Tag Archives: Koos de Ronde

Marathon Supremos Dominate in Exloo


Bold brilliance from Marathon specialists Michael Brauchle (GER) and Koos de Ronde (NED) has put them in contention for titles in Exloo, while reigning Four-in-Hand Champion Bram Chardon (NED) is in front, but only just.

With the comfort of his sub-40 Dressage score, Bram had an advantage going into the second phase in his bid to remain European Champion.  As one of the first of the serious contenders to race through the eight obstacles, he took efficient routes and played it relatively safe.  With a score of 124.96, which placed him 7th to add to his Dressage of 39.85, the total of 164.48 is marginally ahead of Michael’s 166.21 and Koos’ 169.10, so there will be little margin for error in the Cones.

With Michael and Koos on the course at the same time, they were nip and tuck as to who was posting the fastest times through the obstacles.  Michael led the tally with five to Koos’ three, but after a slightly sticky obstacle seven for Michael, they averaged out closely with the German a slither in front on 115.30 and Koos on 116.19 – enough to raise them to silver and bronze positions.

“I was really happy with my team – my horses did a good job today.  I had one ball in the second obstacle and in number seven I made a small mistake, although I had a good line, but perhaps I put on a bit too much pressure.  But it was no problem in the end.  And as for the water, it wasn’t too deep, which meant that I could go through much faster and get the best time!” said Michael Brauchle.

Dressage leader Mareike Harm (GER) produced a Marathon that was on form, and after the two phases ties for 4th place (172.45) with countryman Georg von Stein, competing as an individual, who pulled out a great round to finish in 5th (123.27).  Glenn Geerts (BEL) put the setback of a disappointing Friday behind him when he stormed through the obstacles and found himself for some time the fastest overall.  Pumping the air as he exited the last obstacle, then pointing to his horses, he ended in 3rd on 119.64 and rose from 21st to 8th on the individual scoreboard with 179.67.

As one of the last of 38 the competitors to set out, Austria’s Daniel Schneiders produced a consistent round, which gave him a 4th place on 121.32 pulled him up to 7th (176.82).  Anna Sandmann, supported like the rest of the German team by Boyd Exell, who is their trainer for the event, dropped three places to 6th (174.19).  Radek Nesvacil (CZE), also trained by Boyd, improved on his 11th after Dressage with a 6th placing (123.53), which puts him just behind Glenn (179.70).

For the team event, the Dutch and Germans have swapped places, 326.66 to 328.01, but it’s a fragile lead as just one ball roll at 3 penalties could change the order.  The pressure will be on for cool, clear rounds on Sunday as the team and individual placings will go down to the wire.  Belgium retains the bronze position on 358.09, comfortably ahead of France on 369.82.

Consistent Para Equestrians

Starting the proceedings on a sunny Saturday morning, the Para Driving World Championship saw individual first places remain unchanged with Grade 1 Tracy Bowman (USA) on 132.23 ahead of Patricia Großerichter on 140.76 (GER).  However, storming rounds from Jodie Mckeone, who has travelled from Victoria, Australia, driving a Dutch Hackney loaned to her by British legend George Bowman, meant she won the Grade 1 Marathon with 81.46 ahead of Tracy’s 85.43 and move up to 3rd going into the Cones.  Both classes drove six of the eight obstacles, missing numbers three and four, and in the Grade 2 section, Dressage leader Alexandra Röder maintained her position with a leading round of 83.95. Aad van Marwijk, competing as an individual for The Netherlands, pulled himself up to 2nd with a great round of 89.31, although Alexandra has quite a margin going into the Cones, sitting on 132.91 ahead of Aad’s 152.59.  In 3rd was one of the home crowd’s favourites, Ingman Veneman (NED), who retained her position after the Dressage and is only just behind Aad on 154.50.

In the Para team event, Germany remains in front on 273.67 with the USA on 292.45.  The British have moved into bronze position on 299.69, with Emily Ham and Mick Ward putting their team into medal contention after confident rounds.

by Sarah Dance


Pendleton Makes Her Show Jumping Debut at Olympia

Speed was the aim of the game on Friday at Olympia, the London International Horse Show. Swapping the racecourse for the show jumping arena, the jockeys in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund had their feet flat to the boards in the battle of the flat versus National Hunt jockeys, with Frankie Dettori’s flat team taking the spoils.

Earlier in the day, The FEI World Cup™ Driving presented by Dodson & Horrell thrilled the crowd with their break-neck turns and the show jumpers also kept up the pace in each of the three international classes.

It was an action packed day, which also saw the Equestrian Team GBR Olympic medal winners parade in front of a delighted audience. The parade included both BBC Sports Personality of the Year contenders Nick Skelton OBE and Sophie Christiansen OBE, ahead of their big night on Sunday.

A typically flamboyant display of riding from Frankie Dettori clinched victory for his team of flat jockeys in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The quintet of flat jockeys (Frankie, Bridget Andrews, Adam Kirby, Jim Crowley and Jamie Spencer) had a point to prove as, two years ago, they were trounced by the National Hunt jockeys at Olympia.

This time though, under stern instruction from 2012 Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash, they flew around the track, performing neat handovers of the baton, and managed to set an unbeatable target.

The jump jockeys, under reigning Olympic champion Nick Skelton’s guidance, suffered a few shaky moments and even a last-ditch headlong gallop from Nick’s son Harry Skelton failed to save the day.

“My lads were fantastic,” said winning trainer Scott Brash afterwards. “They were really tight in their turns. Frankie in particular did a great round.”

“There’s a lot of camaraderie between both codes of racing but this is the icing on the cake,” confirmed Frankie, “and we’ll be dining out on it for a long time! Scott told us to keep it tight, keep it smooth and not cut any corners, and it worked. And it’s all for a good cause. The Injured Jockeys Fund is really important for our sport.”

Champion National Hunt jockey Richard Johnson, Tom Scudamore and Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton, with Sam and Harry, put up a spirited challenge.

For Victoria Pendleton, who was first to go for the jump jockeys, this was the latest sporting challenge in a memorable year that saw her finish a brilliant fifth in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham in March only 12 months after she first sat on a horse.

“That was pretty good!” she said breathlessly afterwards. “I can only go as fast as I can – I’ve never show jumped before. It was fantastic to have the chance to compete at Olympia, but when I was asked, I did say that I couldn’t guarantee I would help the team.”

Steve Guerdat was always going to be dangerous when drawn last to go in the Longines Christmas Cracker at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and so it proved.

Last to go in a five-horse jump-off, the 2012 Olympic champion, a perennial visitor to Olympia, shaved 1.37 seconds off the time achieved by Ireland’s Anthony Condon and Balzac, who took second place.

It was an international line-up with Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro third on U Watch, Malin Baryard-Johnsson fourth for Sweden on H&M Cue Channa, and Bertram Allen fifth for Ireland on the eight-year-old Izzy by Picobello

Steve was aboard his dual FEI World Cup™ finalist Corbinian. “I was quite lucky to be last in the class and therefore last in the jump-off, and so I knew what I had to do,” he said. “I was confident that if I rode well, he would be on my side.”

The Swiss rider will compete Corbinian, a 10-year-old by Cornet Obolensky, in Monday’s Grand Prix class; he rides Bianca in Sunday’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Leg presented by H&M.

Earlier in the day, Olympia regular Laura Kraut got the better of Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca in the Snowman Stakes, snatching the lead with an extraordinarily fast start to the jump-off. “I can’t believe I finally beat him,” said the delighted American rider. “He’s just so fast.”

Lorenzo had romped into the lead on Halifax van het Kluizebos, his winning partner from the previous day’s Longines World Rankings class, the Christmas Pudding Stakes, with just two left to go. But the last rider in the ring, Laura set out to win with the nine-year-old Cavalia and gained time back straight away between the first two fences.

Continuing to claim back time around the track, she came home cleanly with over a second in hand. “I only watched the others go on the screen in the collecting ring,” said Laura. “When I saw Lorenzo go, I decided then it had to be all-or-nothing to win.”

From final draw in the opening class of the day, The Snowflake Stakes, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny denied long-time leader Malin Baryard-Johnsson a win. Riding Fixdesign Funke van’t Heike, the Olympia first-timer pinched half a second back from the Swedish rider’s posted time on H&M Second Chance.

“Malin has a very nice horse, but my horse is a little bit more experienced, which enabled me to push and beat the time,” said Darragh, who splits his time between the USA and Europe.  “I have usually already left to go to America for the winter,” said Darragh. “But my owners, sponsors and National Federation very kindly agreed to let me to come here.

“It’s a show I have always wanted to complete at and it is just amazing. It certainly is the best indoor show.”

The warm-up round of the FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell produced a tight and tense competition that had its share of drama. In the final result, it was last to go, Koos de Ronde, from the Netherlands who went over the line first to claim victory by less than 0.3 seconds.

First to go, GB’s representative and the least experienced driver in this event, Daniel Naprous, head of the riding and driving stunt team, The Devil’s Horsemen, posted a competitive round with just one five-penalty knockdown. Next to go, driving on a wild card, was Australia’s Boyd Exell – six-time FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion – who drove with his usual skill and dash. However, taking a short line through the second obstacle to get to the finish, he clipped a couple of elements to pick up ten penalties. So fast was his round that he remained in contention.

Hungarian driver, Jozsef Dobrovitz Snr, who was second to Exell in last night’s Extreme Driving competition, drove surely and fast again to take the lead. His son, Jozsef Dobrovitz Jnr, followed by Theo Timmerman from The Netherlands and Germany’s Georg von Stein, all collected knockdown penalties that dropped them down the order.

Knowing that if he drove clear he would win, de Ronde still put up a fast pace through both obstacles and the elements between them. It proved a good policy – a late five-point penalty still allowed him to cross the line by just 0.22 penalties ahead of Dobrovitz Snr. Exell was third.

“It was a tense moment going into the arena,” acknowledged de Ronde, World Cup Champion in 2013. “I took a slightly longer route through the obstacles to try to go clear but I kept up the pace. It paid off – just!”

The placings determine the order of competition for the Final. All drivers will start from a zero score, however, making for a competition that will again thrill the packed crowd at Olympia.

Other highlights included Charlotte Harding claiming the Kennel Club Small Dog Agility Final title, with his four-legged partner AG CH Daimonic Expelliarmus. The Olympia Senior Showing Series Championships, sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance Brokers, was a highlight for Kerrilee Wilson Smith and her family whose delightful grey cob Silver Maddigan won the ridden section; the former ridden pony Hampton Scandal, handled by Liam Keetley, won the in-hand classification.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
0203 176 0355

Superb Start for Koos de Ronde in Budapest

Koos de Ronde (FEI/Krisztina Hajdu)

Budapest (HUN), 4 December 2016 – Dutch four-in-hand driver Koos de Ronde experienced a superb start of his FEI World Cup™ Driving season in Budapest. The bronze medallist of the World Championships in Breda set the fastest times in the third leg of this season’s series and won the competition with seven seconds advantage to home driver József Dobrovitz and Belgium’s Edouard Simonet.

After one year of absence, the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg in Budapest joined the series again, much to the joy of the Hungarian driving fans, who attended the exciting competition in the Lászlo Papp arena. This year, the programme existed of a show of the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, followed by the FEI World Cup™ Driving class. The spectators were treated to a great competition where the six drivers battled it out in the course, laid out by Hungarian top course designer Gábor Fintha.

Koos de Ronde had an advantage of six seconds going into the second round, which took place over the same course. Despite the heavy footing, his experienced team of mixed bay horses went even faster and was eight seconds faster than József Dobrovitz in the end: “This is the best thing about the sport. Dobrovitz drove a very good round and I had to try to top this. I knew that if I had one knock down, I could lose my advantage, so I really went for it!” De Ronde’s plan is to pick up World Cup points as well in London Olympia and try some new wheeler horses in Mechelen (BEL) where he will compete with a wild card.

József Dobrovitz, who lives around the corner from Budapest in Vecsés, used two new horses in his team, but this didn’t keep him from driving some excellent clear rounds: “I used a new horse in the right lead which I’ve only had for four days, and has never been to a competition before,” laughed Dobrovitz. “And also a new horse in the right wheel, but this one has been in a pair before.” The member of the silver team in Breda went even faster in the second round and put some extra pressure on De Ronde: “I wanted to go faster, but I also needed to keep concentrating, especially with these two new horses. It worked out very well for me and I am very pleased that I have taken the decision to use them.”

Edouard Simonet’s tactics were to improve as much as he could, compared to the first competition, and he succeeded very well. In the first round, he drove very nice and fast, staying close to the obstacles. A wider turn going into the last phase of the competition didn’t prevent him from qualifying for the second round. After he knocked the first cone down, two other balls fell in the second marathon obstacle, dropping him to third place: “I tried to go a bit faster in the second round. I really went for it. But the horses were more tired and they felt less even.”

József Dobrovitz jr. drove clear, but was just a few seconds too slow to qualify for the second round. He finished in fourth place, followed by Rainer Duen (GER), who had one knock down. Wild card driver Miklos Juhász finished in sixth place.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Geneva will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on Sunday, 11 December at 13.00 hrs. CET (local time in Switzerland, GMT+1 hour).

For information on Geneva, go to www.chi-geneve.ch or contact Press Officer Corinne Druey, druey@syntagme-lausanne.ch, +41 21 312 82 22.

For more information on FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Cindy Timmer

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

At Budapest:
Ezster Kovács
+36 70 366 6494

Koos de Ronde Takes the Lead in the FEI World Cup Driving Final in Bordeaux

Koos de Ronde (NED) drove the only clear round of the evening and took the lead in the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Bordeaux. Photo: FEI/Eric Knoll.

Bordeaux (FRA), 7 February 2016 – In a very exciting competition where the tension was shown on the faces of the seven drivers, Koos de Ronde (NED) put down the very best performance of the evening when producing the only clear round at the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Bordeaux (FRA) last night. The Dutchman goes into today’s second and final competition closely followed by his compatriot IJsbrand Chardon while defending FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) lies third.

Selective course

Swedish Course Designer Dan Henriksson laid out a quite technical course in the Bordeaux Exhibition Centre, which was filled with thousands of spectators, despite the late timing of the class which started 15 minutes before midnight.

The challenging course selected the top three after this first competition.

Although every driver did his very best, the first four starters made too many mistakes and the differences between them and Koos de Ronde were significant, so a top-three placing is nearly out of reach for them. Both Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) and European Champion Michael Brauchle (GER) came close to the times of the top three drivers, but they both had knockdowns.

Same team

De Ronde used the same team set up as in Mechelen where he finished second. “It was a very difficult course; we had to work very hard. But my team went very well and I am very pleased, although the race is definitely not run yet. We really nearly start from zero again on Sunday since the differences between me, Chardon and Exell are so little. I know that they will improve in the Final! I will be the last driver in on Sunday afternoon, and it can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. If Boyd and IJsbrand both make mistakes, I will be more relaxed. But if they both go clear I really have to go for it,” he said.

De Ronde, however, knows that his horses can go even faster at some points in the course.

Fastest time

IJsbrand Chardon beat de Ronde’s time in this first competition by 4.56 seconds, which is very promising for the Final. The four-time World Champion, however, made a mistake on the third obstacle, when his Lipizzaner horses wanted to turn left but he needed to go right: “This was a miscommunication,” Chardon explained. “It is a pity that this happened, but this does not affect the super feeling I had with my team. I knew I could not win today and that was not my goal either. My intention was to make no stupid mistakes and to stay in the race. The competition is completely open now and the three of us are really on the same level at the moment, so anything can happen,” he added.

Room for improvement

Having won five out of the seven qualifying Legs, Boyd Exell was the last man in the arena on Saturday night and all eyes were set on the six-time FEI World Cup™ Driving champion. He started off well, but despite playing safe in the marathon type obstacles, he had one unfortunate knock down when one of his wheeler horses hit an element. “I wasn’t quite as quick as I should have been,” Exell said. “But I am happy, my horses were good, they had plenty of power. For the Final, I know three places in the course where I can improve, so this should be enough. I am ready for the two rounds on Sunday!” he pointed out ominously.

In the Final in Bordeaux, 50% of the score differential between each driver and Koos de Ronde will be carried forward by that driver into the competition this afternoon. This means that Chardon will start with 0.22 seconds behind his name, while Exell will have to catch up 0.48 seconds only. All drivers will enter the arena of Jumping International de Bordeaux today at 13.25 hrs.

The top three drivers will qualify for the Winning Round, which takes place immediately following the first round, over an altered course.

Official results

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Bordeaux will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on Sunday 7 February.

For information on Bordeaux, go to www.jumping-bordeaux.com or contact Press Officer Pascal Renauldon, p.renauldon@rbpresse.com, +33 608759407.

For more information on the FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Cindy Timmer

FEI Media Contacts:
Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Koos de Ronde Flies to Victory in Leipzig

The Netherlands’ Koos de Ronde and his four-in-hand on their way to victory in the last FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier of the 2014/15 season (Karl Heinz Frieler/FEI).

Leipzig (GER), 18 January 2015 – Koos de Ronde (NED) flew to victory in the super exciting winning round of the last FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier of the 2014/15 season held in Leipzig (GER) over the weekend. His compatriot IJsbrand Chardon was the last in the arena and was well on his way to victory when his carriage tipped over in the last part of the course which resulted in immediate elimination. Wildcard driver Boyd Exell (AUS) had one knockdown and finished in second place.

FEI level 4 Course Designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf (GER) had laid out a challenging course for the seven drivers taking part in today’s event combining technical parts with fast lines. “I am well aware that Sweden’s Dan Henriksson, who has been appointed as Course Designer for the Final in Bordeaux, is known for his fast courses and prepared a really technical course here at Leipzig,” Asendorf explained.

Change of horse

Koos de Ronde’s experienced leader horse Kasper was not fit to compete this morning and the Dutch driver decided to replace him by the equally skillful Palero. De Ronde kept the reins short and drove with power which resulted in a very fast and clear first round. The winner of the qualifiers in Budapest (HUN) and Mechelen (BEL) went for it in the Winning Round, which took place over a shortened course. He set a fast time again and crossed the finish line recording a single knockdown.

The outcome of the competition was in the hands of his fellow countryman, last starter IJsbrand Chardon.


IJsbrand Chardon knew before the start of the competition that he had nothing to lose and decided to use his new trump Aladin in the lead of his team. Chardon had already used the piebald gelding in the first competitions at previous FEI World Cup™ Driving events but never when competing for the precious World Cup points. The nine-year-old gelding set Chardon’s team on fire and took three seconds off de Ronde’s time in the first round, securing their leading position with a clear round. The four-time World Champion entered the arena for the Winning Round, knowing he had a comfortable eight-second advantage. Chardon flew through the course again and was on his way to victory when his carriage tipped over in the last phase of the course. The team was eliminated and no one was injured in the incident.

Driver’s mistakes

Boyd Exell had two unusual knockdowns in the first round and was first to start in the Winning Round. The five-time World Champion set a very fast time, but another knockdown gave De Ronde additional space and made the Australian finish in second place.

Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich drove a clear round, taking his team of three Swiss-bred horses and one Lipizzaner to fourth place.

New left side

József Dobrovitz (HUN) used two new horses in his four-in-hand, the left leader and the left wheeler horses having never competed in an FEI World Cup™ Driving event before. The Hungarian felt that the left leader horse he had used on home ground in Budapest and in Geneva (SUI) was not of the necessary standard. The driver replaced this horse by the young and fast Lipizzaner Pandur. The left wheeler horse was also a new Lipizzaner named Platon. It was the first time for the 11-year-old Pandur as a leader horse in a big competition, Dobrovitz only having started using him in his four-in-hand two weeks ago. Dobrovitz was very concentrated in the first half of the course but lost speed in the second half. One knockdown prevented him from qualifying for the Winning Round.


One of Georg von Stein’s fast Lipizzaner horses, with which he finished third in Mechelen, was injured and the German driver replaced him by the experienced Fax, which he had lent to his compatriot Christoph Sandmann for the World Cup season. Second wildcard driver Von Stein finished in sixth place, ahead of the reigning European Champion Theo Timmerman (NED).

Family affair

Carriage driving is a family sport; this was proven once again by IJsbrand Chardon and József Dobrovitz.

Chardon’s eldest daughter Jeannette, an international Eventing rider herself, was navigating for her father, while his son Bram, double world pony four-in-hand champion, was his back stepper.

Dobrovitz’s son József, a very successful international pony and horse four-in-hand driver, acted as his navigator. His nephew Krisztóf Osztertag, who is also very successful on the international circuit with his horse pair, was his back stepper.


Koos de Ronde (NED): “I won in 2013 in Leipzig. Back then it had been the last competition before the Final too which I won! I hope this victory brings me good luck for the Final this year as well. I won because IJsbrand tipped over and, of course this is not the best way to win but the feeling was very good today. This gives me a good feeling for the Final.”

Boyd Exell (AUS): “I made two mistakes in the first round which was a little disappointing, but I am happy with my horses. I had a very good feeling. My team is good and I am not worried about the Final.”

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I had a super feeling; I drove for a 10 and I did not make any mistakes. I knew that I was on my way to victory. It is a pity that I turned over, but it had nothing to do with the course. This could have happened anywhere. The most important thing for me was that I had a very good feeling, also towards the Final.”

Results in detail can be viewed here.

The 2014/2015 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to the Final in Bordeaux (FRA) on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 February 2015.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Bordeaux will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on 8 February at 12.00 CET.

For information on Bordeaux, go to www.jumping-bordeaux.com or contact Press Officer Pascal Renauldon, p.renauldon@rbpresse.com, +33 608759407.

By Cindy Timmer

Media contact:

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

At Leipzig:
Andreas Kerstan
+49 4307 82 79 70

Fabulous Victory for Koos de Ronde in Mechelen

Koos de Ronde (NED) on his way to his fifth victory in Mechelen. (Photo Dirk Caremans/FEI).

Mechelen (BEL), 31 December 2014 – Koos de Ronde produced an excellent performance late on Monday evening to win the FEI World Cup™ Driving at the Nekkerhal in Mechelen, Belgium for the fifth time in his career. Sweden’s Fredrik Persson drove with enormous skill to finish second ahead of Germany’s Georg von Stein whose team is finally coming together. Top favourite, Boyd Exell from Australia, knocked four balls down to line up in sixth place.

Fantastic atmosphere
De Ronde was the last man to compete in the Winning Round, in which the Top Three drivers started from scratch for the first time. He felt the pressure after Fredrik Persson had driven a clear round to beat De Ronde’s time of the first round by two seconds. The team gold medallist of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy decided to go for it and drove at full risk. He knew exactly where he was able to make up some time and drove his team fast, fluently and faultlessly through the course, cheered by the many enthusiastic spectators in Mechelen who created a fantastic atmosphere.

De Ronde, who also topped the line-up at the Belgian fixture in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, finished four seconds faster than Persson. He started with a wild card, and therefore did not earn World Cup points, but with one more leg to go in Leipzig, he is lying fifth in the standings and it seems very likely that he will be amongst the Top Six drivers for the Final.

Top three plan
Another brilliant round was put down by Fredrik Persson. The driving teacher at the National Equestrian school in Flyinge, Sweden grew in the competition with his team of older horses who worked together in perfect harmony. After some hiccups on the first day, and one ball in the first round, Persson took full advantage of the new system and put the pressure on De Ronde by driving a fast and clear Winning Round, which took place over the same course.

Perssons’s goal was a place in the top three in Mechelen to secure his starting ticket for the Final in Bordeaux, and his plan worked. Because de Ronde was competing on a wild card, Persson picked up ten points and is now lying second in the standings.

Happy man in Mechelen
Georg von Stein was a very happy man in Mechelen. He was second to go in the first round and drove clear but not very fast. He had not expected to qualify for the Winning Round, but after his compatriot, Christoph Sandmann, had one knock-down, Theo Timmerman (NED) collected two faults and Boyd Exell left the arena with an uncharacteristic 20 penalty seconds, Von Stein was back in the game.

His four-in-hand with two new leader horses, which he has been driving since the start of this season, did a great job and Georg could drive them at high speed through the course. The experience they gained at the previous competitions is paying off. Unfortunately Georg made one mistake himself and one horse hit a ball, which resulted in third place. Georg was nevertheless a very happy man in Mechelen.

Five-time FEI World Cup Driving™ champion, Boyd Exell, who has been busy moving his horses and his home to Valkenswaard in the Netherlands in the past days, was unable to focus as he normally would and finished sixth in Mechelen after knocking down four balls.

World Cup debut
It was the first time that Dutch international Level 4 Course Designer Jeroen Houterman designed the course in Mechelen and the drivers were all very pleased with his track, which included several cones gates, a bridge and three marathon-type obstacles.

After the first day, some small changes were made to make the course even more fluent and this worked very well. The course was nice to watch for the spectators. Houterman himself was happy as well: “I will always keep learning; there are always small things to improve, but I am very pleased.”

New format
The new format in which the Top Three drivers start from scratch in the Winning Round was a huge success. This option was introduced into the FEI World Cup™ Driving rules this year and it was the first time that an organiser made use of it. It offered an equal opportunity for all three drivers, which resulted in a very exciting competition that was much appreciated by the fantastic crowd in Mechelen.

Koos de Ronde (NED): “I decided to go for it and drove at full risk. Everything came together and it was fantastic. This is the best way to win, being the last man in and then drive clear! The good feeling I had with this team in Budapest was back again after my somewhat disappointing results in London Olympia, and I am ready for the Final now!’

Fredrik Persson (SWE): “I was second to go in and I knew that Georg had two knockdowns. I wanted to go for it, but I wanted to drive clean as well. The feeling of my horses was so good, they developed throughout the competition. They went so much easier than on the first day. I am so happy with them and with the team of people that are with me; it make me feel very confident.”

Georg von Stein (GER): “My two new leader horses have really proven themselves in Mechelen. They have showed that they have a lot of quality in them, they are so fast. I am so pleased with my results in Mechelen; I don’t actually care that I won’t be in the Final. My horses gave me much satisfaction and next season they will be even better!”

Results in detail can be viewed here.

The 2014/2015 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to Leipzig (GER) on Sunday, 18 January 2015.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Leipzig will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on 18 January at 12.05 CET.

For information on Leipzig, go to www.partner-pferd.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, andreas.kerstan@comtainment.de, +49 4307 827970.

By Cindy Timmer

Media contact:

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

At Mechelen:
Edith de Reys
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Sensational Start of Season for Koos de Ronde (NED)

Koos De Ronde (NED) won his first qualifier of the FEI World Cup™ Driving 2014/15 season held at Budapest (HUN) today. Photo: Krisztina Hadju/FEI.

Budapest (HUN), 30 November 2014 – Dutch driver Koos de Ronde won his first FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier of the season in Budapest (HUN) today. Thanks to his wonderful fast and clear round, De Ronde put fellow countryman IJsbrand Chardon, who was just under two seconds ahead of him, under pressure. Chardon recorded the fastest time in the Laszlo Papp Arena, but had two knockdowns and finished second, ahead of home driver József Dobrovitz.

New team

De Ronde started in Budapest for the first time with his new four-in-hand and put his foot down straight away. The FEI World Cup™ Driving 2013 champion used to drive his father’s team of piebald geldings but as the horses were getting older, he attempted to gradually renew his four-in-hand during the previous seasons. De Ronde was not pleased with the changes and at the end of last season he decided to go for a completely new team of indoor horses. His leader horses Joep and Kasper were previously part of fellow Dutch driver Theo Timmerman’s indoor team. The new wheeler Sarasko was formerly owned by US driver Misdee Wrigley-Miller who used him in her horse pair. His other wheeler Celina has been part of De Ronde’s indoor team since 2013.

De Ronde’s team went through the course built by Hungarian world championship course designer Gábor Fintha in a confident way. The course proved challenging and turned out to be more difficult than it had initially appeared. It included technical parts along with fast lines and mistakes were made in different places. The spectacular fireworks that went off as the drivers crossed the bridge gave an extra dimension to the competition.

The member of the gold-winning Dutch team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy had one knockdown in the first round, but kept clear in the very fast Winning Round which took place over a shortened course. This is the first time that Koos de Ronde has won the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Budapest.

Risky business

IJsbrand Chardon was last to go in the Winning Round and used one different wheeler horse in comparison to last week’s competition in Stuttgart (GER). Chardon knew that De Ronde had driven a fast and clear round and that he only held a 1.82-second advantage over his teammate. Unfortunately, the lack of experience of his wheeler horse caused one knockdown at the start of the course. Chardon decided to take more risks and went even faster. A second ball fell which caused him to drop to second place.

Home driver

For József Dobrovitz Budapest is always a very special show as he lives only 20 km away in Vecsés, where he organises a four-star international outdoor driving event each year. In Stuttgart he felt his horses were too strong, so he changed one leader horse and one wheeler horse. His left leader Kinzhal is an Orlov trotter, which he also uses outdoors in the marathon and cones. His other leader Alex was previously owned by Jozsef Bozsik (HUN) and has been at Dobrovitz’s horse farm since April. Dobrovitz performed two good rounds in front of his home crowd, but a knockdown in each round prevented him from winning. Dobrovitz, whose father Dobrovitz Sr was honoured in the arena in Budapest for his 75th birthday and his contribution to the carriage driving sport, finished in third place.


German driver Georg von Stein was pleased with his fourth place. The reigning national champion competed on home ground in Stuttgart with a wildcard where he finished in fifth place. His team, with two Lipizzaner geldings in the lead, remained unchanged and led him to fourth place in Budapest today.

Wildcard driver József Dobrovitz Jr used two new horses in his team and realised how difficult it was to take part in indoor competitions with an inexperienced team. ‘Joci’ was nevertheless pleased with his wild card and with his fifth place.

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 marathon winner Christoph Sandmann (GER) changed one leader horse after the first competition in Budapest, but lacked the necessary speed for a high placing and finished sixth.

Second wildcard driver, Dobrovitz’s cousin Márk Ozstertág (HUN), completed the family’s dominance in Budapest and finished seventh. Mark and his brother Krisztóf, who was navigating for his uncle József Dobrovitz, both drove a six-in-hand during an impressive demonstration alongside Dobrovitz and Dobrovitz Jr.


Koos de Ronde (NED): “It takes some time to get the settings right for my new team. I made changes to the bits of my leader horses and they were fantastic in the arena. I knew that I could not afford a bad placing because I only have three competitions, so I did a steady first round and went for it in the second round. I also realise that you sometimes also need a bit of luck. It is a big thrill to make it to the Winning Round and I am very happy that I won.”

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I liked the course a lot; Fintha is the best course designer in my opinion. I always compete to win and if you want to win, you sometimes have to take risks. I had the same split times as Koos and my team is very fast in the obstacles, but when the first ball fell I had to take more risks and this did not turn out well for me.”

József Dobrovitz (HUN): “My wheeler horses are both very experienced. The feeling on the first night was much better than in Stuttgart; I could turn them any way I wanted. For this team, it doesn’t matter if the course is technical or fast; they do well in both. I did not have a specific tactics for the World Cup competition; I just tried to drive fast and clear. Unfortunately I made a mistake but I am nevertheless happy with my third place.”

The complete results are available here.

The 2014/2015 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to Stockholm (SWE) tonight, Sunday, 30 November.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Stockholm will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, at 20.25 CET (local time in Sweden, GMT+1 hour).

For information on Stockholm, go to http://www.swedenhorseshow.se/english/news/ or contact Press Officer Lotta Amnestal, Lotta.Amnestal@ridsport.se, + 46 709 79 56 35.

By Cindy Timmer

Media contact:

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

At Budapest:
Csaba Peterfi
+36 203479443

Flying Start for Koos de Ronde at FEI World Cup Driving Seasonal Opener in Hannover

Koos de Ronde, reigning FEI World Cup Driving champion, got the new season off to a flying start with a win at Hannover. (Photo: Rinaldo de Craen/FEI)

Hannover (GER), 20 October 2013 – Koos de Ronde (NED), the reigning FEI World Cup Driving champion, won the first leg of the new season at Hannover (GER). The Flying Dutchman got off to a brilliant start and stayed ahead of his strongest challengers, Boyd Exell (AUS) and IJsbrand Chardon (NED).

The season opener in the Hannover Messe came down to an exciting battle between the three top drivers, and even at this early stage, they pushed each other to the maximum giving promise of an exciting season ahead.

Boyd Exell set the fastest time in the Winning Round, but unexpectedly had a knock down. Second starter IJsbrand Chardon used a new leader in his team to increase his speed and drove a clear round, but was slightly slower than Exell.

Last man in Koos de Ronde knew he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and kept his head clear. The tension grew amongst the many enthusiastic spectators in Hannover as De Ronde drove at top speed through the much-praised course, designed by German O-course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf. The crowd cheered as never before when De Ronde, who also drove a new leader horse in his four-in-hand, was crowned the winner after a clear round.

New leader horses

Koos de Ronde was very successful last season with his experienced leader horses Night and Charley, but trained with the coloured Tommy and the chestnut Palero, one of the spare horses of his outdoor team. In the training, the team went much better than with the previous leaders and De Ronde decided to take the risk, which resulted in a super performance at Hannover.

IJsbrand Chardon put a new Lipizzaner gelding to the test in his four-in-hand. The nine-year-old Feles, which also comes from the Dobrovitz family like the rest of Chardon’s indoor team, was used as right leader horse.

Expensive ball

Boyd Exell used a different wheeler horse, Clinton Star, for this first competition and although Boyd set the fastest time in the Winning Round, the unexpected knock down denied him victory in Hannover.

Coloured team

Koos de Ronde’s team is certainly colourful, with two piebalds, a chestnut and a bay horse, but Michael Brauchle’s (GER) team was even more colourful. The metal worker used a grey, a chestnut, a black and a bay horse in his four-in-hand. The grey Eclair was previously owned and used by Daniel Würgler (SUI) who has now retired from Driving. The 13-year-old chestnut gelding Armageddon only arrived at Brauchle’s stables two weeks ago and served as left leader. It was the gelding’s first time as leader horse. The bay Jamaika and the black Rapa Nui are part of Brauchle’s outdoor team. Despite their inexperience, Brauchle drove this team of horses to fourth place.

No luck

Theo Timmerman (NED) was out of luck in Hannover this weekend. During the first competition on Saturday evening he wasn’t able to drive at full speed because one of his pole straps had become loose. In the FEI World Cup Driving competition on Sunday he took the wrong rein at gate B in obstacle one, which cost him precious seconds, and he eventually ended up in fifth.

Wild card

Daniel Schneiders (GER) received a wild card from the organising committee. The 32-year-old farrier drove his team to sixth place. Schneiders used the big “ponies” Cabus and Costa in the lead. Cabus was part of Schneider’s team when he drove a pony team, while Costa was used by his brother Dennis in single harness. Both horses are part of Schneiders’ outdoor team.


Koos de Ronde (NED): “Hannover just had it all. It is a great show with great spectators and a great course. The level of the course for the first competition is extremely high. It is going to be an exciting season. I used two new leader horses compared to last year and this season I will try to take horses who are in the best shape at that moment.”

Boyd Exell (AUS): “The team felt really good and I was surprised that we had a ball down. But it is good to know that this is still the fastest team in the world. With Clinton Star in the wheel, it created a new team feeling.”

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I had a very good feeling in the first round with my new leader horse. In the Winning Round, the control was a little more difficult and I noticed that Feles lacked concentration. But he just needs to learn and I am pleased with him; he will for sure stay in my team. The sport has won in Hannover. It was a fantastic competition with a great course, a big compliment to the course designer. If I had to give the course design a number, it would be a 10.”

For the results in detail, please click here: Official results

The 2013/2014 FEI World Cup Driving series now moves on to Verona, Italy on Friday, 8 November. For information on the next leg, go to www.fieracavalli.it/en or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, email c.vagnozzi@gmail.com, mobile +39 335 610 7070.

By Cindy Timmer

Media Contacts:

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 133

At Hannover:

Andreas Kerstan
+49 4307 827 970

Koos de Ronde Is Crowned FEI World Cup Driving Champion 2013 in a Thrilling Finale

Koos de Ronde, the FEI World Cup Driving champion 2013, on his way to victory in the series’ Final in Bordeaux last night. (Photo: Rinaldo de Craen/FEI)

Bordeaux (FRA), 10 February 2013 – Flying Dutchman Koos de Ronde drove two impeccable clear rounds in the thrilling final competition of the FEI World Cup Driving Final in the fully packed arena in Bordeaux (FRA) last night to become the series’ new champion. After four years as the FEI World Cup Driving champion, the Australian driver’s dominance has come to an end. He finished second, ahead of IJsbrand Chardon (NED) in third.

Demanding and fast course
The Final on Saturday night was very exciting and the suspense lasted until the very end. International O-course designer Gábor Fintha (HUN) had laid out a very demanding and fast course, which was great to watch for the spectators. It included a technical obstacle and a speed obstacle, inviting the drivers to go fast but to remain careful. It was Fintha’s first FEI World Cup Driving Final as a course designer and he was very proud of the opportunity to design a course for the world’s best drivers.

The drivers had carried forward 50% of the score differential in seconds between them and the winner in the first competition Boyd Exell which resulted in a tight line-up.

Continue reading Koos de Ronde Is Crowned FEI World Cup Driving Champion 2013 in a Thrilling Finale

Koos de Ronde (NED) Shines in FEI World Cup Driving Thriller in Leipzig

Koos de Ronde won the FEI World Cup Driving qualifier in Leipzig and secured a starting ticket for the series’ Final (Photo: Rinaldo de Craen/FEI)

Leipzig (GER), 20 January 2013 – Koos de Ronde (NED) was the star of the ultimate FEI World Cup Driving qualifier held in Leipzig (GER) this weekend. Today’s victory was De Ronde’s only chance to secure a ticket for the Final in Bordeaux (FRA). The suspense was on until the very last moment in the fully packed Leipziger Messe arena. De Ronde came out the winner, József Dobrovitz (HUN) finished second in this thrilling competition, ahead of Tomas Eriksson (SWE) in third.

Eight FEI World Cup drivers

FEI Official course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf (GER) had laid out a very horse-friendly course, which was well appreciated by all eight drivers. The organising committee had invited FEI World Cup drivers Christoph Sandmann (GER), Georg von Stein (GER) and IJsbrand Chardon (NED) to compete with wild cards, so eight out of the season’s ten FEI World Cup drivers were present in Leipzig. The only absentees were Boyd Exell (AUS), who is enjoying some time off in his home country, and Theo Timmerman (NED).

Continue reading Koos de Ronde (NED) Shines in FEI World Cup Driving Thriller in Leipzig