18 December 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for December 2012 is awarded to Aleš Opatrný (CZE), who trains at JS Opatrný Hořovice (CZE). During the month of November, the 31-year-old jumped from 355th to 238th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 117 places.
Opatrný was born on 18 September 1981 in Hořovice (CZE), where he grew up on his family’s ranch, which has a 100-stable capacity and is situated approximately 60km south west of Prague (CZE). When he was two years old, Opatrný was introduced to riding by his father, Václav, who was a successful Eventing rider and triple champion of the Czech Republic. Equestrianism is unquestionably the Opatrný family’s main focus and they have been breeding horses as far back as 1924.
Opatrný cites January 2012’s joint Rolex One to Watch winner, German rider René Tebbel, as the Jumper that he admires most and he believes Tebbel has been the greatest inspiration in his career. His drive to succeed stemmed from his memorable victory in the 2000 FEI Young Riders European Championship, Hartpury (GBR), which he won with his dark bay stallion, Kris Kentaur. Opatrný’s motivation is to one day compete for his national team at the Olympic Games and to also climb the Rolex Rankings as high as he possibly can.
Lausanne (SUI), 10 December 2012 – Christian Ahlmann (GER), winner of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Geneva (SUI) last Friday, has taken over as World Number One in the Rolex Rankings, published today.
With 2,555 points, Ahlmann has jumped up from third place into the top spot, demoting Olympic champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) to second place on 2,455 points.
Ahlmann’s compatriot Marcus Ehning has also moved up the Rolex Rankings, going from seventh into third place, with Frenchman Kevin Staut now placed fourth.
Christian Ahlmann took up riding at the age of 11, but it was in 2003 that he really caught the attention of the media when claiming team and individual gold at the European Championships in Donaueschingen (GER).
9 November 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for November 2012 is awarded to Saer Coulter (USA), who trains at Copernicus Stables LLC, California (USA). During the month of September, the 21-year-old jumped from 294th to 209th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 85 places.
Coulter was born in New Orleans, Louisiana (USA), although she was brought up in San Francisco, CA where she lives. She is currently enrolled at Stanford University, CA (USA) where she is Majoring in Art History. Riding is a family affair with Coulter’s younger sister, Audrey, also actively competing in the Jumper ring. The sisters are currently trained by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and her husband, Markus Beerbaum.
Rolex Testimonee, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, commented, “Markus and I have trained Saer since January 2011, and her progress has been phenomenal. She has become very consistent at the top level, which was evident this year on the Global Champions Tour circuit. She has had a lot of clear rounds and nice ribbons, and with her current string of horses I have no doubt that there is a lot more to come from her.”
Lausanne (SUI), 6 November 2012 – Steve Guerdat (SUI), the newly-crowned Olympic champion, has taken over as World Number One on the Rolex Rankings list published today. With 2,525 points, Guerdat takes over from European champion Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE), who drops down to fourth place (2378).
Olympic team gold medallist Nick Skelton (GBR) is in second place, just three points ahead of Germany’s Christian Ahlmann.
It has been a historic season for Guerdat, who turned 30 in June, and for Swiss equestrianism. Guerdat became the first Swiss rider to be crowned Olympic Jumping champion since 1928 when he steered the talented 11-year old Selle Français Nino des Buissonnets to individual gold at London 2012. In the last 12 months he has picked up Rolex Ranking points in no less than 89 competitions.
12 October 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for October 2012 is awarded to Mac (Malcolm) Cone (CAN). During the month of September, the 60-year-old jumped from 299th to 220th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 79 places.
Cone was born in Memphis, Tennessee (USA), and is based in King, Ontario (CAN) where he runs Southern Ways Stable. Cone moved to Canada in 1979 and is one of only two riders to have ever competed internationally for both the Canadian and United States Equestrian teams (1984 FEI World Cup Champion Mario Deslauriers being the other). Cone has now competed at two Olympic Games, with his most successful result coming in Beijing in 2008 where, alongside Eric Lamaze, Jill Henselwood and Ian Millar, the Canadian team won the silver medal.
19 September 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for September 2012 is awarded to Alexandr Belekhov (RUS), who is currently based at the St Petersburg Horse Club (RUS). During the month of August, the 40-year-old jumped from 418th to 224th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 194 places.
Belekhov, who started to ride when he was 10 years old, spent much of his early career training in St Petersburg, where he was also born and raised. Belekhov’s first trainer was Larisa Tciganova, and throughout his career he has been trained by Nikolay Lekkin, Viktoriya Romanova, Viktor Romanov and Igor Samodurovskiy.
Belekhov’s career highlights include winning an International 3* horse show in Moscow (RUS) in 2007, and also being crowned Russian champion at numerous indoor and outdoor shows. Belekhov most admires the German Show Jumper, Marcus Ehning, and his dream is to one day represent Russia at the Olympic Games.
20 August 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for August 2012 is awarded to Katie Monahan Prudent (USA). Monahan Prudent divides her time between Rosières aux Salines (FRA) and Plain Bay Farm, which she runs with her husband in Middleburg, Virginia (USA). During the month of July, the 54-year-old jumped from 361st to 244th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 117 places.
Monahan Prudent spent much of her early career training at Cherry Blossom Farm in Virginia, where she gained invaluable experience in the hunter jumper rings. Monahan Prudent went on to show her potential as a junior rider, winning both the Medal Maclay Finals along with multiple championships in the hunter ring, earning her a place in the hunter “Hall of Fame”. Monahan Prudent then emerged as an international Jumping star, claiming victory in every major Jumping Grand Prix in the United States, and helping the 1986 United States Jumping team win gold at the World Championships in Aachen. As a result, Monahan Prudent has been hailed US Rider of the Year three times by the American Grand Prix Association.
12 July 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for July 2012 is Brianne Goutal (USA). Currently based out of Cloverleaf Farm LLC in Wellington, Florida, the 23-year-old has jumped from 413th to 226th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 187 places.
Brianne Goutal made history as the first junior rider to win all four major equitation finals: the 2004 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Show Jumping Talent Search Finals-East; the 2004 Washington International Equitation Classic Finals; the 2005 USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal Finals; and the 2005 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Maclay National Championships.
In 2005, when she trained with Frank Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables, , Brianne experienced a momentous year, and not only in terms of competition wins. At the age of 17, Brianne was awarded the ‘Lionel Guerrand-Hermes’ Trophy, awarded to her by the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation and recognising her as the Junior Rider best identifying the ideals of sportsmanship and horsemanship. In the same year, Brianne was featured on Animal Planet’s TV series: “Horse Power: The road to Maclay”, a major Championship which she won riding the nine-year-old Logan. Further victories include both individual and team gold at the North American Young Riders’ Championship and the USEF National Junior Jumper Championship.
The Rolex One to Watch for June 2012 is James Paterson-Robinson (AUS). Currently based at Ger Poels Horses stables in The Netherlands, the 33-year-old has jumped from 427th to 237th – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 190 places.
James established himself as a young talent when making his international debut at the Young Rider Challenge tournament in India in 1998. Two years later, at the age of 21, James moved from his hometown of Victoria (AUS), where he was based at Barwon Heads Pony Club, to pursue his riding career in Europe. In 2001 and 2003, James won the five-year-old division of the FEI World Breeding Young Horse Jumping Championships, and many other notable wins followed.
James and the 11-year-old black stallion, Niack de l’Abbaye, had many successes in 2010, having won the CSI4* Geesteren (NED) Grand Prix; finishing in second place in the Nations Cup at the CSIO3* Linz-Ebelsberg (AUT); finishing second in the Nations Cup at the CSIO4* Lummen (BEL); and placed 13th in the Grand Prix at the CSI5* San Patrignano (ITA).
9 May 2012 – The Rolex One to Watch for May 2012 is George Whitaker (GBR). Currently based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in Northern England, the 19-year-old jumped from 354th to 231st during May – a move up the Rolex Rankings of 123 places.
George is from the most successful family in the sport of Jumping, and he forms part of the next generation of the Whitaker dynasty, along with his brother William, and cousin Ellen. His uncles, John and Michael, have been the cornerstone of the British Jumping team for the last 30 years; they both won team silver at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games as well as numerous European and World Championship medals.
George is part of the British Equestrian Federation’s UK Sport-funded World Class Development Programme, which works with talented riders to maximise their potential and deliver success in Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. He is also currently undergoing an apprenticeship with the intention of gaining skills in horse care and management.