Tag Archives: vaulting

Momentous Triple Vaulting Championships Promise a Thrilling Week

Averill Saunders at the Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup Final 2023 in Omaha (USA) – FEI / Richard Juilliart

Excitement is building until the largest Vaulting Championships in history takes place in Flyinge (SWE).  The FEI Vaulting European Championship will be held in combination with the FEI World Championship for Juniors and the premiere of the FEI World Championship for Young Vaulters. Hosting the three Championships is a challenge embraced by the Swedish hosts and much anticipated by the athletes and spectators, with 26 nations and 135 horses expected to present themselves to the Ground Jury.

The first medals will be awarded to the Senior athletes on Friday, 28 July. In the hotly contested Female class, Switzerland has a strong showing with Ilona Hannich, Danielle Bürgi, and Nadja Büttiker. Bürgi, who has had an excellent season showing her calibre on multiple horses, finished second at the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ in Omaha (USA) and the CVI3* in Bern (SUI), and won the CVI** Masterclass in Wiesbaden (GER). Büttiker has a wealth of experience and Hannich has significantly increased her level as evidenced by her fourth-place finish at the CHIO Aachen (GER) in June 2023.

Austria’s Eva Nagiller will be aiming for a podium finish, after a disappointing run at the FEI Vaulting World Championship in Herning (DEN) in 2022 due to her horse becoming unsettled.

It is a family affair for Germany, as each athlete will be lunged by their parent. Kathrin Meyer, winner of the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ in Omaha in 2023 and more recently champion of CHIO Aachen, has had an almost perfect season. She will start the event as the favourite and will be lunged by her mum Sonja. Much of her competition comes from 2022 FEI Vaulting World Championship silver medallist Julia Sophie Wagner, also lunged by her mother Katja, and Alina Ross, who is striving for her first senior medal alongside her father Volker.

The family theme continues with the Brüsewitz Brüder (Brüsewitz brothers) trio, the Male contingent from Germany, comprising Viktor, Thomas, and honorary brother Jannik Heiland. While they have a plethora of medals, a senior gold medal has been elusive.

The biggest title challenge comes from the youngest contender, Frenchman and current Vice-World Champion Quentin Jabet. The 20-year-old vaults with such precision and grace that he will be hard to beat. Fellow countryman Theo Gardies also has a unique style and ability worthy of championship glory. It is a narrow but strong field with multiple highly decorated athletes, which will make for a tight and exciting battle.

Vaulting aficionados will be looking to see if Germany can remain dominant in the sport despite filling only one of their two Pas-de-Deux spaces. Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne have the nation’s hopes on their shoulders. As silver medallists at the FEI Vaulting World Championships in Herning (DEN) in 2022, there is high expectations for them to pick up the torch passed from retired teammates 2022 FEI World Champions Chiara Congia and Justin van Gerven.

Bronze medallists at the 2022 FEI Vaulting World Championship, Rebecca Greggio and Davide Zanella, will endeavour to turn the tables and bring gold home for Italy.  Both couples will face stiff competition from Switzerland and Austria. Ilona Hannich competing together with Li Laffer for Switzerland will be going after their first Championship bid, while Austrians Eva Nagiller and Romana Hintner will try to replicate or improve on their 2019 FEI European Championship bronze medal finish.

Germany’s Team Norka is on course to take the top step of the Squad podium again, and although they are in a different composition to the last few years, they have had a solid season.  Their biggest rivals are the Swiss, whom they have defeated twice this year. The third podium step is where it might get interesting, as the lack of an Austrian entry throws the floor open. The Swedish have the home advantage and they have been working hard towards this goal for a long time. Nordic rivals, Denmark, has seen medal success in recent years and will ride that wave to aim for further glory.  However, the Netherlands could ruin it for them both, as their squad has been quietly progressing and has an equal opportunity to steal the third position.

The final competition of the event will be the Official Team. One squad and two individuals from each country will combine to be crowned European Champions. Much like the Squad competition, and sadly due to the absence of a French and Austrian Squad, it looks to be a fight for the top between Germany and Switzerland. Germany has something to prove after missing out on an Official Team medal at the 2022 FEI World Championships, proving that even the best can falter under pressure. There will certainly be pressure for the Netherlands, Sweden, and 2022 vice-World Champions Denmark, as the podium lies tantalisingly close.

FEI Vaulting World Championship for Juniors

The FEI Vaulting World Championships for Juniors has an exceptional number of Female entries. A record fifty-six have declared, including Polina Shovkova and Kateryna Panasenko, Ukraine’s first representatives at a Vaulting Championship.  They will take to the circle aboard Filon, lunged by Kevine Moneuse (FRA).  Historically the World Junior Female title is reserved for Austria, and Clara Ludwiczek, Antonia Mayerhofer, and Katharina Feldhofer will try to keep up the tradition.  Switzerland offers three strong contenders, Leonie Linsbichler, Mara Hofer, Noemi Licci, and the quality presented by Germany is just as high with Mia Kluge, Mirja Luise Krohne, and Laura Seemüller.

It is not only these heavyweight nations who hold Europe’s medal chances. Oceane Gehan brings high hopes for France, while Giorgia Varisco could claim her place in history for Italy. Nora Sandberg Müller is the top choice for the home nation. Of course, the title could head across the pond with Hannah Wildermuth (USA), who has had an excellent season but has not yet met the full might of European talent. The quality of participants is undoubtedly high, and success will go to those who manage the pressure of high-level competition, both mentally and physically. Of course, the calibre and composure of the horses and lungers may be the deciding factor.

Dutch Junior Male World Champion Sam dos Santos returns to defend his title after competing at the Senior Championship in Herning (DEN) in 2022. Since his victory at the FEI World Championships for Juniors in Le Mans (FRA) in 2021, he has proven himself at a level to take on and prevail over many of the top Senior Men. Triumph is not inevitable as there are other high-grade juniors out to take his title. The bronze medallist at the FEI Vaulting European Championship for Juniors in Kaposvar (HUN) in 2022, Arnee Heers, is the front runner for Germany, and his young teammate Lukas Heitmann might also manage a medal at his first major Championship. Synonymous with excellence in Male vaulting, France has two hopefuls: Baptiste Terrier and Louis Dumont.  Each must show exceptional rounds if they are to win the class for France for the first time.

Out to make history for his country, Jakub Roguski could become the first decorated Polish vaulter.  He finished sixth at the 2022 FEI European Championships for Juniors and has been producing quality performances this season. Other notable performers to look out for are Andrej Menhert of Slovakia and Switzerland’s Romain Simonet.

The Junior Pas-de-Deux class is the essence of girl power as every combination is a female partnership.  As in the senior category, Germany has elected to only present one pair: Lisa Marie Wagner and Timea Bonekat.  Austrians Anja Huber and Katharina Feldhofer could upgrade their 2022 European bronze medal but will have to fend off team-mates Sarah Victoria Köck and Clara Dick, as well as Italy’s Giorgia Varisco and Greta Gemignani, who are on course for a first Junior medal.

It is gratifying to see the increasing number of nations participating in the Championships. This year both Brazil and Canada will premiere a Junior Squad. Fierce competition awaits in the form of European Champions Switzerland. They will present the same 2022 victorious squad, albeit on a different horse – Lagrima.  They too will have to stave off competition from formidable squads from Italy, Germany, and Austria.

FEI World Championship for Young Vaulters

The Young Vaulter class was established in 2022 to bridge the gap between Junior and Senior level. The format is mainly the same as the Senior competition although the athletes, aged 16-21, perform only three of the five obligatory exercises within their Technical Test. A hugely successful 2022 FEI European Championship in Kaposvar (HUN) has led to a positive uptake in participants, with the prize to become the maiden World Champion, an alluring prospect.

Joint favourites in the Female category are current European Champion from Germany Alice Layher, with her medal winning combination and Averill Saunders, who is on the hunt for Canada’s first Vaulting medal.  Saunders has a strong chance of achieving that dream if she can control her mind and remain free of the heel injury which hampered the middle of her season.  Switzerland’s Michelle Brügger and Alicia Bärtschi will be pushing their nation towards the top of the table, alongside 2022 Junior European Champion Anna Weidenauer (AUT), who has moved into the higher age bracket this year.

Determination and dedication come in the form of Caroline Morse (USA), who has flown over her own horse Grasshopper AF for the best chance of success. Desiring to be the one to bring home honours for her country, compatriot Melanie Ford has teamed up with a German combination San Felice Z and Christina Ender. The youngest competitor at 17 years old is Italy’s Giada Samiolo, not that you could tell from her string of good results this year. Alongside Giorgia Fanucci, either would be worthy to stand on the rostrum for Italy.

Ruben Delauney (FRA), the 2022 FEI Male European Champion for Young Vaulters, has now progressed into the Senior category which leaves the title space open. Inevitably, it will be Austria versus Germany in a tussle for the top. 2022 Silver and Bronze medallists, Philip Clement and Fabian Lipp, will try to better their results for Austria, while 2022 FEI Junior European Champion Bela Lehnen (GER) has been in superb form, and is joined by Philip Goroncy and Jonathon Geib, each looking for German glory.

It will be an action-packed week of Vaulting, with quality horses, incredible skills, and a rollercoaster of emotions. The culmination of years of preparation and teamwork, it all comes down to mental toughness, steadfast horses, and a little bit of luck. History will be made once again as we eagerly anticipate the crowning of new champions.

by Joanne Littlejohn


It’s the American Dream for Germany, Taking Top Honours in All Classes

Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven (GER) with Max – FEI / Richard Juilliart.

While there was little doubt that Germany would go home with a title, the question ahead of the Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final was just how many could they win?

Kathrin Meyer (GER) had one foot firmly on the podium after her technical test, and she made it clear with her freestyle that she had no intention of letting anyone else have the top spot. Powerfully, she moved through her robotic freestyle to take the title at her debut FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final. Together with her Mum, Sonja Meyer, and her own horse, San Classico S, the trio proved an unbeatable combination (8.428).

“I’m really happy; it was the first time I showed my new freestyle… and my new inside ground jump worked pretty well. I’m really happy with that,” said Meyer.

Danielle Bürgi (SUI) remained hot on the heels of the German vaulter. However, even with her creative freestyle winning the round, it wasn’t enough. Vaulting on Best Brew, lunged by Andrea Selch, she finished in second, only 0.082 behind (8.346).

Professionalism and experience shone through for Julia Sophie Wagner of Germany. A technical hitch led to a music error at the start of her round, but she didn’t falter and instead pulled off an excellent freestyle to rise up the rankings and finish in bronze medal position atop DSP Sir Laulau with Hendrik Falk (7.791). The USA’s Kimberly Palmer was left just outside the medal positions, scoring 7.736.

In the Men’s competition, the first-round scores made all the difference. Home favourite Daniel Janes performed the second-best freestyle but was unable to move up the leader board, finishing in sixth (7.190). Switzerland’s Andrin Müller excited the crowd and he clung on to his well-earned day one third place, giving Andrea Selch and Best Brew another podium finish (7.514).

Despite overbalancing in an early ground jump, Sam dos Santos just about held it together.  He recovered well and showed glimpses of huge potential in his freestyle for this season. The Dutch vaulter finished his first FEI Vaulting World Cup Final™ in second place, with Max and Sarah Krauss, and is sure to already have his eyes on the title (8.052).

On this occasion, the men were completely outclassed by Jannik Heiland. With a 0.5-point lead, and on his 5th attempt, the German vaulter calmly executed his freestyle and took Sonja Meyer and San Classico S to the top of the podium for the second time.

“It’s a massive arena; it was a very great feeling and it’s an honour for me to be here. To win the World Cup Final, it was a big wish for me to get this title my whole life,” he said.

The German domination continued into the Pas de Deux class. There was no problem for DSP Sir Laulau and Hendrik Falk, allowing Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne to dig deep and ensure to overcome as much of the deficit from the first round as possible. A massive 8.516 in the second round threw down the gauntlet for the remaining combinations and set 7.876 as the final score to beat.

“We were so grateful that we could show the whole freestyle, and the last block was good, and we couldn’t hope for more,” said Künne.

Danish combination Freja Linde and Maria Thinggaard Sorensen went smoothly, but it wasn’t enough, and they settled for fourth, 7.641.  With slight hesitations, Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller couldn’t keep Austria ahead as they were pushed into in third place at 7.832.

As Chiara Congia and Justin van Gerven entered for their swan song, they only had to be clean to take the title. In a momentary loss of balance, Justin came off the horse after a freestanding lift. Quick reactions from Chiara kept her on and reduced the points lost by the error.

They completed the test in spectacular style, but had to wait for the final scores to see if the slip had cost them the title. Fortunately, they proved too strong for their competitors and clearly won the class, with Alexandra Knauf and Max. They finished as the only pair with a final score above 8.0 (8.341).

“It’s always special to win a competition. Then it’s a World Cup Final; that’s amazing, a new title for us; we weren’t able to win that one yet, and then flying to America and to make this amazing journey is also really special,” said Van Gerven.

The Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final has proved an incredible show of teamwork and horsemanship for all involved. The first Final out with Europe was a huge success; however, the Germans have shown they mean business and they don’t look like they’re willing to give it up any time soon.


by Joanne Littlejohn


Germany Steals the Show

Kathrin Meyer (GER) with San Classico S – FEI/Richard Juilliart.

As the curtains opened on the Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup Final™, the athletes took to the competition circle for the first time in Omaha. With excitement levels high, the German athletes kept their cool and took the top spot in all three events.

The home nation’s hopes were on Kimberly Palmer as she entered with Christoph Lensing and Romeo. Her new technical routine didn’t quite hit the mark with the judges, leaving her in 4th place in the overnight standings, 7.489. Hungarian Blanka Nemeth had an excellent start. She opened the show with Lunar Eclipse and Kimberly Wellman and showed her worth sitting in third, 7.554.

The young Swiss star Danielle Bürgi packed her Technical Test full of difficult sequences and creative transitions, which, combined with a top score from Best Brew and Andrea Selch, has her comfortably in second place (8.092). However, Kathrin Meyer saved the best until last in the Female competition. Entering the arena with San Classico S and her Mum Sonja Meyer, she floated through her test with elegance, grace, and beauty, earning an 8.299 from the judges.

“It’s amazing; the lights create a different atmosphere than on normal competition, and also the audience is great and I am really happy to be here,” said Meyer.

Averill Saunders struggled to make some of her sequences flow on top of Max, lunged by Sarah Krauss (6.388), and was left disappointed with her debut World Cup round. There will be plenty more to come from the young Canadian in the future.

In the Men’s competition, all eyes were glued to the circle as Sam dos Santos entered. At only sixteen, there is a bright future for the Dutch star. He earned second place (7.952) and captivated the audience aboard Max with Sarah Krauss. Andrin Müller (SUI) proved he too had made a successful partnership with Max and Sarah, but sits some way behind in third on 7.176.

No one came close to Germany’s Jannik Heiland, who took the lead and can sleep well with a 0.484-point lead over his closest competition. He made the decision, after arriving in Omaha, to compete on San Classico S with Sonja Meyer, and had only sat on the horse a few times before. He proved he is worthy of the title of Champion, but we must wait to see if he can win it.

The backward stand proved tricky for many of the individual competitors, but none so much as Daniel Janes. He was 90 per cent through a well-executed Technical Test when he prematurely dismounted, costing him heavily (6.081).

The atmosphere and anticipation grew in the CHI Health Center as we moved to the Pas de Deux competition. Austrian pair Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller set the score to beat (7.657). Their horse Killian and lunger Mary McCormick have so far proved a solid combination. The Danish pair came next, Freja Linde and Maria Thinggaard Sorensen, along with Lunar Eclipse and Kimberly Wellman. They performed a clean routine for the judges, but were only rewarded with 7.267 points.

As the competition heated up, the first of the German combinations entered. Presenting a new concept, Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne danced their way through their Freestyle until DSP Sir LauLau noticed Diana had lost her arm number and decided to stop, as it was in his way. The pair were unable to counteract the movement and Diana took a tumble from quite a height. Fortunately, they were all OK and the score took the worst impact, leaving them in fourth place on 7.236. After a dramatic end to the previous test, there was some tension as the final German pair entered.

Justin van Gerven and Chiara Congia had made the decision earlier in the day to change from their planned horse, Highlight FRH, to Max, after Highlight didn’t seem 100% in the morning. They are World Champions for a reason.

With Alexandra Knauf on the lunge, the duo stunned the audience as they stuck every single move. They rightfully stole the lead and are heading for the title on Saturday scoring 8.370.

After the round, van Gerven said, “It was tough; we had to work on the horse, but I think we all did a good job; the horse and the lunger and we are happy.”


by Joanne Eccles


Education, Culture, and Equestrian Sport Converge at FEI World Cup Finals for Omaha’s Youth

Young fans at the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha (USA) in 2017 – Photo Credit: AJ Olnes.

More than 80 of the world’s top athletes from the disciplines of Jumping, Dressage, and Vaulting will congregate at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Nebraska (USA) for the FEI World Cup™ Finals, where, over the course of five days, they will compete for the ultimate honour of becoming FEI World Cup Champion in their respective disciplines – a title steeped in history – in front of an enthusiastic crowd and global media from around the world.

But for the more than 1,000 elementary school students bound for the event through the Omaha Equestrian Foundation’s (OEF) field trip programme, the event might mark the first time several children ever get to lay eyes on a sport horse.

Thirty-eight schools and homeschool programmes will visit the Finals with a mostly academic objective — and a bit of homework.

OEF has partnered with Prairie Stem to create STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) kits for students to create prior to attending the Finals. Based out of Omaha, Prairie Stem is an education-based non-profit organisation that seeks to improve critical thinking and creativity in students, from Pre-Kindergarteners to high school seniors.

The World Cup-themed STEAM Kits challenge students to create their own working horse carousel in one of four designs: Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting, and Lakota painted horse — a nod to Omaha’s cultural history.

The Lakota, a Native American people, were among Nebraska’s earliest settlers, and Lakota is a dialect of the indigenous language, Sioux. “Omaha” means “to go against the current” in Sioux, a nod to the Omaha tribe’s journey to the Nebraska territory. The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska thrived through the 1700s and were known for their hunting and farming. Today, the Omaha reservation located in Macy, NE is home to about 3,000 residents.

Among the field trip exhibits for visiting students will reference Omaha’s Native American roots, from a full-size fiberglass horse (to demonstrate Lakota symbology), Native American tribal artifacts, and live and visual storytellers.

They will also be exposed to equestrian sport and horsemanship. Students will get hands on with grooming and receive an introduction to horse care, go on a virtual ride using Virtual Reality headsets, and explore a variety of equine and agricultural career paths.

“We feel that a very important part of running such historically important events such as the FEI World Cup Finals is to inspire and educate the next generation of equestrian athletes and horse lovers,” said Julie Boilesen, CEO of Equestrian Omaha. “The equine legacy in Omaha is deep-rooted in our culture and history, so we are proud to honour our equine athletes by introducing our youth to them in this way.”

The legacy continues for Omaha after hosting the FEI World Cup Finals™ back in 2017, and they are providing the kids with undoubtedly one of the more unique types of classroom, as the young students will be learning in the arena and schooling area from some of the best equestrian athletes in the world.  As they experience horsemanship and our majestic equine athletes up close and personal – valuable lessons that will stay with them for a long time to come.

Perhaps it will mark the start of an equestrian pursuit for a few young, stargazing students.

The 2023 FEI World Cup™ Finals is set for 4-8 April 2023 in Omaha. To learn more, visit https://omaha2023.fei.org/.

By Catie Staszak


Training Tougher Than Competition for Ukraine’s Equestrian Vaulting Girls

Ukrainian Vaulting team in training in Bernolákovo (SVK) (Copyright: FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Bratislava (SVK), 30 May 2022 – There is no easy way to prepare for an international competition. But five young equestrian Vaulters have needed to dig extra deep for grit and determination as they trained for their first ever international competition.

Polina Shovkova (14), sisters Katya (14) and Jenya (11) Panasenko, Sonia Shulga (14), and Marta Lopaienko (15) became the first team to ever represent Ukraine in international Vaulting when they participated in the one star competition in Kaposvár (HUN) from 20 to 22 May.

The team’s participation in Kaposvár came just a few short months after fleeing their hometown of Poltova to escape the war that has upturned the lives of millions of Ukrainians. They are currently living and training in Bernolákovo, a suburb of Bratislava (SVK), where they have been welcomed by members of the local Vaulting community and supported financially by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Solidarity Fund.

“We didn’t have competitions in Ukraine because we are the first Vaulting team,” Marta explained.

“We didn’t feel too comfortable with the horses here in Slovakia at first because they are bigger and have a different rhythm to our horses at home. But now we know the character of each horse.

“We were a bit worried about taking part in our first international competition and it was important for us. But as Katya, our trainer from Ukraine, always says: ‘You have to do this performance just for you.’”

Joining the Vaulters on their sporting journey is 29-year-old Anthony Bro-Petit, himself a former international competitor for France, who has played a key role in developing the sporting infrastructure for Vaulting in Ukraine prior to the war.

“Preparing young athletes for a competition or a Championship is always tough because even when they are motivated, the mental focus is very hard to maintain. The war has added an extra layer of mental difficulty for these girls. It’s not easy to fully concentrate on your training when you know your family is not safe.

“The girls are still very young, and it is hard to know how much I can push them during their training session. But this is a good learning experience for me. I’m still learning as a coach and I have to develop my skills.

“We would have been able to prepare more if there was no war. But the team did really well in their first international competition and now we know which aspects we need to focus on more during our training.”

With their competition experience in Kaposvár under their belt, the team now have their sights set on the international Vaulting competition that will be held in Samorin (SVK) next month. The road ahead will be easier to navigate than the one they took in March this year.

“We knew that we would have to leave Poltava about a week before we had to go,” said Marta. “We first thought that we were going to France, but two days before we left, we were told that we’re going to Slovakia.

“We were on the road for three days. It was a very long journey, because of the traffic jams everywhere. It usually takes us one day to drive to the Slovak border.

“The first night we didn’t stop and we kept going. But the second night we stopped near the Carpathian Mountains, and we stayed in a flat with just two rooms. There were 15 of us, and the girls and I slept on one sofa, and the others slept on the floor. Then the third day we crossed the border very quickly. We thought it would be slow with all the traffic, but we crossed over very fast.

“We were not frightened, but we were really sad and tired. And when we crossed the border, we all started to cry.”

The girls’ trainer Kateryna (Katya) Andreiva and her 18-month son David, as well as three mothers, have accompanied the Vaulters to Slovakia, while other members of their families have all stayed back in Ukraine.

It is a situation that has caused Katya’s and Jenya’s mother Ekateryna a great deal of anguish. “When you first come from war, you think that it would have been better to stay at home because your mind cannot feel safe,” Ekateryna said.

“It’s harder to be in a safe country because you feel at fault for leaving your family. My mother is in the Kharkiv region and I know that she’s sitting in a bomb shelter while I’m here in Slovakia. But we are mums and everything we do we do for our children. You don’t think about yourself. You just think about your children.”

The Vaulters have settled into a routine at the local school, which is currently housing the group from Poltava, as well as 40 refugees from other parts of Ukraine. The girls begin each weekday morning by joining online lessons with their school in Poltova, which leaves them the rest of the day to train at the local riding school, and at the school gym that has a mechanical horse and barrels.

“It is good to see that the girls are training really hard,” said the Secretary General of the Slovak Equestrian Federation Zuzana Bačiak Masaryková.

“The community here in the Bratislava area have been extremely generous to the team. The owner of the shop that sells Vaulting shoes has given the girls free pairs, and other people have provided us with everything they require.

“My aim is to give these girls all that they need to train, so that they can forget about the war, at least for a few hours each day.”

The Vaulters and their mothers still hope that they can return home to Poltava after the competition in Samorin (SVK) that will take place from 9 to 12 June.

Until then the girls are determined to continue their training. “We are not sure if Vaulting is our sport in the long term,” Marta explained. “But in 2023, our aim is to take part in the Vaulting World Championship and we’re going to train hard for this.”

FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine

Media contact:

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
+41 78 750 61 73

Lupacchini Steals the Title for Italy

Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) and Rosenstolz 99 (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Under the lights of the Leipziger Messe, the 2022 FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champions were crowned. No-one could keep French Manon Moutinho from the female title, whilst Lorenzo Lupacchini took his chance to bring home the glory for Italy. Janika Derks and Johannes Kay gave a spine-tingling ultimate performance to win the Pas de Deux.

After a great start in the Technical Test the trio of Manon Moutinho, Corrine Bosshard, and Saitiri pulled out a show stopping Free Test with a perfect artistic score to win the final on 8.431.  “I am really happy. I could not have expected more from me, my horse, or my lunger. It was a really good experience to start this new season 2022. There is still some work to do, but we are only in April and I am very pleased.”

Bringing back her 2019 winning freestyle theme wasn’t enough for German defending champion Janika Derks.  She had to settle for second place, 8.257.  Making her mark in her first individual World Cup final, Kimberly Palmer (USA) was one of only three female individuals scoring over 8 points and finished in third place (8.009).

The men’s competition went to a tense finish. After slipping from the horse in one of his risk exercises, Lambert Leclezio (FRA) (8.628) had to watch the title go to Lorenzo Lupacchini (8.795). The Italian barely lost a point as he performed gracefully on top of Rosenstolz.

“I am really really happy because I didn’t expect this result. I just participated for enjoying. I was on the third place so far, so I had nothing to lose and nothing to win. So I tried to give emotions and not only exercise,” said Lupacchini.

He becomes one of only two athletes to have won the FEI World Cup™ Final in the Individual and Pas de Deux class. Jannik Heiland completed the podium for Germany (8.019).

An exquisite final performance from the German pair, Janika Derks and Johannes Kay, concluded the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final as well as their vaulting careers. Alongside Nina Vorberg and Humphrey Bogart OLD, they left the audience with goosebumps as they became World Cup Winners (8.754). Screaming with delight as he landed his final dismount, Johannes later summed up his experience “Yes, once in my life I competed in the World Cup: that was here and today and that was the last time – and we have won. But winning was not important to me. We made the thing out of it, what we wanted to make out of it. That worked out; we are satisfied… To have found such a beautiful conclusion, in such a beautiful atmosphere – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller managed to improve on their first round performance to move up into second place (8.016) leaving Chiara Congia and Justin van Gerven in third (7.960).

It has been an historic Final in Leipzig. France and Italy each took the title for the first time in their respective classes. Wrapping up the experience and marking the career end for Janika Derks: “I think we have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve here again: having fun with the sport, just enjoying it – this was just the perfect show for both of us to find closure for us.”

Full results here.

by Joanne Eccles MBE

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Vaulting Favourites Reign Supreme

Lambert Leclezio with Estadoifce and lunger Loic Devedu. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Vaulting legends reigned supreme in Budapest (HUN) as FEI Vaulting made a successful return to the world stage, with Lambert Leclezio defending his World title for France, Jasmin Lindner (AUT) reclaiming the female individual gold medal, and Germany proving dominant in the Pas de Deux, Squad, and Nations Team categories.

After its triumphant debut at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018, The Nations Team event once again returned to great acclaim, delivering the first medals of the FEI Vaulting World Championships 2021.  The competition which sees two individuals and one team from each nation line up in the quest for national glory, once again provided a stage for history to be made.

Lambert Leclezio (FRA) defends his World title, Jasmin Lindner (AUT) reclaims the female individual gold, and Germany dominate the Pas-de-Deux, Squad, and Nations Team at the World Championships.

Team Germany, consisting of Jannik Heiland (9.048), Janika Derks (8.884), and Team Germany (9.157), was in a league of its own, posting an incredible average of 9.030 to retain the Nation’s Team World title. The silver medal was awarded to Eva Nagiller (8.938), Jasmin Lindner (9.061), and Team Austria (8.207), whilst history was made with the bronze medal going to Denmark, marking their new-found eminence on the world stage after impressive performances from Sheena Bendixen (8.988), Anna Damm (7.751), and Team Denmark (8.264).

In the female category, golden girl Jasmin Lindner reclaimed the World title she won at the FEI World Championships in Le Mans in 2016. The multi-talented, highly decorated vaulter added to her already impressive collection of Individual and Pas De Deux World gold medals after again showing her formidable talent and unmatched expression within the sport.

Renowned for her story-telling ability, Lindner, the only female vaulter to post a freestyle score over 9.0, dominated both freestyle rounds.  Partnering with her long-term team of lunger Klaus Haidacher and Dr Doolittle 5, Lindner’s Greta Thunberg inspired freestyle helped secure her unprecedented fifth Vaulting World title (3 Pas De Deux, 2 Individual), further contributing to her legacy within the sport (8.759).

Silver individual medallist from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Janika Derks (GER) once again took the second step on the podium with Dark Beluga and Barbara Rosiny.  Lindner’s fellow compatriot and training partner Eva Nagiller (8.578) took bronze after posting the highest technical test score of the female competition. Denmark’s Sheena Bendixen (8.461) and France’s Manon Moutinho (8.427) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The male category lit up the arena in Budapest with France’s Lambert Leclezio retaining the World title he won so emphatically at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, once again pushing the boundaries of the sport and rising to the top of the highly competitive class.

Leclezio got his quest to retain his World title off to the best possible start, leading after the compulsory round on 8.849 – a score rarely seen within the sport and evidence of his outstanding technical ability. His nearest competitor, Jannik Heiland from Germany, finished round one on 8.584, with the chasing pack narrowly behind.

This exceptional standard was further evident in the first freestyle round where Leclezio, Heiland, and rising star France’s Quentin Jabet all posted scores in excess of 9.0. The skill, flexibility, expression, and harmony of those chasing the medals thrilling to watch.

Saturday’s technical test round saw Leclezio perform a breath-taking masterclass.  The flawless, technical elements coupled with his intricate, clever composition saw him post a previously unheard-of technical test score of 9.083, creating breathing space between him and his nearest competitors Heiland and France’s Theo Gardies. A fall for Quentin Jabet in the technical round saw him fall away from medal contention.

In their first championship together, Leclezio, lunger Loic Devedu and Estado IFCE performed a jaw-dropping final freestyle to retain Lambert’s World title, and further cement his legacy within the sport (8,989). Germany’s Jannik Heiland with Barbara Rosiny on the lunge and horse Dark Beluga also retained the world silver medal from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™.

Further evidence of France’s dominance within the male category, Theo Gardies took bronze converting his previous junior success into senior acclaim (8.659), with Quentin Jabet posting the highest final freestyle score of 9.126 to finish fourth and again prove that he is one to watch for the future.

In the squad competition Germany led through all three rounds of the competition, dominating the event.  Together with lunger Gesa Buhrig and Claus 51, the team from Fredenbeck upheld Germany’s rich history within the Squad competition to take gold. Their perfect final freestyle saw them awarded 9.224 to finish on an astonishing total of 8.735, scoring 0.7 more than second place Team Austria.  A masterclass in teamwork, coupled with incredible artistry and strength, saw the gold medal never in doubt. A commanding win for the powerhouse vaulting nation.

Representing Austria, URC Wildegg with Cornelia Trimmel and Leokado added to their already impressive tally of World and European medals taking second place (8.044). The United States of America finished in bronze medal position, the first time they have won a medal at the senior World Championships in squad since the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, marking their ascent back to prominence on the world stage (7.914).  Denmark rounded off a history making Championship to finish fourth (7.856).

The ever-entertaining Pas De Deux class lived up to its highly entertaining billing, once again providing edge of the seat action.  Vaulting legends from the 2014 gold medal winning team, Team Neuss, Johannes Kay and Janika Derks (GER), converted the silver medal they won at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ into gold in untouchable fashion. A fall by their fellow countrymen and nearest competitors 2019 FEI European Gold medallists Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven in the first round saw them enter round 2 with an impressive 0.7 advantage.  Together with Humphrey Bogart and lunger Nina Vorberg, they proved unbeatable, finishing on an impressive total of 8.936 and taking the top step on the podium.

Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven came back from their round one mistake in spectacular fashion to post the highest second round freestyle of 9.092, thus securing the silver medal (8.646).  The bronze medal went to USA’s Daniel Janes and Haley Smith, securing their first ever FEI medal as a pairing after bravely changing their freestyle between round 1 and round 2 (8.469).

By Hannah Eccles

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Senior Manager Sport Communications
+41 78 750 61 46

Historic Gold for The Netherlands at FEI Vaulting World Championships for Juniors

Sam Dos Santos (NED) on Chameur, lunged by Rian Pierik (FEI/Photos Les Garennes)

FEI Vaulting returned in great fashion over the weekend, as Boulerie Jump in Le Mans, France hosted the biennial FEI Vaulting World Championships for Juniors 2021.  An arena that has housed many momentous Vaulting moments once again provided the stage for Vaulting history, with Sam Dos Santos winning gold in the individual male competition, securing a first ever medal in Vaulting for The Netherlands.

Austria’s Anna Weidenauer took top honours in the female category, whilst Germany once again proved a Vaulting powerhouse taking two golds, with Arne Heers & Lily Warren untouchable in pas-de-deux and retaining the prestigious squad title.

Fifty-six competitors lined up at the start of the week in the female category showing an unprecedented standard. Coming into the final round it looked to be a two-way tussle between defending champion Mona Pavetic (GER) and Austria’s Anna Weidenauer.  Weidenauer, leader after the first round, lost some of her 0.12 advantage to Pavetic in second round compulsories, resulting in a nail-biting finish.

Hailing from URC Wildegg, which has previously produced multiple female champions, Anna Weidenauer held her nerve to add her name to the history books. Alongside lunger Maria Lehrmann and Chivas 14, she took the top step of the podium on a combined score of 7.974, narrowly taking the title from the 2019 champion Mona Pavetic (7.931), with bronze going to Germany’s Gianna Ronca (7.820).

History was made in the individual male category as 15-year-old Sam Dos Santos lead throughout all four rounds of the competition to secure the first ever medal for The Netherlands in Vaulting. Together with his lunger Rian Pierik and horse Chameur, his dynamic, expressive freestyle impressed both judges and audiences alike.  The Dutch trailblazer finished on a combined score of 8.360 marking a historic moment for Vaulting in The Netherlands.

The silver medal went to Germany’s Philip Goroncy (8.263), with his fellow compatriot Simon Stolz taking bronze (7.731).

In the pas-de-deux category Arne Heers and Lily Warren were in a league of their own.  Together with their horse Capitano 59 and lunger Sven Henze, they scored a spectacular 8.732 in the final round to finish on a combined total of 8.578, an impressive 0.5 ahead of their nearest competitors.

Anna Weidenauer secured her second medal of the day as she partnered with Paul Ruttkovsky to take the second step on the podium (8.083).  Whilst having only secured their first ever Vaulting medal mere hours earlier, Sam Dos Santos & Elise Van De Ven took The Netherland’s medal tally to two, taking bronze (8.037).

In the squad competition Germany triumphed taking top honours on a score of 7.805.  With Michelle Arcori on the lunge and horse Elias 75, the highly decorated team from Ingelsberg fought off tough competition from the field who were all vying for the much sought-after squad title.  It was a fight to the end with the United States of America taking silver (7.669) and Switzerland bronze (7.655).

This week marked Vaulting’s triumphant return on the world stage, with the emergence of new stars and another nation staking a claim on the medals; for National Coach of the Netherlands Claire De Ridder, the momentous achievements of Sam Dos Santos, Elise Van De Ven, and the depth of talent they have coming through, she hopes can inspire the next generation.

“It is really incredible; we knew before he (Dos Santos) came here how talented he was, but he didn’t have competition experience.

“I hope from the achievements here this weekend that the sport will evolve more in The Netherlands. I hope it inspires younger Vaulters and shows them that it is possible to win medals and have these successes.  I am excited for the future; we have so much talent coming through.

“To see everyone here, united, it really brings people together and that is what Vaulting is all about.”

By Hannah Eccles

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations and Media Operations
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI Board Approves Resolutions Based on Calendar Task Forces Proposals

The FEI Board held an extraordinary meeting 27 April 2020 to review proposals from six of the discipline-specific Calendar Task Forces. Discussions at the meeting, which was held via videoconference, were on Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Vaulting, and Reining.

During the meeting, the FEI Board agreed that discussions and decisions on FEI Championships for all age categories and disciplines, and potential initiatives to help Organisers, will be deferred to its June meeting.

National Federations and Organisers whose Calendar date applications/modifications have been approved by the FEI during the Covid-19 period have been informed that no guarantee of exclusivity will be provided to them for the new Calendar dates and that equal consideration of all future Calendar date applications/modifications will be given by the relevant Calendar Task Force and by the FEI Board.

Other key takeaways from the meeting are:

Jumping: Due to the uncertainty about the organisation of Competitions worldwide during July and August 2020, the Board has approved all Calendar date applications/modifications for Jumping Events that take place up to and including 30 August 2020. No date clash rules will apply for this period.

Dressage: date applications and/or modifications for high level events (CDI5*/CDI4*/CDI3* and CDI-W) must reach the FEI eight weeks prior to the event. Date clash rules will not apply to CDI3*.

Eventing: date applications and/or modifications for CCI5* & CCI4* Long Format must reach the FEI six weeks prior to the event; date applications and/or modifications for CCI4* Short Format and all other Events must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Driving: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Vaulting: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Reining: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Detailed information on resolutions for each discipline are available here.

The Dressage Calendar Task Force held its second meeting 28 April to review applications received for higher-level events. The Jumping Calendar Task Force will hold its third meeting on 4 May 2020, followed by Eventing’s second meeting on 14 May when its Task Force will review applications for higher-level event date changes.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 4

FEI.TV Available Free of Charge while Live Sport Is on Hold

Swedish Dressage athlete Patrik Kittel tries out the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy for size, whilst compatriot, former European Champion Peder Fredricson, takes hold of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

FEI.TV, the FEI’s online television platform, will be providing all its coverage of past events and special equestrian features free of charge to everyone while live sport is on hold until end of June.

Under normal circumstances, FEI.TV live-streams all major FEI Series and Championships, with an extensive range of replays, special features, and historic events coverage available on-demand combining to provide unparalleled coverage of equestrian sport year-round.

But with no live sport, access to FEI.TV will be free and existing subscribers will be compensated for the months of April, May, and June. They will get automatically refunded on their accounts. All content on the platform, including VOD, will be freely available to all users who will need to register, meaning that fans can re-live all the action from past events so there’s no need to miss out on your fix of equestrian sport.

“Premium content like this usually sits behind a paywall and is normally available only to subscribers, but while there is no ‘live’ sport, we want to give equestrian fans the chance to binge-watch for free during this terrible pandemic,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus says.

This week’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas were one of the early high-profile victims of the Covid-19 outbreak when they were cancelled in mid-March. But Jumping and Dressage fans now have the opportunity to relive some of the very best moments of the FEI World Cup™ Finals from the past five years – 2015 to 2019 – live and free on FEI.TV, FEI Jumping and Dressage Facebook pages, and FEI YouTube channel daily. And if you can’t watch it live, catch it on replay on FEI.TV.

For fans of the other equestrian disciplines, FEI.TV has lots more unique content, ranging from FEI Vaulting and Driving World Cup™ highlights to wrap-ups of the FEI Eventing and Dressage Nations Cup™ series.

An additional broadcast offering has been made available by the FEI, equestrian sport’s global governing body, providing free access to video archive footage to TV broadcasters in EBU member territories across Europe through its partnership with EBU, and to key territories in the rest of the world via its partnership with IMG.

“Our broadcast partners are struggling to fill their air-time without live sport, so this initiative has been put in place to ensure that they have access to top equestrian footage and, together, we can keep our fans around the world happy with their daily dose of equestrian content,” Straus says.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 4