Tag Archives: Ingrid Klimke

Multiple Olympian Klimke Takes FEI Best Athlete Award in Moscow

(left to right): Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li, and Yaofeng Li.

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS).

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners, and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination, and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication, and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication, and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

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Ingrid Klimke and Hale Bob Do the European Double in Luhmühlen Medal Battle

Ingrid Klimke (FEI/Oliver Hardt for Getty images)

The popular and ever-gracious Ingrid Klimke (GER) thrilled her mass of cheering, flag-waving supporters by conjuring a faultless Jumping round from her wonderful horse SAP Hale Bob OLD to clinch both the team title for Germany as well as her second successive individual gold medal at the Longines FEI European Championships, held in her home country at Luhmühlen.

Klimke, who lost her grip on the world title last year when hitting the very last fence at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA), never looked like making a mistake on the spring-heeled Bobby, and she left her team mate Michael Jung, who was bidding for a record fourth European title, no margin for error.

When Jung’s fischerChipmunk FST, a horse that is surely a thrilling prospect for Tokyo, hit the second part of the double at 10b, Klimke smiled in rueful sympathy before dancing a jig of excitement.

She is the fifth rider in the 66-year history of the Europeans to win back-to-back titles, following Britain’s Lucinda Green (1975, 1977), Ginny Eliot (1985, 1987, 1989), Pippa Funnell (1999, 2001), and Michael Jung (2011, 2013, 2015), and the second to do it on the same horse, following Funnell’s triumphs on Supreme Rock.

“I definitely came here to win for sure. It was so close, but this year the luck was with me,” said Klimke. “It’s really special knowing that there are so many very quality riders and horses.”

Klimke paid tribute to her long-time Jumping trainer Kurt Gravemeier, who came to walk the course with her, and said that this victory for Germany would be “a positive wind” for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

Jung was sportsmanlike in defeat, describing the weekend as “super sport.” He explained: “I was a little bit too fast in the last combination, but this little mistake has not made the whole week bad, so I am very happy. We are a great team and we still have one more year to work on little details and I think we are well prepared for next season.”

Germany’s team gold, their fourth European title since the country’s dazzling run of success began at Luhmühlen in 2011, was never really in doubt with their comfortable three-fence margin after Cross Country, but the fight for silver and bronze medals became an intriguing game of snakes and ladders as team fortunes ebbed and flowed over what was a relatively straightforward Jumping track.

Great Britain just managed to hold onto team silver – by 0.3 of a penalty – as Oliver Townend (Cooley Master Class SRS, ninth), Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo, 15th), and Pippa Funnell (Majas Hope, 22nd) each clocked up four faults. Townend, for whom it was a personal best team performance, did well to recover his composure after Cooley Master Class got too close to the planks at eight and crashed through the fence.

Sweden, silver medallists in 2017, were the beneficiaries of a titanic struggle for the team bronze medal, securing qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year in the best possible style with superb clear rounds from Ludwig Svennerstal (El Kazir SP, eighth), Louise Romeike (Wakiki 207, 12th), and Ebba Adnervik (Chippieh, 23rd).

Svennerstal said: “The Olympics is really the highlight for us. It’s very important for our federation and for ourselves. The team has worked really hard to achieve this and we’re extremely happy. I think we had a slightly disappointing start to the week and then we regrouped and everyone in the whole team, including behind the scenes, has been working very hard and we’re very happy with the outcome.”

France’s grasp on the bronze medal was already precarious when Alexis Goury withdrew Trompe l’Oeul d’Emery at this morning’s horse inspection. The 2003 and 2007 European champion Nicolas Touzaint put France back in the hunt with a magnificent clear round on Absolut Gold HCD, but medal success hinged on Lt Col Thibaut Vallette delivering a clear round. Unfortunately, Qing de Briot hit the fifth fence, putting paid to both France’s team and his own individual medal chances by frustratingly small margins.

Italy, with a clear round from Arianna Schivo (Quefira de l’Ormeau, 17th), looked threatening until Pietro Roman (Baraduff) incurred eight faults and Giovanni Ugulotti suffered a nightmare 22.4-penalty round on Note Worthy. This relegated Italy to fifth, but at least with the compensation of the second available Olympic qualifying slot.

Ireland finished sixth, a weekend of mixed fortunes being compounded with the overnight withdrawal of Ciaran Glynn’s November Night. However, there was a clutch of clear rounds from riders in the top 10 and the supremely talented Cathal Daniels (IRL), riding the diminutive mare Rioghan Rua, was the one left at the head of the queue for the individual bronze medal. The 22-year-old from Co Galway is Ireland’s first European individual medallist since Lucy Thompson in 1995.

“It’s an amazing feeling!” he said. “I’ve gone through Juniors, Young Riders, and now seniors with this mare. Unfortunately, the team didn’t get as strong a result as they wanted, but I was glad I was able to get a medal and keep spirits high and build again for next year on the road to Tokyo.”

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Jung and Klimke Put Team Germany Out in Front at Luhmühlen

Michael Jung (GER) with fischerChipmunk FST. (FEI/ /Oliver Hardt for Getty images)

Michael Jung (GER), who has smashed pretty much every record in the sport, has just put himself in line for another – a fourth European title on a fourth horse – having taken the lead at the end of the Dressage phase at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship in Luhmühlen (GER).

The double Olympic champion, who never gives away a mark if he can help it, has a great reputation for getting the best out of all sorts of horses. With his Luhmühlen ride fischerChipmunk FST, he has the added benefit of the 11-year-old by Contendro having been well established at top level by his former rider, Julia Krajewski (GER).

Jung’s outstanding score of 20.9 – despite a break of pace in the free walk – could not be bettered, even by defending champion Ingrid Klimke (GER), and the German team is now 16.8 penalties ahead of the 2017 winners, Great Britain, with a mere 68.9 penalties on the scoreboard.

“Chipmunk is a fantastic horse. He’s so intelligent and extremely well trained,” said Jung, who blamed himself for the mistake. “He has a lot of power and sometimes there’s a difficult balance between that and keeping him relaxed. Maybe I risked a little bit too much in the walk so he accidentally broke into trot.

“I nearly liked everything in the test today, just not really the walk – the extended walk especially!”

Klimke produced a reliably stellar performance on her regular team partner SAP Hale Bob OLD to score 22.2. Their test reflected a beautifully trained horse and a happy partnership, and Klimke even had time to pat her 15-year-old bay gelding in reward for a smooth flying change.

British individual Laura Collett and London 52, the first-day leaders, are now third, ahead of German team member Kai Ruder (Colani Sunrise) and France’s Lt Col Thibaut Vallette (Qing de Briot).

Regular Dutch team rider Tim Lips has slotted into sixth place on Bayro on a score of 26.0 and three British riders occupy the next three places.

They are headed by team anchorman Oliver Townend, who has been grounded for some weeks after a fall. He put in a solid performance, bar a slight stumble in trot, and is in seventh place on his dual Kentucky winner Cooley Master Class (27.6). Individual runner Kitty King (Vendredi Biats) is eighth on 27.9.

The 2009 champion Kristina Cook, currently ninth on 28.3, is back on the team with a well-behaved Billy the Red. They were dropped from the team last year due to the Balou de Rouet gelding putting in some occasionally explosive Dressage performances.

The Belgian team, which is seeking one of the two precious Olympic qualification slots for Tokyo 2020, is in third place with a team total of 90.9; France, Ireland, and Italy follow, with just 3.4 penalties covering the four nations.

Attention is now focused on the Cross Country test designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, who has re-routed the track, allowing plenty of alternative routes while warning that they will cost in time penalties. “It’s beautifully designed and built,” commented Townend.

“I’m a fan of Mike Etherington Smith’s courses. There are no blind questions. If you’re on your line and you and your horse are focused on the job, it should ride well.”

“The way the fences are situated, it’s very easy to make a mistake,” added Townend’s teammate, Kristina Cook, a veteran of nine Europeans and, with pathfinder Pippa Funnell, a member of the winning British quartet 20 years ago here in Luhmühlen.

The overnight leader Michael Jung is also appreciative of the 26-fence track: “It’s a very fair course; to be in the time you have to be fast, you have to take a little bit of a risk, and as faster as you go, as easier you can have somewhere a little mistake.”

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Klimke Spearheads Awesome German Team Set to Regain European Team Gold

Ingrid Klimke with Horseware Hale Bob OLD. (FEI/Libby Law Photography)

The scene is set for a titanic battle for the Longines FEI Eventing European Championship, held for the fifth time at the much-loved German venue of Luhmühlen from 29 August – 1 September 2019.

The German team is notoriously hard to beat on home ground – they dominated the medals here in 2011, as well as at Malmö (SWE) in 2013 and Blair Castle (GBR) in 2015 – but surrendered their crown in 2017 at Strzegom (POL) to Great Britain, the record-breaking winners of 22 team titles since the championship began in 1953.

Germany has a wealth of talent to choose from as they are allowed to enter 12 combinations. The reigning individual champions, Ingrid Klimke (GER) and her brilliant SAP Hale Bob, look to have timed their title defence to perfection with a sparkling win in the recent CCI4*-S at Aachen (GER) and it will be fascinating to see if three-time European Champion Michael Jung can win a record fourth title on new ride FischerChipmunk FST, a horse he has taken over from former team mate Julia Krajewski (GER).

Great Britain, the reigning World and European Champions, field two from their triumphant FEI World Equestrian Games™ squad last year: Piggy French, who has enjoyed a stream of international wins this summer, including the coveted Badminton title – she rides Quarrycrest Echo and Kristina Cook, the 2009 individual champion.

Cook, who celebrates her 49th birthday on Cross Country day, will be making a remarkable ninth FEI European Championship appearance, riding Billy the Red. In addition, Britain will be calling on world number two, Oliver Townend, with his dual Kentucky CCI5*-L winner Cooley Master Class and following the withdrawal of Tom McEwen and Toledo De Kerser from the British squad, Pippa Funnell has received the call to replace Tom, riding her own and Marek Sebastak’s Majas Hope. Dual European champion, Pippa has competed in ten championship teams – winning three European medals, the first of her titles in Luhmühlen 20 years ago in 1999 – and has represented Great Britain at three Olympic Games.

Irish eventing is on the crest of a wave with world team silver last year. Can they go one better this time? No doubt statistician Sam Watson, who has had much international success this season and who rides the eye-catching dun, Tullamore Flamco, can provide the odds. In a neat twist, his father, John, was a member of the last Irish team to win the Europeans, 40 years ago at Luhmühlen in 1979.

Watson’s Tryon teammates Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua) and Sarah Ennis (Woodcourt Garrison) may take all the beating if Course Designer Mike Etherington-Smith’s Cross Country track plays to Irish strengths.

Another extraordinary statistic is that France has never won European team gold. The Olympic champions field a particularly star-studded squad that includes two former individual European champions, Jean-Lou Bigot (1993) and Nicolas Touzaint (2003 and 2007), plus the brilliant Olympic combination of Thibaut Vallette and Qing de Briot.

Thirteen nations will be fielding teams, including Sweden (the reigning silver medallists), Italy (bronze medallists in 2017), plus Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland. Four nations will field individuals only: Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, and Norway.

Aside from the contest for medals, crucial Olympic qualifications are at stake for the top 2 teams that have not already qualified.

Follow all the live action on FEI TV and live results on www.luhmuehlen.de.

By Kate Green

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Klimke in Control after Cross Country as Irish Eventers Come to Party

Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke kept her nerve to grab the lead as the Irish and French lit up a dramatic, adrenaline-fuelled day of eventing at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).

Klimke, second overnight, made it look easy as she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD flew round the 5,700m course in 10:00 minutes, bang on the optimal time. Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter kept a relatively familiar look to the leaderboard as she and Allstar B improved from third to second, following a swift, flawless round. But the real drama came behind.

Ireland have never won a team medal at the WEG, but with two riders sitting in the top seven, that could all be about to change. Sarah Ennis (IRL) leads the way with a score of 26.30 points, enough to put her into the bronze medal position with just the show jumping to come.

“I can’t believe we are actually here,” Ennis said, with Ireland sitting second in the team standings. “He (Horseware Stellor Rebound) finds it very easy and he’s very fast. I think there might be a few drinks tonight.”

Two Frenchmen, Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, sit fourth and fifth behind Ennis, hauling the French up into third overall. Great Britain currently look favourites for team gold, thanks in no small part to another fine performance from Canter.

“It was quite a rollercoaster out there,” said the 32-year-old. “I knew I had to be fast and that’s out of my comfort zone.”

Fast she was, but Klimke, carrying a penalty score of just 23.30 over from the dressage stage, was untouchable on the fiery SAP Hale Bob OLD.

“He was just so full of himself today,” the European 2017 individual gold medallist said. “He was very fast in the beginning; he really wanted to run.”

Not so for teammate Julia Krajewski, runaway leader after the dressage. The devastated 29-year-old and her mount Chipmunk FRH ran into problems at the difficult fence 14 and faded to 47th overall.

As a result, Germany slipped back to sixth in the team standings, the final qualification place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Disappointing days for the likes of Blyth Tait, and Boyd Martin saw New Zealand and the USA drop out of that all-important top six.

Due to the bad weather expected in Tryon, competition will conclude on Monday, something leader Klimke is certainly relaxed about.

“I think the horses will like it,” she said. “Another day of vacation.”

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By Luke Norman

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Klimke Leads Germany to Record-Breaking Total

Ingrid Klimke with SAP Hale Bob OLD (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Ingrid Klimke underlined Germany’s extraordinary dominance in dressage as she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD leapt to within touching distance of compatriot Julia Krajewski at the top of the leaderboard as the first stage of the Mars eventing dressage came to an end at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).

A beautifully controlled ride in front of a packed house secured the 2017 European individual and reigning Olympic team champion a score of 23.30. It places her second and gives Germany vice-like control of the battle for team gold.

“He was so relaxed, so calm, so concentrated that I could really ride him and was not sitting on a bomb or anything,” Klimke said of 14-year-old SAP Hale Bob OLD, before she attempted to explain just how Germany has mastered the art of dressage.

“You have to be really very precise in your training and do everything very accurately and repeat and repeat.” — Ingrid Klimke (Team Germany)

The nation’s combined score of 73.40 going into the cross country is the highest mark ever recorded at this stage of a FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG). Great Britain in second are a significant 7.40 points behind.

The Longines FEI European Championships 2017 team champions were buoyed by a great ride from 32-year-old Rosalind Canter who was so confident in her horse Allstar B that she “gave him the day off yesterday.

“It’s really just my job to make sure I get a mistake-free test from him because he is just so amazing, he never changes,” said Canter, who sits third with a score of 24.60.

France’s Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette led the rest in a charge as a host of big names gathered behind the top three. Just 2.2 points separates the military man in fourth and Great Britain’s Piggy French in 15th.

It is similarly tight in the team stakes with the USA, who boast three riders inside the top 18, sitting third, less than a point ahead of France in fourth. Ireland secured their best ever start to a WEG – their team total of 87.5 enough to place them seventh and firmly in the hunt for a priceless qualification place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

All eyes now turn to the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) designed cross country course. Rider of the day, Ingrid Klimke, neatly summed up the excitement and anticipation coursing through Tryon 2018.

“There are beautiful jumps out there,” Klimke said. “We can’t wait to get out.”

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By Luke Norman

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Eventing Gold for Great Britain and Germany’s Ingrid Klimke at Strzegom

Photo: The victorious British team at the FEI European Eventing Championships at Strzegom in Poland: Nicola Wilson (also individual bronze), Ros Canter, Oliver Townend and Kristina Cook (FEI/Jon Stroud)

A jubilant British team was celebrating after jumping three superb clear rounds in the final phase to hold onto their overnight lead and clinch the longed-for team title at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL).

“We are very excited to be back on top. We’ve got some amazing riders and horses and we’ve worked hard for this.” — Kristina Cook, British gold medal team member

Ingrid Klimke, who has been such a key member of the German team for 17 years, also delivered a jumping perfect round under pressure on Horseware Hale Bob to win her first individual title and lead Germany to team silver.

Triple European champion Michael Jung’s winning run finally ended and the German sportingly settled for individual silver with a clear round on fischerRocana.

“You just have to keep going and after 20 years it will happen! I always want to be a team player, but this was my dream” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), new European champion

Sweden held onto team bronze, but Sara Algotsson Ostholt had a less than happy jumping round on Reality 39 and dropped from third to ninth.

Britain’s Nicola Wilson went clear on Bulana to take bronze, her first individual medal, while Cook and Canter lined up behind her in fourth and fifth. Oliver Townend, who was the discard score, did not present Cooley SRS at the final horse inspection.

Ten teams and 56 riders completed the competition, although there was disappointment when host nation Poland’s best rider, Pawel Spisak, was denied a fairy-tale finish after Banderas did not pass the final horse inspection.

www.strzegom2017.pl

By Kate Green

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Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob Snatch Lead after Badminton Cross Country

Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob OLD. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Influential cross country day sees Michael Jung (GER) and Sam move up to second ahead of Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Nereo with just 0.8 between the top three

German Olympic rider Ingrid Klimke rode an exhilarating cross country round on Horseware Hale Bob at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™, and holds a slim 0.4 penalty lead over defending champions Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam who were outstanding to finish on their dressage score at the end of a thrilling day’s 4* competition.

“I walked the course with Andrew [Nicholson] and I watched Michi [Jung] and I hoped to do as well as them. It was a difficult course – there certainly wasn’t time to wave to the crowd – but Bobby was so full of himself and was pure pleasure to ride.” — Ingrid Klimke (GER)

Brilliant Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson, who was last on course on Nereo, brought the day to a nail-biting climax and is now in third place, just 0.8 behind Klimke.

New course-designer Eric Winter’s track proved as influential as anticipated. Dressage leader Christopher Burton (AUS) on Graf Liberty had a surprising refusal at the third log element of the Hildon Water Pond (fence 15) and third-placed Irishman Jonty Evans (Cooley Rorkes Drift) was going brilliantly when he had a disappointing run-out at the second corner at fence 21.

“Sport’s all about confidence and I’m going to try and take some confidence from it. We made one little mistake, which was my fault, but we’re going home to reboot and aim for the Europeans.” — Jonty Evans (IRL)

Fourth-placed Belgian rider Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van ‘T Verahof) and eighth-placed Bettina Hoy from Germany (Designer 10) both retired after refusals and, under the new FEI rule, Sam Griffiths (AUS), 11th on Paulank Brockagh was awarded 50 penalties for missing a flag.

There were 32 clear rounds and 49 finishers from the 81 starters. Only two were inside the time of 11 minutes 34 seconds: Jung and New Zealander Tim Price, who has leapt 30 places to fourth on Xavier Faer. Sir Mark Todd (NZL) has two horses inside the top 10, NZB Campino, fifth, and Leonidas, ninth.

‘You couldn’t be casual and lollop along. Perhaps it’s my age, but I don’t think I’ve ever concentrated so hard!’ — Andrew Nicholson (NZL)

The home crowd had little to cheer about after the dressage, but strong clears by British first-timers Ros Canter (Allstar B) and farrier Alexander Bragg (Zagreb) have moved them up significantly to sixth and eighth places; Oliver Townend shot up from 47th to sixth on ODT Ghareeb and Gemma Tattersall from 67th to 12th on the ex-racehorse Arctic Soul.

The jumping phase promises to be an absolute thriller with 0.8 of a penalty separating three greats in the sport.

By Kate Green

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Olympic Medallists Burton and Klimke Take Young Horse Eventing Gold at Le Lion

Ingrid Klimke and Weisse Duene. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Selle Francais Studbook claims overall title

Le Lion d’Angers (FRA), 24 October 2015 – Rio 2016 Olympic Games team bronze medallist Christopher Burton from Australia topped the 6-year-old division with the KWPN Fire Fly while team silver medallist Ingrid Klimke from Germany steered the Holsteiner mare Weisse Duene to victory in the 7-year-old category at the FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2016 at Le Lion d’Angers, France.

This was the 31st edition of these Championships which have been staged annually since 1992, and spectators flocked into the lovely venue at the Haras National at l‘Isle de Briand throughout the weekend, with a massive crowd of almost 35,000 spectators for Saturday’s cross-country phase.

Exciting new talent was highlighted in both age categories, with a total of 99 horses representing a range of studbooks. The Selle Francais claimed the overall Studbook title with a score of 154.6 points, but finished only a single point ahead of the KWPN in second on 154.7 while last year’s winners, the Irish Sport Horse Studbook, lined up third this time around with their final tally standing at 168.2 when the results of both age categories were analysed.

Six-Year-Olds

The Ground Jury for the 6-year-olds consisted of Germany’s Ernst Topp, Ireland’s David Lee and Bulgaria’s Yuri Dinev Valev and, from the field of 40 starters, they placed Germany’s Kai-Steffen Meier and the Trakehner stallion Painter’s Maxim (Philox/Painter’s Moon/Painter’s Row) in pole position after dressage on a score of 40.03.

Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Mei and the Hannoverian gelding Ducati D’Arville (Diarado/Pricilla/Perpignon) filled second spot on 42.3 while Britain’s Izzy Taylor and the KWPN chestnut mare Jockey Club Fleurelle (Vivaldi/Zarelle/Sydney) slotted into third on 43.4. Burton was never far away, however, holding fourth with Fire Fly on a score of 44.2 while Switzerland’s Felix Vogg and Mathurin V/D Vogelzan was sitting in fifth place on 45.3 going into the cross-country phase.

Pierre Michelet’s fantastic cross-country track jumped really well, with just one retirement and three eliminations around the course, and the time-allowed of 8’ 53” proved well within the grasp of most, only nine collecting time penalties on the day. All of the top six held their spots, so it came down to the final jumping round to decide the medal placings.

Vogg and Burton each posted a brilliant clear to finish on their dressage scores, so when all those ahead of them faltered they soared up the leaderboard. Taylor’s single mistake cost her the win, but when double-errors dropped Meier to fourth and Liedekerke-Mei to sixth place, then the British rider claimed bronze behind Vogg in silver and Burton in gold medal position.

There was nothing boastful about Burton in the aftermath, however, the 34-year-old double-Olympian acknowledging that fortune favoured him in the closing stages.

“I am happy,” he said. “There were so many good six year old horses with good riders; I really needed all the luck for this win and I had exactly that in the jumping because my horse touched several poles that didn’t fall! There were others who were not so lucky. My horse performed exactly how I could have wished, and it’s great to finish this season so well.”

Seven-Year-Olds

It was a case of “déjà vu” for Ingrid Klimke when the German star found herself heading the 7-year-old leaderboard after dressage with the grey mare Weisse Duene (Clarimo/Esprit V/Romino), because that was where the pair placed after the same phase in last year’s 6-year-old competition before a stop and time penalties on the cross-country course put paid to their chances.

This time around the Ground Jury of Austria’s Christian Steiner, Sweden’s Anne Persson and Eric Lieby from France awarded them a dressage mark of 36.9 for a clear lead over Britain’s Pippa Funnell and the AES gelding Billy Walk On (Billy Mexico/Shannon Line/Golden Bash) on a score of 39.0, while Austria’s Charlotte Dobretsberger slotted into third with the Hannoverian mare Vally K when posting 45.2.

British riders were dominant in the early stages in this division, with Kitty King in fourth with the Selle Francais Vendredi Biats (Winningmood van de Arenberg/Liane Normandie/Camelia de Ruelles) on a mark of 45.4 and Gemma Tattersall in sixth with the SHBGB mare Chillis Gem (Chilli Morning/Kings Gem/Rock King) on a score of 45.9. Lying fifth going into cross-country day was the 29-year-old Frenchman Maxime Livio who was the sensational winner of the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/2017 at Pau (FRA) a week ago. Riding the Selle Francais gelding Vroum D’Auzay he slotted in between the two British riders with his score of 45.7.

From a starting field of 59 there were five eliminations and one retirement on the cross-country course, with 19 getting home within the time of 9’11” while 17 collected fence penalties on their tour of the track. Both third-placed Dobretsberger and fourth-placed King dropped out of contention with single refusals, and this saw Livio moving up to third spot behind Funnell and Klimke who retained the top two placings when foot-perfect all the way.

Leaderboard

The final jumping phase saw the leaderboard shaken up once again, however, Livio’s 16 faults sending him plummeting right down to 23rd place while some of the biggest names in the sport began to emerge at the top of the scoreboard. Britain’s Tattersall dropped from fourth to seventh with just a single mistake, allowing Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and the Hannoverian FRH Corrida (Contendro/Expo/Esprit) to move into sixth when adding nothing to their dressage mark of 49.9. And when Rio 2016 Olympic Games team gold and individual silver medallist Astier Nicolas, fellow Frenchman Thomas Carlile, and New Zealand’s Jonelle Price did likewise they moved into fifth, fourth and third in the final analysis.

Price’s KWPN gelding Cooley Showtime (Chin Chin/Limone/Julio Mariner) posted the same final score as Carlile’s AA gelding Vassily de Lassos (Jaguar Mail/Illusion Perdue/Jalenny), but the Kiwi rider’s spot-on cross-country timing gave her the edge for the place on the podium.

It was a sweet gold-medal-winning success for Klimke whose horse demonstrated the very essence of what these Championships are all about. Things didn’t turn out so well for the pair 12 months ago, but it all came together for them this time around.

“My mare should be the one credited with this win,” said the 48-year-old rider. “Last year her inexperience on the cross country cost us, but this year she was brilliant in the three tests and confirmed exactly what I think of her! She is definitely a mare for the future and she certainly has the potential to go to the Olympics in Tokyo in four years’ time!”

Full results here

Full rankings here

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Le Lion d’Angers:

Robert Adenot
Press Officer
robert.adenot@ifce.fr
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Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
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+41 79 314 24 38

Klimke Secures Narrow German Lead in Olympic Eventing ahead of Cross-Country

Ingrid Klimke’s anchor ride with Bob. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 7 August 2016 – A brilliant ride by Ingrid Klimke maintained Team Germany’s lead as Eventing dressage drew to a close at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA). But her score of 39.50 with Bob gives the defending Olympic champions only a fractional advantage of 0.2 penalties over the feisty French side going into Monday’s much-anticipated cross-country phase.

In a typical Olympic contest, during which some competitors exceeded expectations while others couldn’t find the performances they were looking for, it was the mark of 39.20 earned by Mathieu Lemoine and the elegant Bart L that put the French right into the frame. So, fourth-last to go, Klimke could feel the pressure, but the 48-year-old daughter of dressage legend Reiner Klimke, who scooped eight Olympic medals during his spectacular career, kept a cool head.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, however.

“Bob was quite excited outside in the warm-up and he was bucking, but when he came into the arena he just went, ‘OK, here I am, I’m ready – if you want let’s go for it!’” she said afterwards.

Little

There’s very little between the leading group of countries going into Monday’s cross-country phase, with the Australians lying third, just over four penalty points behind the French, and the British just one more point further adrift in fourth. The Irish moved up a place to fifth thanks to a great performance from Jonty Evans and Cooley’s Rorkes Drift, while New Zealand and USA share sixth.

First-day leader, Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, remains at the head of the individual standings with Australia’s Christopher Burton hot on his heels, and Lemoine has slotted into third and Klimke into fourth, while defending double-Olympic champion, Michael Jung, is next in line in fifth place. With less than five points separating the top 10 riders, however, and few, if any, expected to avoid time penalties while negotiating the tough track set by French course designer, Pierre Michelet, the stage is set for a tremendous day of cross-country action Monday.

“I haven’t seen such a challenging course since Sydney (2000 Olympic Games). My Bobby is fast and he is a mature horse so he should cope well and I’m looking forward to it. But we know that when we go out there we have to do a very precise job tomorrow,” Klimke said.

Surprises

There were surprises of various kinds as the day-two session played out, with some dreams beginning to unravel while others were just starting to take shape. The latter was the case for Jonty Evans who produced a personal-best score at championship level when posting 41.80 with Cooley’s Rorkes Drift. This has left him lying ninth individually and has anchored his country’s chances going into their more-favoured cross-country phase. The judges clearly appreciated the quality of the canterwork of his 10-year-old gelding, one of 11 Irish-bred horses in the field of 65 starters. Evans said, “I’m thrilled to bits with him; he couldn’t have done any more today – he couldn’t have tried any harder.”

China’s Alex Hua Tian enjoyed some moments of brilliance in his test, but had to settle for 42.40 and 12th place at the end of the day with Don Geniro. “I made two big mistakes; the judges really wanted to give me good mark – but I nailed all the changes I think,” he said. “The first entry was great; he has a massive extended trot but he took an unbalanced step and broke into canter. It’s very frustrating because it’s the extended that gives him his big scores!” he pointed out.

Belgium’s Karen Donckers slotted herself into seventh individually when posting 41.10 with Fletcha van’t Verahof, but it was two competitive results from Lemoine and Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) who put 41.00 on the board that kept the French team right in the frame. Meanwhile, Australia’s Shane Rose really did the business with CP Qualified whose 42.50 ensured the 56.80 posted by Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio could be discounted.

Tense

Many of the horses were tense coming into the arena, but Rose reassured his 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding with a big pat on the neck before going to work into the arena, and was rewarded with a very pleasant performance. Last-line British rider, Kitty King, found herself struggling from the start, however, with the Dutch-bred Ceylor LAN. And another for whom things didn’t go quite the right way was New Zealand’s Jonelle Price whose nine-year-old, Faerie Dianimo, broke into a canter during their early trot-work, eventually posting 49.50. “I was very disappointed,” she said “He was really hot in the warm-up but I was hoping for better in the arena. It was too bad it happened at the Olympic Games, but I’m hoping for a much better day tomorrow.”

Klimke’s vital anchor ride for Germany might also have been blighted by over-enthusiasm, but she managed to get all the fizz under control at just the right moment and pulled off that all-important score that has kept Germany out in front in the race for the team medals. “I was so pleased in the end; he did a fabulous test,” she said of the 12-year-old Bob.

Influencing

Every one of the riders agrees, however, that dressage will not be the all-influencing factor in Eventing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Pierre Michelet has thought long and hard about how to challenge the most experienced riders in the sport along with those who have relatively less mileage on the clock.

“I want the best to win without asking too big questions of the less experienced riders. The reputation of the sport is important. I want to challenge the riders and I ask them to find clever solutions for the many options on offer. To get on the podium they will need to be brave, accurate and bold,” he said. There has indeed been a lot of course-walking going on over the last few days as riders make their plans and then alter them and settle on new ones that will get them home on the quickest and safest route.

“This course is not about one signature fence; it’s about clearing all of them! I ask the difficult questions from the start; that is my signature. The first water will be fence no. 4 already. The riders need to be ready from step one.”

Track

Talking about creating the lovely track that wends its way up and downhill through the land that surround the Deodoro military complex, he explained, “We started three years ago, first with an architectural firm to map out the track and the walkways and then the track builders started to work with improving the ground. Then we decided the spots for the fences. I came to Brazil in December for a month and the final details took two weeks. The layout was the same for the test event in 2015, but all the fences are new because of the different level of difficulty,” he pointed out.

Cross-country day looks set to be a thriller, and it seems it’s going to be a wide-open race for the medals right down to the final day. There is almost nothing between the Germans and French at the head of affairs, and with the British so close to the Australians who are currently in bronze medal spot and Ireland, New Zealand and USA a real threat to any of those ahead of them who might lose their grip there’s no room for error over a course that, the night before they take it on, may well be giving many of the world’s top event riders a restless night’s sleep.

Quotes:

Pippa Funnell (GBR): “I was really, really pleased with his [Billy the Biz] performance; I was thrilled with him. There were a few little bits here and there, but if I’m honest I think I’m being greedy; if I think of where he came from three years ago I’m thrilled.”

Kitty King (GBR): “It was slightly disappointing because he’s capable of a lot better; he did some good work but he just made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. One of his highlights is usually his medium trot, but it’s a massive atmosphere for the horse and he’s only nine. Today wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for but hopefully we’ll pull some back tomorrow.”

Pierre Michelet course designer (FRA), when asked about the Ground Jury’s opinion of his cross-country track: “They said it is fantastic, but they are always polite!”

Nick Turner, Irish Chef d’Equipe, talking about the competitive position of his team after dressage: “We are doing great and now we just need to keep a lid on it. They (the Irish team) just need to keep doing what they’re doing. This result is why these four riders were selected.”

Results after Eventing Dressage, Day 2 here  

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Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping.

The equestrian events in Rio will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Olympic cluster, alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting.

The countries represented in Equestrian in Rio are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

They will compete in:

Jumping: 27 countries, 15 teams, 75 horse/rider combinations
Eventing: 24 countries, 13 teams, 65 horse/rider combinations
Dressage: 25 countries, 11 teams, 60 horse/rider combinations

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

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Anja Krabbe
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Leanne Williams
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