Tag Archives: Olympia

Tickets Go on Sale for Olympia, the London International Horse Show 2014

Photo credit Kit Houghton/HPower.

Tickets for Olympia, The London International Horse Show 2014 go on sale on Thursday 8 May at 9am. The week long equine extravaganza will take place in the iconic West London venue from Tuesday 16 to Monday 22 December 2014.

While the mention of Christmas in May might draw groans from folk still picking pine needles out of their carpets and finding cracker toys down the back of the sofa, among equestrian fans it means just one thing: tickets for Olympia must be going on sale!

Last year, London’s premier horse show saw a record breaking number of visitors when over 95,000 flocked through the doors to watch the elite competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage and Driving and unique entertainment that always makes Olympia so magical. With 2013 ticket sales up 6% on the previous year, organisers are urging those planning to attend Olympia in 2014 to book early to avoid disappointment.

Living up to its reputation as one of Europe’s premier indoor equestrian events, Olympia 2014 will once again host three FEI World Cups™ in Driving, Dressage and Show Jumping. The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage leg takes place on 16 and 17 December, the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg on 19 and 20 December and the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping leg presented by H&M on 21 December.

In addition to the FEI World Cups™, Olympia will feature a mix of top class equestrian competition – including the famous Altech Christmas Puissance on the Thursday evening performance – international equestrian displays (to be announced), an outstanding shopping village, the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, the Kennel Club Dog Agility and an amazing selection of bars and restaurants.

A special addition to this year’s line-up will be a competition ‘Jockeys v. Jumpers’ which pitches professional Jockeys against professional Show Jumpers in association with this year’s Show Charity, The Injured Jockeys Fund.

And when spectators aren’t watching the horses, there’s plenty of celebrities and Royalty to be spotted. Last year HRH Duchess of Cornwall, Denise Lewis, England Rugby legends Ben Cohen and Phil Vickery, Deborah Meaden, Martin Clunes and Rory Bremner were among the record crowds attending the event.

Tickets start at £24.50 each with discounts for groups, children and concessions applying for certain performances. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact Jo Peck jopeck@hpower.co.uk, (0)1753 847900, or Hannah Grissell hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk, (0)207 592 1207.

Olympia, London International Horse Show takes place on 16-22 December 2014 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, West Kensington London. The show will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts over 95,000 visitors. It is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Dressage with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as the Kennel Club Dog Agility. The show’s official charity for 2014 is The Injured Jockeys Fund.

Record Breaking Year at Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro do a lap of honour after breaking the world record in the freestyle.

9 January 2014 – A record number of visitors attended the world’s best equine Christmas party last month, Olympia, the London International Horse Show, which took place from 16 to 22 December 2013.

A total of 95,276 spectators flocked to London’s premier horse show in the famous West London venue to watch the equine extravaganza. Ticket sales were up 6% from 2012 and the additional Gala night on Monday 16 December bought an extra 6,000 people. Well known faces in attendance included HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Denise Lewis, England Rugby legends Ben Cohen and Phil Vickery, Deborah Meaden, Martin Clunes and Rory Bremner.

Highlights included FEI World Cups in three different disciplines, Dressage, Show Jumping and Driving, the thrilling Alltech Christmas Puissance won by Italian rider Luca Moneta, and a breath-taking world record breaking Dressage performance by British superstars Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.

The unique entertainment that always makes Olympia so magical, such as the Shetland Pony Grand National, the Kennel Club Dog Agility, the Services Jumping Championship, the vast shopping village and not forgetting the Christmas Finale, were all back again. However, the icing on the cake undoubtedly came from Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art whose outstanding displays of horsemanship mesmerised spectators.  It was the first time that the stunning pure bred Andalusian horses from Jerez de la Frontera, south-west Spain have performed in the UK for over 40 years.

Dujardin breaks world record

The show started with a bang as sensational Dressage duo Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro smashed the world record score in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound on the Tuesday evening performance. Spectators can claim to have experienced one of those spine tingling ‘I was there’ moments when the Olympic gold medallists performed to their famous ‘Great Escape’ music for the last time and accumulated a staggering score of 93.975%. The score beat the former world record of 92.3% set by Edward Gal and Totilas, also at Olympia, in 2009.

Charlotte, who now holds the world record for all three Grand Prix tests, said: “I can’t believe it – I am over the moon and just ecstatic. I really wanted to come here and see if I could break the record to this music and at Olympia. It has been such an incredible journey with Valegro – I have achieved so much more than I ever imagined.”

Winners Luca Moneta & Quovo de Vains clear the 7 ft. 2 in. Puissance wall
Winners Luca Moneta & Quovo de Vains clear the 7 ft. 2 in. Puissance wall

Christmas Puissance

Italian rider Luca Moneta won the hearts of a packed house on Thursday evening when he cleared 7ft 2in to win the thrilling Alltech Christmas Puissance. The competition went to five rounds with only Guy Williams (GBR), on Richi Rich lll, and Luca on the gallant nine-year-old mare Quovo de Vains making it through to the final round. Guy’s grey mare just brushed a brick with his knee, leaving Luca to take the gamble. Unbelievably, it was Luca’s first ever Puissance win.

The evergreen John Whitaker, 58, who has won this epic class more times than any other rider, was cheered to the rafters for finishing third on Zantos. Laura Renwick was fourth on the appropriately named Roller Coaster.

Crowds thrilled by Extreme Carriage Driving

IJsbrand Chardon steers to victory in the Extreme Driving FEI World Cup
IJsbrand Chardon steers to victory in the Extreme Driving FEI World Cup

The Extreme Driving FEI World Cup Leg on Friday evening was won by long-standing champion driver IJsbrand Chardon from The Netherlands. In a tense final round, Chardon beat compatriot Koos de Ronde in an outstanding display of speed, accuracy and boldness. The shock result came from World No. 1 Boyd Exell (AUS) who left an impossible margin to catch up after collecting two knock downs. Britain’s Georgina Hunt, the first ever woman to be granted a wild card at a qualifier, put in a terrific show to finish seventh.

President of the ground jury, Klaus Peppersack, said: “The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I have been to all the qualifying events and would have to say that I have never experienced an atmosphere like it. It is quite the best audience in the world.”

Longines FEI World Cup

A packed house on the Saturday afternoon was treated to a thrilling 11-horse jump-off in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier presented by H & M, which built to the dream finish from Maikel Van der Vleuten (NED) – the very last rider into the arena pulling off victory. Riding VDL Groep Sapphire B, Maikel beat Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr on Polinska des Isles by the tiny margin of 5/100th of a second. The 25-year-old also made history at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when he matched his father Eric’s achievement of winning this prestigious competition in 2009.

Maikel Van der Vleuten (NED) clears the London 2012 Bus to claim victory in the Longines FEI World Cup Leg
Maikel Van der Vleuten (NED) clears the London 2012 Bus to claim victory in the Longines FEI World Cup Leg

Scott Brash (Hello Ursula Xll, 6th), Michael Whitaker (Viking, 7th) and Peter Charles (Murka’s Odie de Frevent, 10th) kept home hopes alive by making it into the jump-off but they all faulted.

Young riders celebrated

It was a fairy tale win in the Under 23 British Championship sponsored by Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme for young promising rider Jess Dimmock. Jess missed last year’s Olympia because her horse Capello II had to undergo colic surgery. However, he made a full recovery and came back to Olympia this year to help Jess land what is regarded as the most prestigious competition for young riders in the world.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, again enjoying her annual visit to Olympia on Thursday evening, presented the prestigious Raymond Brooks-Ward trophy, which is given in memory of the late commentator and show director by his three sons, Simon, James and Nick, to the most promising young rider of the year. This year’s recipient was show jumper Louise Saywell, 23, a member of the Lottery-funded World Class Development squad, who was a last-minute call-up to the British team at the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in September.

Brits save the best until last

It was a one-two for Great Britain in the final big class of the week, the Olympia Grand Prix, when Ben Maher narrowly beat his 58-year-old compatriot John Whitaker.

Riding his London 2012 hero, Tripple X III, Ben rattled the second fence in the nail biting jump off, but the World No. 2 kept his cool. John then produced his gallant effort, but a tiny check in front of the penultimate fence cost him a fraction of a second and first place in one of the few competitions he has yet to win.

After winning the class, Maher said: “I heard the crowd gasp but, if anything, that helped me. There’s huge prize money all over the world but you can’t beat history and all the people cheering. I’d rather win the Grand Prix at Olympia than anywhere else in the world.”

The H & M Leading Rider of Show accolade went to another popular Brit, Laura Renwick, whose consistency meant she beat Peder Fredricson (SWE) by four points to the award. Jur Vrieling (NED) was third, William Funnell (GBR) fourth, Italy’s Luca Moneta fifth and the talented young Dutchman, Maikel Van der Vleuten, winner of the Christmas Masters as well as the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping, was sixth.

Renwick, Britain’s leading lady rider, summed up the week: “This is right up there with anything else I’ve done. This is the showcase for the year for British riders and so to win this leading rider prize is a great thing for my CV!”

Results:
For a full list of all the results from Olympia 2013, please click here.

Media Enquiries:
For more information please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Ben Maher Proves He Still Has the X-Factor

Olympia, London, 22 December 2013 – Ben Maher saved the best until last at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, when winning the last big class of the week, the Olympia Grand Prix, with a classic display of calm horsemanship on his own and Quainton Stud’s home-bred stallion Tripple X lll.

In a stirring climax to a week of great competition, the world number two narrowly overhauled his 58-year-old compatriot John Whitaker, who had the audience on the edge of their seats with his vintage display of bold riding on Argento.

Penelope Leprevost of France, third on Flora de Mariposa, set the early standard with a beautifully judged clear in the 12-horse jump-off but, to the home crowd’s delight, Ben beat her by nearly a second.

John then produced his gallant effort, but a tiny check in front of the penultimate fence cost him a fraction of a second and first place in one of the few competitions he has yet to win.

Until this evening, only two senior British riders had won classes, William Funnell and Laura Renwick, who finished the show as H&M Leading Rider, and Ben was the first to admit that it hadn’t been one of his finest weeks – the day before, Tripple X hit two fences in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier.

“Actually, the horse was jumping well and I felt he was on form – it was me that needed to calm down,” confessed Ben. “I have been struggling all week, making mistakes I don’t normally make, so I went Christmas shopping and changed my plan.”

The magnificent stallion Tripple X rattled the second fence in the jump-off, but Ben kept his head. “I heard the crowd gasp but, if anything, that helped me. There’s huge prize-money all over the world but you can’t beat history and all the people cheering. I’d rather win the Grand Prix at Olympia than anywhere else in the world.”

Amazingly, Ben is the first British rider to win the Olympia Grand Prix since Robert Smith in 2005, so to have a British one-two was doubly encouraging and greeted with rapturous applause by the packed house.

“I’m excited about this horse,” said the sporting runner-up John Whitaker. “He’s improving all the time and was bang on today.”

And, although British riders certainly did not have it all their own way this week at Olympia, the H&M Leading Rider of Show accolade went to another popular Brit, Laura Renwick, whose consistency meant she beat Peder Fredricson (SWE) by four points to win the award.

Jur Vrieling (NED) was third, William Funnell (GBR) fourth, Italy’s Luca Moneta fifth and the talented young Dutchman, Maikel Van der Vleuten, winner of the Christmas Masters as well as the Longines FEI World Cup, was sixth.

Thus ended a fantastic week at Olympia in which eight of 11 performances were a sell-out – a new record.

Laura Renwick, Britain’s leading lady, summed up the week: “This is right up there with anything else I’ve done. This is the showcase for the year for British riders and so to win this leading rider prize is a great thing for my CV!”

Audio Links

Scott Brash – The World Number 1 reflects on his week at Olympia Horse Show
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Scott_Brash.mp3

Laura Renwick – The British rider crowned H&M leading rider of the show
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Laura_Renwick.mp3

Ben Maher – The British rider wins the final International class of the show, the Grand Prix.
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Ben_MaherSUN.mp3

Final Placings

For details of the final placings in the Olympia Grand Prix, please click HERE.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

Van der Vleuten Victorious in Thrilling Longines Leg at Olympia

The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten moved up to third place on the Western European League leaderboard when winning today’s thrilling Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2013/2014 qualifier at Olympia, London (GBR) with VDL Groep Sapphire B.  Photo: FEI/Trevor Meeks.

Olympia, London (GBR) 21 December 2013 – Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten followed in his father’s footsteps when winning this afternoon’s thrilling Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League 2013/2014 qualifier at Olympia in London.  The hugely popular British fixture is always filled with Christmas cheer, and with host nation riders on an all-time high at the moment there were great expectations of home-side success.  But the spectators still exploded with delight when the 25-year-old from The Netherlands left the rest in his wake with a fabulous last-to-go run from VDL Groep Sapphire B in the 11-horse jump-off, to clinch maximum points and move up to third place on the league table.

Runner-up was Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr with the mare Polinska des Isles from the Team Harmony string of FEI President, Princess Haya, while 23-year-old Daniel Neilson really put his name up in lights when best of the British contenders in third place with Varo M.  Penelope Leprevost steered Nice Stephanie into fourth for France ahead of German veteran, Lars Nieberg, in fifth with Leonie W.  And Longines No. 1 rider, Scott Brash, finished sixth ahead of fellow-Briton Michael Whitaker in a class that kept the audience on the edges of their seats right to the very end.

Maikel van der Vleuten’s father, Eric, won this same competition at Olympia four years ago riding Tomboy, so, for his son, today’s victory was all the more pleasing.  “For me it’s always been a dream to win a World Cup competition and this is my first win so I’m very happy for me and my horse.  I wasn’t here when my father won in 2009 but I saw it on television and we were so excited!” said the rider who was a member of the silver-medal-winning Dutch team at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Unerring attention

The 36-strong start-list was a star-studded affair, but course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral from Portugal presented a test that demanded unerring attention from the very best of them.  It was rapid-fire from beginning to end, with fences coming up in quick succession, and many jumped brilliantly only to kick out the planks four fences from home which proved a bit of a bogey on the day.

Key to a good round was the ability to maintain a rhythm and remain balanced while constantly changing direction, and the first clear came from the second of the German contingent, Max Kuhner, who steered the handsome 10-year-old gelding Clintop to a super-smooth tour of the 13-fence course.

The triple combination also proved influential, particularly for those a little onward-bound after the previous triple bar, while the oxer at fence nine hit the dirt on numerous occasions when the bending line and distance from the London Bus wall at eight didn’t come up right.

Replicated

Kuhner led the way against the clock, and his mistake at the penultimate vertical, formerly the first obstacle on the track, would be replicated by many others including London 2012 team gold medallist Peter Charles from Great Britain with Murka’s Odie de Frevent who was next to go.

Germany’s Lars Nieberg produced the first clear in 38.57 when fourth into the ring with Leonie W and was still out in front when Switzerland’s Beat Mandli and Louis hit the second-last and Austria’s Stefan Eder and Chilli van Dijk NRW collected eight faults.

It was Daniel Neilson who reset the target with a great round from the 11-year-old gelding Varo M. This is a young man who spent much of his teenage years in a boxing ring and who always comes out fighting.  Setting off at a cracking pace, he broke the beam in 37.19 seconds to go out in front, but his advantage was short-lived as Francois Mathy Jr and Polinska des Isles immediately squeezed him out when .07 seconds faster.

Until now the riders had all chosen to take the longer route, around the oxer at fence five which was the second fence on the new track, on the approach to the tricky penultimate vertical but Britain’s Michael Whitaker and Viking shaved full seconds off the target when jumping the previous vertical at an incredible angle.  However the top pole rolled for four faults in 35.29 leaving Mathy still out in front.

All but unbeatable

Longines No. 1 rider, Britain’s Scott Brash, has been all but unbeatable of late, but, third-last to go, he had to settle for a minor placing this time out when Ursula Xll hit the vertical second-last.  And although Penelope Leprevost and her lovely nine-year-old mare Nice Stephanie left the fences intact, the French pair’s chance to overtake the leader was hampered by a slip in front of the vertical three fences from the end of the course. Their time of 37.39 seconds would still be good enough for fourth place in the final analysis however.

Now only van der Vleuten stood between Mathy and those valuable maximum points, and the Dutchman didn’t crumble under pressure.  He has a long-established relationship with his 14-year-old grey mare who has her own unique style of jumping, and they looked comfortably confident as they set off together on a really determined run which brought them through the timers in 37.07 seconds – just .05 seconds quicker than the Belgian.

The winning rider punched the air with delight when he registered his result.  He described Sapphire B as “a naturally fast horse; you never have to overdo things with her; you never ride on a waiting distance; it’s always forward.  She tries every time to jump the fences clear!” he said with a big smile.

Sapphire B was competed by a friend until the horse was seven years old.  “She has always been careful and has a very good mind; just the scope didn’t look that good when she was six or seven.  Then she came to me and I started slowly in 1.35m and 1.40m classes and she kept developing the right way.  She has developed into a super horse,” van der Vleuten said.

Consistent performer

Runner-up, Francois Mathy Jr, was delighted with Princess Haya’s 10-year-old mare who has been a consistent performer this year.  “She jumped amazing and I’m really happy!” We’ve had a super season, going really well all year in Nations Cups and Grand Prix classes and showing good form in the World Cups.  I went to the US to do some there as well” explained the man who picked up qualifying points at both Lexington, USA and Toronto, Canada last month.  Today’s result has moved him into seventh spot in the Western European League and he now has the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final at Lyon, France next April in his sights. “I’ve never been to a World Cup Final and my short-term goal is to get to Lyon” he said today.  Less than ten points more will see him comfortably through, so he plans to compete at the next leg in Mechelen, Belgium on 30 December.  “I was second there last year, and I will give her (Polinska des Isles) some time off later in January,” he explained.

Third-placed Neilson was a real crowd-pleaser today and looks like a young man set for major stardom.  The son of a potash miner, he played semi-professional football in Scotland and boxed for his county before opting to devote the majority of his time to horses. “I have a good team of new horses now at my new base and I said at the start of the year that I was hoping to qualify to jump here (at Olympia). I always made a plan to aim the horse at this class for the week but I try not to have too many expectations.  I had a good feeling when I walked the course – fingers crossed and hoped for the best and he jumped super!” Neilson said.

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, described the Olympia fixture as “one of the crown jewels in the Longines FEI World Cup series.”

Maikel van der Vleuten’s delightful grey mare, VDL Groep Sapphire B, is also something of a jewel. And today she really sparkled.

For more information on the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Western European League 2013/2014 series at Stuttgart, Germany, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Jo Peck, Email JoPeck@hpower.co.uk, Tel +44 1753 847 900.

The next leg will take place at Mechelen, Belgium on Monday 30 December. For all information on the Belgian fixture, go to www.jumping-mechelen.com or contact Press Officer Edith de Reys, Email edith.dereys@skynet.be Tel +32 475 659 281.

Full result here.

Full standings here.

Facts and Figures:

36 horse-and-rider combinations started in today’s fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2013/2014 Western European League series.

Today’s winning rider, 25-year-old Maikel van der Vleuten from The Netherlands, was following in the footsteps of his father, Eric van der Vleuten, who won the FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier at Olympia, London in 2009 riding Tomboy.

Course designer today was Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cabral.

Competitors from 15 nations – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, USA.

5 of the top six horses were mares.

Runner-up, Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr, competed the 10-year-old mare Polinska des Isles which is part of the FEI President, Princess Haya’s, Team Harmony string.

Top British finisher was 23-year-old Daniel Neilson with Varo M who slotted into third place.

11 qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

5 horse-and-rider combinations jumped double-clear.

Longines No. 1 rider, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, now heads the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2013/2014 Western European League table after finishing sixth in today’s qualifying round.

Brash has overtaken Olympic champion Steve Guerdat from Switzerland ahead of the next leg which will take place in Mechelen, Belgium on Monday 30 December 2013.

Quotes:

Winning rider Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), talking about the jump-off: “It was all a bit of a rush. There was only three minutes break before it started and I was second-last to go in the first round!  I thought about doing the same turn as Michael Whitaker did, but then didn’t take the risk.  I’m very proud of this (win)!”

Maikel van der Vleuten: “I won’t go to Mechelen; I will give the horses a three or four week rest and then start again in Basel.”

Daniel Neilson GBR talking about the experience of competing today: “It was unbelievable; there’s no better! Olympia – there’s not a crowd like it; when you come into the arena and they’re all cheering it makes the hairs on your neck stand up!  Great Britain has world number 1 and 2 (Scott Brash and Ben Maher) and it’s great for young riders like myself to see them. It makes you want to achieve what they’re doing!”

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche – “Congratulations to the top three… and to Simon Brooks-Ward and his team, and a special word of thanks from the FEI to H&M, and of course to Longines, without whom all this would not have been possible.”

Bernardo Costa Cabral, course designer – “I’m quite pleased with that course; every horse could cope with it. It’s all about details, a little short, little wide, faults were spread all over the course. I aimed for 10 clears and I got 11, it was amazing. The time wasn’t too long, that keeps a little pressure on the riders to keep pushing on the turn to the last line, and that’s why the planks went down. It’s always great for us when the last one in wins!”

Audio Links:

Daniel Neilson GB 3rd
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Neilson.MP3

Francois Mathy Jr Belgium 2nd
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Mathy.MP3

Maikel Van Der Vleuten, Winner Dutch audio
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/VDL_dutch.MP3

Maikel Van Der Vleuten Winner English Audio
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/VDL.MP3

FEI TV: don’t miss a hoofbeat – www.feitv.org.

Longines Live Timing Jumping application: available free for download from The App Store (iPhone) & Android Markets. Combining precision and performance, this is a detailed and exclusive application designed especially for Jumping fans – follow live results, see latest Longines Rankings, view competition schedules, obtain exclusive information and alerts on your favorite riders and get all the latest FEI news.

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://fei.org/fei/your-role/media/biographies.

Longines has been based at Saint-Imier (SUI) since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. It has generations of experience as the official timekeeper at world championships and as a partner of international sports federations.

Longines’ passion for equestrian sports began in 1878, when it produced a chronograph engraved with a jockey and its mount. Over the years, the brand has built strong and long-lasting links with equestrian sports. In 1912, Longines was proud to partner with its first Jumping event, the Grande Concurso Hippico Internacional, in Portugal.

Today, Longines’ involvement in equestrianism includes Jumping, Endurance and flat racing.

Longines is a member of The Swatch Group S.A., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. With an excellent reputation for creating refined timepieces, the brand, whose emblem is the winged hourglass, has outlets in over 130 countries.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Olympia, London:

Jo Peck
Email: JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
Tel: +44 1753 847 900

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

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

At Longines:

Longines International Public Relations
publicrelations@longines.com

Chardon Is in the Driving Seat

Olympia, London 20 December 2013 – The Netherlands’ long-standing champion driver, IJsbrand Chardon, linked speed, accuracy and boldness in an outstanding display of driving skill to win the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Olympia is the only show in the world to host three FEI World Cup qualifiers: dressage, carriage-driving and, tomorrow, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup qualifier. This is the seventh of nine driving legs, with a final in Bordeaux in February.

In a tense final round, Chardon beat his compatriot Koos de Ronde and new German sensation Michael Brauchle, who dropped from second to third place in the final run-off. Britain’s Georgina Hunt, the first woman ever to be granted a wild card at a qualifier, put up a terrific show to finish seventh.

A shock result was the omission from the top three of world number one Boyd Exell, who was left an impossible margin to catch up after collecting two knock-downs.

Drivers and officials were unanimous in their praise for the organisation at Olympia. “The spectators are very close to us and their enthusiasm and support was amazing,” Chardon remarked. “The noise was deafening.”

Klaus Peppersack, president of the ground jury, said, “The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I have been to all the qualifying events and would have to say that I have never experienced an atmosphere like it. It is quite the best audience in the world.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Laura Renwick raised the Olympia roof when she became the first senior British rider to win a jumping class this week.

Riding David Perry’s brilliant Oz de Breve, Laura won the Earls Court Olympia Christmas Cracker by just 0.23sec from the flying Swede Peder Fredericson on yesterday’s speed class winner H & M Sibon. Peder is now H & M Leading Rider of the show.

Laura was drawn at exactly halfway down the 32-strong class and put up an immaculate round, meeting the final line of fences to perfection. “Oz is small and agile but he also has a big stride and covers the ground well, which is why he won,” explained Laura, who will ride the French-bred 11-year-old in tomorrow’s Longines FEI World Cup qualifier.

“I’ve had a few ups and downs this year and so to win here at Olympia has put me on a real high. I didn’t go into the arena thinking I’d win, but we met every fence on the right stride and I found myself where I wanted to be all the way round. It was very smooth.”

The honour of taking the first British win of the week went to young rider Jess Dimmock, who had the thrill of a lifetime when triumphing in the Under 23 British Championships, sponsored by Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme.

This class at Olympia is probably the most prestigious competition for young riders in the world – previous winners include the current world number one, Scott Brash. “If I can follow in even half of Scott’s footsteps it will be fantastic,” said Jess.

Riding her own Capella ll, Jess was first to go in the five-horse jump-off and produced a steady clear, which proved good enough to win. Scarlett Ward, who was carrying forward one time fault from the previous round, also went clear to finish second on Milena 8. Jessica Mendoza was third on Spirit T with one fence down.

Jess missed last year’s Olympia because Capella had to have colic surgery. “He is my horse of a lifetime and he nearly died last year, so for him to come back and win is a fairytale,” said Jess, who is trained by Tim Stockdale. “This means everything to me.”

Audio Links

IJsbrand Chardon (NED) http://www.olympiahorseshow.com/wp-content/uploads/chardon.mp3

Laura Renwick (GBR) http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Renwick.MP3

Final Placings

For details of the final placings in the Extreme Driving FEI World Cup, please click HERE.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

Maikel Pulls Off a Gem of a Win at Olympia

Olympia, London 21 December 2013 – Maikel Van der Vleuten made history at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when he matched his father Eric’s achievement in 2009 by winning the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier presented by H & M.

The packed house was treated to a thrilling 11-horse jump-off which built to the dream finish – the very last rider into the arena pulling off victory. Riding VDL Groep Sapphire B for The Netherlands, Maikel beat Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr on Polinska des Isles by the tiny margin of 5/100th of a second.

Britain’s Daniel Neilson, riding in Olympia’s international classes for the first time, produced an inspired performance on Varo M to take third place.

Penelope Leprevost (FRA) on Nice Stephanie and Lars Nieberg (GER) on Leonie W also produced double clears to finish fourth and fifth.

Scott Brash (Hello Ursula Xll, sixth), Michael Whitaker (Viking, seventh) and Peter Charles (Murka’s Odie de Frevent, 10th) kept home hopes alive by making it into the jump-off but they all faulted.

An enthralled audience had their hearts in their mouths as Michael made an audacious switch-back turn to the fifth fence, a move which gave him the fastest time of all, but the gallant Viking unfortunately hit the upright black-and-white Longines FEI World Cup fence.

It was a first Longines FEI World Cup win for Maikel, the fifth Dutch winner since 1979, and he and Eric are the first father-son combination to win this class at Olympia, described by the FEI’s World Cup Director John Roche as “one of the jewels in our crown”.

“It’s a super atmosphere here, a beautiful place to win,” he said afterwards. “Everything happened very fast in the class and I relied on my Dutch colleagues to tell me what to do in the jump-off.”

Of his 14-year-old grey mare by Mr Blue, he commented: “She is always brave yet careful. She keeps developing in the right way and she always wants to do a clear round.”

Daniel Neilson, 23, is one of Britain’s brightest young prospects and is now running his own business in Brentwood, Essex. “Riding at Olympia is something you aim for at the start of your year,” he said. “There isn’t a crowd like it anywhere else in the world.

“British show jumping is on a high and it’s great for young riders like myself as it makes you push forward. I had a good feeling when I walked the course here, as my horse is naturally fast and also very careful. I have saved him especially for it.”

Portuguese course-designer Bernardo Costa Cabral pronounced himself a happy man. “I am very pleased,” he said. “It was all about detail, and there was pressure on riders to make the time on that final turn which is why the planks [fence 11] was so influential.”

The Longines FEI World Cup series moves on to Mechelen (BEL) with Britain’s Scott Brash still heading the Western League rankings and Maikel Van der Vleuten now in third place at this halfway mark.
Audio Links

Please find a copyright free audio link with:

Maikel Van der Vleuten (NED) – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/VDL.MP3

and in Dutch – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/VDL_dutch.MP3

Final Placings

For details of the final placings in the Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier, please click: http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/857/docs/WC_J_London.pdf.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

IJsbrand Chardon Flies to Victory in London Olympia

IJsbrand Chardon (NED) was in flying form in the electrifying atmosphere of London Olympia (GBR) to win the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup Driving season 2013/2014. (Rinaldo de Craen/FEI)

London Olympia (GBR), 20 December 2013 – IJsbrand Chardon (NED) put down an excellent performance in the electrifying atmosphere of London Olympia (GBR) to win the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup Driving season 2013/2014. Reigning FEI World Cup Champion Koos de Ronde (NED) finished second ahead of the youngest competitor in the field, Germany’s Michael Brauchle.

Dutch World Championship course designer Johan Jacobs built the course in the massive arena in Geneva (SUI) last week and was faced with the challenge of laying out a good course for the drivers in the much tighter but atmospheric arena at Olympia. The course was the perfect combination of technical and fast elements and was easy to follow for the spectators. In a new feature, the action was also shown on the giant screen above the arena, with the letter of the marathon obstacles lighting up as the drivers passed the gates, adding to the excitement amongst the knowledgeable crowds in the packed stands.

IJsbrand Chardon put the pressure on himself by knocking a ball off the first obstacle in the first round. Knowing his opponents Michael Brauchle and Boyd Exell were still to come; Chardon let off the handbrake and put down a really fast time to secure his place in the Winning Round. Brauchle also qualified for the Winning Round, which put the pressure on Exell. The four-time FEI World Cup Champion knocked two balls down in the first marathon obstacle and really had to up the speed, but more though he took a very risky shortcut to the last obstacle, the earlier mistakes dropped him to fifth and out of the Winning Round.

The youngest competitor in the field, 23-year-old Michael Brauchle, has improved at every outing. He used his outdoor marathon mare Jamaika in the lead of his team together with the grey gelding Eclair. Brauchle put these two horses together for the first time in Stockholm three weeks ago. Unfortunately he knocked three balls down, but he was still pleased with third and a place in the Winning Round. Brauchle is currently in fifth place in the standings with one more competition to go in Leipzig (GER) from 17-19 January, after which the six finalists will be announced.

Koos de Ronde had to leave two of his most experienced indoor horses at home because of minor injuries and was driving an alternate team at Olympia. Whilst warming up for the FEI World Cup competition, de Ronde decided to make a last-minute change of horses. He put Palero, who was in the lead of his team when he won in Hannover, in the wheel, a position he had never been in before. His left leader horse Charley caused some excitement when he jumped over the traces in the first marathon obstacle, but luckily immediately jumped back again, preventing de Ronde from getting extra penalty seconds. The Dutchman gave everything he had and set the second fastest time in the Winning Round for the runner-up spot. He is now certain to defend his title at the FEI World Cup Driving Final in Bordeaux (FRA) from 8-10 February 2014.

IJsbrand Chardon drove the same team of Lipizzaner horses he won with in Budapest and came second in Geneva. After de Ronde had two mistakes and Brauchle three mistakes in the Winning Round, Chardon had a nine-second advantage. But rather than slowing down and driving safe, IJsbrand treated the enthusiastic crowd to a fabulous round, beating de Ronde’s time by just 0.19 seconds. One knockdown wasn’t enough to keep the four-time World Champion from his second victory of the season.

European Champion Theo Timmerman (NED) finished fourth, ahead of Boyd Exell, who competed with a wild card. Daniel Schneiders (GER) didn’t have the necessary speed in his team and came sixth. Second wild card driver Georgina Hunt (GBR) drove her outdoor team nice and smoothly through the obstacles. Several British four-in-hand drivers competed in three indoor driving events to qualify for the prestigious FEI World Cup Driving competition at Olympia, and Hunt was thrilled to be able to compete at Olympia and was very pleased with her horses, with which she hopes to qualify for the FEI World Cup Driving in the near future.

Quotes:
IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I really enjoyed competing at Olympia. I won the test event here in 2011 and the spectators and atmosphere are just perfect. I am of course pleased that I have won, but I would have liked it even better to have won it when Boyd had made it to the Winning Round.”

Koos de Ronde (NED): “During the warm up, one of my horses turned out to be not fit so I decided last minute to bring another horse in. I just went for it and I am very pleased that it worked out well for me.”

Michael Brauchle (GER): “My outdoor leader horse Jamaika helps me for 90%; she is really good. She has a great heart and the will to work. In the Winning Round my other lead horse got a bit too strong which resulted in three balls falling. They just need more fine-tuning.”

Audio: IJsbrand Chardon (NED) talks about his FEI World Cup Driving win at London Olympia here.

Results in detail can be viewed here.

The 2013/2014 FEI World Cup Driving series now moves on to Mechelen (BEL) on Monday 30 December.

For information on the next leg, go to www.jumping-mechelen.com or contact Press Officer Edith de Reys, edith.dereys@skynet.be, +32 475 659 281.

For more information on FEI World Cup Driving, please check the FEI website and the series’ comprehensive press kit.

By Cindy Timmer

Media Contacts:

FEI:
Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33

At London Olympia:
Jo Peck
jopeck@hpower.co.uk
+ 44 1753 847 900

It’s an Italian Job as Luca Leaps Puissance Wall at Olympia

Olympia, London 19 December 2013 – Italian rider Luca Moneta won the hearts of a packed house at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, when he cleared 7ft 2in in a thrilling Alltech Christmas Puissance.

Unbelievably, it was Luca’s first puissance win, but he is having a fantastic visit to London as he is currently H & M Leading Rider of Show.

The competition went to five rounds with only Guy Williams, on Richi Rich lll, and Luca on the gallant nine-year-old mare Quovo de Vains making it through to the final round.

Guy’s grey mare just brushed a brick with his knee, leaving Luca to take the gamble. He admitted afterwards that he had been apprehensive, but was encouraged by the audience. “The crowd here are real horsemen; they make you feel as if they are riding with you,” he said.

“I’m really emotional. The mare wasn’t just jumping with her body, but with her heart. What made me really happy is that she led me to the fence. She really wanted to do it.”

The evergreen John Whitaker, 58, who has won this epic class more times than any other rider, was cheered to the rafters for finishing third on Zantos. Laura Renwick was fourth on the appropriately named Roller Coaster.

The Duchess of Cornwall, again enjoying her annual visit to Olympia, presented the prestigious Raymond Brooks-Ward trophy, which is given in memory of the late commentator and show director by his three sons, Simon, James and Nick, to the most promising young rider of the year.

This year’s recipient was showjumper Louise Saywell, 23, a member of the Lottery-funded World Class Development squad, who was a last-minute call-up to the British team at the FEI Nations Cup final in Barcelona in September.

Olympia first-timer Jur Vrieling from the Netherlands made the most of his horse VDL Babalu’s fast pace to win the Kingsland Christmas Stakes, a speed class.

“I’d not seen [eventual runner-up] Pius Schwizer’s round, but I did see Harrie Smolders go,” said Jur. “My horse is not as good as making tight turns as Harrie’s, so I made the most of jumping off his good gallop.”

Jur, a team silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games with VDL Bubalu, joked about how this city must be lucky for him.

“I hope I get to come back here again, particularly to this show,” he said. “When you arrive, everything looks beautiful. But when the crowd turns up it is something amazing. They stand right behind you and make you want to win.”

Anticipation of a first British winner is now running high at Olympia. The afternoon jumping class, the Snowman Stakes, sponsored by Shelley Ashman International, was won by Sweden’s Peder Fredericson on H & M Siborn, who beat Luca Moneta on Connery by nearly two seconds.
Audio Link
Luca Maria Moneta (ITA) – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Moneta.MP3

Final Placings
For details of the final placings in the Alltech Christmas Puissance, please click: http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/857/sta_erg/11_ergENG.htm?style=longines.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show will be televised throughout the week on BBC Online, the BBC Red Button and Eurosport. Live coverage of the Longines FEI World Cup presented by H&M will be broadcast on BBC 1 between 13:45 and 16:30 on Saturday 21 December 2013.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

Dujardin and Valegro Smash Freestyle World Record to Win Reem Acra Leg in London

New York fashion designer and sponsor, Reem Acra, with Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, who broke the Freestyle world record with their winning performance at Olympia. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

London (GBR), 17 December 2013 – New York fashion designer, Reem Acra, was one of many to watch in awe as Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro smashed the Freestyle world record with a breath-taking winning performance at the London International Horse Show in Olympia tonight.  The result provides the 28-year-old rider and her mighty steed with the full set of world records for the sport of Dressage.

Double-gold medallists on home turf at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the combination has not been seen in public since adding the European individual title to their stunning list of achievements at Herning in Denmark this summer.  But their legions of fans were well-rewarded for the wait, as the dynamic duo marched resolutely to make it not just a British win in front of their home crowd at the much-loved Christmas fixture, but another watershed moment in the story of this most remarkable partnership.

Beirut-born Reem Acra chose the right night to make an appearance at one of the qualifiers she has been sponsoring for the last four years.  In another pivotal moment for the sport, Dujardin pinned the man who previously held the Freestyle record, Edward Gal, into runner-up spot.  It was also at Olympia that the Dutchman and the fabulous black stallion, Totilas, set the target at 92.30 back in December 2009, and tonight Gal produced a really strong test with Glock’s Undercover for a mark of 87.425 to finish almost seven percentage points clear of impressive young Dutch cohort Danielle Heijkoop who slotted Kingsley Siro into third.  Britain’s Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi finished fourth, while The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Romanov recovered from an uncharacteristically bad day in yesterday’s Grand Prix to finish fifth ahead of Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and the veteran Digby in sixth.

It was a glittering evening from start to finish, and, as Dujardin said tonight, the end result was “the best Christmas present!”

In her sights

After winning yesterday’s Grand Prix in which she finished more than four points clear of Gal and his black gelding, Dujardin admitted that she had the Freestyle record in her sights. “That’s the one I’ve got left to break, but whether I’ll do it here, obviously that’s what I want to do, but you know it just all depends on the night really and how it goes.”  As it happened, the night went just fine.

The golden pair followed Gal and Undercover into the atmospheric cauldron of Olympia’s Grand Hall, and you could hear a pin drop as the triumphal musical score created for their sensational Olympic appearance began to play.  Dujardin and Valegro needed to exceed Gal’s target score with Undercover whose self-discipline and self-belief seems to be growing with every outing.  The 12-year-old horse demonstrated some fabulous work with rock-solid piaffe and flowing canter to really throw down the gauntlet to the reigning Olympic individual champions, but nothing could throw that pair off their stride.  Quite often they have won despite major blunders, including yesterday’s error as they began their canterwork.  But tonight there would be no mistake.  “I had the ride of my life!” said Dujardin afterwards. “I thought at the Europeans, he gave me such a great feeling. I tried to recreate that without any blips, and that’s what I got!” she added.

Early target

It was Hans Peter Minderhoud who set the early target when third to go.  Although Glock’s Romanov looked ready to explode if he got the opportunity, his rider turned all that energy into pure performance for a mark of 77.675, therefore making massive amends for the exceptionally poor 13th finishing spot in yesterday’s Grand Prix.  And he was still out in front until Dutch counterpart Heijkoop posted 80.625 for a wonderful test with Kingsley Siro.  The 28-year-old rider who was a member of this summer’s gold medal winning team at the ECCO FEI European Championships is blessed with a quiet seat and a soft hand which allows her to keep her horse perfectly in balance, and the 14-year-old gelding breezed through wonderful extended canter, passage and piaffe to pull well ahead of the rest with just four more to go.

Next were Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and her great servant, the 16-year-old Digby who was retired from team competition this summer and who is now only making special guest appearances. But the Donnerhall gelding has clearly lost none of his lust for work as he registered a very creditable 76.900.  It was Gal however who put paid to Heijkoop’s dominance, only to be immediately displaced at the top of the leaderboard by Dujardin and her dancing horse. The power, the presence, the symmetry between horse and rider and the synchronicity with the musical score worked so perfectly.

Fellow-Briton Michael Eilberg ended the evening with a lovely test from the charming grey mare Half Moon Delphi for his score of 78.700 which would place him fourth, but it was golden girl Dujardin and her 11-year-old gelding Valegro who would take all the limelight as the 8,000-strong crowd gave them a standing ovation.

All I wanted to do

Talking afterwards, Dujardin said, “You all know I came here thinking about breaking the world record; that’s what I wanted to do, but thinking it and doing it is something else. To think I have that world record, in fact all three now, is fantastic… and to do it on home ground and in front of the supporters is incredible,” she pointed out.

She expressed her appreciation to friend, trainer and mentor Carl Hester who finished eleventh of the fifteen starters tonight with Fine Time.  “Thanks to Carl and for all those days of screaming at me! And thanks to everyone that has made this happen. I couldn’t do it without them,” she said, adding, “And thanks to Carl and Roly (co-owner of Valegro) who allow me to ride such a great horse!”  Talking about her winning score, Dujardin said, “I wasn’t sure how high it was going to be, but when I finished that left pirouette that went wrong at the Europeans, then I could breathe. What a ride!”

Hester meanwhile reflected on the development of his pupil and the extraordinary Valegro and on their record-breaking win tonight. “I was clever enough to give the ride to the right person rather than trying to do it myself. It was a privilege to see. It’s important for us older riders to see the sport develop. Roly (Luard) bought him (Valegro) for me, and I had to say let’s try and develop a partnership with Charlotte.  It is very exciting to see new people come in, and inspirational to young riders to see how quickly someone with talent and with a truly exceptional horse can go and win gold medals and break world records. We all love that story. I’m very, very, very proud of her,” said the 66-time British national dressage champion.

Poignant moment

Before the hectic prize-giving ceremony there was a poignant moment for Dujardin’s London 2012 silver medal winning team-mate Laura Tomlinson who officially retired her great horse Mistral Hojris, more popularly known as Alf.  Tomlinson and Alf were instrumental in Britain’s steady ascent in the world of international Dressage in recent years, and the 28-year-old rider said tonight, “I want to celebrate all he’s given me and the sport.  Alf is leaving British Dressage in very safe hands.”  She admitted that tonight’s performance by Dujardin and Valegro left her “speechless”, and she wasn’t the only one to be staggered by pair who now hold the full hat-trick of records – for Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle – tightly in their grasp.

Gal wasn’t too surprised that his Freestyle record, set in the very same arena four years ago, has now been broken. “Valegro is an amazing horse and Charlotte is a very good rider; I like them both. I always knew that someday it will happen,” he said.

For further information on the fourth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2013/2014 Western European League series at Olympia, London, go to www.olympiahorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Jo Peck, Email JoPeck@hpower.co.uk, Tel +44 1753 847 900.

The next leg will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on Saturday 25 January 2014.  For all information on the Dutch leg of the series, go to www.jumpingamsterdam.nl or contact Press Officer Charlotte Gunnink, Email media@jumpingamsterdam.nl, Tel: +31 205445720, Mobile +31 6383 25326.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

Olympic double-gold medallists and reigning European individual champions, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro from Great Britain, broke the world record for Grand Prix Freestyle when posting the winning score of 93.975 at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League qualifier at Olympia, London tonight.

The previous record of 92.3 was set by The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Totilas at Olympia in 2009.

The London International Horse Show at Olympia presented the fourth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2013/2014 series.

New York fashion designer, Reem Acra, is in her fourth year of sponsorship of the FEI World Cup Dressage series, and the Beirut-born designer to the stars attended tonight’s event.

Riders from seven nations – Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands – competed in today’s Grand Prix Freestyle to Music.

Dujardin and Valegro also won yesterday’s Grand Prix with a score of 84.851.

The Ground Jury for tonight’s competition was: At H, Susan Baarup DEN; At C, Andrew Gardner GBR; At M, Isabel Judet FRA; At E, Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode NED; At B, Isobel Wessels GBR.

Quotes:

Charlotte Dujardin, when asked if she was affected by the intensity of the atmosphere and close proximity of the spectators:  “I can shut all that out, just focus on what I have to do. I don’t see anything around me, don’t hear anything. We were definitely loved up!”

FEI Dressage Director, Trond Asmyr: “It was just fantastic to be here on a night like this. There was no real discussion who would win after the rides; it was fantastic. As far as the development of British dressage is concerned, I’ve been following it for over 15 years now and it’s no surprise you are at the level you are – developing every year, consistent and thorough work and you are at the pinnacle of it!”

Andrew Gardner (judge at C): “I can remember the days when I finished (marking) a test and gave a 9 or two 9s – I can’t tell you how many 10s I gave today. I lost count; it was top class, really fantastic sport!”

Roly Luard, co-owner of Valegro, talking to Charlotte Dujardin at the post-competition press conference: “Myself and Carl are so proud of you and the horse and everything you’ve achieved; it’s just amazing!”

British rider Laura Tomlinson talking about the official retirement of her Olympic and European team gold medal winning ride, Mistral Hojris (stable-name Alf) tonight: “It was very emotional for me retiring Alf in front of a crowd like that; to think my days of training Alf is over.”

Edward Gal: “Last year I had (a score of) 74, now 87, so for the WEG maybe we will get 96!”

Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2013/2014 Western European League – Standings after Round 4 at Olympia, London here: http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/857/docs/WCDRE_04.pdf.

WATCH IT ALL AGAIN!  The full world record breaking performance of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro will be available soon on FEI TV and as highlights on FEI YouTube channel.

Audio Links:

New York fashion designer and series sponsor, Reem Acra: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Reem_acra.MP3

Charlotte Dujardin: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Dujardin_WR.MP3

Edward Gal: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Gal_end.MP3

Carl Hester: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Hester.MP3

Reem Acra FEI Hub http://fei.org/fei/sponsors/reem-acra-and-fei gives access to extensive information about the series.

FEI World Cup Dressage, the only worldwide series in this discipline, has entered its 28th season. The series, created in 1985, is comprised of four leagues: Western European, Central European, North American (including Canada) and Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier consists of a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to Music competition, where league points are accumulated towards places in the Final. Judged on both technical and artistic merit, the FEI World Cup Dressage combines art, sport and partnership between horse and rider at the highest level and consistently proves a winning formula with audiences all over the world.

The complete rules, calendar, updated ranking and results are available here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

At Olympia:

Jo Peck
Press Officer
JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
+447887 551879

Record Breaking Night at Olympia

Olympia, London 17 December 2013 – She came and she conquered. British Olympic and European Champion Charlotte Dujardin is the new holder of the world record score for freestyle. With her champion partner Valegro the pair scored 93.975% in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. The score beat the former world record of 92.3% set by Edward Gal and Totilas, also at Olympia, in 2009.

Charlotte and Valegro, owned by her trainer and mentor Carl Hester and longtime supporter Roly Luard, now hold the world record for all three grand prix tests. “I can’t believe it – I am over the moon and just ecstatic,” said Charlotte who was riding to her ‘Great Escape’ music for the last time. “I really wanted to come here and see if I could break the record to this music and at Olympia. It has been such an incredible journey with Valegro – I have achieved so much more than I ever imagined,” said Charlotte.

Each of the five judges individual scores was over the former record – French judge Isabelle Judet awarded an astonishing 96.625% – and the capacity crowd of 8,000, the largest ever on dressage night at Olympia, was on their feet applauding the bold and powerful performance even before the score flashed up on the board.

“Today I have given so many tens I have lost count which is a reflection of the quality of riders, horses and fantastic sport we have seen here,” said judge Andrew Gardner President of the Ground Jury.

Not only did the British pair rob Dutchman Edward Gal of his former title but also demoted him to second place. With the elegant Glock’s Undercover Edward enchanted the audience with a moving freestyle that highlighted the 12-year-old’s ability for piaffe and passage. The Dutch team rider was however gracious in defeat.

“I knew that losing my record would happen one day – so I just have to practice more for the future,” said Edward.

As in last night’s grand prix, young Dutch rider Danielle Heijkoop took third place on her first visit to the London venue with the 14-year-old Gribaldi gelding Kingsley Siro whose test made much of powerful passage and off the floor piaffe.

The British combination of Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi, last to go and following the new record holders had a hard act to follow but gave it their all to a foot-tapping Latin routine that earned fourth place.

Olympia debutante Lara Griffith also had a night to remember gaining ninth place on Andretti H formerly ridden by her mentor Laura Tomlinson who also came under the spotlight. It was however for the last time with her Olympic team gold medal partner Mistral Hojris who was officially retired.

“I am sad that Alf won’t be part of my future journey but glad that he is leaving British dressage in safe hands,” said Laura who won ten championship medals with the 18-year-old chestnut.

Audio Links:

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Dujardin_WR.MP3
Edward Gal (NED) – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Gal_end.MP3
Carl Hester (GBR) – http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Hester.MP3

Final Placings

For details of the final placings in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Leg (Grand Prix Freestyle to Music), please click: http://eventcontent.hippoonline.de/857/docs/R_03.pdf.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show will be televised throughout the week on BBC Online, the BBC Red Button and Eurosport. Live coverage of the Longines FEI World Cup presented by H&M will be broadcast on BBC 1 between 13:45 and 16:30 on Saturday 21 December 2013.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207