Tag Archives: Steve Guerdat

Super Swiss Head the Leaderboard Going into Day 2 of Bank of America Jumping Championship

Steve Guerdat and Bianca. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

A brilliant round from Steve Guerdat (36) and the fiery mare Bianca put the 2012 Olympic champion and Team Switzerland into pole position as the Bank of America Jumping Championship got underway at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA. A colourful, testing but honest 14-fence track built by Irishman Alan Wade created spectacular sport for spectators and the 124 horse-and-rider combinations from 49 nations.

The defending world champions from The Netherlands jumped into second ahead of Brazil in third and USA in fourth. But the biggest story of the day was the stunning performance of the Australians who slotted into fifth and whose final rider, Rowan Willis (38), is lying individually third behind Brazil’s Pedro Veniss (35) in silver medal position and Guerdat at the top of the leaderboard.

France, Sweden, Germany, Colombia, and Ireland fill the remaining top-10 team places in the field of 25 nations.

Guerdat was second-last to go and raced into the lead in the individual rankings when clear in 76.33.

“It was a long day waiting; we walked the course before 9am and it was nine hours later when I got on my horse, but I was kind of confident because the course walked well. The fastest horses were not leading so I thought if I stick to my plan, I had a good chance to be in the top three today, so I actually really enjoyed my round and I can’t ask for much more!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Veniss and his fabulous stallion Quabri de l’Isle were poetry in motion, their tight turn to the third-last fence ensuring they were really competitive against the clock as they cruised through the finish in 76.68 seconds. And Willis and his chestnut mare Blue Movie were only 0.27 seconds slower through the timers.

“She just tries so hard for me. I don’t worry about trying to go fast because she’s naturally fast, so I just have to keep my rhythm and make sure I don’t make a mistake. It was a nice day. All four of us have just got off to a brilliant start and that’s really encouraging.”

“Obviously it’s not easy for our team because half of us are based in Australia so it’s a long way to go to any shows, but those boys (Jamie Kermond and Billy Raymont) have had a good summer in Europe and Scott (Keach) and I have had a good summer over here (in North America) and it’s just brilliant that we all had a good day today. This is something I’ve dreamed of. It’s the first time I’ve represented Australia since I was about 18 at an invitational in Hong Kong!” — Rowan Willis (AUS)

The British-based rider who hails from Armidale in New South Wales made a big impression when finishing 11th in the Grand Prix at the Masters in Spruce Meadows (CAN) earlier this month.

Swiss supremacy was underpinned by great rounds from Martin Fuchs (26), who lies individually fifth behind Germany’s Marcus Ehning, and Janika Sprunger (31) who is in 16th place with Bacardi VDL. “The course suited Clooney really well. I knew I could do it and I’m glad it worked out so well. Werner (Muff) had two down so the pressure is on Steve now, but we all know that he handles pressure better than anyone else!” Fuchs said before Guerdat proved that this is absolutely true.

Sprunger was Swiss pathfinder. “I had to concentrate to open this well for my team and give confidence to myself and the rest of the others, and I know that Bacardi and I are not the fastest combination, so we just try to go as quickly as possible. Maybe a half-second or one second faster was possible but I’m very happy with the end result. I said I wanted to be on 80 seconds and we almost did it!” she said after stopping the clock on 80.26 seconds.

With only a fence separating the top three countries and less than two separating the top 10, it’s all to play for again when the action resumes with Team Belgium first into the ring ahead of Ireland, Japan, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Germany, USA, and Mexico. Egypt will be next to go and then Venezuela, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, and Great Britain will take their turn. Team Colombia has been drawn ahead of the Swiss and they will be followed by Argentina, Spain, and Italy so the last team into the arena will be Israel.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Inside CHIO Aachen: A Sneak Peak

Niels Bruynseels at Knokke Hippique (Photo: Knokke Hippique)

The second Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, takes place on 22nd July and is expected to attract over 40,000 spectators to witness the prestigious competition. The course, set by Frank Rothenberger, is considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding 5* tracks. The sport’s finest horse and rider partnerships are tested to their limits, displaying enviable skill and talent, striving to make history and to be crowned the Rolex Grand Prix champion.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With the world’s best horse and rider combinations set to take center stage for Rolex Grand Prix, there are some notable contenders whose recent performance would state they are on track for a Rolex Major win:

Niels Bruynseels, the current Rolex live contender, has continued his great form since producing a lightning jump-off round at The Dutch Masters aboard his 12-year-old mare Gancia de Muze in March. The notoriously fast duo took the top prize in the Rolex Grand Prix at Knokke Hippique following a speedy and faultless jump-off. With the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping very much in his sites, Bruynseels will be pulling out all the stops to make sure his Rolex Grand Slam journey continues.

One of the most experienced riders on the circuit, Swiss hero Steve Guerdat, has had a successful summer so far. His most notable victory was in front of HM The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Seeing off top-class competitors, Guerdat rode an impeccable round to snap up the Rolex Grand Prix victory. Guerdat is no stranger when it comes to winning Majors; crowned champion at CHI Geneva on more than one occasion, Guerdat stays calm under pressure and will certainly be a formidable contender for the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen.

Fellow Rolex Testimonee, Eric Lamaze, has prepared well for the CHIO Aachen. At the Rolex Grand Prix in Windsor, he shaved time off Guerdat’s winning result, but a light touch on the pole resulted in four penalties. Fresh from his victory in the ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows with his 15-year-old mare, Fine Lady, Eric Lamaze will be hoping to continue his recent form as he eyes up the coveted Rolex Grand Prix trophy.

Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca is also looking strong, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in Rome (Piazza di Siena). De Luca and his chestnut gelding, Halifax Van Het Kluizebos, jumped two immaculate clear rounds, stopping the clock at 45.37 secs, making him one to watch.

Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum has tasted victory at CHIO Aachen once before, having won the Rolex Grand Prix in 2005 on her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Shutterfly. Michaels-Beerbaum will have the patriotic home-crowd support, willing her to repeat her 2005 success thirteen years on.

Rolex Testimonee, Scott Brash, the first and only rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, brings a wealth of experience and always performs well under pressure.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Champions Crowned at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

The final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show provided top class sport and entertainment across the showground as the week’s Champions were crowned.

The pinnacle of the CSI5* Show Jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix went to Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat after a gripping jump-off, featuring some of the world’s best riders.

After a fantastic week of Showing action, which included wins for Her Majesty The Queen, the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship went to Robert Walker and his Hunter Champion, View Point.

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the retirement of her homebred former racehorse, Barbers Shop, winner of the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship in 2017, in an emotional ceremony in the Castle Arena.

SHOW JUMPING: A SPECIAL VICTORY FOR STEVE GUERDAT

A thrilling Rolex Grand Prix provided the perfect finale to Show Jumping at Royal Windsor, with the world’s best riders in action, all looking to claim the prestigious title and the €75,000 first prize.

A full field of 30 riders contested Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s up-to-height 1.60m course, which posed several challenges, with faults falling evenly throughout the course. 10 combinations jumped clear through to the jump-off, setting up an exciting climax.

Britain’s William Whitaker was the first to take on the shortened course, jumping a brilliant clear round to put the pressure on. Cousin Robert Whitaker followed and showed that the time could be beaten, but was the first of several combinations to incur four faults at the Rolex oxer at the last.

Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) put in a physical display of riding to push Caspar 232 on between fences and take the lead with an impressive time of 44.31; however, it was Laura Kraut (USA) with new ride Catwalk 22 who lay down the gauntlet to the remainder of the field, knocking 0.79 seconds off Gaudiano’s time. Kraut, who has only had the ride on the eleven-year-old Catwalk 22 for three weeks, showed her brilliance, making slightly wider turns, which allowed a smooth and fast-paced round to take the lead.

With four left to go, including two Olympic champions and the reigning European champion, it was a nail-biting conclusion, and it was Steve Guerdat (SUI) with his consistent mare Bianca who managed to pip Kraut to the post with a relentless pace and quick turnbacks to shave another 0.41 seconds off the time, finishing in a time of 43.11. Canada’s Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit looked like he had the class in the bag as last to go, crossing the line in a time of 41.82, but was another to succumb to the final fence, finishing on four faults.

Celebrating his victory, Guerdat, who last competed at Windsor at the European Championships in 2009, where he won team gold, said, “Windsor has been a good place for me. I had a really good feeling coming in to today. Bianca has been jumping really good and gaining experience and she felt really fresh and happy to jump this week. It might sound crazy, as amazing as she is, but this is the first class we have won together, so I’m really pleased for he; she really deserves it; it’s very special.”

Earlier in the day, there was a British victory in the Palm Speed Stakes, with Robert Smith taking the win riding the eleven-year-old grey gelding Cimano E.

As second to go, compatriot William Whitaker set the standard aboard Lammy Beach, however his lead was short-lived as Wilm Vermeir (BEL), already a winner this week, shaved 0.2 seconds off his time to take over the top spot. Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano, always a threat against the clock, wasted no time from the start, making an exceptionally tight turn to the final line to go faster still, posting a time of 54.87 aboard the nine-year-old Einstein.

With a strong field to follow, the pressure was on to post a fast time, which resulted in a few mistakes as riders chased the leading time. Robert Smith negotiated the twisty track brilliantly, moving quickly across the ground and making the tightest of turns throughout to set the new pace with a time of 54.01, over half-a-second faster than Gaudiano. Smith’s time proved unbeatable, Frenchman Olivier Robert gave it his best shot, making a new move inside an oxer to number eight, but his effort was only good enough for third position.

Speaking after the class, Smith said, “It’s always great to have a home win, but the Show here at Windsor is as good as anywhere in the world and it’s always top-class competition. The classes this week have all been fast and very competitive, so it’s not easy to get in the money, so I’m really pleased to be going home with a win.”

DRIVING: A NINTH VICTORY FOR EXELL

The world’s number one horse four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell from Australia, showed yet again why he has held this title consistently over the last decade. He steered his team of black horses – three Gelderlanders and an Oldenburg mare – to his ninth CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

With nearly 20 penalties in hand after the marathon, the result seemed never in doubt, but the cones course still has to be driven and course designer, Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, had set a course that presented a strong challenge to all drivers. Last to go, Exell had one ball down and collected 0.33 time penalties but he remained the comfortable and much applauded winner.

Edouard Simonet from Belgium, a protegee of Exell’s and winner of the marathon section here last year, retained the second place which he had claimed after the marathon, his team of black Arab cross Friesians looking ever more confident. Third place – and an outstanding result – went to Bram Chardon, the 25-year-old son of Ijsbrand Chardon, the Netherlands’ leading driver over two decades; he moved ahead of his father in the cones phase at this, his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hands.

Switzerland’s Beat Schenk, leader after the marathon phase, retained his winning position in horse pairs, to record his fourth Royal Windsor victory. The ten-time Swiss champion pairs a black German-bred horse with a grey Lippizaner; with them he also took the bronze medal at last year’s World Horse Pairs Championship at Lipica, Slovenia. Germany claimed second and third places in this class with Sebastian Warneck and Dennis Schneiders, moving up from third and fifth, respectively.

In pony four-in-hands Great Britain’s hopes were high when young driver Roger Campbell’s excellent marathon put him into second place overall. In third place behind him, Tinne Bax from Belgium applied all possible pressure in the cones phase by posting the only double clear of the class. With less than one penalty between them, Roger could have neither driving nor time penalties; sadly, his one cone down dropped him to third. The winner was Jan de Boer, whose team of Welsh ponies rose to the occasion to give the Dutchman his seventh Royal Windsor victory.

SHOWING: ROBERT WALKER REIGNS SUPREME

Wednesday’s Hunter Champion, View Point ridden by Robert Walker, remained foot perfect in the electric Castle Arena in front of Her Majesty The Queen to become this year’s Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Champion. Sixteen of the week’s high-class champions came before judges Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin CBE to select which stood out above the others.

Hester said: “We were looking for a correct type that looked easy to ride and covered the ground effortlessly.”

The reserve went to the reining Horse of the Year Show Supreme Pony, Lucy Richardson’s Welsh Section A gelding, Thistledown Van Der Vaart, ridden by her daughter Lilly and produced by Sharn Linney.

Earlier in the day, North Yorkshire-based William Pittendrigh jumped one of the few clear rounds to win the Intermediate Working Hunter Pony Championship, and a storming gallop clinched his first Royal Windsor title. His partner was his mother’s six-year-old Silver Lough. Reserve went to the class runner-up, Jodie Creighton, who traveled from Northern Ireland specially to compete at the prestigious event with her seven-year-old, Newmarket Alloy, earning the Royal International ticket as Silver Lough had already qualified.

Oli Hood floated away with the Riding Horse Championship sponsored by Mr and Mrs Phil Swallow for the second year running on Annabel Jenks’ stunning gelding Diamonds Are Forever, who triumphed here last year with Oli’s father Allister. When local rider Jayne Ross won the small class and stood reserve with Diane Stennett’s Casino, the result was an exact duplicate – not only of last year’s Royal International Horse Show, but also The Horse of The Year Show, where Diamonds Are Forever went on to stand Supreme Champion.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355
www.rwhs.co.uk

Guerdat Gallops Them All into the Ground at Stuttgart

Photo: Steve Guerdat and Hannah. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

On a day when a host nation win seemed all but a given, Swiss superman Steve Guerdat (35) and his flying machine Hannah galloped the opposition into total submission with a whirlwind jump-off round at the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Stuttgart, Germany. Never a man to flinch against the clock, the 2012 Olympic champion and winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title in both 2015 and 2016 was third-last to go of the 16 that made the cut into the deciding second round. And to the disbelief of almost everyone including long-time leader Philipp Weishaupt, he shaved more than a half-second off the German rider’s scorching-fast target time to clinch it.

“You have to really believe you have a chance, especially when you are going at the end of a jump-off. I’ve been five times second in the Grand Prix here in Stuttgart and I really wanted to win it one day. I would have preferred to have one down in the fastest time than not to be fast enough today, so I really went for it!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

There were 11 German contenders on the 40-strong start-list so the result seemed heavily weighted in favour of a home victory. But in the end the best they could do was line up behind the speedy Swiss partnership, Weishaupt in runner-up spot with Asathir ahead of Christian Ahlmann with Epleaser van’t Heike in third and Simone Blum and DSP Alice in fourth.

Guerdat is delighted with his 10-year-old mare. “Hannah has been amazing all season. She never jumped indoors before we went to the first World Cup leg in Oslo last month and she wasn’t perfect there, but she was much better in the next round at Helsinki, and here in the big Stuttgart arena it’s more like jumping outdoors so she was very happy with that,” he explained.

“She feels like she really loves her job – as soon as she sees a fence she really wants to jump it and it’s lovely to compete with a horse that loves so much what she does. I think she has fantastic times ahead!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

Guerdat now tops the Western European League table and, with 43 points, is already qualified for the Longines 2018 Final in Paris next April.

Next stop in this thrilling series is Madrid, Spain on Saturday 25 November.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Pendleton Makes Her Show Jumping Debut at Olympia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Begins with Wins for Lorenzo de Luca and Steve Guerdat

Lorenzo de Luca and Limestone Grey. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Calgary, AB – The 2016 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5* began on Wednesday with first-time wins in the famous International Ring for both Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Steve Guerdat (SUI). De Luca kept his recent winning streak alive with a victory in the Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m aboard Limestone Grey. Guerdat took the first win of the day riding Albfuehren’s Happiness in the Telus Cup 1.50m.

The ‘Masters’ Tournament runs September 7-11, 2016, featuring the best horses and riders in the world competing at Spruce Meadows. Highlights include Friday’s Mercedes-Benz Evening of the Horse, which hosts the exciting ATCO Six Bar competition; the BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday, with teams from around the world competing for top honors; and Sunday’s CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, with a staggering $2 million in prize money up for grabs in this year’s competition.

The course designer in the International Ring for this year’s ‘Masters’ competition is Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios. Palacios set the track for 51 starters in the afternoon’s Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m, with 18 advancing to the jump-off, and 10 double clear rounds. De Luca and Stephex Stables’ Limestone Grey clocked the winning time of 34.30 seconds. Frank Schuttert (NED) and Handelshuis Schuttert’s Winchester HS finished second in 35.34 seconds, and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Ludo Philippaerts’ H&M Challenge vd Begijnakker placed third with their opening jump-off time of 35.55 seconds.

De Luca’s recent string of victories includes a big win in St. Moritz, Switzerland with Limestone Grey, as well as a major win in the grand prix in Dublin, Ireland with Ensor de Litrange LXII. Commenting on the continuation of his recent success with a win at Spruce Meadows, de Luca remarked, “It is fantastic. I did not think I would win straight away the first day. The horses have been in great form. The last few months they have been jumping very well. My horse was very good the first round today. I was a little bit afraid because everybody said the ring is spooky for some horses, but I took this horse with me in Dublin and Hickstead, and he was very good over there. Today he jumped very well, so I am very happy.”

Limestone Grey is a ten-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Try-Time) that de Luca began riding in October of 2015. After jumping in Florida this winter, the pair returned to Europe, where Limestone Grey jumped as de Luca’s second horse in 5* competitions.

Commenting on his mount, de Luca stated, “He is improving a lot. He is sensitive, and really intelligent, and really fast.”

The rider continued, “I knew there were so many good riders in the jump-off, so I just watched the first to go, and I knew that I had to go a little bit everywhere. He is really good on the short turns, so the turn from one to two was very good for him, and then I just kept going and he was great.”

Remarking on his first time competing at Spruce Meadows, de Luca smiled, “It is like a dream. It was always a dream for me to come here. This week we also have the Global Champions Tour in Rome and everybody was pushing me to go there. But when you have two good horses like that at the moment, I thought it was a good time to come here, and I am really pleased to be here.”

Guerdat Opens ‘Masters’ Tournament with a Win

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness were the first winners of the week in Calgary, opening Wednesday’s competition with a victory in the Telus Cup 1.50m jump-off. For Guerdat’s first-ever victory in Spruce Meadows’ famed International Ring, the rider topped an eight-horse jump-off out of 74 first round starters. With six double clear over the short course, USA’s Hardin Towell and Jennifer Gates’ SF Ariantha set the pace in 36.86 seconds to eventually finish third. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid followed with a very fast time of 36.75 seconds, but settled for second place. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Callisto jumped into fourth place with a time of 37.28 seconds. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) followed with the sixth place time of 38.24 seconds aboard Candela. Nigel Coupe (GBR) then secured fifth place honors with his time of 38.16 seconds riding Jubilee III. Last to go, Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness stole the lead with a time of 35.71 seconds.

Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness
Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness

Happiness, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Heartbeat x Lambrusco ASK) owned by Hofgut Albführen GmbH, began with Guerdat as an eight-year-old in 2014 and has become very competitive this year.

“I have built her up slowly,” Guerdat explained. “She did not have so much experience when she came to me as an eight-year-old. Then as a nine-year-old I tried to step her up because she had to learn the job and this year she has been good. She has won some 2* and 3* grand prixs and placed in some 1.50m competitions. That is a good height for her – bigger is more difficult for her – but at 1.50m she is very competitive and very fast. She can go fast every day.”

Speaking of Wednesday’s competition, Guerdat noted, “It was a nice course. We had so many starters, so just eight coming back was quite good. Then I was last to go (in the jump-off), which is always the best spot. I knew, more or less, what I had to do and she is always a very naturally fast horse. There were not many places where you could leave strides out, so it was actually a perfect jump-off for her, and I did not have to really rush anything. She is so fast off the ground that it was just enough to beat Eric.”

As the 2012 Olympic champion and back-to-back FEI World Cup Finals winner (2015 and 2016), among many other accolades, Wednesday’s victory was Guerdat’s first at Spruce Meadows.

“Most of the time I had two horses here – one for the Nations’ Cup and one for the Grand Prix – so I was always saving them through the week to be successful in those two main classes,” Guerdat explained. “Those first two or three days were always quite long because I never really had a horse to play the game. This year was different. I just had one first horse to bring that is going to do the Nations’ Cup and the Grand Prix, so I brought another one that was competitive for the other classes.

“This is one of my favorite venues,” Guerdat added. “I love to show here because of this ring, because of its fences, and because of its courses. It is quite tough here because we are not used to jumping fences like this and it always takes a few days to get in the rhythm. This is one date that I do not want to miss for anything. Every year, Calgary is one of the big yellow marks on my calendar of the most important places to go. I want to be good here every year and I am trying to achieve my goal.”

The ‘Masters’ Tournament continues on Thursday with the ATCO Founders Classic 1.50m followed by the CANA Cup 1.60m. For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Spruce Meadows Media Services
caroline.grant@sprucemeadows.com
403.974.4232

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

Olympic Champion Guerdat Goes for the Golden Double

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. (FEI/Kit Houghton)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 3 August 2016 – If defending champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, can claim back-to-back individual gold in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) then he will be the very first Jumping athlete to do so in the history of the Olympic Games. Since Belgium’s Aime Haegeman steered Benton ll to victory in Paris (FRA) in 1900, no rider has succeeded in coming back and doing it again, and Guerdat’s achievement would be all the more remarkable for the fact that he will be partnering the horse that carried him to glory at Greenwich Park in London (GBR) four years ago, the enigmatic Nino des Buissonnets.

Guerdat’s individual Jumping gold was the first for Switzerland in 88 years, the previous one claimed by Lt. Alphonse Gemeseus and Lucette in Paris (FRA) in 1924. It was quite a moment for the 30-year-old rider, who was just edged out for the honours in the closing stages of the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final three months earlier. “But that was an important step to this medal,” he said after claiming the London 2012 title. “He (Nino des Buissonnets) had a big break after the World Cup and just four shows before he came here. I wanted to keep him fresh and confident. I know I have a freak of a horse under me and I knew that if I took time with him it would be easier when he came here (to London).”

Well-planned

Now 34, Guerdat is a veteran of three Olympic Games as he arrives in Rio with the 15-year-old Nino who has been given a well-planned lead-in to the big event once again. Their last major victory together was in the Grand Prix at Geneva (SUI) in December, with the brave and quirky horse otherwise mainly kept under wraps apart from a stunning double-clear in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping leg in Rotterdam (NED) in June where the Swiss team finished second.

And Guerdat is in exactly the right frame of mind himself, having secured the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title for the second time in two years at the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in March. However, he will be facing formidable opposition when he rides in to the Deodoro Arena for the first Olympic competition on 14 August. And arguably the greatest threat to his quest for double-gold will come from America’s McLain Ward.

Ask any of the other top riders and his name pops up every time. The 40-year-old from Brewster, New York is also a three-time Olympian, taking double team gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Riding with supreme confidence and with a fabulous string of horses, he has been like an unstoppable train with wins in both the US and across Europe this year. And in the 10-year-old mare, Azur, he has a willing and able partner as he sets off on his Olympic glory trail.

Stunning

It’s interesting to note, however, that one other who has been attracting a lot of positive attention is Sweden’s Peder Fredricson with the 10-year-old gelding All In, runner-up in the Grand Prix in Rome (ITA) in May before throwing down two stunning double-clears at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping legs in St Gallen (SUI) in June and Falsterbo (SWE) in July. Anyone who has studied this horse in action knows the ease with which he tackles the biggest tracks. And this has possibly contributed to the sense that the Swedes could come out with all guns blazing in the Olympic team event. Malin Baryard-Johnsson has a fantastic new ride in Cue Channa, and with Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Unita) and Henrik von Eckermann (Yajamila) also on call-up, they look set to make a serious impact.

Of course the Dutch team will be hoping to continue the run of form that has seen them crowned world champions in 2014 and European champions last summer. To pile Olympic gold on top of that would be quite an achievement for Harrie Smolders, Maikel van der Vleuten, Jur Vrieling and the man who also claimed individual gold on both of those occasions, Sydney 2000 individual gold medallist Jeroen Dubbeldam.

Defending champions

The defending team champions from Great Britain send out two of their 2012 side in Nick Skelton and Ben Maher. The age profile of the majority of the British side is on the upper end of the scale, and 58-year-old Skelton joked recently that some of them might have to be “stretchered” into Rio, but nobody is going to underestimate the threat they pose. Skelton has nursed his London 2012 partner, Big Star, back to good health ahead of these Games and they have produced some seriously impressive recent performances. Meanwhile, although it may be 32 years since the legendary Whitaker brothers Michael (56) and John (60) took Olympic team silver in Los Angeles (USA), they are also right on top of their game.

However, there has been a glitch in the preparations for the defending champions because Michael Whitaker is suffering from broken ribs following a freak fall at home while training a horse just a few days ago. So often in sport the greatest plans are turned upside down by unexpected incidents and accidents, but the younger Whitaker insists he will be ready for action with Cassionato when the moment arrives.

The team competition looks set to be a fierce contest between 10 powerful nations, and the hosts from Brazil have plenty to be excited about because one of their quartet, 25-year-old Stephan de Freitas Barcha, has been really impressive with the 13-year-old gelding Landpeter de Feroleto in recent months.

With 75 of the world’s best horses and riders fighting for the individual title, the flags of 27 nations flying high and 15 countries battling it out for the team honours, the Jumping competitions at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games look set to be classics

What is jumping?

Jumping is an equestrian sport in which horse-and-rider combinations jump fences consisting of poles inside an arena, with penalties for knock-downs, refusals, horse and rider falls and for going over the time limit. There are a variety of competitions including speed events, and some will conclude with a jump-off for horse/rider combinations that have been penalty-free over previous rounds. The jump-off can be compared to a penalty shoot-out in soccer, and the result is just as unpredictable.

How it will play out….

After a horse inspection on 12 August, the first competition gets underway on 14 August with one round of jumping, and no jump-off against the clock. The starting order is decided by a computerised draw. The second competition is run over two days (16 and 17 August) – a qualifying round and a final round – over different courses, with the first day open to all, and the second open to the top eight teams.

If the scores for any of the medal placings are equal, teams will jump a shorter course against the clock and if there is still a tie, the times of the best three athletes per team are added together to decide the winning team. There is also the possibility of a jump-off for the bronze medal and this will take place before the jump-off for gold.

The horses still in contention for individual honours undergo another horse inspection on 18 August, before the individual final the following day, 19 August. The individual final is open to the top 35 horse/rider combinations after the first three days of competition. All participants start the individual final on zero (0) penalties. The top 20 from this round then go through to the final round to decide the individual medals, with the horse/rider on the lowest score winning gold

If there is more than one clear round, the medals are decided by a jump-off against the clock. If jumping penalties are the same over a shortened course, then the fastest time wins

Facts and Figures – Jumping:

75 horse-and-rider combinations

27 nations

15 teams

12 countries represented by individuals only

The London 2012 individual Olympic Jumping champions, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets, will defend their title at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The previous 5 Olympic individual Jumping champions have also been selected – Ludger Beerbaum (GER) Barcelona Olympic Games 1992, Ulrich Kirchhoff who took gold for Germany at Atlanta in 1996 and who is now competing under the Ukrainian flag, Sydney 2000 gold medallist Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED), Athens 2004 champion Rodrigo Pessoa who is reserve rider for the Brazilian squad and Beijing 2008 champion Eric Lamaze (CAN).

Kirchhoff was also member of the winning German team at the Atlanta 1996 Games along with Ludger Beerbaum, who claimed the first of his three team golds in Seoul (KOR) in 1988 and the last in Sydney (AUS) in 2000.

USA took the team title at Athens (GRE) in 2004 and Beijing 2008. McLain Ward and Beezie Madden were on both of these teams and line out again in Rio de Janeiro alongside Will Simpson who was on the winning Beijing side and Lucy Davis, with 2008 team gold medallist, Laura Kraut, in reserve.

The British are defending team champions, and just one of the London 2012 gold medal winning horse/rider combinations will line out in Rio – 58-year-old Nick Skelton with Big Star. He is joined by two members of the Olympic silver medal winning team in Los Angeles (USA) in 1984 – brothers Michael (56) and John (60). Completing the British side is Ben Maher (33) and reserve is Jessica Mendoza (20).

The Netherlands come to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with team and individual gold from both the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2104 in Normandy (FRA) and last summer’s FEI European Championships at Aachen (GER).

Germany’s Hans Günter Winkler holds the record for most Olympic Jumping medals. He claimed 7 during his long and illustrious career, 3 of those with the great mare, Halla.

No female athlete has ever won individual gold in Jumping, but Britain’s Marion Coakes and the extraordinary pony, Stroller, came closest, taking individual silver at Mexico City in 1968.

Jumping at the Olympic Games goes back to 1900 when Alme Haegeman from Belgium took the individual title with Benton ll in Paris.

Germany leads the medal tables in Jumping, with 5 individual and 8 team titles since 1912.

The Jumping Officials

Technical Delegate for Jumping at the Olympic Games is Spain’s Santiago Varela Ullastres, and course designer is Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge.

The Jumping Ground Jury consists of Stephan Ellenbruch (GER), President, and members Elaine Zander (BRA), David Distler (USA), Alfred Boll (SUI) and Kazuya Hirayama from Japan. The footing expert is Germany’s Christian Bauer who will work alongside FEI footing specialist Lars Roepstorff.

Venezuela’s Cesar Hirsch is both Overall Chief Steward and Chief Steward for Jumping. The team of Jumping Stewards is Maria Hernek (SWE), Eric Straus (USA), Shigeru Hashimoto (JPN) and Kate Horgan (IRL).

Other Officials

President of the Veterinary Commission is Brazil’s Dr Thomas Wolff and he will be assisted by Associate Members Dr Kirsten Neil from Australia and Mexico’s Dr Sergio Salinas. There will be two thermography vets, Germany’s Dr Gerit Matthesen and Tracy Turner from the USA.

Tim Randle (GBR) is Foreign Veterinary Delegate. The FEI MCP veterinary experts are Britain’s Colin Roberts and Hungary’s Dr Miklos Jarmy.

The Appeal Committee is headed up by Pierre Ketterer from France with Colombia’s Yolanda Matallana as Vice-President. The Jumping member of the Appeal Committee is Belgium’s Freddy Smeets. Henrik Arle from Finland is Chairman of the FEI Tribunal.

The FEI Medical Officer is Great Britain’s Peter Whitehead.

The Teams

Argentina: Matias Albarracin (Cannavaro 9), Jose Maria Larocca (Cornet du Lys), Bruno Passaro (Chicago Z), Ramiro Quintana (Appy Cara). Reserve: Jose Maria Larocca (Eliot DWS).

Australia: Scott Keach (Fedor), James Paterson-Robinson (Amarillo), Edwina Tops-Alexander (Lintea Tequila), Matt Williams (Valinski S).

Brazil: Stephan de Freitas Barcha (Landpeter do Feroleto), Alvaro de Miranda Neto (Cornetto K), Eduardo Menezes (Quintol), Pedro Veniss (Quabri de l’Isle). Reserve: Rodrigo Pessoa (Cadjanine Z).

Canada: Yann Candele (First Chioice), Tiffany Foster (Tripple X), , Eric Lamaze (Fine Lady), Amy Millar (Heros). Reserve: Kara Chad (Bellinda).

France: Roger Yves Bost (Sydney Une Prince), Simon Delestre (Ryan), Penelope Leprevost (Flora de Mariposa), Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise). Reserve: Philippe Rozier (Rahotep de Toscane).

Great Britain: Ben Maher (Tic Tac), Nick Skelton (Big Star), John Whitaker (Ornelaia), Michael Whitaker (Cassionato). Reserve: Jessica Mendoza (Spirit T).

Germany: Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z), Ludger Beerbaum (Casello), Daniel Deusser (First Class van Eeckelhem), Marcus Ehning (Cornado NRW). Reserve: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Fibonacci).

Japan: Daisuke Fukushima (Cornet 36), Toshiki Masui (Taloubetdarco KZ), Taizo Sugitani (Imothep), Reiko Takeda (Bardolino). Reserve: Koki Saito (Capilot).

Netherlands: Jeroen Dubbeldam (Zenith), Harrie Smolders (Emerald), Maikel van der Vleuten (Verdi), Jur Vrieling (Zirocco Blue). Reserve: Gerco Schroder (London).

Qatar: Hamad Ali Mohamed Al Attiyah (Appagino), Ali Yousef Al Rumaihi (Gunder), Sheikh Ali Al Thani (First Devision), Bassem Hassan Mohammed (Dejavu). Reserve: Faleh Suwead Al Ajami (Armstrong van de Kapel).

Spain: Edduardo Alvarez Aznar (Rokfeller de Pleville), Sergio Alvarez Moya (Carlo), Pilar Lucrecia Cordon (Gribouille du Lys), Manuel Fernandez Saro (U Watch). Reserve: Gerardo Menendex Mieres (Cassino DC).

Switzerland: Romain Duguet (Quorida du Treho), Martin Fuchs (Clooney), Steve Guerdat (Nino des Buissonnets), Janika Sprunger (Bonne Chance). Reserve: Paul Estermann (Castlefield Eclipse).

Sweden: Malin Baryard-Johnsson (Cue Channa), Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (Unita), Peder Fredricsson (All In), Henrik von Eckermann (Yajemila). Reserve: Charlotte Mordasini (Romane du Theil).

Ukraine: Ulrich Kirchhoff (Prince de la Mare), Cassio Rivetti (Fine Fleur du Marais), Ferenc Szentirmai (Chadino), Rene Tebbel (Zipper). Reserve: Ference Szentirmai (Chaccland).

USA: Lucy Davis (Barron), Kent Farrington (Voyeur), Beezie Madden (Cortes C), McLain Ward (Azur). Reserve: Laura Kraut (Zeremonia).

The Individuals

Belgium: Jerome Guery (Grand Cru van de Rozenberg), Nicola Philippaerts (Zilverstar T).

Chinese Taipei: Isheau Wong (Zekerijke V).

Colombia: Daniel Bluman (Sancha LS), Rene Lopez (Con Dios lll).

Egypt: Karim Elzoghby (Amelia).

Ireland: Greg Broderick (Going Global).

Italy: Emanuele Gaudiano (Caspar).

Morocco: Abdelkebir Ouaddar (Quickly de Kreisker).

Peru: Alonso Validez Prado (Chief).

Portugal: Luciana Diniz (Fit for Fun).

Turkey: Omer Karaevli (Roso au Crosnier).

Uruguay: Nestor Nielsen van Hoff (Prince Royal Z de la Luz).

Venezuela: Emanuel Andrade (Hardrock Z), Pablo Barrios (Antares).

The Nations

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Taipei, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela.

The FULL list of horse/rider combinations are listed here.

FEI OLYMPIC HUB: For further information visit the FEI Olympic Hub which is dedicated to all things Olympic and Paralympic, both old and new: here.

Support Olympic Equestrian using social tags #Equestrian #Eventing #Jumping #Dressage #ParaDressage #Rio2016 #Olympics #TwoHearts

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.

The equestrian events in Rio will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Olympic cluster, alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting.

The countries represented in Equestrian in Rio are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

They will compete in:

Jumping: 27 countries, 15 teams, 75 horse/rider combinations
Eventing: 24 countries, 13 teams, 65 horse/rider combinations
Dressage: 25 countries, 11 teams, 60 horse/rider combinations

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
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Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
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Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
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+41 79 314 24 38

CHIO Aachen Welcomes Steve Guerdat, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

05 July 2016, Aachen, Germany – Elite performances and highly competitive show jumping will return to Aachen in July, as the world’s finest riders compete in the first equestrian Major of the year.

Considered by many to be the most breathtaking equestrian show in the world, CHIO Aachen attracts a record attendance of passionate supporters, with over 400,000 spectators across 10 days of exhilarating competition.

CHIO Aachen offers competition in five equestrian disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving and vaulting, with the Rolex Grand Prix, the highlight of the competition, on Sunday 17 July.

Designed by the legendary course designer Frank Rothenberger, the course for the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding for equine athletes, testing horses and riders to the limit of their skill and talent. Crowds in excess of 40,000 are expected to watch Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat tackle this challenge and attempt to maintain his position as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF SHOW JUMPING

Created jointly in 2013 by CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping rewards the rider who wins the Grand Prix at each of the shows, amounting to three Grands Prix in succession.

The Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen has been won by some of the most famous names in the sport, including father and son team Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, alongside Rodrigo’s fellow Rolex Testimonees, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Eric Lamaze and Scott Brash. The year 2015 was momentous for the international world of show jumping, as Brash won the pinnacle of equestrian sporting achievement. Aachen was the second Major in his path to writing history, before lifting the prestigious trophy in the atmospheric grass arena at Spruce Meadows.

This year all eyes will be focused on leading Swiss rider and current Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, who is following in the footsteps of Brash by winning at CHI Geneva in December 2015. Guerdat will be looking to continue his quest in challenging for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at Aachen to firmly establish his own place, alongside Brash, in the ranks of equestrian legends.

EQUESTRIAN TESTIMONEES SET TO COMPETE AT AACHEN

To be the very best, an athlete must be able to deliver repeatedly under pressure. As the world’s leading makers of timepieces, this is something Rolex understands perfectly.

Rolex has developed particularly close partnerships with a handful of the very best riders in the world – its equestrian Testimonees. These men and women are notable not only for their exceptionally high levels of achievement, but also for the virtues of horsemanship and sportsmanship.

They must be patient and persistent, as well as courageous, resilient and quick thinking. It is these qualities that turn a rider into a horseman, qualities found at the heart of every Rolex Testimonee.

Many of Rolex’s Testimonees are set to return with their leading horses this year, to compete for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Two-time individual gold medal winner and Canadian sporting hero Eric Lamaze will be ready to challenge Guerdat. Having won the Rolex title here in 2010, he will be hungry for further success. Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash is expected to return in 2016 to defend his Rolex Grand Prix title, alongside the ‘first lady’ of German show jumping Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who will be looking to repeat her 2005 victory at Aachen.

Kent Farrington will be eager to continue his winning form at the end of 2015, with victory in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva. Rolex’s youngest Testimonee, Bertram Allen, French rider Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa have also all entered their world class horses to compete for the esteemed Rolex Grand Prix trophy.

Rolex’s iconic dressage Testimonee, the World and Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth has won Aachen’s dressage Grand Prix a breathtaking 11 times, and is set to return again in 2016 to compete in the magnificent 20,000 seater Deutsche Bank stadium.

AN OPENING CEREMONY LIKE NO OTHER

Rolex has sponsored the Grand Prix at Aachen since 1999 and are proud to continue their enduring partnership with this iconic and emblematic event.

More than 160 horses and around 500 active participants are expected in the impressive main stadium on 12th July for the official opening ceremony. There will be plenty of surprises, spectacular stunts and impressive show elements in the fascinating floodlit atmosphere of the stadium that holds a crowd of 40,000. “Forget everything you know about the CHIO Aachen opening ceremonies to date. This year’s ceremony will be better than ever,” said Show Director Frank Kemperman.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662

Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat Features on First Day of FEI Sports Forum

Steve Guerdat (SUI), centre, with Wayne Channon (GBR), rapporteur, and fellow panelist Cesar Hirsch (VEN). (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Lausanne (SUI), 4 April 2016 – “Being open and transparent is vital to us as we are discussing matters which have the intention to, and most probably will, affect the future of our sport,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said in his opening address at the fifth edition of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI). “By coming together to share experiences and to discuss the future, we are showing our strength and unity as a sport and our willingness to lead and not be led.”

The two-day Forum has attracted a record number of 320 delegates, with representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Federations, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), stakeholders, sponsors, riders, trainers, media, volunteers, guests and FEI staff almost filling the auditorium at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Business School, which has hosted the Sports Forum for the past four years.

IMD Professor Stéphane Garelli, the day’s first speaker, referenced the increasing impact of sport on the global economy. “When you look at sport, you are speaking of something that is joyful and happy. You have the privilege in sport and the FEI to bring happiness to people.”

The opening day was dedicated to FEI Officials, their career pathway, remuneration and education, with the sessions providing the opportunity to debate key questions related to the involvement of the National Federations, costs, calendar and geographical spread, standards and strategy.

“The Officials are a group of people that play an important role in our sport and without whom our sport would not be possible. Our officials are in the frontline when it comes to preserving integrity and ensuring that a level playing field is maintained,” Ingmar de Vos said.

The first session debated the optimal career pathway for FEI Officials, promotion, demotion, and sanctions. There was also debate on ways to measure the quality of officiating and whether there should be an age limit of FEI Officials.

Vicki Glynn, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Federation, supported the removal of the age limit for FEI Officials. “Legally it is age discrimination. The age limit must be removed. We are one of only two organisations that retain age limits for officials. We should put a more effective evaluation process in place and like many countries do when renewing drivers’ licenses, you need to have an eye sight test, medical test.”

Delegates raised the importance of educational support from the FEI to increase the level of understanding of the sport amongst officials, and the correct application of FEI rules.  There was general consensus that training and education are key to the development and understanding of the sport.

“People need to learn to follow procedures; judges need to learn that, but one thing we cannot miss is the horsemanship these people should have,” Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) said. “Yes we need rules, the rules are black and white, but we must not forget we have a horse in our sport, a living animal, and the officials must understand the importance of horsemanship.”

Education was the focus of the second session, giving delegates the opportunity to raise questions on the involvement of National Federations in educating officials, balancing costs without impacting quality, and focusing on standards and education strategy.

Maarten van der Heijden, Secretary General of the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation, called for standardised education material, and underlined the willingness of the Federation to share its own material for use by the FEI and other National Federations for education purposes.

“The riders want to have good judges so we can stay on a level playing field and look after our horses; we want clean sport and we want good judges,” Steve Guerdat said. “Unfortunately we need to find money and I understand it’s very expensive. On my point I would have absolutely no problem giving away part of the prize money, but I’m sure I’m one of the few riders.

“There’s a lot of pressure on those people; they have big decisions to take. We could maybe help them by creating a kind of panel to help them take the big decisions. It shouldn’t only be the steward and judges. Maybe have a vet, a rider, an independent person for the panel.”

Fellow panellist Rocio Echeverri also commented on the remuneration debate. “I really don’t believe that someone who does it on a voluntary basis is more or less professional. As an official, I’m 100 per cent committed whether I get paid or not. Getting more money doesn’t make us better officials. It’s about ethics. Payment does not make a better official in my opinion.”

“We don’t want to sacrifice quality to get quantity, or sacrifice quality for expense, quality is an investment,” said Wayne Channon, who was the only person to voice the view that all judges should be appointed by the FEI. Other delegates spoke in favour of retaining the split between Organising Committee and FEI appointments, stating that payment should come from whichever body appointed the Officials.

There was also concern expressed by a number of delegates for both the less developed nations and the non-Olympic disciplines. “Don’t forget the smaller disciplines that are less professionalised and with less prize money. These athletes deserve well educated officials too,” Maarten van der Heijden said.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez closed the first day’s sessions with a summary of the discussions on evaluation, age limit, mentoring, rotations, professionalism, subsidising education courses and remuneration with the help of the three rapporteurs.

“We can learn from other sports,” Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The conclusions will be brought to the Bureau and a task force will be created to look at the individual issues. We will come up with some concrete measures to present to you.”

After the session, the Secretary General commented on the positive feedback on the new way of running the Sports Forum. “We are genuinely committed to integrating members of our community and giving them a starring role in the discussions so that they could lead the debate as moderators and panelists. It was extremely well received by all the delegates as they felt they were an integral part of a direct dialogue.”

The detailed programme for the FEI Sports Forum 2016 is available to view and download here.

The FEI online platform is open for continued discussions on all topics raised at the FEI Sports Forum here.

The first session on Officials career pathway was led by moderator Sandra Wiedmer, Secretary General of the Swiss National Federation, with a panel made up of Teodor Sheytanov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian National Federation, Mariette Withages (BEL), former International FEI O-Judge, Marisol Casado (ESP), IOC Member and President of the International Triathlon Union, Hope Hand (USA), FEI Para-Equestrian Committee Member, with Reining Committee Member Pierre Ouellet (ITA) acting as rapporteur.

The second session, which focused Officials education, was moderated by Sally Ike (USA), with a panel of FEI Steward General Dressage Jacques van Daele (BEL), FEI Reining Committee member Raymond Grether (NED), FEI Executive Board Member & Athlete Committee Chair Maria Gretzer (SWE), and Peter Kallings (SWE), FEI List Group Member and FEI Testing Veterinarian. Harald Muller (GER), FEI Education & Standards Director, acted as rapporteur.

The third session, which focused on Officials appointments and remuneration, was moderated by FEI Jumping Committee member Stephan Ellenbruch (GER). The panel was made up of Peter Bollen (BEL), Jumping Committee Member, Rocio Echeverri (CRC), Endurance Committee member, Cesar Hirsch (VEN), FEI Nomination Committee Member and Swiss star Steve Guerdat (SUI). International Dressage Riders Club Secretary General Wayne Channon (GBR) was rapporteur.

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
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Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
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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

Guerdat Claims Second FEI World Cup Jumping Final Victory

Photo Credit: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst.

Gothenburg (SWE), 28 March 2016 – Olympic champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, showed nerves of steel when galloping to victory at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final for the second year in a row.

The crowd in the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) went wild after the 33-year-old rider produced two faultless rounds with the 10-year-old gelding Corbinian to claim the €172,500 prizewinner’s purse. It was the perfect end to a great final for the Swiss champion, bringing his earnings for the weekend to €232,100.

The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders took the runner-up spot and a handsome pay cheque of €131,250 for these two rounds and must now be one of the hot favourites for a place in Rio.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in 2014, stood on the third step of the podium and was all too happy to join forces with Smolders to hoist Guerdat and the trophy into the air in celebration.

Guerdat was out in front going into the final decider, but had to leave all the fences on Santiago Varela Ullastres’ brilliant course standing if he was going to do the back-to-back double after his win in Las Vegas (USA). Despite the pressure and with the passionate crowds oohing and aahing over every fence, he held his nerve to finish on a perfect zero for the win.

“It’s really special,” an emotional Guerdat said. “I wasn’t really thinking I would stand here in front of you as the Final winner today. I have a really strong team supporting me, people who get up early every morning and work really hard, so I want to thank my whole team; it’s really a team victory. We all have the same goal. It’s me who’s standing here in front of you, but there are many people who should be standing here with me. It’s a team victory more than ever I think.”

Guerdat’s biggest wins have come with three different horses – Nino des Buissonnets at London 2012, the mare Albufuehrens Paille in Las Vegas last year, and now his latest champion Corbinian. Today’s victory was the fourth for Switzerland in the series, with Markus Fuchs taking the cup in 2001, Beat Mandli in 2007, and now two in a row for Guerdat.

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