All posts by Associate Editor

New FEI Solidarity Relief Fund initiatives for Ukraine launched in May 2022

Photo: Ukraine’s Diana Borovyk and Baby Royal at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 for Youth in Oliva (ESP) © Lukasz Kowalski.

A recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 in Lausanne sees additional initiatives and projects approved for funding by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Established in February 2022, the dedicated CHF 1 Million FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine has been actively supporting a number of equestrian related schemes across Ukraine and neighbouring nations receiving Ukrainian horses and athletes. This includes, among others, the creation of a logistical hub in Granat (UKR), located between Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union; funding and distribution to regional hubs of critical horse supplies such as feed and bedding; and the emergency evacuation of a Vaulting team.

In order to deliver the aid efficiently and have the desired impact in situ, the FEI has been working hand in hand with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and the UEF Charity Foundation, with FEI President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos (BEL) referring to their Ukrainian colleagues as their “eyes and ears on the ground.”

For the FEI and the Ukrainian delegation, headed up by Secretary General Mykhailo Parkhomchuk from the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and accompanied by members from both the UEF and the Charity Foundation, this recent in-person visit provided a platform to discuss the priorities, review ongoing support systems in place, but also establish new programmes and set long term objectives for Ukraine and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Following these discussions, among the programmes being launched in Ukraine throughout May, four new athlete scholarships have been allocated; bespoke veterinary supplies have been sourced and prepared for dispatch; as well as financing for the purchase of 80 temporary horse boxes in order to support the setup of additional horse hubs in Ukraine.

Based on the existing FEI Solidarity Athlete Scholarship scheme, two Ukrainian Jumping athletes – Oleksandr Prodan and Anastasia Bondarieva – and two Ukrainian Dressage athletes – Danylo Konovalov and Diana Borovyk – have been selected to receive the scholarship grant to support training and competition related preparation with the ultimate goal of representing Ukraine at FEI Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Aged between 17 and 24, they were already competing at international level before the onset of the war, but the current circumstances meant they had to put many of their aspirations on hold. For Diana Borovyk, having survived the blockade of Sumy and taking up residence in her local equestrian centre to be with her horses while the war raged around her, being able to continue training and competing is “a dream come true.” She has also received a personal invitation to participate in a Young Riders Class at the CHIO Aachen Festival 2022, where she has every intention of showing her sporting determination and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The dedicated emergency veterinary supplies, which are being packaged into specialised kits and dispatched to strategic locations around Ukraine, include over the counter as well as prescription medication so the veterinarians onsite have all the necessary supplies to care for the horses remaining in the country. The bespoke veterinary kits have been sourced through the FEI Veterinary Department and are entirely funded by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Ukraine Relief Fund, which is supplementing the FEI Solidarity Fund with 100 percent of all donations raised being distributed through the FEI to ensure effective and targeted use of the funds.

The USEF Ukraine Relief Fund has already reached over 100,000 USD and continues to work closely with US based philanthropic organisations to leverage their fundraising networks to support the horses and people of Ukraine.

In addition to the existing horse hub in Granat which was financed by the FEI to prepare all the necessary documentation for horses to cross the border and has been operational since March, the FEI is now working with the UEF Charity Foundation to supply 80 horseboxes to two new hubs which are being built to allow horses to remain safely in Ukraine. The new hubs are located near existing stables so the horses will have access to all the necessary infrastructures and can continue to train in good conditions.

These last two initiatives are especially relevant given the unknown when it comes to the duration of the conflict and the need to work together to keep horses and athletes safe in Ukraine. For FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), there is a clear progression in the support structure and goals of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund. “At the onset of the war, the FEI reacted quickly to the situation and set up the Solidarity Fund with the initial outreach aimed at sourcing and funding for immediate and vital supplies as well as evacuation related procedures, unaware of how long the conflict would perdure and how devastating it would be.

“We have now reached a point where we can be more strategic because we have the systems in place, so the meetings in Lausanne with the Ukrainian delegation at the end of April were really fruitful, and we can already see several programmes and initiatives launched as a result.

“The initiatives are a mix of short to mid-term objectives aimed at keeping individuals and horses safe and well in Ukraine, but also long-term future proofing to ensure the sport is not entirely put on hold and can recover after the war. It has been awe-inspiring to see the global equestrian community come together to support Ukraine and we will continue to do everything in our power to maximise the reach of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to help the equestrian community and the horse lovers of Ukraine.”

About the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund:

The FEI set aside a CHF 1 Million Solidarity Relief Fund for the equestrian community in Ukraine, following the invasion by Russian military forces. The allocation was approved by the FEI Executive Board during a meeting convened on 28 February 2022, where members also unanimously condemned the invasion and agreed to remove all international equestrian events in Russia and Belarus from the 2022 FEI calendar. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also joined forces with the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, establishing the USEF Ukraine Relief Fund to Support Ukraine horses and equestrians, with 100% of funds raised going to the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to be distributed by the FEI.

About the UEF Charity Foundation:

The Charity Foundation is registered in Belgium and its mission is to help the Ukrainian equestrian community during the crisis. The Foundation works closely with the FEI and national equestrian federations. For all the latest information and activities, visit https://helpukrainehorses.eu/.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

The Cloud Foundation Calls for Independent Investigation and Moratorium on Roundups

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is urging Federal legislators and Colorado State officials to convene an independent investigation into how an illness has now killed almost 150 captured wild horses at BLM’s Canyon City holding facility.

We are calling for a moratorium on ALL wild horse and burro roundups until the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can ensure the animals’ health and safety off the range.

BLM officials claim the horse deaths are attributable to equine influenza virus H3N8. We are demanding answers as to how the virus entered the facility and ravaged one specific herd – the West Douglas horses – with such devastating effect.

“These are the American public’s wild horses; they don’t belong to the BLM,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Board President of The Cloud Foundation. “Secrecy breeds suspicion and doubt. Due to a long history of not being transparent, how can we trust the BLM to be unbiased while investigating itself?”

Read more here.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Robert Mendoza and Queen B Win 6-Year-Old Jumper at Kentucky Spring Classic

Robert Mendoza and Queen B. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, Ky. – May 18, 2022 – Show jumping competition kicked off the Kentucky Spring Classic II Wednesday, May 18, at the Kentucky Horse Park. The young show jumping mounts stepped foot into the Walnut Ring Wednesday morning, hoping to claim the victory ribbon in the 6-Year-Old Jumper class. It was Robert Mendoza aboard Coruscant Stables LLC’s, US Bred by Bannockburn Farm, Belgian Warmblood mare Queen B who were the pair to emerge victorious.

Tess Fortune and MVP Lead TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Division

Hunter competition got underway Wednesday, May 18, to kick off the first day of the Kentucky Spring Classic II. Setting the stage in the Murphy Ring, riders and their thoroughbred mounts took to the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter division to showcase versatility off the racetrack. Starting the first day of competition strong, Tess Fortune leads the way aboard her own MVP, hopeful to close out the division Thursday with the championship.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

World’s Elite Riders Return to Eternal City for Rolex Gran Premio

Geneva, 18 May 2022 – The world’s elite show jumpers will gather in the magnificent gardens of Villa Borghese from 26-29 May to contest the 89th edition of the CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena. Staged in the heart of the Italian capital, the five-day event will feature some of the world’s finest horse and rider combinations and culminate on the Sunday with the 5* Rolex Gran Premio.

The CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena is steeped in history and tradition, having first been staged at this beautiful venue in 1926. In 2018, the 18th century oval was re-grassed, returning it to its original splendour. The organizers have strived for continuous improvement, ensuring the event’s stature as one of the most revered in the equestrian calendar.

Switzerland’s World No. 2 Martin Fuchs will be aiming to emulate his uncle Markus Fuchs, who won the Grand Prix here in 2001. He will face stiff competition from compatriot Steve Guerdat, with whom Fuchs won team gold at the 2021 FEI European Championships. Both riders won Rolex Majors last year – at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and the CHI Geneva, respectively – and appreciate the horsemanship, precision, and refinement required to win in Rome.

Looking ahead to the show, Fuchs said: “The CSIO Roma Piazza Di Siena is always one of my favourite events of the year. It is so magical to compete in such an amazing setting right in the centre of the city. With it being a Rolex show, you know the standard will be high and that you will face the toughest competition in the world, which always pushes riders to perform at their best.”

Bertram Allen, part of the Rolex New Guard, will be striving to become the first Irishman in 13 years to win this prestigious Grand Prix, along with in-form Kevin Staut and Scott Brash, the only rider to have claimed the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

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

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Natalie Dean and Dotcom D’Authuit Dominate the $25k IDA Development Grand Prix

Natalie Dean and Dotcom D’Authuit. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – May 15, 2022 – The final week of the ESP Spring Series came to a close on Sunday, but not before the USA’s Natalie Dean and Dotcom D’Authuit placed the winning jump-off ride in the $25,000 IDA Development Grand Prix to capture the final Grand Prix win of the Spring Series. As the groom of the winning Grand Prix horse, Marlon Huete was the recipient of the Schneiders Groom Award for the $25,000 IDA Development Grand Prix.

Sunday morning’s $2,500 Medium Amateur/Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic consisted of 18 horse-and-rider combinations to go on the Derby field. Mia Green (USA) aboard her own, Fiero, took home top honors stopping the clock at 44.127 seconds defeating Lacy Moorone Cramer (USA) and Cincinnati, owned by Equi-Sport, LLC, who crossed the timers at 44.297 seconds. Erin Haas (USA) and North Face Farm’s Larkin finished in third place with a time of 46.848 seconds.

Topping a field of 12 competitors, Paula Portocarrero (USA) and her Queretaro 2 were victorious in the $2,500 NAL Low Amateur/Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline. Madeline Thatcher (USA) and Tou La Moon, owned by Pony Lane Farm, finished in second place after stopping the clock at 44.454 seconds, while Emily Ablin (USA) and Cassini Miaflores, owned by Leeann Ablin, finished in third place with a jump-off time of 46.426 seconds.

Diego Javier Vivero Viteri (VEN) and Eickendorf Horses’ Quinn 33 took home Friday’s top spot in the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake. Against a 20-horse jump-off, the pair stopped the clock with a winning jump-off time of 36.868 seconds. Just off the pace, John Perez Bohm (COL) took home second with his mount Gigi-Carmen in 37.231 seconds. The final spot on the podium was claimed by Abigail Mc Ardle (USA) and Samuel Parot Jr’s I&H Boogy Woogy after clearing the jump-off in 37.878 seconds.

On Thursday, Diego Javier Vivero Viteri (VEN) and Quinn 33 also topped the $5,000 Omega Alpha 1.35m Classic against a field of over 30 competitors. The pair raced to first with a time of 41.081 seconds in the jump-off. It was a close second for David Blake (IRL) and Pine Hollow Farm’s Nixon Van D’Abelendreef with a jump-off time of 41.591 seconds, followed by John Perez Bohm (COL) and Voodoo 10, owned by Julio David Vainer, with a clear jump-off time of 41.628 seconds.

Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) and Baroness, owned by Leeann Ablin, topped Thursday’s 7 Year Old Young Jumper class, presented by QBS Equestrian LLC and M. Michael Meller Sport Horses. The pair placed double-clear rounds, stopping the clock at 35.234 seconds in the jump-off to top the class. In reserve, Taylor Kain (USA) piloted The Gelt Group’s Havanna C2 to a second-place finish with a clear jump-off time of 37.554 seconds. Jad Dana (LBN) rounded out the podium with DK Daisy, owned by Abigail Perry.

Thanks to consistent placings over the course of the Spring Series, Kent Farrington (USA) was awarded the $1,000 Assets Risk Management National Grand Prix Rider Bonus.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Tegan Vincent-Cooke: “Whether I win or not, I’m a face that is a role model for people of colour”

The May edition of The Para Equestrian Digest is now out!

In this edition of The Para Equestrian Digest, British Para Dressage athlete, four-time British Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Dressage Champion, aspiring Paralympian and TikTok (@teganvincentcooke) star Tegan Vincent-Cooke talks about race in equestrian sport.

About The Para Equestrian Digest
The FEI launched The Para Equestrian Digest in February 2022.  The online magazine was created for Para Equestrian athletes and the people connected to the sport so they can share – in their own words – their personal experiences and disability stories. Every month, the Digest will put the spotlight on an athlete or project in Para Equestrian sport with the aim of improving disability awareness and inclusion.

Previous editions of The Para Equestrian Digest: https://www.fei.org/stories/lifestyle/my-equestrian-life/para-equestrian-digest

April 2022: Paralympic & World Championship medallist Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) provides his views of what businesses can do to provide a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

March 2022: US Paralympian and 2021 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) talks about mental health and how she coped with losing both her legs in the airport terrorist attack in Brussels (BEL) on 22 March 2016.

February 2022: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist and two time European Para Dressage champion Natasha Baker, MBE, OBE (GBR) talks about ableism and what can be done to change people’s attitudes towards disability.

Media contact:

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

International Stars Shine Bright on Final Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

The Rolex Grand Prix provided a fitting finale to the four-day Show, with the finest horse and riders in action to compete for the prestigious prize, which went to Gregory Wathelet. The CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix came to a close following three days of intense competition, with Boyd Exell taking the spoils. Elsewhere, the Champagne Laurent Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society, featuring Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor, provided a fantastic spectacle and the final of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games was won by Wales.

WATHELET RIDES TO GLORY IN THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

The feature CSI5* class of the day, the Rolex Grand Prix, saw the world’s best horse and rider combinations battle it out for the prestigious title. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s up-to-height 1.60m course proved challenging, with only three riders making it through to the jump-off. The likes of World No. 2 Martin Fuchs, World No. 3 Henrik von Eckermann, and London International Horse Show Grand Prix winner, Harry Charles, all accumulated four faults in the first round.

First to go in the jump-off, Belgian Gregory Wathelet, laid down the gauntlet with the tightest of turns to the Rolex double at the far end of the arena and flying down to the final fence to set the time to beat of 34.79 seconds aboard Nevados S. Max Kühner was next to take up the challenge, and he set out meaning business with Elektric Blue P, but he was not able to match Wathelet’s time, leaving it to Daniel Bluman as the final remaining rider able to take over the lead. Bluman was able to get closer to Wathelet’s time, but in doing so accrued four faults at the very last fence, leaving him in third.

Wathelet said: “It is amazing to win a Grand Prix, especially a Rolex Grand Prix. I jumped in the Nations Cup at La Baule last week and the horse was jumping really well, so I was confident coming to Royal Windsor that he was on great form. It was a tough course which was very up to height, but I thought there would be more clears from the top combinations. Even though there weren’t many riders in the jump-off you still have to go fast and clear to win. The Show is incredible; the atmosphere and the crowds are amazing; all of the riders love coming here.”

THE CHARLES DYNASTY RULE AT ROYAL WINDSOR

The Show Jumping got off to an early start with the Protexin Equine Under-25 Jumping Competition featuring Great Britain’s top up-and-coming young riders. Of the seven combinations who went through to the second round, it was Sienna Charles riding Chinta Van Geluut Z who set the pace as second to go, jumping an immaculate round in a time of 34.93 seconds. Those who followed were unable to match Charles’ standard, with Joe Fernyhough coming closest with a clear in a time of 35.42 to finish second, ahead of Oliver Fletcher in third.

A delighted Charles said: “This class is one I’ve always wanted to win; I’ve come close a couple of times so I’m really pleased with how it’s gone today. I was off a lot of last year with injury or illness, so I took her [Chinta Van Geluut Z] to Spain to build up for the season and I’m really happy with her today.”

The Manama Rose Show Stakes was a speed class with riders jumping one round of 12 fences against the clock. Home favourite John Whitaker took an early lead, setting the standard with an impressive display of speed and agility. Compatriot Guy Williams, known for his skill against the clock, set off meaning business, but took an extra pull down to the last, which denied him pole position. It was Britain’s leading lady rider, Holly Smith, who was the first to put Whitaker’s lead in jeopardy, and with a forward stride to the last, shaved 0.61 seconds off his time to take the lead at the midway point.

Shane Breen stepped up the pace once again, galloping flat out to the last to set what looked to be an unbeatable target. However, ultimately it was Harry Charles who showed his class, taking over the lead with just four to go with a slick performance aboard Billabong du Roumois. The 22-year-old shaved off over two seconds from Breen’s time to take the victory, the perfect preparation for the afternoon’s Rolex Grand Prix.

Charles said: “He is a new horse to me, and this is our first win together. He is a fantastic horse, who is extremely fast and has a lot of potential, so I am really excited about our future together. I didn’t watch anyone in the jump-off; I just stuck to my plan which was to start off conservatively and build up the speed as the course went on. I can’t believe that we were two and a half seconds faster than everyone else – it truly is an ode to how fast the horse is. He is very similar to my top horse, Stardust. Both are naturally quick and careful – those horses are hard to beat!”

SHOWING CHAMPIONS CROWNED

Her Majesty The Queen only narrowly missed another win in the show ring. Her home-bred five-year-old Fool’s Paradise — rated “a star in the making” by rider/producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable — was second in the Novice Riding Horse sponsored by Mr and Mrs Phil Swallow. Coincidentally, this lovely gelding is the son of a mare called Stardust, whom Jerram-Hunnable rode to win the Ladies’ Show Horse class twice here in the past. The overall title went to Cheshire producer Vicky Smith with the Mears family’s Times Square.

Chief Showing steward Sebastian Garner was in celebration mode when his daughter Kinvara topped the Intermediate Show Hunters, riding the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding Despicable Me for her employers, Steve Pitt and Vicky Smith.

Senior Castle Arena Showing Steward and long-time Royal Windsor supporter Philip Judge was also beside himself with joy when his oldest son, Harry, seven, won the Lead Rein Show Hunter Pony class with his charming grey pony, Thistledown Snowfall. Judge, who owns an international haulage company, has stewarded at the show for many years, and also competed here as a child.

At the other end of the equine size scale, Forgelands Hyde Park — Friday’s Hack Champion with producer Danielle Heath — returned to the Show to land the Intermediate Championship with his owner’s daughter, Issy Mears.

EXELL SECURES VICTORY

At the end of a thrilling three days of international action, Boyd Exell (AUS) stormed home the winner of the CAIO4* Land Rover Grand Prix nearly 16 penalties clear of his closest rival, Glenn Geerts (BEL). Having led from the start with an untouchable Dressage score, Boyd held on to his lead through the Marathon phase despite mounting pressure from Geerts and eventual third place Michael Brauchle (GER). However, Exell’s early advantage was too much for his competitors to match, and even a handful of penalties in the Cones kept him well clear of his rivals.

The Team title went to Belgium, whose line-up of Dries Degrieck, Glenn Geerts, and Tom Stokmans clinched the competition by just 0.51 of a point over Germany’s Michael Brauchle, Mareike Harm, and Rene Poensgen.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Jennifer Bliss and Flight Soar to Top of Standings in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jennifer Bliss and Flight ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – May 14, 2022 – The fifth and final week of the ESP Spring Series held its featured class for hunter competitors on the grass Derby Annex at Equestrian Village on Friday. Jennifer Bliss and Flight captured their second consecutive win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline, after jumping to a two-round score of 179.

Deywi Rodriguez was the recipient of the Schneiders Groom Award following the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby as the groom of the winning derby horse. As part of the recognition, Rodriguez was presented with a bag of high-quality grooming supplies courtesy of Schneiders Tack.

Derby action continued on Saturday with the $1,000 2’6”- 2’9” Hunter Derby presented by Score at the Top, which offered less-experienced horses a chance to test derby-styled courses. Topping a field of 12 competitors, Katie Giddings and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang captured the win.

In the USHJA Hunter 2’/2’6″ division, presented by 100X Equine, Ki-Juan Minors of Wellington, FL received top honors with Wiser Now, owned by Laura Ojemann. The pair championed the division after placing consistent performances in all five of the division’s classes, earning a first and a second-place ribbon, two third-place ribbons, and a fourth-place ribbon.

Keri Kampsen captured the tricolor ribbon in the 3’ Green Hunter division with Randee Cherner’s Eliot Du Banney. The partnership was awarded three first-place ribbons which included two over-fences classes and the under saddle, to accrue the most points towards the overall championship honors.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Sweetnam and Alejandro Claim $140k Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, Ky. – May 14, 2022 – Jumper competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show reached its pinnacle on Saturday night with $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* in the Rolex Stadium. 38 horse-and-athlete combinations gathered to vie for the victory and the lion’s share of the prize money, and ultimately it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam aboard Alejandro who was triumphant in the competitive field at the conclusion of the jump-off.

Austen Carries Stephanie Danhakl to Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship

Amateur-Owner hunter competition took to the StoneLea Ring on Saturday morning as riders presented their best performance to vie for the title of Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion. Awarded to the competitor with the most points accumulated in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” 18-35 divisions and Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” 36+ divisions, Stephanie Danhakl and Austen emerged victorious to be named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Swiss Team Prove Age Is No Barrier in Eventing with Nations Cup Win

L to R: Beat Sax, Mélody Johner, Nadja Minder, Robin Godel, and Chef d’equipe Dominik Burger. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

It was a double victory for the Swiss, when Robin Godel’s Jumping clear round clinched the individual prize and a win for Team Switzerland. This was the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ and took place in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). France, who were overnight leaders going into the final day, finished a close second, and Sweden, who were overall winners of the Series in 2021, finished third. The home side Italy was fifth.

It was a tense finish after the French team left Godel no room for error in the Jumping phase. The 23-year-old athlete kept his cool on Grandeur de Lully CH, to incur just one time penalty which sealed the deal for his team. “I was very focused, but I tried to have only good pressure,” he said after his round. “It was an amazing week for the team. We did good on the cross-country; the four riders were very impressive and the horses gave all they had. For the World Championships it is exciting.”

Speaking about this as a test event for this year’s FEI World Championships for Eventing, Godel said, “It is amazing here; the ground is wonderful; I have never cantered on ground like this. For the World Championships, we want qualification for Paris (Olympics) and that’s the main focus and for sure we will be going for the podium too.”

Pratoni has proved a happy hunting ground for the Swiss, who won the Nations Cup here in 2019. The team this year consisted of two Nations Cup first timers: 62-year-old Beat Sax, who has just one horse to compete and has been eventing for 45 years, and 20-year-old Nadja Minder. They were joined by Tokyo Olympic riders Godel and Mélody Johner.

Six-time Olympian Andrew Nicholson has been coaching the Swiss team for several years and summed up their performance: “It was outstanding. They keep getting better, more confident, and are pulling together as a team. They are passionate and want to do it and they are making the younger ones hungry, which then pushes the older riders.”

Saturday’s Cross-Country shook up the leaderboard and left it tight at the top. Switzerland finished just 0.1 of a penalty behind France going into the final phase. Germany, who led the way after the dressage phase, was relegated to 9th after just two of their team members completed. Sweden, who was in eighth after the dressage, produced four strong Cross-Country performances to climb to third.

Pratoni del Vivaro will be hosting the FEI World Championships for Eventing and Driving, from 15-25 September. Course Designer Giuseppe della Chiesa and Director of the Championships concluded: “From a sports side the cross-country went well here this week. From the side of the organisation, there’s a lot to do yet but we are getting there, and it was very important to have this competition as a Nations Cup and also as a test event. The nature of the soil here is something unique. Horses love it and if it rains, it doesn’t change it and there are very few places in the world like that. It is an important venue as the Olympic venue in 1960 and is one of the very few Olympic venues which is still used for the same purpose.”

The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing action moves to Houghton Hall (GBR) from 26-29 May, the second of nine events in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series.

Full results here.

by Eleanore Kelly

Media contact:

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