Category Archives: Olympia

Ben Maher amongst World’s Best Show Jumpers Heading to London International Horse Show

Great Britain’s Olympic individual champion, Ben Maher MBE, heads an illustrious list of international Show Jumping entries for the London International Horse Show 2021. The confirmed line-up will facilitate five days of world-class competition at ExCeL London from 16-20 December, adding to an already stellar schedule of competitive action and spectacular international displays.

Maher, currently ranked No. 8 in the world, will be seeking to crown an exceptional year with success at the London International, but will face stiff competition from the world’s best riders. His London 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning teammate Scott Brash MBE, also part of the GB team in Tokyo, will be hot on his heels, as the World No. 5 seeks to recapture the prestigious London International Horse Show Grand Prix title which he claimed in 2019.

Also representing Team GB in Tokyo were Harry Charles and Holly Smith, who will both head to ExCeL full of confidence following successful autumn campaigns, which included being part of the team to win the Challenge Cup at the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. Their teammates that day, Emily Moffit and John Whitaker, always a crowd favourite, will also line-up in London.

Guy Williams and Laura Renwick, notorious for their speed against the clock, will be sure to have the home crowd on their feet throughout the five days of action, as will William Funnell who will be looking to recreate the form which lead him to victory at the 2019 Show. Young rider Jack Whitaker, son of multiple London International Horse Show winner Michael, is also amongst the strong British contingent taking part.

Their international counterparts will be mounting a strong challenge, led by World No. 4, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, who will be looking to repeat his 2019 success, which saw him crowned champion of the London leg of the FEI Jumping World Cup. Compatriot Steve Guerdat, the current World No. 8, will be returning to the city where he was crowned individual Olympic champion in 2012, following an excellent year, which included being part of the Swiss 2021 European Championship gold medal-winning team alongside Fuchs.

The Irish riders, Denis Lynch, Shane Breen, and Michael Duffy, will be ones to watch and will be hoping the luck of the Irish is with them in London. From Austria will be Max Kühner, who will look to go one better than his second-place finish in the FEI Jumping World Cup at the 2019 Show, with Christian Ahlmann and Marcus Ehning from Germany bringing further quality to the distinguished line-up.

Belgium will be sending a strong team, including Niels Bruynseels, Gregory Wathelet, and Pieter Devos, as will France, led by World No. 11 Kevin Staut. Compatriot Mathieu Billot, fresh from an outstanding Puissance win at CSI4* Rouen, will be looking to make it a double when he takes on the famous Puissance wall on the opening night of The London International Horse Show.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best show jumpers to our new home at ExCeL London. The facilities at the venue are second-to-none, setting the scene for an outstanding five days of competition, and we can’t wait for it to get going.”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

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

Charlotte Dujardin and Gio Headline Stellar Dressage Lineup for London International Horse Show

Organisers of The London International Horse Show have confirmed that Charlotte Dujardin, Britain’s joint most decorated female Olympian, will have the ride on her Olympic partner Gio to headline a fantastic line-up of Dressage stars at the Show, which runs from 16-20 December 2021. Dujardin, currently ranked as No. 3 in the world, will be taking part in the Show’s opening event, the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix, which will take place on the morning of Thursday 16 December, and the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which is part of the evening performance on Friday 17 December.

Dujardin will take centre stage aboard her Tokyo Olympic partner, Gio, and will be looking to retain her title in both competitions following her double victory in 2019. The combination, who claimed individual and team bronze medals in Tokyo – and in doing so took Dujardin’s tally of medals to six – will be firm favourites to reign victorious when they are reunited in December.

They will be joined by her Olympic teammate Lottie Fry, aboard her own and van Olst Horses’ Dark Legend. The 25-year-old, who is based in the Netherlands, has had a successful 2021 campaign with a string of impressive top-level Grand Prix results, including individual bronze and team silver at the European Championships, and Olympic team bronze.

Another member of that silver medal-winning European Championship team, Gareth Hughes, will be joining Fry and Dujardin at ExCeL London. Hughes, who won the Grand Prix at the British National Championships, will be looking to retain that form as he heads to The London International Horse Show.

Olympian Richard Davison strengthens the British contingent taking part at the Show. Riding Bubblingh, the horse that he rode to victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music in the CDI3* at Hartpury earlier this year, Davison will be sure to put in a competitive challenge. He will be joined by Fiona Bigwood, riding Hawtins Delicato, the horse which was runner-up in both competitions at The London International Horse Show in 2019, when ridden by Carl Hester. Compatriot Lara Butler will also be hoping to bring her recent form to the Show with Kristjan, having won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI3* at Keysoe last month.

Challenging the British hopefuls will be Nanna Skodborg Merrald from Denmark, part of the Tokyo Olympic team which were pipped to fourth place by Great Britain, and Singapore’s Caroline Chew. Sweden’s Antonia Ramel and Frederic Wandres from Germany will also feature.

World’s Best Carriage Drivers Head to London

The afternoon of Friday 17 December will mark the return of the FEI Driving World Cup to London, featuring the world’s leading Carriage Drivers. 2019 London International Horse Show winner, and former World No. 1, Boyd Exell (AUS) will return to the Show fresh from victory in the FEI Driving World Cup at Lyon. The five-time World Four-in-Hand champion and nine-time FEI World Cup Driving Champion will take on Ijsbrand Chardon, a multiple World Champion and the current World No. 2, who will be looking to improve on his third-place position at the 2019 Show. The Dutchman will be full of confidence following success at the FEI World Cup qualifier in Aachen.

Koos De Ronde’s second place finish split Exell and Chardon at the 2019 Show, and the Dutch World No. 3 will return to London looking to go one step further. Another who is sure to bring some excitement to the action is home favourite, Dan Naprous, who is famed for his stunt Driving and always has the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Dries Degrieck (BEL), buoyed by a successful World Cup at Lyon, Mareike Harm, part of the German team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, and Jérôme Voutaz from Switzerland complete the line-up.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’re delighted with this list of entries for The London International Horse Show and are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world to ExCeL London. It is set to be a fantastic competition, providing British fans the only opportunity in the UK to see so many quality athletes under one roof.  We can’t wait to see how the action unfolds.”

The London International Horse Show is the only UK Show to host all three FEI World Cup qualifiers in Show Jumping, Dressage, and Driving. The FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music will take place on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 December, with the FEI Driving World Cup taking place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 December. Top international Show Jumping competitions will also take place throughout the week, including the sell-out Puissance, The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup, and the unmissable London International Grand Prix, which wraps up the Show on Monday 20 December.

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

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

London International Horse Show Riding Academy Returns for 2021

The London International Horse Show, set to take place at ExCeL London from 16 to 20 December, together with The Ebony Horse Club, has facilitated the return of the ‘London International Horse Show Riding Academy’. The Academy, which was initiated in 2019, aims to introduce disadvantaged children to the wide range of career opportunities within the equestrian industry.

12 teenagers from The Ebony Horse Club, aged 13-18, attended the event and gained invaluable experience. Attendees had the opportunity to meet top riders and equestrian officials, learn and engage, and receive advice and guidance on possible career paths. For many, the highlight of the day was a riding lesson from top, young international Show Jumping rider Jack Whitaker, the latest star from the Whitaker family dynasty. Students were also given the opportunity to spend time with multiple dressage Paralympic champion Natasha Baker MBE and learn about her journey and successes, as well as viewing her many Olympic medals.

Participants also benefited from an informative talk from BEF Head of Communications, Winnie Murphy, who spoke about the various career opportunities within equestrianism, beyond riding, and the pathways available to kick-start their chosen vocations.

The London International Horse Show recognises the importance of supporting and reaching out to the less privileged local communities to inspire and advise children of how to further their passion of equestrianism. The 2021 event had mental health as a central theme, both keeping in the best state for competition and the role that horses can play in improving a person’s mental health. The London International Horse Show along with The Ebony Horse Club strongly believe in importance of horses in improving communication, empathy, and adaptability.

Speaking during the event, Whitaker said: “It’s been great to be involved in today’s event. I’ve never been to this part of London before, and to see such a great charity in the heart of the City and see the opportunities they provide young people is amazing. It’s brilliant that The London International Horse Show has brought everyone together and used their platform to support the local community in this way. The Show always goes above and beyond and I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot myself too.”

Baker MBE added: “It’s great to be here at the Ebony Horse Club and be a part of The London International Horse Show Riding Academy. I’ve been here to talk about my story and my experiences and hopefully educate and inspire the kids that are here today to learn more about equestrian sport.”

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “The London International Horse Show Riding Academy is so important to us. With this initiative we hope to widen accessibility and participation to the equestrian industry to those individuals and communities who have more barriers to the sport. The Academy enables a platform in which children can learn about how create a career within the industry and we hope the children were inspired from the day.”

Following the activity, Amel, a member of The Ebony Horse Club, added: “I had the best time at the London International Horse Show Riding Academy. I loved having a lesson with Jack, he gave lots of useful advice on how to improve my riding. It was so inspiring meeting Natasha, and seeing her medals was amazing and I really learnt a lot from Winnie! I can’t wait to go to The London International Horse Show this Christmas!”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

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

Top Influencers to Attend London International Horse Show

The London International Horse Show ‘Live Zone’ is set to return for the 2021 edition, from 16-20 December, featuring more stars than ever. The Live Zone presents an exciting opportunity for fans and spectators to meet and interact with their favourite equestrian influencers, riders, and celebrities and this year will host talks, Q&A sessions, and interviews.

Social media sensation ‘This Esme’ returns to the London International Horse Show for the third time and will be in attendance at the Live Zone on Sunday 19 and Monday 20 December. Esme is one of the world’s most popular equestrian influencers; her career took off whilst documenting her life with her ponies and donkeys. Her engaging personality and lifestyle have seen her YouTube channel ‘This Esme’ reach over 600,000 subscribers and over 160 million views, as well as gaining a spectacular 7.8 million likes on TikTok and 272,000 followers on Instagram.

Speaking in anticipation of her appearance at the Show, Esme said: “I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be back at the amazing London International Horse Show for the third year running. Christmas just wasn’t Christmas last year without it, so I can’t wait to experience the spectacle, the Show, and of course the shopping at the London International’s new home at the Excel. It’s so exciting to be at this wonderful new venue, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever!”

International Dressage rider, content creator, and influencer Erin Williams makes her debut as part of the Live Zone line-up for 2021. The six-time Youth European Dressage rider and owner of the clothing brand ‘Black Heart Equestrian’ has amassed an impressive 441,000 Instagram and 3.8 million TikTok followers. She has recently been dubbed the ‘most followed female equestrian on social media worldwide.’ Williams will be at the Show on Thursday 16 December.

Fan favourite, the ever-popular Teddy the Shetland, returns to the London International Horse Show on Friday 17 December and Saturday 18 December for a ‘meet and greet’ and photo opportunities. The miniature Shetland, who has over 160,000 Instagram followers and 2.2 million likes on TikTok, has become a social media superstar and even spent the summer in residence at The Goring Hotel in London meeting his fans.

Also in attendance are eventing and lifestyle influencers Megan Elphick, Tina Wallace, Emily Dunstan, and Lucy Robinson, who will be appearing on the Live Zone on Friday 17 December. The quartet’s content covers everything from schooling to stable care, alongside plenty of light-hearted action and challenges.

Alongside the exclusive opportunity to meet some of the biggest equestrian influencers in the world, the Live Zone presents a unique chance to hear from and meet elite equestrian athletes. These will include international competitors from Show Jumping, Dressage, and Driving as well as specialist equestrian experts, and guest appearances from other stars of the Show. Past guests have included Ben Maher, Charlotte Dujardin, and Clare Blading. The complete 2021 timetable will be announced in due course.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “The London International Horse Show is hugely excited to announce the return of the ever-popular Live Zone. We recognise the importance and growth of social media influencers and digital bloggers, so we are delighted to be welcoming more influencers than ever before. We want to enable our visitors to have an unforgettable experience interacting with their favourite stars.”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets to be part of this exclusive Olympic celebration, can be found here.

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

Household Cavalry Leads the Charge for London International Horse Show

The London International Horse Show, taking place at ExCeL London from 16-20 December 2021, will host performances from the Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment as part of the spectacular schedule of equestrian action across the five-day Show.

Organisers have confirmed the attendance of the much-loved Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, made up of 28 horses and 36 personnel, adding to the diverse range of equestrian activity already planned. As the only mounted ceremonial soldiers who also serve as fighting soldiers, the Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is unique globally as it demonstrates exceptional horsemanship and the very best of British tradition. The drills, which are based on movements mounted soldiers would have historically used in battle, will be carried out to music and performed in a routine that is strongly focused on precise timing and coordination.

The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry will join the roster for each performance, which also includes scintillating action from The Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.

In addition to the breath-taking display acts, spectators will be treated to world-class competitive action, including FEI World Cup competitions in three disciplines: Dressage, Driving, and Show Jumping. The traditional crowd favourites, The Puissance and The London International Horse Show Grand Prix, will also take their place at ExCeL London, featuring the world’s best show jumping horse and rider combinations, with the next generation of riders set to star in The Mini Stakes and The U25 British Championship.

Show Director Simon Brooks‐Ward said: “We are delighted to be welcoming The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry to The London International Horse Show 2021. They are always a firm favourite amongst the crowd, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store this year.”

Captain William Long of The Life Guards said: “The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is thrilled to be returning to the London International Horse Show. It will be very exciting to perform at the Show’s new venue, the ExCeL, this year.  It is always a privilege to take part in the show and truly does signal the start of the festive period.”

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

The London International Horse Show
www.londonhorseshow.com
Niki McEwen / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Team GB Olympic Medallists to Parade at London International Horse Show

In a tribute to the outstanding achievements of the British equestrian athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, The London International Horse Show will welcome the Team GB Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian heroes in a celebratory parade, which will take place during the afternoon performance on Friday 17 December.

Leading the way will be Individual Show Jumping gold medallist, Ben Maher, who adds a Tokyo medal to his Team gold at the London Olympics in 2012. Maher will be joined by the gold medal-winning Eventing team of Oliver Townend, Laura Collett, and Tom McEwen. After a fantastic performance across all three phases, the team secured Great Britain’s first Eventing Team title for 49 years. 30-year-old McEwen then went on to claim the Individual silver medal with a foot-perfect performance aboard Toledo De Kerser.

Despite an inexperienced team of horses heading to Tokyo for the Dressage, the British team, comprising Charlotte Dujardin, Charlotte Fry, and Carl Hester, surpassed all expectations to come away with a Team bronze medal. Dujardin, riding the stunning chestnut Gio, followed up with an Individual bronze to add to her already impressive medal tally, which now includes three golds, one silver, and two bronzes. In doing so, Dujardin rewrote history to briefly become Britain’s all-time most decorated female Olympian – a feat she now shares with Cycling’s Laura Kenny, after Kenny’s triumphs a few days later.

Joining their Olympic counterparts will be Team GB’s Paralympic stars, who will be in action in Tokyo from Thursday 26-30 August. The team includes four defending Paralympic champions, including 11-time Paralympic champion Lee Pearson, eight-time gold medallist Sophie Christiansen, five-time gold medallist Natasha Baker, and two-time gold medallist Sophie Wells.

The London International Horse Show – this year taking place at ExCeL London from 16-20 December 2021 – will provide an opportunity for the athletes to celebrate in front of a crowd, something they were unable to experience in Tokyo. For fans, it will be a chance to hail the exceptional performances put on during the Games, proving Great Britain to be at the forefront of the sport, with some of the best horses and riders in the world.

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets to be part of this exclusive Olympic celebration, can be found here.

The London International Horse Show
www.londonhorseshow.com
Niki McEwen / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Olympia, The London International Horse Show 2021 Moves to ExCeL London

Olympia, The London International Horse Show’s 2021 edition will relocate to ExCeL London and take place from Thursday 16 to Monday 20 December 2021.

The Olympia London venue in West Kensington, which has been home to the iconic horse show for the last 49 years, is currently undergoing a re-development plan. As a result of COVID-19, the building activity for the re-development programme has accelerated. The revised construction programme will restrict the use of the venue for events in December 2021, hence the decision to move the Christmas horse show from Olympia London to ExCeL London.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Event Director, commented: “We are very pleased that we are able to stage the event at ExCeL London. This modern venue offers us the opportunity to build on all the aspects of the Christmas horse show that our visitors, hospitality guests, sponsors, competitors, and officials know and love. The scope and flexibility of ExCeL will enable us to add exciting new features and will allow a larger arena with integrated hospitality.

“Our 90,000 strong audience can expect to see the best international competition, including three FEI World Cup Qualifiers in Jumping, Dressage, and Driving, alongside the usual wonderful mix of international equestrian displays, The Kennel Club Dog Agility, The Shetland Pony Grand National, and of course, the Christmas Finale.

“ExCeL will offer our horse show customers excellent facilities, first class restaurants, fast digital connection, multiple parking spaces, and a relaxing environment for Christmas present buying in the Show’s renowned Shopping Village.

“Our partners, sponsors, and exhibitors including the FEI, British Equestrian, and Longines are all supportive of the move and are looking forward to seeing a new version of the Show at ExCeL.”

The London International Horse Show
www.londonhorseshow.com
Niki McEwen / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

ExCeL London
www.excel.london
Lucy Merritt / lucymerritt@excel.london / +44 (0)7793 305 736

OLYMPIA London
www.olympia.london
Sandra Porto / sandraporto@olympia.london / +44 (0)207 598 2777

Brits on Top on Final Day of Olympia

Olympia, The London International Horse Show concluded in spectacular fashion, with the world’s top Show Jumpers in action in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, which was won by Britain’s Scott Brash. Meanwhile, Emanuele Gaudiano demonstrated why he is known as one of the fastest riders on the circuit with a win in The Turkish Airlines Speed Stakes. The evening wrapped up with the British flag flying once more as Holly Smith was crowned with the 2019 Leading Rider Award.

The day also included action from the country’s best young riders, with The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship going to Jodie Hall-McAteer and Scotland’s Millie Lawson taking the Equine Rescue Services Mini Stakes for 128cm ponies.

The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship Final sponsored by LeMieux was taken by Emma Burrow with Welsh Section D Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso.

The final Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National races of the season saw wins for Lily Phelan on Sedgehill Talisman and Lucy Aspell riding Merkisayre Sea Duble in her last year of being eligible for the competition. Meanwhile, The Kennel Club Small Agility Stakes Final went to Dave Munnings with Boost Bite for the third year in a row.

The final night crowd was in for a real treat as a thrilling competition unfolded in the showpiece Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. It was horsemanship at its best as Scott Brash, in the very last round of 2019, produced a magical display on Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Vincent to snatch the prize from his six rivals in the jump-off.

“Winning my last grand prix of the year, in front of a home crowd – it doesn’t get any better than that,” said a visibly thrilled Brash.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, on brand new ride Identity Vitseroel, had given it her all, her 11-year-old bay gelding trying his heart out with prodigious leaps and turns on a sixpence, but Brash’s smooth horsemanship was pure class and, with the crowd screaming him down to the final fence, the clock showed that he had shaved 0.82 off her time.

Holly Smith, who has enjoyed an outstanding show and took the Leading Rider accolade by an astonishing 28 points, finished third on Hearts Destiny and sealed a brilliant season.

“I’m absolutely delighted with all three of my horses, but Hearts Destiny has taken me to places I’ve only dreamed of – a bronze medal at the Europeans, winning the Aga Khan Trophy in Dublin. And the calibre of riders here at Olympia – seven of the world’s top 10 – makes it all the more special.”

In fourth place was new face James Wilson, 25, on Imagine de Muze, a mare that has given him a dream year. “I’ve been watching Olympia since I was a kid, so this is particularly special,” he said. “This horse has made all my dreams come true: my first World Cup, my first Nations Cup, and now my first Grand Prix placing. She has catapulted me right up there and now I’ve got Tokyo in my sights.”

Seven riders made it through to the jump-off, four of them British, and, as tension built, Brash was coolly waiting in the wings on Hello Vincent, a horse produced by new Voltaire Design under-25 champion Jodie Hall-McAteer and which he’s only been riding for a few months.

“The others were very fast, and I knew I had to pull out all the stops,” said Brash. “I just tried to keep it tight. I got a good first forward distance and then managed the seven strides to the tray, which is what you had to do to win. The crowd was great and really gets behind you. I’m so proud of Vincent – he was amazing.”

Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano led from the front to take the Turkish Airlines Speed Stakes with Carlotta. As fourth to go in the 20-strong class, he set a tough target and held on for the victory.

“There was not so many options for me, so I just had to follow the course,” said Gaudiano. “My horse is a bit smaller than some of the others, who would be able to take out a stride, so I knew I had to go fast.”

Gaudiano has ridden Carlotta, a 10-year-old mare, since her first competition and she has been a prolific winner for him. “She has now won over 65 international classes, and is my [specialist] speed horse,” he said.

Britain’s Holly Smith finished second with Denver, a result which was part of her tactics to clinch the Leading Rider of The Show. “I was going to jump Denver in the Grand Prix, but decided to enter him in this,” she said.

Meanwhile, rising star Jodie Hall-McAteer punched the air and hugged her horse as she realised she had won the coveted Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship with two superb clear rounds on Shalt’n Peppa.

Under a new format, the young riders went through a qualifier on Friday, won by Georgia Tame on Quintella, with the top 10 competing in front of a packed house on the prestigious final night of the Show. The best five – all of whom went clear in the first round – then progressed to the jump-off.

Jodie, 19, was first to go in the jump-off and set the target of a clear round in a time of 30.75 seconds. The consistent Georgia came closest, riding a mature round for clear in 32.38 seconds.

“I’m so proud of my horse,” said Jodie, who competed on her first senior FEI Nations Cup team this year. “It’s right up there with the highlights of my career. Everyone wants to win this.”

Earlier in the day, Millie Lawson made the most of her long journey from Aberdeen to London with victory in the Equine Rescue Services Mini Stakes for 128cm ponies. Riding Priestwood Hardy, she was chasing a tough target set by Tabitha Kyle (Living the Dream) in the six-pony jump-off, but the 12-year-old utilised her mount’s natural enthusiasm and strength to pinch 0.05 seconds from the time.

“He was very hyper,” joked Millie. “I managed to get tight to the [penultimate] upright and just gallop at the last. It’s a dream come true to win here; it’s amazing!”

Emma Burrow had the perfect wedding and Christmas present combined when her Welsh Section D Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso was judged champion of the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship Final sponsored by LeMieux.

The 26 ponies qualified for the Final, representing all the native breeds – Shetland, Exmoor, Dartmoor, New Forests, Dales, Fell, Connemara, Highland, and Welsh (Section A, B, C, and D) – made a spectacular sight assembled in the Grand Hall of Olympia.

Emma (née Boardman), a native pony producer from Carlisle who only got married a fortnight ago, bought Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso as a six-month-old foal from his breeder, Gwyneth Griffiths, who had travelled from Wales to watch.

Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso has swept the board this year, winning at HOYS, the RIHS, Royal Welsh and Royal Lancashire, qualifying at Westmoreland County Show where judge Tom Best told Emma: “Now go and win the big one.”

Taking the reserve position was striking Highland stallion Melanie Stanford’s Benbreac of Croila, shown by Matthew Cooper in a fitting end to his showing career. The 16-year-old grey, who will retire after Olympia, obviously has a charming temperament, standing rock-still amid all the post-class hubbub back in the stables.

The final result was extremely close, with the combined scores from conformation judges Helen Horsfall and John Harvey and performance judges Nigel Hollings and Nicola Turner adding up to 177 for the winner and 176 to the reserve.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Sheer Exell-ence at Olympia

The penultimate day of Olympia, The London International Horse Show featured two top-class FEI World Cup™ competitions in Show Jumping and Driving, where the world’s best athletes went head-to-head in thrilling performances which wowed the crowds.

The FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Eurofip International was once again dominated by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition, with Koos de Ronde, his closest challenger, over 4 seconds behind.

Earlier in the day, the Longines FEI World Cup™ was won by reigning European Champion and current World No. 2 Martin Fuchs riding The Sinner, whose spectacular jump-off round was over a second faster than Max Kühner in second.

Two runnings of The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National saw victories for Alfie Diaper riding Damerham Briar Lilly and Leighton Aspell’s daughter Niamh Aspell aboard Magheradartin Beeswax. The Kennel Club Large Agility Stakes Finals was won by Claire Bacon with Tynevermoor Secret Mission and Megan Hunt with A Moment in Thyme.

Three days of flawless and thrilling rounds culminated in victory in the FEI Driving World Cup™ Leg, presented by Eurofip International, for maestro Boyd Exell. “One of the most incredible things was the crowd,” said Boyd. “They are really loud and they are really with us.”

Dutch course designer Jeroen Houterman’s course included twisting but flowing obstacles and cones requiring accurate curving to remain faultless. However, there were plenty of places for gallops as well. “The plan was to keep everything as simple as possible. For most of the course they could go at 90-100% [speed],” said Jeroen. “But when you go too fast, that’s when there is the risk of having a ball.”

That was certainly the case in round one, where over half the field picked up additional time penalties, which decided the three to go forward to the final.

The Netherlands’ Ijsbrand Chardon was first to go. Having driven one of the steadier, but clean, first rounds, he was determined to better his time after an inauspicious start to the show in the first two driving classes. His speed certainly improved, knocking almost six seconds off his initial run’s time. However, this came at the expense of two early balls, leaving the door ajar.

“My first two days at the show were pretty bad,” said Ijsbrand, a multiple championship winner. “My mare Candy was in season at the Budapest show two weeks ago, and still wasn’t great here. I was training at 6am this morning, but it just didn’t work out the way I wanted.”

Following was fellow countryman Koos de Ronde, whose speed in round one gained him access to the drive-off despite having hit cone number two. “Some of the cones were a little tricky and I was mad with myself [in the first round],” he said. “But I was more focused in the second round.”

If the pressure was on multiple medallist Boyd to maintain his rank, he certainly didn’t show it here. However, Koos’ round wasn’t so steady that Boyd could relax. “There was less than a cone between Koos’ time and my time in the first round,” said Boyd, who is based in Valkenswaard in The Netherlands. “So I aimed to go for the same again.” It worked beautifully and secured the win.

Although this class carried points towards qualification for the FEI Driving World Cup™ final, Boyd was competing at Olympia on a Wild Card, so maximum points were passed down to Koos.

Britain’s Daniel Naprous, who has a busy schedule as a stunt rider, finished sixth having had a promising second place at Olympia earlier in the week.

Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir achieved his first Olympia win with a bold display of speed riding in the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes. Riding King Kong d’Avifauna, Vermeir, who was last to go in the six-horse jump-off, had to throw his heart into the round to take the win.

“I thought they were going faster and faster so I knew I really had to go for it,” Vermeir explained. “This show is unbelievable and it’s not easy to win here.”

Holly Smith, who now heads the Leading Rider of the Show standings from William Whitaker by a 15-point margin, rode a brilliant round on Denver, but Vermeir managed to shave 0.9 of a second off her time of 33.82.

Christian Ahlmann (Zampano Z) and Ben Maher (Ginger-Blue) were also clear to take third and fourth places.

Earlier in the day, Cheshire’s Red Morgan, 15, claimed his biggest win to date with the sole double clear in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes. Riding Bodyssee des Avelines in the class for 148cm ponies, he remained cool under pressure in both rounds of the exhilarating competition.

“It was a tricky course,” said Red, who is based between Britain and Belgium, where he competes internationally. “The track was tight in places with a tight time, and there was a double you needed to be really straight for.”

Hannah Barker (Ammanvalley Santino) was first of three to go through to the jump-off to challenge for this year’s title. A pole down gave Red the advantage: “I just aimed to be quick without being stupid,” he said. It worked perfectly as he and his 12-year-old mare came home cleanly to put the pressure on the final rider, Lila Bremner (Lapislazuli), who with four faults handed the victory to Red.

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For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Fuchs’ Sinner Is a Saint in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs brought his storming year to a close with a superbly ridden win in the eighth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™.

The reigning European Champion, fresh from a big win in Geneva last weekend, was second to go in a six-horse jump-off and pulled off a brilliantly accurate turn to the wall on The Sinner to achieve a time of 31.99 seconds that no one could match.

Austria’s Max Kühner (Elektric Blue P) and Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels (Delux van T & L) were also immaculate over the fences, but had to surrender to Fuchs’s speed, taking second and third places, respectively.

Marcus Ehning from Germany, a three-time winner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, was fourth with a fence down on the grey Cornado NRW.

Scott Brash, who won this class in 2016 on Hello M’Lady, was the best Briton in fifth on the promising 10-year-old Hello Jefferson, his mount in the winning FEI Nations Cup™ team in Dublin in August, and looks to have sealed his place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas in April as well as having a potential horse for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

His Team GB teammate Holly Smith, who produced the only clear of the first 20 horses, enjoyed her best Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ result so far, sixth on her Nations Cup horse Hearts Destiny.

Irish course-designer Alan Wade set a fair but deceptively testing track, as befits a competition of this stature, and many of the distinguished names faulted unexpectedly.

“It was a great course. I wasn’t sure it would be stiff enough, but it had some light questions – and it got the right result!” said Fuchs. “I had a great round in the jump-off. I knew I would have to take all the risks to put the pressure on the others and it came off exactly as I wanted. I probably couldn’t repeat it if I tried.”

The FEI’s Director of Jumping for three decades, John Roche, described Olympia as “a shining example to other organisers,” and was echoed by second-time visitor Fuchs, who said: “It’s an amazing Show with a beautiful atmosphere and you really feel when you’re in the ring that you’re in a unique place.”

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355