Hunter Holloway Wins $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2* with Pepita con Spita

Hunter Holloway and Pepita con Spita ©TIEC/Natalie Suto.

Mill Spring, NC – October 10, 2021 – Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita con Spita claimed the first FEI Grand Prix win of the 2021 Tryon Fall Series at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers in 43.951 seconds to win the $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2*. Fabio Da Costa (BRA) and Verdi O’Merveilles, the 2009 Selle Français gelding (Verdi TN x Quick Star) owned by Ferasin LTD, posted a time of 47.03 seconds to earn reserve. Securing the final podium spot, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) navigated the short course in a time of 48.205 seconds with Gabrovo, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Grey Top x Graf Sponeck) owned by Susan Van Lammers.

The Guilherme Jorge (BRA) course design challenged 53 pairs over the first round, with six pairs dashing for cash over the jump-off test. Holloway and the 2011 Westphalian mare (Con Spirit 7 x Come On) owned by the Hays Investment Corp. were first to go in the second round, producing a slick performance that could not be topped.

With the victory, Holloway is the first rider to achieve two FEI Grand Prix wins aboard the same horse in 2021, having also dominated in the spring at TIEC. It was also Holloway’s second notable win in two days: she and Ruby Tuesday, the 2011 Oldenburg mare (Icarus “Any Given Sunday” x Manna “S&L SoBeIt) also owned by Hays Investment Corp., championed Friday’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Holloway remarked that while both courses were well suited to her mount, the key to her win was letting Pepita con Spita take her own run at the obstacles:

“She is quite a horse! She’s very special and loves to win,” Holloway emphasized. “As long as I’m up to the task, she always is. She loves to go fast, so I was just letting her go. [The course] was smooth,” Holloway offered of the track that kept all but three pairs from going double-clear. “There were definitely some difficult places, I thought, but it was all spread out, so the course flowed pretty well. It was well-suited for her, so I was excited about that.”

As the first to attack the jump-off, Holloway’s strategy was to put pressure on subsequent challengers with a clear, fast round, and Pepita con Spita delivered when offered the chance to kick things into high gear. “She’s always game to go fast, so I just let her rip! She’s super catty, smart, and brave, so she’s super dependable in the ring.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Olympic and Paralympic Champions Shortlisted for FEI Awards 2021

Photo: Winners at the FEI Awards Gala 2019 presented by Longines at the Kremlin in Moscow (RUS). Copyright: FEI/Liz Gregg.

Many impressive nominees are in the race for the FEI Awards 2021 as the online public voting opens today for the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Longines FEI Rising Star, Cavalor FEI Best Groom, FEI Against All Odds, and FEI Solidarity Awards.

The 20 shortlisted candidates from 12 nations include Olympic and Paralympic medallists, up-and-coming young athletes, Grooms, Organising Committees, Veterinarians, National Federations, and charities.

Peder Fredericson, who helped take Sweden to its first Team Jumping Olympic gold medal in almost 100 years in Tokyo, is one of four nominees for the FEI Best Athlete Award. The other nominees in this category are Eventing’s first female Olympic champion Julia Krajewski, who won individual gold for Germany in Tokyo, and compatriot Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who took double Olympic gold in Dressage. Sir Lee Pearson, Great Britain’s ‘Godfather of Para Dressage’ and the most successful Para Dressage athlete of all time with 17 Paralympic medals, completes the list of nominees in this category.

The FEI received a diverse number of nominations for equestrian athletes, individuals, and projects this year and the winners will be announced at a highly anticipated gala dinner in Antwerp (BEL) on 17 November. This will be the first in-person celebration of the winners since the FEI Awards Gala 2019 presented by Longines at the Kremlin in Moscow (RUS).

The Longines FEI Rising Star category includes Greta Busacker (GER), who is the daughter of 2020 winner of the decade and Eventing legend Ingrid Klimke. And for the first time ever, this year’s nominees include two National Federations in the FEI Against All Odds and the FEI Solidarity categories.

The Japanese National Federation has been nominated for the support they provided to the Organising Committee of Tokyo 2020 to deliver safe and successful equestrian events, against all the odds created by the ongoing pandemic. The Hellenic Equestrian Federation nomination for the FEI Solidarity Award is in recognition of their efforts to evacuate 300 horses from areas in Greece rampaged by wildfires in August 2021.

The shortlisted nominees have been selected for their outstanding achievements on the field of play, inspirational outlook, and unparalleled dedication to equestrian and para equestrian sport.

The amazing stories of all the nominees in the five categories can be found here.

The public now has until 17 October to cast their votes for their heroes. Make sure you have your say and vote here!

The shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2021 are:

Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete – paying tribute to the athlete who over the past year has demonstrated exceptional skill and taken the sport to a new level.

  • Peder Fredricson (SWE), Jumping
  • Julia Krajewski (GER), Eventing
  • Jessica von Bredow Werndl (GER), Dressage
  • Sir Lee Pearson (GBR), Para Dressage

Longines FEI Rising Star – for the youth athlete aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

  • Sam Dos Santos (NED), 15, Vaulting
  • Greta Busacker (GER), 19, Eventing
  • Jimena Carrillo Watanabe (MEX), 14, Jumping
  • Marten Luiten (NED), 20, Dressage

Cavalor FEI Best Groom – for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses they look after are given the best possible care.

  • Stephanie Simpson (USA), groom for Eventing athlete Boyd Martin (USA)
  • Jorge Luiz Gonzales (ARG), groom for Jumping athlete Matias Albarracin (ARG)
  • Kathleen Van Winden (NED), groom for Para Dressage athlete Sanne Voets (NED)
  • Marie Johansson (SWE), groom for Dressage athlete Patrick Kittel (SWE)

FEI Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

  • Beatrice de Lavalette (USA), Para Dressage
  • Laura Collett (GBR), Eventing
  • Japan Equestrian Federation
  • Dr Ruben Fausto Arismendi Garat (URU), Endurance Veterinarian

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual, or organisation that has used skill, dedication, and energy to expand the sport.

  • Hellenic Equestrian Federation (GRE)
  • Sue Ockendon (CAN), founder of the Bromont Rising Program
  • Compton Cowboys (USA), community programme in Compton, Los Angeles
  • Equulus Charity ‘Pursuit of Dreams’ (CHN)

The winners will be decided by combining 50% of the public’s vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. The nine expert judges for this year’s FEI Awards are:

  • Ingmar De Vos (BEL), FEI President
  • Matthieu Baumgartner (SUI), Longines Vice President of Marketing
  • Peter Bollen (BEL), Founder and chief nutritionist of Cavalor
  • Martin Atock (IRL), Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock
  • Kyra Kyrklund (FIN), six-time Dressage Olympian for Finland, six-time FEI Dressage World Cup™ finalist and winner of the 1991 FEI World Cup™ Final
  • Andrew Hoy (AUS), eight time Olympian and team silver and individual bronze medal winner for Eventing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • Lucy Katan (GBR), founder of British Grooms Association (BGA) and the International Grooms Association (IGA) with the support of the FEI
  • Hannia Chinchilla de Wolf (CRC), President of the Federación Ecuestre de Costa Rica and FEI Solidarity Committee member
  • Wendy Laeremans (BEL), Belgium National Federation Sport Director & Chef de Mission

Media contact:

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
vanessa.randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

Jane DaCosta Selected as the 2021 WIHS Honor & Service Award Recipient

Jane competing at the Hampton Classic @ Rebekah Masiakos Photography.

This year, the Washington International Horse Show Honor & Service Award, sponsored by the EQUUS Foundation, is being presented to Jane DaCosta, the Executive Director and Founder of Metropolitan Equestrian Team (MET).

Jane founded MET to cultivate young, aspiring athletes in grades 3 through 12 by developing their talents through horseback riding. They also provide resources to help the kids curate their college experience by giving them access to educational resources that allow students to expand their way of thinking about academics.

Jane grew up participating in equestrian sports, learning not only horsemanship and athleticism, but also leadership skills, the value of teamwork, and responsibility from the sport. As a competitor, Jane was an undergraduate rider for Long Island University/C. W. Post Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian Team. Jane has competed and shown successfully in United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Horse Shows ranging from “C” to “AA” rated shows for over 30 years in Equitation, Hunters, and Jumpers.

Jane is a graduate of St. Leo University and an Electronic Warfare Technician Third Class Veteran of the United States Navy. Jane is also a Graduate student at New York University Stern School of Business enrolled in the Executive MBA Program.

Through her experiences, Jane was inspired to create the MET program. During practices, students learn horsemanship, sportsmanship, and agricultural skills, similar to Jane’s experiences in the sport. MET helps students with college preparation through various education programs. They also provide access to representatives from colleges and universities, and highlight scholarship opportunities. Through its academic programs over the years, MET students have received over $1,600,000 in college scholarship opportunities.

Jane and her team have created a supportive, encouraging environment at MET that instills a sense of belonging. Many MET Team members are kids who, prior to joining the MET Team, had never set foot on a farm. MET helps open their eyes to a new world, then teaches them how to contribute to and care for it.

At MET, Jane brings horseback riding to kids of all backgrounds – and helps educate the next generation of leaders. Jane has helped MET grow to a national organization, providing programs throughout the country in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Jane will be recognized by WIHS and EQUUS Foundation during a virtual awards ceremony in October. As the recipient, the Metropolitan Equestrian Team will receive a $1,500 grant from the EQUUS Foundation.

The WIHS Honor and Service Award was created in 2013 following the induction of Klinger into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame in 2013. Klinger, a member of the Caisson platoon of the 3d United States Infantry (The Old Guard), was the inspiration for the award and its first recipient. The Honor & Service Award recognizes a horse, individual, or organization that best demonstrates the values of honor and service as embodied by Klinger.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

For more information about the Washington International Horse Show, please visit www.wihs.org.

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Photo by ClixPhoto.com.

Calgary, Alberta – Olympic show jumping champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead were inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony held Sunday evening, October 3, 2021.

Inducted in the ‘Team’ category, Lamaze and Hickstead are widely considered to be the best competitors of their era. Among their many feats was claiming the Olympic Championship title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and leading Canada to the team silver medal.

Lamaze and Hickstead also earned an individual bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, where Hickstead was awarded the title of “Best Horse.” They won team silver and individual bronze medals at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as several major grand prix show jumping titles including Calgary, Canada (2007 and 2011); Geneva, Switzerland (2008); Aachen, Germany (2010); La Baule, France (2011); and Rome, Italy (2011).

“I believe this is the greatest honour you can receive from your country,” said Lamaze, 53. “Hickstead was incredible, simply one of a kind. Together, we were proud to represent Canada on the world stage. It is well deserved on his part; I just went along for the ride.”

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, traditionally held each October in Toronto, ON, was held virtually for the first time. Hosted by Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, the ceremony also featured a musical performance by Jim Cuddy, best known for his work with Blue Rodeo.

In addition to being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2020/21, Lamaze received the Order of Sport, Canada’s highest sporting honour. The Order of Sport was presented to Lamaze while he was competing at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB in September. It was a fitting venue for the presentation, given that a life-size bronze statue of Hickstead overlooks the Spruce Meadows Plaza.

Hickstead (Hamlet – Jomara x Ekstein) was bred in The Netherlands by Jan van Schijndel and born on March 2, 1996. Lamaze purchased the Dutch Warmblood stallion in 2004 through Stephex Stables in Belgium and owned him in partnership with John Fleischhacker’s Ashland Stables of the United States. Prior to his tragic death during competition in Italy in 2011, Hickstead had earned more than $3 million in prize money during his career with Lamaze.

Lamaze has competed in three consecutive Olympic Games – 2008 Beijing, China; 2012 London, England; and 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to the individual gold and team silver medals won with Hickstead in Beijing, Lamaze won an individual bronze medal partnered with Fine Lady 5 at the 2016 Olympic Games. He owns and operates Torrey Pines Stable, a show jumping training and sales business with bases in Wellington, Florida and Brussels, Belgium, where he trains many students from various nationalities at the elite level. For more information, visit www.ericlamaze.com.

For more information on Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Order of Sport, visit www.sportshall.ca and www.orderofsport.ca.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | www.startinggate.ca

Update on Kevin’s Recovery and The Babington Foundation

Wellington, FL – October 4, 2021 – Kevin Babington continues to make progress month by month. The commitment to his daily physical therapy and frequent stem cell and other medical interventions continues at a torrid pace. At no point has Kevin’s self-expectations been anything less than dramatic. The courage, patience, tenacity, and kindness we all know to be substrates of Kevin’s makeup prior to his fall are on vivid display daily.

For those who don’t believe in miracles, Kevin can now move all his toes on each foot and independently, and just as of this writing, has some flexion in his feet. We all look forward to the day he stands to deliver the leading rider award at Silver Oak.

At the same time, the financial demands of Kevin’s care, therapy, and progress are steep and mandatory. The Show Jumping community has responded generously, but the requirement for fundraising continues to be of paramount importance.

Concurrently Kevin, Dianna, and the Babington Foundation have done much to support education, safety, and news of spinal research. These programs more broadly relate to all riders in the sport, most critically the importance of “Air Vests.”

For that reason, a new website, kevinbabingtonfoundation.org, is launched as a portal through which Kevin’s progress, important articles about spinal injury breakthroughs, and safety emphasis can regularly be found.

Of course, there is an important DONATE BUTTON with which we hope individuals and organizations will act, in whatever capacity, big or small. Keep in mind, as a licensed 501c3 charity, all donations will receive the appropriate tax documents.

Click here: https://youtu.be/fuwcQbXJBDo

Jacqueline Ruyle Claims First Grand Prix Win aboard San Chano in $30k Nutrena Grand Prix

Jacqueline Ruyle and San Chano ©TIEC/Natalie Suto.

Mill Spring, NC – October 3, 2021 – A summer filled with hard work paid off for Jacqueline Ruyle (Houston, TX) and San Chano as they galloped to their very first Grand Prix title in the $30,000 Nutrena® Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) with a time of 41.252 seconds. Following in second place was Adam Sklansky (Irondale, AL) aboard Hakini, the 2012 Dutch Warmblood mare (Numero Uno x Montreal) owned by Ellen Walker, with a time of 43.744 seconds. Wrapping up with third place honors was Phoebe Lang (Petaluma, CA) along with DSP Cool Hill, the 2010 German Sport Horse gelding (Corlensky G x Al Cantino) owned by Zeitgeist Equestrian, with a time of 44.277 seconds.

Ruyle and San Chano, her own 2009 Oldenburg gelding (Sandro Boy x Carusa), had a strategy to beat the clock in the Peter Grant (Calgary, Alberta) designed course. Ruyle reflected, “For my first round I was fifth to go, and I saw that no one had gone clear and a lot of people had time faults. I knew some pretty top riders that had time faults, so I thought, ‘Oh shoot, I need to make the time allowed!’” Ruyle raced through the timers five seconds ahead of the time allowed, and was first in the ring for the jump-off phase of the competition.

Her strategies for the first and second round were similar, Ruyle reported, after putting in the only double-clear performances of the night. “I kind of had my mind on the time my whole way around and just kept it tidy, and kept a fast pace. In the jump off, I wanted to go quickly, but I wanted to play it safe. I kept a good pace and made sure I got straight to some of the jumps that I could have sliced a little bit more. It worked!”

Ruyle and San Chano have been working hard at the Grand Prix level since their debut a few months ago, including several top results in the Tryon Summer Series, she shared. “We started jumping Grand Prix classes in the Spring. Here, in the Tryon Summer Series I had an amazing summer with him. I did my first FEI class, jumped a lot of clear rounds, placed in every class, and I was thrilled,” Ruyle recapped. “This is our first week back after the summer, and we picked up pretty much where we left off!”

Ruyle plans to stay at TIEC for the remainder of the Fall Series and hopes to see how high she and San Chano can fly. “I’m going to do the 2* next week, and if that goes well, I’ll do the 3* in three weeks.” Whatever unfolds for the pair, Ruyle emphasized that choosing to compete at TIEC is a no-brainer:

“Honestly, I love this place so much that I would live here if I could. I love that every ring has good footing, the permanent stalls, and the hospitality. I think Tryon does such an amazing job. I love the RV lots, too. I really appreciate the horse friendliness of the facility; you don’t find that at a lot of shows.” She concluded, “I love this facility, and I absolutely love my horse. I am having so much fun!”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Dutch Deliver Another Magnificent Victory in Barcelona

The Dutch team in celebration mood after their superb victory. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

For the third time since the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final was staged back in 2013, The Netherlands reigned supreme at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain. With the stoicism and quiet determination that has long been their trademark, the side of Maikel van Vleuten, Willem Greve, Sanne Thijssen, and Harrie Smolders held firm to take the coveted title that never loses its sparkle.

It was Smolders who clinched it with his anchorman ride, and it was a close-fought affair. Team Ireland finished a very close second when counting just a single time penalty at the end of the day, while the next two nations – Belgium and Sweden – only put four faults on the board.

“Horses generally jumped this course well today and you could see how close the teams were, and that makes our sport exciting,” Smolders said. When asked if he was confident he could clinch it with a faultless run from his 12-year-old gelding Monaco when last to go, he replied, “You have to be confident; that’s why they put you in that position, but then you have to finish the job and when you do, that’s how dreams come true!”

Slipped away

At the halfway stage of the competition, Sweden and The Netherlands were the only two sides without penalties, but when Angelie von Essen (Alcapone des Carmille) hit the middle element of the penultimate triple combination, and Rolf-Goran Bengstsson (Ermindo W) also faulted twice at the same obstacle, then Swedish chances slipped away.

When third-line Dutch team member, Sanne Thijssen, hit the middle element of that influential treble, then the pressure piled onto Smolders’ shoulders. Because the Irish were carrying just the single time fault collected by Eoin McMahon and Chacon 2, clears from pathfinder Denis Lynch (Cristello) and a brilliant last-line performance from Darragh Kenny (VDL Cartello) allowed Michael Duffy’s two mistakes with Zilton SL Z to be their discard.

Smolders didn’t flinch, however, taking the pressure and delivering the winning round when it was really needed. He put the Dutch team ethic into perspective when he said, “We all work hard, we stay patient, and we keep believing.”

The Irish looked really threatening in the closing stages. Kenny knew he needed a clear to keep them in the frame and, once again, he delivered. “On Friday my horse was fantastic and today he just got better and better as the round went on – he was flying! The team really pulled together and the lads rode fantastic. It was a great result, but the Dutch were brilliant!” the Irishman said. No-one could argue with that.

Took nothing

Van der Vleuten and Beauville Z claimed individual bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the Dutchman said that it took nothing out of the horse. “I was looking forward to this event in Barcelona and our Chef d’Equipe chose me as first rider for the team, so it was important to have a clear round, to give a good feeling to start the day.” Having done that, he then watched team-mate Greve do the same with Carambole. Talking about Greve’s great stallion, Van der Vleuten said, “If he was a person, he’d be a really nice one!”

Greve was over the moon about how his horse performed. “Being part of any winning team is always good, but for me this is very special because I have my horse a very long time, since he was four.

“I wish he could do the press conference because it’s not about me; it’s about the horse. I owe everything to him. I’ve had him since he was four and now he’s 17 years old and still jumping his heart out for me every time. For me, it’s very emotional that he shows in these days that he’s still one of the best horses in the sport, and he deserves a victory like this in the closing days of his career. I’m so proud of him,” he said, filled with emotion.

Delighted

Dutch Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with this result after a sometimes difficult period for his team. “We had a bit of a struggle the whole year. We had good performances but still not everything came out the way we wished. But I must give big compliments to all our riders; we all fight together; we don’t have big names who, when they are winning, go in a completely different direction. It comes down to these five people for the perfect management of their horses, who want to everything for their country and who showed us today a marvelous performance.  That’s one of the strong pillars of the Dutch team,” he said.

“The only thing is we’d like to go back to the old formula, because we want to have it back on the Saturday evening because we want to celebrate, but now we have to go home!” he added with a laugh.

This year’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final had an extra buzz, because as Ehrens pointed out, everyone is so grateful that at last the sport is back and everyone is enjoying it again.

“Thanks to the organisers and the team in the arena. It’s a very easy thing to say we can’t do it because of the Covid problems, but everyone is very happy here and a big compliment to them all!” he said.

Champony

Before the action began, the crowd also got to meet Champony, the FEI’s new mascot which had the honour of ringing the bell for the first rider into the ring, Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts. And the children loved it. The Barcelona Final always attracts families to this event that has real festival appeal along with its offering of top sport, and Champony, gender-neutral because it represents a sport in which men and women compete on completely equal terms, really came to life.

Meanwhile, winning team member Willem Greve put this result, and the concept of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series and Final, into perspective. “For me as a sportsman, nothing beats winning with your nation in a Nations Cup!”

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Polish Rider Victorious in the 4* at Baborówko Autumn Show

Mateusz Kiempa (POL) & Lassban Radovix. M&R Photo.

The showjumping trial for the highest ranked class at Baborówko Autumn Show 2021, the CCI4*-S, presented by LOTTO, brought changes in the leaderboard. The course designer prepared a demanding challenge for the athletes, which resulted in only three clear rounds inside the time. Even the leaders had poles down. Amanda Staam (SWE), who was in the first position overnight, had two knockdowns, which added 8 points to her account with CORPOUBET AT and cost her the win. Mateusz Kiempa (POL) with LASSBAN RADOVIX finished with 4 penalties, but the solid foundation he built in two previous trials secured his victory. Kamil Rajnert (POL) jumped up into third riding GOUVERNEUR.

In the CCI3*-S, for the prize of Kuhn, the win went to Antonia Baumgart (GER) riding LAMANGO after their clear round inside the time. Julia Gillmaier (POL) advanced from fourth to second with RED DREAM PRINCES, and Pia Münker (GER) with JARD finished third.

The leaderboard was shuffled in the CCI2*-S, presented by the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship Local Government, as well. Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel (GER) with GINGER SPICE 3, the leader after dressage and cross-country, had two poles down, which knocked her into 10th position. A clear round secured the win for Jerome Robine (GER) riding AVATAR 42. Caro Hoffrichter (GER) with JUST JAQUES jumped up into second, and third belonged to Pia Münker (GER) riding CASCABLANCA, who was clear on the fences but had to add 0,8 for time.

More information can be found at:
www.equestrian.baborowko.pl
www.facebook.com/baborowko.equestrian

Brilliant British Young Guns Clinch Challenge Cup

(L to R) Jack Whitaker, Harry Charles, Emily Moffitt, Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard, John Whitaker, and Holly Smith. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

It was a night for the next generation at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain when a team filled with fresh young faces claimed the Challenge Cup trophy for Great Britain.

Clear rounds from 22-year-old Harry Charles riding Romeo 88 and 23-year-old Emily Moffitt partnering Winning Good anchored the British scoreline. The four faults picked up by team pathfinders, 32-year-old Holly Smith and Denver, was all they had to count when posting a convincing victory without having to call on anchorman and longtime legend John Whitaker and Unick du Francport.

In the first round, things didn’t go Britain’s way, so they found themselves in the five-way battle between Division 1 teams when both Canada and Uzbekistan withdrew. It was a night filled with nervous tension, because one of those five nations would be relegated to the EEF Nations Cup series in 2022 when finishing last.

In a bizarre turnaround, the newly crowned European champions from Switzerland were amongst those battling to stay in the top league, and they were really feeling the pressure when they had to start with just a three-man side after Bryan Balsiger’s TwentyTwo des Bisches was unfit to compete. The electricity in the air in the closing stages was immense, but it was Team Italy who found themselves in the relegation spot when they put 43 faults on the board. Their place in Division 1 will be taken by the Czech Republic when the 2022 season gets underway.

France finished second with a finally tally of 10 faults, Norway finished third with 21, and the Swiss slotted into fourth with an uncharacteristic 25.

Looked set

The French were first to go, and with just single time faults from Penelope Leprevost (GFE Excalibur de la Tour Vidal) and Marc Dilasser (Arioto de Gevres), they looked set to discard the eight collected by Gregory Cottard (Bibici) when Mathieu Billot and Quel Filou set off as their last partnership. But the 15-year-old gelding was clearly not on form when putting in a stop, and when the pair retired then that handed it to the British.

The Swiss had to count all three of their results, with eight from Steve Guerdat (Victorio des Frotards), nine from Edwin Smits (Farezzo) and eight more from Martin Fuchs and Chaplin making up their unusually large scoreline. Fuchs and Guerdat were both on that gold medal winning European team in Reisenbeck, Germany just four weeks ago, but on different horses. Guerdat said that it was “a strange week for us here. I don’t want to say I was very confident, but you don’t expect us all to be that bad two days in a row. It was hard watching at the end,” he admitted.

But if it was a tough day for the reigning European champions, it was an even tougher one for Team Italy for whom nothing seemed to go right, with three fences down for Piergiorgio Bucci (Naiade d’Elsendam Z), 14 faults from Fabio Brotto 9Vanita Delle Roane), 17 from Antonio Garofalo (Conquestador), and retirement for Riccardo Pisani (Chaclot).

The British were at the other end of the spectrum, making it all look pretty easy, and John Whitaker, who at 66 has a lifetime of glory already behind him, joked about not having to compete when the rest of his side did all the hard work and left him on the sidelines.

Unbelievable job

“The three young ones really did an unbelievable job today. Yesterday didn’t really go to plan, but we were still fighting today – or at least they were fighting and they pulled it off in style!” said the man who first competed in Barcelona back in 1984.

His nephew Jack Whitaker, who turns 20 next week, was fifth man for the British side and there is a real sense of Team Great Britain rebuilding itself at last after a long period in the doldrums. As Holly Smith pointed out, “We haven’t been having the best time of it, but I think I speak for everybody: we are all so connected, and things will change and this is the start of it!”

Moffitt confirmed the sense of a new beginning too. “When we came here, we knew it was a case of sink or swim, but we swam so I’m happy with that!”

Talking about her 12-year-old gelding Winning Good, she said she was very disappointed when picking up five faults when Britain finished tenth of the 15 competing nations. “We know we are capable of a double-clear, but we are not robots and things can happen, and I was really happy that we were back to doing what we do best today – and my horse is the love of my life. Everything about him is amazing and he just wants to do it. He loves it so much!” she said.

Harry Charles has been really developing into a top-class rider over the last year, and his faultless rounds earned him a handsome €50,000 bonus which he admitted was very nice indeed. This was a watershed moment in his career for a number of reasons.

“I was under a bit of pressure as third rider today, but John was right behind us ready to go.

“Jack’s been my best friend for many years, so it’s been great to be on a team with him, and to ride with John on a team was one of my bucket list things – it’s such a great team to be part of!” he said.

Prizegiving

His father Peter Charles, former individual European champion and Olympic team gold medallist at London 2012, proudly pinned the Longines sash to his son’s jacket before the prizegiving ceremony. It was a huge moment for them both.

“My dad is my trainer and he’s been brilliant all my life. He kind of stopped his own career to help us, but he says he gets no bigger joy than watching us compete, so he really is the backbone of it all!” Harry said.

“I’ve been at this 5-Star level a couple of years, and I’ve got more consistent and have the horsepower now, so it’s starting to come through more than it previously did, and I’m getting more confident in the ring this summer as well. It’s all coming together really nicely, and I couldn’t be more excited for the future!” he continued.

He said getting the ride on Ann Thompson’s Romeo last year has turned everything around for him. “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had and he’s really taken me to a new level – in terms of experience, building up to a major championship, going to the Olympics as my first Championship, being around the other riders like Scott (Brash) and Ben (Maher). This Final is kind of like a mini-Championship here, coming on the back of Tokyo. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a helluva year!” he added.

Proud

British Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard said she was really proud of her young side. “When they needed to, they stepped up to the plate in style, all of them, and with John in the wings – he obviously didn’t touch a fence tonight,” she pointed out with a laugh.

“It’s been progression, a new generation coming through; they’ve been consistent all year and it’s been a big learning year for them. Hopefully, we can look forward to big things next year,” she said. She had great praise for the exceptional skill of course designer Santiago Varela, who also built the tracks at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

She said to him, “We appreciate your courses; they’re so educational; they get the riders really thinking and they’re really kind to our horses too. We love meeting up with you Santi; you really do a great job!

“It’s always been on my bucket list to have a win here, so we’ve started with the Challenge Cup and hopefully we can come back and do more next year. On behalf of all the riders I’d like to thank Daniel (Daniel Giro, Show Director) for organising this wonderful event!” she added.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Changes in the Lead at Baborówko Autumn Show

Amanda Staam (SWE) & Corpoubet AT. M&R Photo.

Baborówko, October 2nd, 2021 – The cross-country trial brought a change in the lead in the highest-ranked class of the show – the CCI4*-S, presented by LOTTO. The new best result belongs to Sweden’s Amanda Staam with CORPOUBET AT. Mateusz Kiempa (POL) with LASSBAN RADOVIX fell into second, and Paweł Warszawski (POL) with HATTERIA II is now third.

The leaderboard changed in the CCI3*-S for the prize of Kuhn as well. Caro Hoffrichter (GER) is now in the pole position riding LUCKY V/H TRAPPERSVELD. Second place still belongs to Antonia Baumgart (GER) with LAMANGO. Pia Münker (GER) went up into third riding JARD.

The top three in the CCI2*-S remains unchanged. Clear rounds inside the time meant that Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel (GER) with GINGER SPICE 3, Jerome Robine (GER)

The cross-country trial ended the rivalry in with AVATAR 42, and Pia Münker (GER) with CASCABLANCA kept their respective first, second, and third places. the CCI1*-Intro. The winner was Stella Maria Stöhr (GER) with CATWALKER. Second place went to Ann-Catrin Bierlein (GER) riding MAGIC MOMENT, and third to Kerstin Häusermann (SUI) with JIM KNOPF P.

More information can be found at:
www.equestrian.baborowko.pl
www.facebook.com/baborowko.equestrian

Your Southern Source for Everything Horse