 seconds he then sat back and watched the remaining four give it their best.

Austria’s Max Kuhner followed with an extraordinary second clear from the hugely promising eight-year-old gelding Elektric Blue P, but their time of 33.83 seconds was no threat. However, as German ace, and three-time FEI World Cup™ champion, Marcus Ehning set off with Cornado NRW, he clearly meant business only to get too close to the penultimate oxer for four faults in 32.17 seconds.

Great Britain’s Scott Brash decided this was the day to put some jump-off pressure on his latest shining star, the 10-year-old Hello Jefferson, but when the second fence fell then there was only Niels Bruynseels and his 10-year-old Delux van T & L standing between Fuchs and victory. And for once things just didn’t go his way, none of the distances coming up nicely for the brilliant Belgian and his big horse with a long stride, so they stayed clear but had to settle for third place behind Kuhner in second and Fuchs at the head of affairs.

“I was early to go so I had to take all the risks to put the pressure on the others and everything worked perfectly today!” Fuchs said. He was of course delighted with The Sinner who belied his name. “It was Denis Lynch (IRL) who gave him his name and he was already a good horse for Denis,” he explained. He’s had the 11-year-old gelding since the beginning of the year, and they made their first major appearance together at CSIO Rome in May.

“At first I found him difficult to ride, but now we definitely have a better partnership; he has better rideabililty and we know each other a lot better now,” he pointed out. And The Sinner can look forward to some nice sunshine as he heads to Wellington, USA for the Winter Equestrian Festival with his rider in the new year.

Having moved into fourth place on the Western European League table after this brilliant result, Fuchs is now well qualified for the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA next April and his biggest headache will be to decide which horse to take – his wonder-horse Clooney or his latest star, The Sinner. His uncle, Markus Fuchs, was runner-up at the series Final in Las Vegas in 2000 and was crowned champion with the great Tinka’s Boy the following year in Gothenburg, Sweden. Martin was runner-up to compatriot Steve Guerdat at the 2019 Final which was also staged in Gothenburg, so could history be about to repeat itself over the coming months?

There are 18 qualifying spots on offer to riders in the Western European series and normally 40 points is enough to make the cut. As it stands, and with six more qualifiers yet to go, the top five riders on the League table have more than enough points: defending champion Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat has 55 but anyway gains automatic qualification, Belgium’s Pieter Devos also has 55, fifth placing for Great Britain’s Scott Brash leaves him with 47, Fuchs has 44, and Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano is in fifth in the current standings with 43.

For the rest, the next opportunity to collect those precious points will be at the ninth leg of the series in Mechelen, Belgium on Monday 30 December.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Dujardin Delights with Freestyle Win as British Dominate at Olympia

Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Freestyle. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Charlotte Dujardin produced a superb victory with Mount St John Freestyle before an ecstatic home crowd at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier in the Grand Hall at Olympia, London (GBR). And to put the icing on the British Christmas cake, her compatriots Carl Hester and Charlotte Fry lined up in second and third.

It was an evening of great theatre, with Dujardin’s charming 10-year-old mare producing a stunning test for a mark of 87.520 to take the lead when fourth-last to go, only for a technical hitch to delay the scores of the three who followed. Still waiting for the final result, the riders were all sent back to the stables while Santa took over the arena for his Christmas Finale. But finally, the red carpet was rolled back out again, and it was Dujardin who led the British victory gallop.

She was delighted with the performance of her mare who has clearly matured a great deal since showing her massive potential at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA where she claimed two bronze medals. Freestyle’s freshness and freedom of movement, the elegance and height of her passage, and the expressiveness of her extended canter were just some of the highlights. And the horse really seemed to be enjoying herself, her big ears pricked as she gave her rider her full attention.

“It’s only her third time doing that test; she’s very inexperienced at Freestyle and I’m so pleased with her. The atmosphere was buzzing, it was a full house, and I could really feel it when I rode in. But she’s coping better and I couldn’t have asked any more from her!” said the winning rider who, though still only 34 years old, is a legend of the sport following her world-beating career with the now-retired Valegro.

Her friend and mentor, Hester, followed her into the ring and put a score of 84.470 on the board with a lovely performance with Hawtins Delicato. “A personal best – I can’t believe that at my age!” laughed the 52-year-old who has long been a huge influence in this sport. He was sitting back in the stable area when he learned his result – “One of my girls texted me and said you got an amazing score – it was a bit of a weird way to hear about it!” he added.

Fry was second-last to go, and the 23-year-old, who alongside Dujardin and Hester was a member of the British side that finished fourth at this summer’s FEI European Championships, produced a score of 82.620 with the 10-year-old stallion Everdale. This was good enough to pip the final partnership, and last year’s Olympia winners, Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain who finished a close fourth with 82.550 this time around.

Hester said that although he was happy with the way things turned out, he realises he needs to put more pressure on himself, because he continues to have big ambitions. “It was clear after the Grand Prix test yesterday that this horse needs to get out more. I know I need to get myself committed – this happens before every Olympics!” said the man who has competed at five of them, taking team gold with Uthopia at the London 2012 Games, and team silver with Nip Tuck at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Dujardin confirmed that she has both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2020 in Las Vegas, USA in her sights now. So her plan? “Just to carry on doing what I’m doing and see how we go as we prepare for Tokyo. I’m hoping to get to Vegas in April, so I’ll go to the qualifier in Amsterdam in January and maybe another after that,” she explained.

She was twice winner of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title with Valegro, taking her second title in Las Vegas in 2015. This result sees her move up to eighth on the Western European League table from which the top nine will qualify for the 2020 Final, so she may need another good result to ensure she makes the cut.

There are still five legs of the Western European series left to go, the next taking place at Mechelen, Belgium on 29 December.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Britain Reigns Supreme on First Night of Olympia

The World’s best Dressage riders were out in force on day one of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, where Charlotte Dujardin was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

In addition to the top-class competition, some of the sport’s most respected names took centre stage to be part of Dressage Unwrapped, hosted by Carl Hester MBE, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison. With the help of some well-known equestrian friends, including Olympic, World, and European medalist Pippa Funnell and Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, the unique masterclass explored all aspects of dressage, including producing, training, and managing dressage horses, how to cope with the pressures of competition, and insights from top dressage judge Stephen Clarke.

Spectacular performances from The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and Jean-François Pignon, and a fast and furious opening race from The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, won by Freddy Tewson-Green, added to the excitement on the opening night of the 2019 Show.

Not only was Charlotte Dujardin back in pole position in the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix, but Britain completely dominated, taking the top four places.

Charlotte was in a league of her own, riding the spectacular 10-year-old Mount St John Freestyle, to win by a margin of more than 5% on 81.55%.

Charlotte said: “This was Freestyle’s second indoor show. Olympia is a really big atmosphere for a young horse that doesn’t have much experience. While I was going around the outside of the arena, I could hear everybody going, ‘Good luck, Charlotte’ — that’s how close the audience is. I am so excited about her; each time she performs, she just gets better. I was so pleased with how she dealt with it all.”

Carl Hester, the man dubbed The Master of Dressage, and the 11-year-old British-bred Hawtins Delicato took second place on 75.79%. The combination had just one error in the two-time changes, otherwise producing a fluent, soft test.

“He can do a lot better; he’s the most talented horse I’ve ever had, but it has taken time for him to gain confidence. Considering this was his first test since the Europeans, he’s done great,” said Carl.

Lottie Fry, who is based with the Van Olsts in the Netherlands, took third place with the hugely talented 10-year-old stallion Everdale, her second string. It was the 23-year-old’s second competition in her homeland in five years and only the combination’s fifth grand prix test.

Lottie said: “I am really proud. I cannot quite believe I am sitting next to Carl and Charlotte at this press conference. This is the biggest atmosphere we’ve ever competed in and he’s not used to going abroad. It is our best test and best score yet.”

Fourth place went to the European Championships Team GB second reserves Lara Butler and Rubin Al Asad with 74.05%.

The riders faced the additional challenge of riding the latest shortened grand prix test as part of a pilot project to make dressage user-friendlier. With each test lasting less than five minutes, the movements come up fast; however, it was generally well received by the riders, and regarded as a big improvement to last year’s test.

Katrina Wüst, the judge who was instrumental in writing the shortened version, said: “It is easily manageable for good riders; it is a true proof of thoroughness.”

An appreciative audience gathered earlier in the day at Olympia for a brand-new treat, a 90-minute “Dressage Unwrapped” demonstration, which kicked off the show. Led by three of Britain’s most celebrated dressage riders, Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison, it explored all aspects of dressage, including producing, training, and managing dressage horses, what it means to compete, and how to cope with the pressures of competition.

For the masterclass, Gareth Hughes rode his small tour horse Sintano Van Hof Olympia while explaining his training techniques and routine. Following this, Stephen Clarke, one of the world’s top judges, gave live comments and scores on a test performed by Jess Dunn and Alicante Valley, before a highly entertaining duo demonstration by performance manager to Britain’s senior eventing team, Richard Waygood, and one of the country’s best-loved eventers, Pippa Funnell, explained their favourite pole exercises to improve cadence and impulsion. Carl then completed the session by teaching Charlotte Dujardin on her phenomenally talented young superstar, the eight-year-old Gio, known as “Pumpkin.”

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Van der Vleuten Wins Dramatic La Coruña Leg with Bright Young Star Beauville Z

Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z. (FEI/Manuel Queimadelos)

The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten showed the rest a clean pair of heels in a thrill-a-minute 13-horse jump-off to win the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier in La Coruña, Spain.

There were 40 riders from 16 different countries chasing down points in the race for a place at the Longines 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA next April. And this seventh round of the 14-leg qualifying series was a sizzler, with anything possible right to the very end.

Van der Vleuten clinched it with an exhibition of pure partnership with the lovely Beauville Z, a gelding he has been riding since the middle of last year. Ace Spanish course designer, Santiago Varela, set them a jump-off track with multiple twists and turns and a long gallop to the last that tested trust and understanding between horse and rider every step of the way. And it was the double-Olympian who showed them all how it should be done.

Typically modest, the 31-year-old Dutchman said afterwards, “Sometimes a jump-off doesn’t go as planned and you have to put in a waiting distance, but today it was all very smooth and we had a great rhythm all the way. My horse was very good; he stayed with me, and out of all the turns we got a nice forward distance.”

First against the clock, Ireland’s Michael G Duffy set the target when clear with Lapuccino Z in 39.95 seconds, but the lead kept changing until, seventh to go, van der Vleuten came into the ring and clearly left them with very little to play with. The Dutch horse-and-rider partnership were in complete harmony as they found the tightest lines everywhere on the course and galloped through the timers to set a whole new standard in 36.94 seconds.

However, there were still six to go, and plenty more excitement ahead. Pieter Clemens, one of three Belgians into the second-round decider, was ousted from runner-up spot by Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano and the extraordinary Chalou who stopped the clock on 37.66 seconds. And as they set off it seemed more than possible that, third-last to go, America’s Jessica Springsteen and the super-fast RMF Zecilie could alter the standings until they clipped the very first fence.

Then the Spanish crowd gasped in disbelief when their own star, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, was jumped out of the saddle when his long-time faithful steed, Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot, went into orbit over the vertical third fence off a tight turn. And when Frenchman Olivier Robert (Vivaldi es Meneaux) left one on the floor it was a done deal, and a Dutch one at that.

Talking about Beauville Z which is owned by Spain’s Marta Ortega, van der Vleuten said, “He’s still only nine and not at this level for long – I think he’ll grow into a great horse; he’s the kind of horse you need to be competitive at this level.”

The Dutch rider is now going to take a short break from the World Cup circuit until early in the new year. “I’m hoping I’ll get a few more chances to get my points for the Final – after today I think about 10 more should be enough,” he pointed out, having moved his points tally up to 32 which leaves him lying fifth on the Western European League table ahead of the next leg at Olympia, London (GBR) next Saturday (21 December).

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Werth Pips Werndl in Close Contest at Salzburg

Isabell Werth with Emilio. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

The Queen of international dressage, Germany’s Isabell Werth, continued her relentless march to the 2020 Final when winning the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier at Salzburg in Austria.

As defending champion, she only has to compete twice during the qualifying season with whichever horses she intends to take to the Final in Las Vegas, USA next April, and this result makes it a double of victories partnering the 13-year-old gelding Emilio in the current season.

At Lyon, France in October, the pair pinned Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle into runner-up spot, having been pipped by the British duo in the previous day’s Grand Prix. But although they kept their German counterparts Benjamin Werndl and Daily Mirror at bay in both competitions at the Austrian fixture this weekend, their winning margin was a relatively narrow one each time out.

At the press conference afterwards, Werndl said, “This is my favourite place… being so close to Isabell!”

But the five-time title-holder who is bidding to become the first-ever four-in-a-row FEI Dressage World Cup champion was quick with her joking reply: “I’m very happy that Ben had such a good tournament here in Salzburg and is going so well. As long as he stays like that – in second place – that’s fine by me!”

In the early stages there were smart performances from Austria’s Stefan Lehfeliner and Fackeltanz who posted 73.360, and from Ireland’s Anna Merveldt partnering Esporim. At this summer’s European Championships in Rotterdam (NED) this inexperienced 10-year-old Lusitano helped the Emerald Isle to Olympic qualification, and on his Freestyle debut posted a solid score of 73.310. A real eye-catcher was the lovely 12-year-old Robinvale ridden by Greek 18-year-old Theodora Livanos who put 74.455 on the board, but it was Swedish star Patrik Kittel who led the way at the halfway stage on a mark of 75.680 with Eddieni.

The target-score shot up to 78.150 when 2013 series champion, Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg, took her turn with the lovely mare Annabelle. But their lead didn’t last long, Werth and Emilio setting a whole new standard with another of their power-packed tests when next into the arena. It wasn’t perfect, as Werth said afterwards: “There was just a little second going into piaffe,” but, as only she can, this extraordinary competitor simply turned up the heat to throw down a new target of 85.905 which brought the crowd to their feet and put it up to the rest.

Werndl wasn’t intimidated, however. He won with Daily Mirror at this venue last year, and as a partnership the pair has just been getting better and better. They finished second at the opening leg of this series in Herning seven weeks ago scoring 84.545, fifth at the third leg in Stuttgart with 80.900, and here racked up a personal-best 84.705 with a performance filled with freedom of movement, harmony, and lightness. Only their piaffe was holding them back from a higher score that might well have challenged even closer for the win.

It looked set to be another German whitewash until, second-last to go, Victoria Max-Theurer and Benaglio snatched third place from Langehanenberg with a lovely performance that earned the Austrian duo a mark of 78.525 to the delight of the home spectators.

Werth is now planning to give Weihegold, the mare with which she has claimed the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title for the last three years, her second outing of the season at Amsterdam (NED) in January. And looking even further head, when asked which of her rides she plans to take to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, she replied, “The season will decide… but it’s no secret that my first choice is Bella Rose, then Weihe and Emilio.”

Werndl has now bounced to the top of the league table ahead of Langehanenberg in second, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud in third, and French rider Morgan Barbancon into fourth place. The next leg, at London, Olympia (GBR) on 17 December, will bring the Western European League to the halfway stage.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Extraordinary Ehning Tops Madrid Thriller with Phenomenal Pret a Tout

Marcus Ehning with Pret a Tout. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

Pret a Tout more than lived up to his name when carrying German ace, Marcus Ehning, to victory in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier at Madrid in Spain.

Fourth to go in a breathtaking nine-horse jump-off, the pair took the lead with a spectacular run that stopped the clock in 43.30 seconds and couldn’t be caught. Ehning’s compatriot and 2011 series champion. Christian Ahlmann, came a close second with his exciting nine-year-old stallion Dominator 2000 Z, while Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Espoir finished third. The crowd packed into the IFEMA Arena in the Spanish capital city was treated to a fabulous afternoon of sport.

Course designer, Javier Trenor, set the stage with a 12-fence first-round track in which almost every fence was on a related distance. Absolute accuracy was required to successfully navigate the roll-backs, dog-legs and tight turns in the small arena, and the 66 seconds time-allowed also played its part. But when it came to the jump-off then it was speed and courage that would count, with two exceptionally long runs in the closing stages. And Ehning was at his very best – so fast that he could take a check before the last and still set an unbeatable target.

He wasn’t quite so convinced himself, however. “I thought maybe I had left a small gap, but as it turned out I didn’t!” he said afterwards.

Italy’s Emilio Bicocchi and Evita SG Z produced the first jump-off clear in 44.93 and then Devos and his big-striding gelding Espoir raised the bar with a flyer at the last to break the beam in 43.66. But Ehning and Pret a Tout shaved almost a quarter of a second off that when galloping through the finish in 43.30.

He then had to sit back and watch the five that followed him, only Ahlmann and his lovely nine-year-old Dominator seriously threatening when scorching home in 43.53. A little wobble on the gallop to the final oxer may have made all the difference – “I had a chance to win today but my last line was not the best!” admitted the man who lifted the coveted series trophy back in 2011. But he was still thrilled with runner-up spot on a stallion that is only nine years old and showing such immense promise.

Ehning was delighted with Ruth Krech’s 16-year-old gelding who clearly still loves his job. He’s an extraordinary horse because he shows the same enthusiasm and ability in a massive arena like Aachen (GER) where he won the Grand Prix in 2018 as he does in a much smaller arena like the venue in Madrid.

“He’s a very fast and experienced horse, and I also have a bit of experience!” said the double Olympian and three-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion who is one of the most admired horsemen in the sport.

He admires the clever and confident Pret a Tout, because “he has his own style and it’s not classical, but his mind is really, really good and he’s very flexible and that helps him a lot. He’s a real personality – he’s quite lazy, but he knows he’s a very good horse so he always feels very proud of himself!” said the German star who is now targeting the WEL qualifier at Olympia in London (GBR) later this month.

Before that there is one more visit to Spain, for the seventh qualifier that takes place at La Coruna. Pieter Devos will be holding court at the head of the Western European League when that gets underway on 15 December, and although he didn’t repeat the win he posted at the previous leg in Stuttgart two weeks ago, he is feeling very pleased about his consistent results that have earned 55 valuable points and a definite place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2020 Final next April.

“It is only halfway of the season and I’m very happy to know I’ll be going to Las Vegas! I’ve never ridden there and I’m excited to go!” Devos said.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Schneider Makes It Three-in-a-Row When Topping Madrid Leg with Sammy

Dorothee Schneider with DSP Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

Dorothee Schneider secured the third successive German victory in this season’s FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League when coming out on top with DSP Sammy Davis Jr. in Madrid, Spain; Claudio Castilla Ruiz (Alcaide) lined up second for the host nation ahead of The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud (Glock’s Zinardi) in third.

At the opening leg of the 2019/2020 qualifying series in Herning, Denmark in October it was the home side’s Cathrine Dufour who reigned supreme, but Schneider’s compatriot’s Isabell Werth and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl dominated at the next two rounds. Schneider made it a back-to-back German hat-trick, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the partnership whose record includes European team gold in 2017, World Championship team gold in 2018, and a fifth-place finish at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA) three years ago. Because Sammy was really on his toes.

“He was very good in the Grand Prix yesterday, but in the beginning of the Freestyle today he felt really fresh and we made one mistake in the extended trot and then in the two-tempis,” Schneider said.

“I know him so very long now; I’ve been riding him for five years and he has a lot of his own ideas about how we should be doing things! But that’s one of the reasons I love him – he has so much character, we have a great feeling together, and he just keeps getting better all the time!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

Spain was well-represented with five starters in the 13-strong field, and it was Jose Daniel Martin Dockx and Manchego Arb who were in the lead on a score of 73.265 at the halfway stage. But fellow-countryman Juan Matute Guimon steered Don Diego out in front as the final group of competitors took their turn, only for his mark of 74.460 to be immediately overtaken by Great Britain’s Richard Davison and Bubblingh who put 74.615 on the board.

Castilla Ruiz blew the competition wide open with a spectacular ride on his handsome 14-year-old stallion Alcaide when fifth-last to go. When Madrid joined the Western European League series for the first time last year, this pair wowed the home crowd with a really enjoyable performance to take runner-up spot behind Spanish legend Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. And they didn’t disappoint this time out either. Once again kicking off their floorplan with one-handed one-tempi changes, and consistently producing quality piaffe/passage, they completed with a confident final halt to raise the bar all the way up to 80.230.

That was always going to be challenging, and when Schneider’s average was hovering around 79 percent it wasn’t clear if her double of errors was going to leave the double-Olympian vulnerable in the final analysis. But the pure quality of Sammy’s work, including his grace and elevation in passage and his fabulous pirouettes along with strong artistic scores, edged the pair up to a final tally of 82.295 which clinched it definitively.

Second-last to go, Dutch star and 2016 FEI Dressage World Cup champion, Hans Peter Minderhoud, was pleased that his 15-year-old grey stallion, Glock’s Zinardi, coped with the arena atmosphere. “It wasn’t easy for him because he’s a bit spooky, but it was great to be here for the first time in Madrid and with today’s points I’m now almost qualified for Las Vegas – I’ve been there three times before and I would love to ride there again!” he said after slotting into third place on 78.350 and moving up to the top of the Western European League table. Last to go, Morgan Barbancon Mestre from France (Sir Donnerhall) finished fourth which leaves her lying joint-fourth in the League moving on to the next leg in Salzburg, Austria next Saturday.

The top nine in the WEL rankings will qualify for the 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final and Schneider, now in joint-seventh after four of the 11 qualifying legs, has qualification clearly in her sights. But it’s not easy being German it seems, because as it stands her compatriots Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Frederic Wandres, and Benjamin Werndl are ahead of her on the league table and they all want the same thing – to be one of the two Germans who will join defending champion Isabell Werth for the season finale in the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, USA next April.

“We have so many very good riders, and we all want to go!” said Schneider.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Devos and Apart Do It Again in Stuttgart

Pieter Devos and Apart. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

For the second year in a row, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and his 14-year-old gelding, Apart, came out on top at the super-competitive fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League in Stuttgart, Germany where defending series champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, had to settle for second ahead of last week’s winner, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, in third.

As always, German course designer Christa Jung didn’t make it easy for the 39 starters in the first round, but the quality of the field ensured an 11-horse jump-off against the clock that had the crowd sitting on the edges of their seats.

“In my opinion this was the toughest leg of the series so far. They always build big here; it’s always technical and tough, but because of the big arena and the very good ground, horses jump well,” Devos said. And he’s delighted that, now lying second on the League table with 40 points already on the board, he looks well set for the Longines Final 2020 in Las Vegas, USA next April. “I’ve done three qualifiers with three different horses, I’m almost there and I’m very happy!” he added.

Ireland’s Richard Howley and Chinook led the way in the jump-off with a fast round in 45.56 seconds but leaving a fence on the floor. Third into the ring, Guerdat, was clear but a little slower when breaking the beam with Venard de Cerisy in 45.87, and Brash challenged that with a strong run with Hello Senator but was a little off the pace when crossing the line in 46.05 seconds.

It was clear Guerdat’s leading time could be beaten when Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot galloped through the finish in 45.20 seconds, leaving an element of the double on the floor. But as Devos set off, he wasn’t convinced he would be the man to do it, and when Apart lost his footing on the turn after the wall three from home, he reckoned his chance was definitely gone.

“I saw Steve’s ride on the screen and I thought this would not be my day because he was very fast! And then after my slip after the wall I thought I wouldn’t be quick enough, but when I rode over the finish line I was – so I’m very, very happy!” he said after posting what turned out to be the winning time of 45.35.

But the excitement lasted to the very end, with the penultimate partnership of Philip Weishaupt and Che Fantastica producing a breathtaking round that drove the home crowd into a frenzy of excitement. Way up on time coming to the last, the German partnership stormed home in 43.63 seconds, but an awkward jump at the last saw the pole fall for four faults which left them in fifth place at the end of the day, just behind Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and Cortney Cox whose double-clear in 46.25 slotted them into fourth.

“I need to try to do better and leave the poles up in the jump-off next time!” Weishaupt joked afterwards. “For four or five months I had not so many clear rounds so I really wanted to do it today. Maybe I went a little too wild at the last one and should have given the mare a chance to jump it, but I’m still happy with her; she jumped great!” he said.

Runner-up Guerdat congratulated Devos on his winning performance – “Pieter did a great job!” he said. Talking about his own result, he said, “I’m happy to be second as I did not have the jump-off I expected on the last line. My horse responded too well after the wall and turning back to the skinny oxer, and I planned eight (strides) to the last but I changed my mind and I ended up with 10! There were other riders faster than me but they had an unlucky one down, so I was lucky today to finish second, but I’m very happy with my horse.”

Devos was delighted with Apart. “I think he must like the arena here, and the Stuttgart crowd! He felt amazing here last year and again this year he was super!” he. And he was very pleased when awarded a brand new Mercedes-Benz as his winner’s prize. “My wife needs a new car so she’ll very happy!”

World No. 1 and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion, Guerdat, still leads the Western European League table going into the sixth of the 14 qualifiers in Madrid (ESP) in two weeks’ time, with Devos in second and Brash in third. The British rider has now accumulated 35 points and, with something in the region of 40 normally sufficient to secure one of the top 18 places that will make the cut to the Final, also looks well on the road to the bright lights of the Las Vegas where the 2020 champion will be crowned.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Sternlicht Records Second Longines Victory in as Many Weeks with Las Vegas Success

Adrienne Sternlicht and Bennys Legacy. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Despite recording a World Cup victory just a week prior in Thermal (USA), Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Bennys Legacy came to Las Vegas’ South Point Arena (USA) with some unanswered questions. The duo had never before competed indoors, but the smaller venue proved no problem for them, as they recorded a second straight World Cup victory.

They topped the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas via a two-horse jump-off and were the only double-clear performers on the evening, crossing the timers of Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) shortened course in 37.68 seconds. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Stranger were faster, but a rail put them in second; they finished on 4 faults in 35.90 seconds. In a unique result, Sarah Segal (USA) and Uma O’Neill (NZL) finished in adjoint third, as both riders recorded a single time fault in the first round with identical times of 73.39 seconds.

“Tonight, I mainly learned that he was super indoors,” Sternlicht said of her still-new mount, having only debuted with the 11-year-old gelding in September. “I really had no idea how he would be! In some ways, I found him easier to ride inside.”

“He’s a horse that goes exactly the way I like to ride: strong and aggressive. I like to help and support the horse, and he leans on me as a rider in that capacity.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Knowing there were just two clear rounds and having to return first in the jump-off, Sternlicht approached the shortened course with a nothing-to-lose mentality while being wary of the quick challenge that followed her.

“I think Andrew has the fastest horse in the class, probably the fastest horse in FEI this week,” Sternlicht said. “I knew that if I didn’t stick to my plan, it might be costly. I think my jump-off round showed the quality of my horse. I think, personally, there are a few things I want to work on, but I couldn’t be happier with the way he jumped, and I’m happy that I stuck to my plan.”

The win moved Sternlicht into third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 46 points. Brian Moggre (USA) leads those standings with 56 points, while Beezie Madden (USA) is second with 49 points. The top seven from these standings at the end of the 2019/2020 season will advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which will also take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center in April.

“World Cup Finals are 100 percent on my radar,” Sternlicht said. “I am planning already. [My trainer McLain Ward] is a big planner, and we had a meeting and planned out my schedule for the next five months. I plan on being here and look forward to coming back!”

On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) maintains his lead in the standings with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond (ISR) with 39 points and Will Simpson (USA) with 34 points.

The North American League continues in Guadalajara (MEX) on 25 January 2020.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46