Tag Archives: Olympic Games

From Baborówko to Tokyo 2020

Photo: Oliver Townend.

Baborówko, November 26, 2018 — FEI General Assembly in Bahrain has announced that an eventing qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held during Equestrian Festival Baborówko 2019 in Baborówko, Poland. For athletes from C group, that includes countries from Central and East Europe, it is one of the two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics.

“Such a decision from the FEI is a great honour for us, validating the high level of the organisation of shows in Baborówko,” says Henryk Święcicki jr, the director of Equestrian Festival Baborówko. For the athletes from C group, another opportunity to qualify for the Olympics are the European Championships in Lumuehlen in August 2019.

The qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be played out in Baborówko as the CCI4*-L class. In the cross-country trial for this class, the athletes will have to finish a 6000m distance in the course of 10 minutes, overcoming almost 40 fences.

Within the team classification of the CCI4*-L class during Baborówko Equestrian Festival, the athletes will compete for the individual qualification to the Olympics, and the right to compete will only be granted to the best team.

Once again we will have the opportunity to witness the best athletes compete not only for the Olympic qualification. Thanks to the support of the Patron of the event, Mr. Roman Roszkiewicz, the prize money at Baborówko Equestrian Festival will once again reach ca. 100 000 EUR.

From the 23rd to the 26th of May 2019, at Equestrian Festival Baborówko, apart from the CCI4*-L class, athletes will also compete in the CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S classes, and the CCIYH2*-S class for young horses. The organisers are preparing an additional programme for the audiences, and as every year, admission is free.

Eventing is one of the three equestrian Olympic disciplines (along with dressage and showjumping), which the audience will have the opportunity to watch at Japan’s capital. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place from the 24th of July until the 9th of August 2020.

More information on: www.festiwal.baborowko.pl.

FEI General Assembly Votes in Favour of Olympic and Paralympic Rule Changes

Aki Murasato, Executive Director of International Relations with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. (Richard Juilliart/FEI)

Tokyo (JPN), 22 November 2016 – The FEI General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed format changes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, which will now go to the IOC Executive Board for final approval in 2017.

Under the new proposals, the number of athletes in national teams will be reduced to three, and the drop score, which previously allowed for a team’s worst score to be discarded, will be removed. The use of a reserve combination for teams will remain in place, but will be even more important and will be a key element in ensuring horse welfare.

A total of 11 of National Federations, out of 107 represented, voted against the proposal – Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.

Voting on the proposed sport-specific changes to the three individual Olympic disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Eventing – was unanimously in favour.

The vote on the Paralympic formats saw one National Federation – Great Britain – against the proposed changes.

“This was a really important vote for the future of our sport if we are to increase universality in accordance with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said after the vote.

“We need to increase the number of participating nations at the Olympic Games but within our existing quota of 200. Reducing team members to three per nation was probably the only way to boost the number of flags. Of course this now has to be approved by the IOC, but it opens the door to countries that previously could only see the Olympics as a distant dream.

“There were some National Federations that didn’t agree with the proposal, but that’s all part of the democratic process. Now we need to work together to make this a success.”

The proposed changes are detailed below:

Jumping

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, plus one reserve combination, no drop score
  • 20 teams (60 horse/athlete combinations)
  • 15 slots for nations not qualified with a team (maximum one horse/athlete combination per nation)
  • Individual event will now take place before Team event
  • Cut-off score: the exact cut-off and resulting penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
  • The exact penalty for any horse/athlete combination that is eliminated, or does not complete their round for any reason, will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations

Dressage

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • Each directly qualified team may bring a reserve rider/horse combination, or horse only
  • One individual per nation not represented by a qualified team (no composite teams)
  • Determine Team medals solely through results of Grand Prix Special (no longer a combination of Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special scores)
  • Introduce new “heat system” (including “lucky losers”) for Grand Prix: 18 individuals to qualify from Grand Prix to Grand Prix Freestyle (best two from each of the 6 heats, plus the next 6 with the best overall results)
  • 8 top teams (24 starters) from Grand Prix to qualify for Grand Prix Special
  • Introduce new system for starting order in Grand Prix
  • Conduct Grand Prix Special to music

Eventing

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
  • Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team
  • Order of tests to remain unchanged (1st Dressage; 2nd Cross Country; 3rd Jumping Team; 4th Jumping Individual)
  • Olympic Eventing to take place over three days (Dressage test reduced to one day)
  • Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: Dressage and Jumping 4*; Cross Country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts, and 3* technical difficulty
  • Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same Cross Country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI Independent Audit in Eventing
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant Horse Inspection
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, Dressage =100 points, Cross Country = 150, Jumping = 100
  • Rules for the Individual event remain unchanged

Para-Equestrian Dressage

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • Each directly qualified team is entitled to bring four horse/athlete combinations, of which three will have to be declared to compete on the team after the Individual Championships test, in which all four will compete as Individuals.
  • Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team (no composite teams)
  • Determine Team medals solely through results of Team test (no longer a combination of Team and Individual test scores)
  • Top 8 per grade from the Individual test to qualify for the Freestyle test
  • Order of tests: Individual Championship test, Team test, Freestyle
  • Team test to be set to music

FEI President Focuses on Unique Qualities of Equestrian Sport at FEI General Assembly

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the FEI General Assembly in the Japanese capital Tokyo, delivering the keynote address to almost 300 delegates and focusing on the unique qualities of equestrian sport.

“We all agree that we have the greatest sport on earth and this is for many reasons,” the FEI President said. “We excel when it comes to gender equality, but what makes our sport so great is the unique bond between human and animal, between man and horse. But it is this same unique value which makes our sport vulnerable.

“With the growth of our sport grows also our responsibility to continuously ensure the welfare of our athletes in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport at all times.

“We need to insist on a strict application of our rules. They need to be transparent, clear and not open for interpretation. We need to be irreproachable in our stance and our outlook. These are big challenges.

“There are organisations – increasing in number – that are of the opinion that horses should not be competed or even ridden!

“We need to show them – and the world – that we are not only dedicated to horse welfare but that we are the leaders in that domain. And we also need to educate – to show just how much we do and how committed the equestrian community is to horse welfare. Ignorance creates fear. So we need to show that a true partnership is about trust and respect so that we can bridge that gap and bring people closer to our sport.”

During a packed morning agenda, delegates voted on a number of important issues, including the Olympic and Paralympic format change proposals (see FEI press release here), formats for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and other sport specific matters. Full details of the main decisions made at the FEI General Assembly 2016 are here.

The afternoon featured a series of presentations, including an update on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games from Aki Murasato, Executive Director of International Relations with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

Mark Bellissimo, creator of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, also addressed delegates, providing an update on the venue that was earlier this month announced as the host for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.

Speaking directly to the FEI President, Mark Bellissimo said: “We want to let you know that we appreciate how important this event is to the FEI, and how important it is both for us as organisers and the community that we work within. We will do our best not to let you down.”

Nai Yue Ho (SIN), outgoing Chair of FEI Regional Group VIII, who was celebrating his birthday, was made an Honorary Bureau Member of the FEI. And prior to closing remarks, the FEI President thanked the Japan Equestrian Federation (JEF) for their hospitality, commenting on the fact that it had been 25 years since the FEI General Assembly had been held in Tokyo, and in the same hotel. He then made a presentation to Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and to JEF Secretary General Dr Yasuhiko Haruta, who also collected a special plaque on behalf of JEF President Dr Genshitsu Sen.

In his closing address, the FEI President said: “This was a very important General Assembly. We took crucial decisions for the future of our sport and I understand that not everybody was happy, but we followed a very democratic process and in the end there was a clear majority. There are no winners or losers in this debate. These new formats give us a huge responsibility and failure is not an option, so we need to work together with all our stakeholders to prepare for Tokyo 2020.”

Timeline for finalisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic formats:

February 2017 – FEI proposals go to the IOC Executive Board
May 2017 – IOC Programme Commission make recommendations to the IOC Executive Board
July 2017 – IOC Executive Board decides on events and quotas
November 2017 – FEI General Assembly in Montevideo (URU) finalises the proposal for qualification procedures (quota distribution and eligibility)

FEI Media Contacts:

At FEI General Assembly, Tokyo:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

At FEI headquarters, Lausanne (SUI):

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

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Team USA Olympians to Be Honored at Central Park Horse Show

The United States Show Jumping team of Lucy Davis, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward, and Beezie Madden won the Team Silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo copyright Shannon Brinkman.

New York, NY – September 18, 2016 – The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will hold a special ceremony on Friday evening, September 23, to honor the equestrian Olympians from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is held September 21-25, 2016, at Wollman Rink in Manhattan.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show congratulates the United States Equestrian Federation and the United States Equestrian Team on a successful Olympic Games.

The U.S. Show Jumping team will be recognized for their Team Silver medal. Team members McLain Ward and Kent Farrington will represent the team, which also included Beezie Madden, Lucy Davis, reserve rider Laura Kraut, and Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

The U.S. Dressage team, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, won the Team Bronze medal with riders Steffen Peters, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Allison Brock, along with reserve Shelly Francis.

From the U.S. Eventing team, Phillip Dutton rode Mighty Nice to the Individual Bronze medal in Rio. Also on the Eventing team were Lauren Kieffer, Boyd Martin, and Clark Montgomery, with Maya Black as the reserve rider and David O’Connor as Chef d’Equipe.

This Olympic ceremony is part of a special Friday night at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, which will feature the $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, a performance by Frederik the Great: The World’s Most Handsome Horse, and the Junior/Amateur 1.20m Jumper class.

The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST

Want to see high-flying jumpers, dancing dressage horses, stunning Arabians, and elegant hunters? Tickets are selling fast! To get yours, go to http://bit.ly/29LwkkD.

The official hotel is the JW Marriot Essex House and special rates are available for a limited time at http://bit.ly/1qV3FBt. In the “Please Select Guest Type” box, select “Attendee” when making a reservation.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Neue Schule Ambassadors Help Bring Home the Bronze Medal

Laura Graves and Verdades (Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (September 6, 2016) — The United States Dressage Team rode its way to a spot on the medal-winning podium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All four team members used Neue Schule bits to help bring home the Bronze. Neue Schule Ambassadors Laura Graves, Steffen Peters, and Allison Brock teamed up with Kasey Perry-Glass to win the USA its first Olympic dressage medal since 2004.

Neue Schule Ambassador Laura Graves’ personal best score of 80.644 percent in the Grand Prix on her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, cinched the United States’ claim on the Team Bronze medal. Then, in the Grand Prix Freestyle, she finished just under the individual medalists with a jaw-dropping 85.196 percent to place fourth. Graves relies on Neue Schule bits to keep “Diddy” comfortable in the bridle after an accident as a youngster left him with a broken jaw.

Olympic veteran and Neue Schule Ambassador Steffen Peters competed on Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding. With solid rides throughout the competition, Peters created depth on the team in his fourth Olympic Games and qualified to compete in the Olympic Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle.

Olympic first-timers, Neue Schule Ambassador Allison Brock and Rosevelt, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, served as the team’s lead-off pair during both days of the team competition. Their impressive rides in the team competitions also qualified them to show in the individual Grand Prix Freestyle.

Neue Schule, the Official Bit of the United States Equestrian Federation, has been supporting top riders in multiple disciplines for many years and is thrilled to have been a part of the Bronze-winning 2016 U.S. Olympic Dressage Team. The Neue Schule Ambassadors are prime examples of the success that can be achieved through effective communication between horse and rider with the help of Neue Schule bits. With thoughtful and innovative bit designs tailored to the horses’ comfort, Neue Schule helps riders achieve soft and effective communication with their horses.

Neue Schule bits can be found in tack stores and at horse shows across the U.S., including top competition venues like the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the Colorado Horse Park. To find which bit is best for your horse, go to www.BitByBitUSA.com for descriptions and educational YouTube videos. For advanced bitting knowledge, educational opportunities are also available through the Neue Schule Bitting Academy, an online bitting school. The Academy teaches individuals about bitting history, design, and functionality thorough beginner, intermediate, and advanced online courses.

To learn more about Neue Schule bits and Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, their North American distributor, visit www.BitByBitUSA.com. You can also like Neue Schule on Facebook or follow the company on Instagram.

Contact: Ginny Pagano
Metlar – Neue Schule Bits
631-252-5574
ginny@metlar-us.com

FEI President Celebrates Top Equestrian Sport and Clean Games at Rio 2016

Lausanne (SUI), 27 August 2016 – FEI President Ingmar De Vos had double cause for celebration after confirmation that all human and equine samples taken during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games had returned negative.

“Keeping our sport clean is a central part of our daily work at the FEI, but to have back-to-back clean Games in London and Rio is something for any sport to be proud of, especially as we were testing for more substances than ever before,” the FEI President said. “And that’s on top of absolutely brilliant equestrian sport in Rio, so we really have something to celebrate!”

A total of 60 equine samples – 30% of the 200 competing horses – were tested during the Games. The samples were sent to the FEI’s Central Laboratory in Newmarket (GBR), one of the five FEI Approved Laboratories worldwide, with the final batch of results returned to FEI Headquarters.

Human testing, which is conducted by the IOC during the Olympic Games, also returned 100% negatives for the equestrian athletes that were sampled.

“The sport in Rio was just incredible,” Ingmar De Vos said. “Two Olympic champions not only successfully defended their London 2012 titles, but they did it on the same horse, which is a fantastic achievement. Germany’s Michael Jung won with Sam in Eventing, and the British combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro topped an all-female podium in Dressage, just as they had four years ago in front of their home crowd. And the IOC President Thomas Bach was there to see them do it.

“Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat was also bidding to do the same, but he hit the first fence in the jump-off for gold with his 2012 winner Nino des Buissonnets to finish fourth and out of the medals.

“So we finished the Games with a six-way battle against the clock and Britain’s Nick Skelton, became the oldest Olympic Jumping champion in history at the age of 58, taking gold with Big Star. Both Big Star and Nick Skelton have to overcome serious injury problems, so it shows that strength of character and determination really are key to winning at the highest level, no matter what the sport.

“And our team competitions were just as thrilling. France took team gold in both Eventing and Jumping. The Eventing team win was the first gold of the 2016 Games for France, and the winning French Jumping team included Philippe Rozier, son of Marcel Rozier, who was on the gold-medal team in Montreal 1976, so there were lots of very proud French supporters!

“Germany has always been the team to beat in Dressage. They had 12 Olympic team golds coming into Rio, although the British had claimed the title in London, but things were back to normal this time with Germany out in front, and by a distance!

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to the Rio 2016 organising committee. They were working in very challenging circumstances, but they produced a fabulous venue that provided the perfect stage for our equestrian events, and which will be ideal for the Paralympics as well.

“We couldn’t have asked for more exciting sport and now to have confirmation that clean sport and fair play have also come out as winners is the icing on the cake! I couldn’t be happier!”

Equine Testing

Equine testing was conducted by the FEI at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs). Samples were tested for more substances than ever before.

All individual medallists’ horses were tested, plus all fourth-placed horses. Additionally, at least one horse was tested from medal-winning and fourth-placed teams. Random testing was also carried out, with horses being picked by computerised selection, and there was also targeted testing.

Human Testing

For human testing across the Games, all top four finishers, plus two other athletes selected at random, were tested by the IOC, along with other individuals selected at random.

FEI Clean Sport

The FEI’s Clean Sport campaign, started in 2010, is part of an ongoing educational outreach programme designed to simplify the FEI anti-doping regulations, which are based on World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) principles.

This online communication campaign, which is available in eight languages (English, French, Chinese, German, Arabic, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese), is aimed at athletes, grooms, team and personal veterinarians, and other support personnel and includes key information on prohibited substances, the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations, the testing process, and all related resources.

http://inside.fei.org/fei/cleansport

Hashtags
#Equestrian
#Dressage
#Eventing
#Show Jumping

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

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

Ever-Consistent SFN Zenith N.O.P. Home from Rio

SFN Zenith N.O.P., one of the most consistent horses throughout the four days of the 2016 Olympic competition, was no doubt also one of the unluckiest, with only 0.02 seconds coming between him and a chance to be part of the individual medal battle.

Despite jumping an immaculate double clear round on the final day of competition, SFN Zenith N.O.P., expertly piloted by 2000 Olympic gold medallist Jeroen Dubbeldam, picked up a single time fault, preventing them from progressing to the jump-off.

Throughout the week, the World and European Champions maintained a reliably high standard, posting a series of excellent results and proving what an exceptional combination they are on the big stage.

In addition to winning Team and Individual gold in the World Equestrian Games in Caen, 2014 and repeating this feat by winning Team and Individual gold at the European Championships in Aachen, 2015, SFN Zenith N.O.P. has an incredible track record including Team gold at the 2014 Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona.

Speaking on behalf of the SFN, Henk Rottinghuis, the President of the SFN Board, said, “I would like to express my gratitude to Jeroen, who is one of the best show jumping riders ever seen in the Netherlands. Since becoming a partnership in 2011, Jeroen and SFN Zenith N.O.P. have achieved so many extraordinary accomplishments and given the SFN and Dutch show jumping communities much success and enjoyment.”

SFN Zenith N.O.P., now safely back in his home stable, is one of six horses due to be sold via an online auction on Wednesday 21st September 2016, which also includes Aquila SFN, second reserve for the Dutch Olympic Team in Rio. The unique selection process of the SFN, whereby an elite group of leading horse dealers and trainers must all agree unanimously on the potential of a horse before it is purchased on behalf of the fund means that the quality of the horses up for sale is unparalleled.

The online auction, which will be operated by BVA Auctions in the Netherlands, will officially open at 5pm on Wednesday 14th September, and will remain open until 2pm on Wednesday 21st September. To participate in the auction, it is necessary to register and pay a deposit, after which further information will be accessible, including full veterinary reports. For further information and advice about how to participate, please visit the BVA Auctions website: www.bva-auctions.com/SFN.

All six horses will be available for viewing on Monday 19th September at Wout-Jan van der Schans stables (Landgoed Balkenschoten Barneveldseweg 122 3862 PD Nijkerk), which will be the final opportunity for prospective buyers to see the horses up close. The stables will open its doors to the public at 2pm, with each horse parading in-hand for approximately 10 minutes.

For further details on all horses due to feature in the sale, including up-to-date videos of them in action, please visit www.sfnauction.com or contact:

Jacob Melissen
SFN
Tel: +31 528 241919 / + 31 654 220246
Email: jacobmelissen@hotmail.com

Anna Blunden
Revolution Sports
Tel: +44 (0)207 592 1207
Email: anna@revolutionsports.co.uk

For further details on the sale, please contact:

Rob Meijer
BVA Auctions
Tel: +31 (0)6 1251 9452
Email: r.meijer@bva-auctions.com

BVA Auctions
www.bva-auctions.com/SFN

Farrington Leads US in Show Jumping Individual Final at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The Rio 2016 Olympic Games show jumping competition came to a climatic close at Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center on Friday, ending in a jump-off to determine the Individual medals. With two clear rounds, Kent Farrington and Voyeur earned a spot in the jump-off for the U.S. along with five other combinations. Farrington and Voyeur ultimately placed fifth overall following two rails down. Teammates McLain Ward and Azur finished tied for ninth and Lucy Davis and Barron completed their Olympic debut with 12 faults in Round A.

The Individual Final consisted of two rounds; the first round included the top 35 competitors from the week’s three qualifying rounds. The top 20, including those tied for 20th, advanced to the second round. Overall, 27 combinations representing 15 countries returned for the second round to compete for the Individual medals. Show jumping enthusiasts witnessed a historic moment when Great Britain’s 58-year-old veteran Nick Skelton won the Gold medal aboard Big Star. This marked Skelton’s first Individual medal in his seventh Games appearance. Peder Fredricson of Sweden won Silver with All In and Canada’s Eric Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Individual Gold medalist, took home the Bronze with Fine Lady 5.

Wrapping up his Olympic debut in style, Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) aboard Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur, was composed in his quest for an Individual medal. Farrington skillfully piloted Voyeur around Guilherme Jorge’s large courses, leaving all the jumps up and adding two more foot perfect performances to their week in which the pair’s only fault came as a time fault in round two of team competition. They finished the individual rounds as one of six combinations with zero faults. Voyeur and Farrington dropped their first rails of the Games in the jump-off, ending their medal hopes.

Finishing fifth overall individually, Farrington will return home with a Team Silver. “Any time you go to a championship and leave with a medal it has to be considered a good championship. Because so many things can go wrong, it’s very easy to come all this way and jump a lot of jumps and leave with nothing. To leave with a Silver is great. I thought he [Voyeur] jumped great all week and to be in contention to win it in the end was obviously awesome. It didn’t go our way, but we’ll be back at it next time.”

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.), riding Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, also started the day with determination. In the first round, Azur’s long stride carried them a bit deep to the third fence of the triple combination, resulting in the top rail falling for four faults, which still left them among those qualified for the second round.

Ward and Azur returned to produce a clear second round with Ward showing the same professionalism and clutch riding that helped clinch the Team Silver on Wednesday. With six double-clears and two others on only time faults ahead of them, the pair finished tied for ninth place overall.

“I thought she [Azur] jumped brilliantly,” said Ward. “I personally think the first course was really suited to the small horses, the horses that like to add strides, but that’s the test and we have to answer that test. I’m thrilled with the horse, although disappointed with the day.”

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), at age 23, was the youngest rider in the competition. She completed her first Olympics with Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, with twelve faults in the first round. They did not move forward to the second round.

“It was the fourth round under pressure and the big jumps and overall fatigue all played a part,” said Davis. “My horse is very sensitive, and I think he feels not only the physical fatigue but also all the stress gets to him as well, and he needed my help today a bit more than I gave him. So I definitely take responsibility for those rails.”

The U.S. finished the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as one of only two countries (together with Germany) to win medals in all three disciplines, finishing with Team Silver in show jumping, Team Bronze in dressage, and Phillip Dutton’s Individual Bronze in eventing.

Visit USEFNetwork.com for complete coverage of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Teams at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

Eric Lamaze Claims Individual Bronze at 2016 Rio Olympics

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON claimed the individual bronze medal on the final day of show jumping competition held Friday, August 19, at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Riding Fine Lady 5, owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, Lamaze jumped clear in both rounds of the Individual Final to join a six-horse jump-off for the individual medals.

In the jump-off, Nick Skelton of Great Britain led with a clear round riding Big Star, stopping the clock at 42.82 seconds.  Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, Sheikh Ali Al Thani of Qatar and Kent Farrington of the United States all had rails down before Sweden’s Peder Fredricson jumped clear in a time of 43.35 seconds riding All In to secure a medal; the only question was which one it would be.  It was all up to Lamaze, who was the final rider to enter the packed Deodoro Olympic stadium.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 had been the only pair to jump clear through every round of competition held over four days, but their luck ran out at the penultimate fence in the jump-off, giving the pair four faults.  Speed is never a question for Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 however, and they crossed the timers in 42.09 seconds, the fastest of all the jump-off contenders, to take the individual bronze medal.

“It was an incredible competition!” said Lamaze, who now has a third Olympic medal to add to his individual gold and team silver earned at the 2008 Beijing Olympics riding Hickstead.  “To even represent your country, let alone win a medal, at the Olympics is just amazing.  I am so grateful to Fine Lady and for the support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler.  To have a horse with the ability to come here and do that is incredible.  This medal is as much theirs as it is mine.

“Fine Lady didn’t win the jump-off, but she won the Olympics, in my opinion,” continued Lamaze of the 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II).  “She was the best horse; she was the only horse that started the jump-off today with zero faults.  But at the Olympics, it’s a brand new slate on the last day, and those other clear rounds don’t count.  That’s the way it is.  It was a gruelling competition, and for Fine Lady to be one of the best horses at the Olympic Games is incredible.”

Lamaze carefully built Fine Lady 5 up throughout the 2016 season with Rio in mind, competing throughout the winter in Wellington, FL and spending four weeks in June and July in Calgary, AB, competing at the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series’.

“We made the plan this year, and the whole thing was set up for her; she needed to arrive here full of confidence,” said Lamaze of his Olympic preparation.  “Spruce Meadows is one of the very best venues to get ready for championships, and we are very lucky to have that in Canada.

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Canadian team, and especially that we qualified three riders for the Individual Final,” concluded Lamaze.

Having led the Canadian Show Jumping Team to a fourth place finish following a jump-off against Germany for the bronze medal on Wednesday, Lamaze sat at the top the leaderboard heading into the Individual Final, which saw the top 35 compete.  He was joined by teammates Yann Candele, 45, and Tiffany Foster, 32, in the battle for an individual medal.

Foster of North Vancouver, BC had the last fence down in the opening round of the Individual Final riding Tripple X III, a 14-year-old Anglo European stallion (Namelus R x Cantango) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.  Her score of four faults allowed her to move through to the second round, but 12 faults left them out of medal contention and in 26th position overall.

“I’ve never ridden in the Individual Final in any championships, so this is as far as I’ve ever gotten!” said an elated Foster, who made her Olympic debut in London in 2012.  “I’m thrilled with my horse; he gave me everything he had this whole week.  I couldn’t be happier with him, and I couldn’t be happier with my team.  I had the best Olympics I’ve ever had!”

Candele of Caledon, ON incurred 12 faults in the first round to tie for 32nd position in his Olympic debut riding First Choice 15, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Keeps x Angard) owned by the Watermark Group, a group of owners committed to supporting the Canadian Show Jumping Team.

“My horse was a bit tired today,” said Candele, noting that the Individual Final was the fourth day of Olympic-calibre show jumping.  “Basically, I was under the pace and that created the faults, I guess.

“I’ve never seen an Olympic Games with such a high standard of horse and rider combinations,” noted Candele.  “You had 15 or 20 starters that could have easily won.”

In the end, it was Great Britain’s Nick Skelton who stood in the center of the medal podium, flanked by Peder Fredricson of Sweden who won individual silver and 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze wearing the individual bronze medal for Canada.

For more information on the equestrian events at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, visit www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-schedule-and-results.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Comeback King Skelton Scoops Britain’s First Olympic Individual Jumping Gold

Nick Skelton. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 19 August 2016 – He broke his neck in a fall 16 years ago, he has a replacement hip, he’s 58 years old, competing at his seventh Olympic Games, and he was riding a horse that has been struggling with injury for over two years, but Nick Skelton made Olympic history when becoming the first ever British rider to win individual Jumping gold at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

In a thrilling finale to an extraordinary two weeks of equestrian sport, the man who helped claim his country’s first Olympic team Jumping medals – and golden ones at that – for 60 years in London (GBR) four years ago, simply galloped the rest into the ground when pace-setter in a third-round jump-off against the clock with Big Star.

Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and the brilliant All In claimed silver when producing the only other fault-free performance in the closing stages, while Canada’s Eric Lamaze took the bronze when posting the fastest time but leaving a fence on the floor with Fine Lady.

Emotion

Skelton is not a man known for displays of emotion, but he couldn’t hold back the tears when he climbed onto the podium to receive the ultimate sporting accolade. And the response of his fellow-riders showed just how respected he is, 2008 Olympic champion Lamaze grinning as though he was taking the gold himself as he congratulated the British rider with an enormous hug.

“I’ve been in this sport a long, long time and to win this at my age makes me so happy, I always wanted to do it and nearly did it in London,” Skelton said, referring to his fifth-place finish in 2012.

He wasn’t the only tearful athlete – world and European double-champion Jeroen Dubbeldam from The Netherlands was distraught after picking up a time fault in the second round when clearing the line 0.02 seconds over the time with Zenith.

Reflecting the extraordinary quality of the horse-and-rider combinations at these Games, a total of 13 went clear over the Brazilian course designer Guilherme Jorge’s first-round track and six managed to keep a clean sheet second time out.

And the passionate fans roared their approval from the stands, joined by plenty of VIPs who flocked to see equestrian sport at its very best, including the Dutch royal family, the King and Queen of Sweden, members of the Qatari royal household, former IOC President Jacques Rogge, IOC members Gerardo Werthein and Denis Oswald, and IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper.

First to go in jump-off for the medals, the equestrian equivalent of a penalty shoot-out, Skelton decided “to go as fast as I could but be safe and not take risks; he’s a quick horse anyway. I wanted to put pressure on everyone else and I had luck on my side,” he explained afterwards. As it happened, his target time of 42.82 seconds would prove unbeatable.

Final course

This final course began with a wall topped by a pole, and Steve Guerdat’s dream of a back-to-back Olympic double with his gelding Nino des Buissonnets was shattered when this toppled. He raced on to break the beam in 43.08 seconds, and when Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Al Thani (First Division) and America’s Kent Farrington (Voyeur) both faulted twice it seemed a medal might still be within the Swiss star’s grasp. But then Sweden’s Peder Fredricson steered All In home and clear in 43.35 seconds to up the stakes and definitely slot into a medal position with just one left to go.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze is one of the most feared opponents in the sport, and with his mare Fine Lady in spectacular form from the outset last Sunday, he was leading the individual standings until all 35 qualified riders reverted to zero status. Setting off at a blistering pace he was clearly in the lead coming to the second-last, but a tiny slip as he made a tight turn to angle this vertical left his mare off-balance and she clipped the top rail to gallop on home in 42.09 seconds with four faults on her scoresheet.

“My biggest nerves of the Games was waiting for the others to go in the jump-off,” Skelton admitted. “I didn’t look too hard; I walked around and took an odd look but I had to watch Eric and he made me sweat for a minute!”

Adversity

He can hardly believe that the horse that carried him to that glorious team victory on home turf four years ago has managed to overcome adversity and injury to do it all again for the individual title.

“Today was amazing,” Skelton said. “Big Star has been a bit rusty. The last time he won was in Aachen (GER) in 2013 and it’s taken two years to get him back on track again. A lot of people put a lot of time into bringing him back. He’s always been amazing; he wants to do it all and he has all the right attributes – he’s the best horse I’ve ever had and the best I’m ever likely to have. I’m so pleased for him. On his way back we nursed him and nursed him and today he came good for me.”

Skelton is a pretty tough cookie himself. The courage and tenacity he showed in his own recovery after breaking his neck in a fall in 2000, retiring in 2001 and then changing his mind the following year, and the pain he battles with on an ongoing basis might be enough to put a stop to most competitive careers. He needed a set of steps to climb back into the saddle after the medal ceremony. “I’ve got chronic back pain so getting legged up is painful and I have a metal hip on my left side so I only get on like this.” But the tearful smile said it all.

Lamaze put it into perspective. “The Olympics is the most difficult challenge in our sport; we try our hardest to do our best. Anybody in that jump-off deserved a medal. Most of us go to shows every week and you can win a big Grand Prix, but an Olympic medal – well that stays with you forever!”

Result here

Quotes:

Nick Skelton GBR, gold: “It’s pretty emotional for all my team. My groom Mark has been in my team for 30 years; he works with this horse nine hours a day. My two boys (his sons) are at homel they’re both very busy but I spoke with them on the phone and they’re really happy. I have to thank Laura (his partner, American rider Laura Kraut) too; she’s been a great help.”

Eric Lamaze CAN, silver: “So many things have to go right; a lot of great riders and horses here had misfortune this week; you need good luck and your horse to stay healthy. I always thought Nick would be on the podium, or just off it anyway.”

Nick Skelton GBR, gold: “I was surprised there were so many clears in the first round. 13 is a lot and six in the jump-off is a lot – you’ve got to feel for the riders that finished fourth, fifth and sixth.”

Peder Fredricson SWE, silver: “I knew I was sitting on a very good horse coming to the Games – maybe I wasn’t expecting a medal but I was hoping for it! I saw Nick (in the jump-off) and I tried to ride faster but I couldn’t – there were so many riders going for gold in the jump-off!

“I bought this horse as a seven-year-old; Nicola Phiippaerts was riding it. I went to buy him, and after the first jump I knew he was the horse I was looking for. I have him three years now.”

Nick Skelton GBR, gold: “I’m not going to stop riding now; the only horse I ride is Big Star and when he stops I’ll stop.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

The Most Recognisable Running Shoes in the Olympics Aren’t on Usain Bolt’s Feet!

Horse shoe being quenched in a bucket of water to cool it down before being fitted on the horse. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 18 August 2016 – The most recognisable brand of running shoes, and definitely the fastest running shoes in the Olympic movement are not on the track and field athletes in Rio 2016. They’re the shoes on the only four-legged athletes at the Games – the horses!

Whether it’s heels up in Europe to keep the good luck in, or heels down in Asia to stop the bad luck dropping in, the horseshoe is a universal sign of good luck. And the hardest working shoe fitters in Rio are the team of British and Brazilian farriers working round the clock to keep the well-heeled equine athletes well-shod at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro.

Just like their human counterparts, the equine athletes have the choice of hand-made shoes and off-the-shelf versions, but the Olympic horses here in Rio have bespoke shoes to help them perform at the very highest level.

These are shoes with a variety of styles: flat shoes, tapered shoes, heart-bar shoes that encase the entire foot, and shoes with studs for grip. And some even come with gel pads for cushioned comfort.

There’s no tying laces for these athletes. Their shoes, which are made of either iron or aluminium, are nailed on.

To achieve the ultimate equine fit, the shoe is heated to a red-hot 800 degrees before being forged on the anvil to the correct shape. When the temperature of the shoe has dropped, it’s pressed onto the foot and, once the fit is optimal, the shoe is quenched in a bucket of water to cool it down. Then it’s nailed onto the insensitive hoof, the equivalent of a 10mm thick toenail. A pedicure and shoe-fitting in one package!

There’s also a glue-on aluminium option, using a special glue that sets in two minutes. This requires fast, accurate work and is a really specialised job. One of the horses that was re-shod by the Olympic farriery team using this method went on to win gold!

And then there are apparently decorative effects that actually play an important role, like copper-coated anti-microbial nails which tackle the equine equivalent of athlete’s foot.

Just like track and field athletes or footballers, when grip is crucial, studded shoes are the only answer. And for horses, there’s a huge variety of different lengths and shapes of studs for different ground conditions. According to the Rio 2016 Lead Farrier Jim Blurton, “Stud selection is nearly as important as tyre selection for Formula 1.”

Jim Blurton, Rio 2016 Olympic Games Lead Farrier (image: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)
Jim Blurton, Rio 2016 Olympic Games Lead Farrier (image: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Former world champion Blurton (57), a third-generation farrier from Wales (GBR), heads up a five-man British team that also includes Jim’s right-hand man Ben Benson (36), himself a second-generation farrier, who will take over as lead farrier for next month’s Paralympics. Both of them worked at the London 2012 Games, along with forge general manager Emma Cornish (41). The British side of the team is completed by Ed Dailly (26) and Craig D’Arcy (48) and Dean Bland (45).

And overseeing them all is Luiz Tenorio (44), the man in charge of Farrier Services Coordination for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tenorio, who designed and equipped the Rio 2016 forge, is a first-generation farrier born and bred in Rio de Janeiro. He’s responsible for making sure that wherever there’s a horse, there’s a farrier ready to step in if a shoe needs to be replaced, even moments before they’re due onto the field of play.

“The major players come with their own farriers,” Blurton says. “All the Olympic horses come with a spare set of pre-fitted shoes so that if they lose one the team can produce a shoe that already fits. In London 2012 we had a horse that lost a shoe in the warm-up 10 minutes before it was due to jump. We had the shoe back on in seven minutes; that’s the equivalent of a 3.5 second pitstop!”

Tenorio has also hand-selected the Brazilian team that includes 13 volunteer farriers. As part of the Games’ legacy programme, each day’s schedule includes lectures and one-on-one training sessions, allowing the less-experienced Brazilian farriers to add to their knowledge bank, particularly about remedial shoeing.

This is a major legacy for Brazil, but there’s also a global legacy, as the national team farriers and the Rio 2016 team meet up in the forge on an almost daily basis to discuss changes within the industry. As the sport evolves, horse-breeding is also evolving to produce more athletic horses, which in turn puts more demands on their shoes and on the farriers, so this meeting of minds involves knowledge-exchange at the highest level.

Farriery is an incredibly physical job dealing with an animal weighing between 500 and 600 kilograms and with a mind of its own. So what about gender equality in an industry servicing a sport which, uniquely in the Olympic movement, sees male and female athletes competing for the same medals? There are females working as farriers, although not as many as their male counterparts, and what they may lack in physical strength they make up for in agility and ability to get on with temperamental horses.

And what about injuries? “I’ve had three broken legs and I’ve broken my back, but none of those were from shoeing horses,” Jim Blurton says. “Broken toes are part of the job, and you get backache from the very first day you start shoeing horses. You’re constantly bent over, but you adapt and you get extremely strong back and arm muscles! But there’s incredible job satisfaction. I see farriers as legal equine performance enhancers.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

Media Contacts:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38