Schuyler Riley (USA) and Dobra de Porceyo. (Debbie Jamroz/FEI)
Bromont (CAN), 10 August 2015 – Schuyler Riley (USA) and Dobra de Porceyo were the winners of the inaugural class of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League at the Bromont International, when 16 horse-and-rider combinations took on the challenge.
Sunny, blue skies welcomed a large crowd of almost 5,500 that flocked to the international-level event at the newly revamped show grounds. A welcoming, first-round course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio, with 13 obstacles and 16 jumping attempts, allowed for half of the class to go double clear and into the jump-off.
Speed and accuracy were the deciding factor in the second round. The eight-obstacle course, which included a double combination, presented multiple options in terms of striding and inside or outside turns. Every rider in the jump-off chose to take the tight, inside turn to the combination’s wide oxer to varying degrees of success.
America’s Peter Leone was the first to go and had an unexpected stop with his home-bred mount, Wayfarer. Russia’s Ljubov Kochetova and Urus 2 showed an excellent inside line that allowed them to meet the oxer straight on for a clear in a time of 46.08 seconds, and that foot-perfect round was immediately replicated by America’s Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star, with an improved time of 44.43 for a temporary hold on the lead.
But it was the final pair that meant it was the American flag that rose at the event’s end. Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo produced the winning round in 41.31 seconds with aggressive inside turns and carefully managing strides, leaving them out and adding them in to keep the clock down but the rails up.
“We really know each other,” Riley said of her nine-year-old chestnut mare. “I could tell in the warm-up ring that she was ‘on’ today. The jump-off track was really fun to ride – a gallop, roll back, gallop, again – and the footing felt great. The event was a huge success, and I’m grateful for Longines to sponsor it and for Bromont to host it.”
Faster isn’t always better in the jump-off, as proven by the two rounds with faster times than Riley’s, but at the expense of rails down. Colombia’s Daniel Bluman rode Conconcreto Believe to a blisteringly fast time of 40.87 seconds, but the fast pace cost the pair in carefulness and resulted in eight faults.
America’s Quentin Judge and HH Copin van de Broy met a similar fate on their way to a fast time of 41.01 seconds, but with a rail and four faults.
“Sometimes, there’s a ‘too fast’ in show jumping,” said Geoff Morgan, the class’s sportscaster. “But you have to take the risk.”
“I knew going in, I had some really fast riders coming behind me, in Daniel, Schuyler, Quentin, so I wasn’t just going to go for a slow clear. I wanted to put a little pressure on without necessarily going break-neck,” said runner-up Charlie Jacobs. “My goal was to go tidy fast but not crazy.”
In a happy coincidence, or possibly by fate, Mario Deslauriers, Bromont’s hometown hero, drew first in the order of go. Deslauriers is the son of Roger Deslauriers, the show manager of the International Bromont, and the last name is synonymous with the show grounds, purpose made for the 1976 summer Olympic Games.
Lucy Deslauriers, Mario’s daughter, and her horse Hester were also showing, winning the Quebec Original FEI Welcome Qualifier on Thursday and placing second in Friday’s Assante FEI Welcome Qualifier. But she was absent from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League class as, at 16 years of age, she’s two years shy of the age requirement.
Her father Mario still holds the record as the youngest ever rider to win the FEI World Cup™ Final when he claimed the honours in 1984 at the age of 19. He was also the first Canadian to win the FEI World Cup™ Final.
“Lucy doing well here, this week – it’s the cherry on the cake,” Roger Deslauriers said of his granddaughter.
All horse-and-rider pairs must compete in an FEI class earlier in the week at a show hosting the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League in order to enter into the FEI World Cup™ qualifier.
“I think it’s really important to always make a horse jump a class before the Grand Prix because it puts everyone on a level playing field,” Riley said. “You have to show up and execute a plan. That’s how the World Cup finals are – you can’t get away with a bad day.”
“I expected the horses to be jumping well,” D’Ambrosio said. “They had two competitions at 1.50 meter earlier in the week, and they were confident and went into the ring with positive feelings. I was very happy that we ended up with 16 riders. Some of the riders had younger horses that have never done a 1.60-meter Grand Prix before, and they felt that they could give a World Cup qualifier a shot. I’m very happy with that.”
See full results: http://internationalbromont.org/en/results.
Facts and Figures
The course designer was Anthony D’Ambrosio. He designed the course for the most recent Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas in April 2015. His next confirmed course design for the Longines FEI North American League is at the Washington International Horse Show on 24 October.
Sixteen riders earned their places in the Bromont qualifying event with eight double clears in the first round. There were six four-fault rounds and two eight-fault rounds. There were no eliminations in the class.
Seven riders in the field are Olympians: Peter Leone and Leslie Howard competed for America, Jill Henselwood, Mac Cone and Mario Deslauriers (now an American citizen) competed for Canada, Ljubov Kochetova competed for Russia and Daniel Bluman competed for Colombia.
The footing at International Bromont was expertly prepared for the event by Oliver Hoberg (GER).
Schuyler Riley: “I’ve had (Dobra de Porceyo) for three years, and I got her as a six-year-old. She was rather unruly. I got her because not a lot were able to stay on her. I took my time with her – she’s a chestnut mare, and you can’t force them to do anything. Once she realized I was never going to hurt her, or force her into anything, she’s actually become so easy and so lovable and such a sweet character.
“We have a very special bond. We basically have worked out a level of communication where she gets what I want and I get what she wants. We have an amazing relationship. I really feel like she loves the sport. I’ve been blessed to have her come across my path.
“(The North American League) is a brand new format. I have not had a horse in a long time that I felt was ready to go to the World Cup so I’m sort of starting at the beginning. Obviously, this is a great start. I think it does cater to people who have one or two horses instead of a string, so that you can plan and strategize to peak at the right moments with your horse. On the day, when it’s required for you to perform, you have to perform, just like at the Finals.”
Charlie Jacobs: “(The North American League) has really made the league that much more elite and special. There are only 14 of these events in North America. And thank you to Longines (for making) these events really, truly special.”
Ljubov Kochetova: “I jumped here all the three weeks. This horse jumped the first week very good and he had one week rest and he feels very good. I always love to jump here because the weather is perfect, very big ring, and the horse feels good and we jumped double clear.”
Roger Deslauriers: “I was a little nervous last week because I didn’t want to make any mistakes and I wanted to be ready to receive FEI and Longines. All the personnel were fantastic and worked so well with the crew (at Bromont). It was hard but fun work, and everything happened great.”
Anthony D’Ambrosio: “I knew that we were working with a smaller group of riders, that we had a World Cup qualifier, and I wanted the standard to be right up there and we achieved that. My plan was to keep it real, but to keep it encouraging.
“I built a 1.60-meter track but not overly technical. It was inviting. There was nothing that I felt anyone felt they were sorry that they put their young horse out there. It was a positive experience, and that’s what I expected.”
International Bromont presented its 40th anniversary show edition at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park from 5-9 August 2015 with three FEI classes and live broadcasts. The venue will host the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League
A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for next year’s prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on 23-28 March 2016.
The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.
Share images, video, experiences using hashtag #FEIWorldCupNAL.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League
The new North American league was launched by Beezie Madden, the most decorated US female equestrian athlete of all time, American Gold Cup winner and FEI Solidarity Ambassador Jessica Springsteen, and Hannah Selleck, team and individual gold medallist at young rider level and one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. The full launch release is available here: https://goo.gl/kCIsyW.
The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.
By Esther Hahn
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