Germany Tops Penultimate Furusiyya Europe Division 2 Qualifier in Bratislava

Joerg Oppermann and Che Guevara jumped double-clear to help Germany to victory at the seventh and penultimate leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Europe Division 2 series in Bratislava (SVK) yesterday. Photo: FEI/Anton Martinec.

Host nation claims maximum points

Bratislava (SVK), 9 August 2014 – While their Europe Division 1 counterparts were enduring a bruising encounter in Dublin (IRL) yesterday, Team Germany’s Europe Division 2 team galloped to victory at the seventh and penultimate leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 series in Bratislava (SVK).

A total of 13 nations signed up for this one, and it was a clear-cut affair with the winners finishing a full fence ahead of Switzerland in runner-up spot while the Canadians were another three faults adrift when lining up third. Team USA pipped Brazil and the host nation of Slovakia for fourth place by just a single fault when posting 20 in total, and Austria lined up seventh with 24 ahead of Czech Republic in eighth place on a total of 29 faults.

There were six nations competing for points towards the Furusiyya 2014 Final – Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey – and the hosts claimed the maximum 100 as the highest placed of these, thereby moving up the overall standings to third place.

Just eight teams returned for yesterday’s second round, and it was Turkey, France, Finland, Hungary and Slovenia who missed the cut. There were three double-clear performances on the day.

Established the lead

The Germans established the lead in the first round and then held off a strong challenge from the Swiss and Canadians to post their win.

Course designer, Eduard Petrovic from Croatia, commented that the standard at this year’s CSIO 3* was noticeably better, and that he built his track accordingly.

He said, “Last year we experienced a significant improvement in the nations that fielded teams and this year was even better!” He started working on the course last December, but a heavy rainstorm last weekend threatened to undo it all. Fortunately, however, the flooding receded and the ground recovered in time.

“I had to put the poles a bit higher this year as the level of the riders was even better,” he commented. “It is my fifth year here and it’s certainly the toughest course I have set up since I started working on the show in Bratislava. My work is only to try to create the drama, but it is up to the riders to put the show and they did exactly that today!” he pointed out.

First-round clears from Germany’s Joerg Oppermann (Che Guevara), Thomas Kleis (For Success) and Lawrence Greene (Arrivederci 7) meant that Heiko Schmidt (Chap 47) didn’t have to go into the ring, but when Canada’s Jordan Macpherson (Piccobello du Val de Geer), Jaclyn Duff (Pater Noster) and Elizabeth Gingras (Zilversprings) did the same, Jill Henselwood still chose to jump her horse (Quidam Blue). Posting 19 faults, her score didn’t count, but the Canadians were still on level-pegging with the Germans at the halfway stage, both on zero, while Switzerland, the USA and Slovakia were next in line when all carrying just four faults into round two.

The Austrians with eight and Brazil and Czech Republic with 12 and 13, respectively, also made it through.

Upper hand

The Germans began to get the upper hand when Oppermann returned another clear in round two while Canada’s Macpherson picked up four faults, and when Duff collected eight second time out for Canada and Kleis only left one on the floor for Germany then the writing already seemed to be on the wall.

The Swiss began to look dangerous, however, when Martin Fuchs and PSG Future opened round two with a footperfect run, but single errors from Evelyne Bussmann (Oceane de la Taille CH) and Alain Jufer (Wiveau M) meant they had to add one of those four-fault results despite a second clear from Werner Muff and Pollendr, and this left them on a total of eight.

Gingras steadied the Canadian decline with her lovely double-clear, but Henselwood added another seven faults to her scoreline so Team Canada racked up a total of 11 at the end of the day.

Last man in, Heiko Schmidt, who had not competed in the first round with his chestnut stallion Chap 47 because their services were not required, had to go clear to avoid defeat by, or a jump-off against, the Swiss on their total of eight after a single mistake from Lawrence and Arrivederci. But he kept a clear head and left all the fences intact to leave Germany on the top step of the winner’s podium with just four faults in total.

Rode perfectly

Talking about the fact that he hadn’t started in the first round, Schmidt said afterwards, “I have a good team here that rode perfectly!” He described the Bratislava fixture as “the best show in Eastern Europe. I have ridden here six times previously – I like it here!” he added.

Greene, who was making his Nations Cup debut at the age of 25, said, “I’m very happy and proud to have had the chance to ride for Germany. We have a super team here, and I’m very happy with the way it ended with a fantastic result!”

Oppermann meanwhile was celebrating his fault-free day. “It wasn’t so easy jumping double clear,” he said. “I have to say thank you to my horse as he fought a lot today in both rounds. I am proud of him. I think we had a super start. At the beginning my horse’s clear helped the team a lot on our way to victory because it gives you that little bit of momentum. You become a bit ‘bigger’ and feel already better psychology from the beginning,” he explained.

“The first round was perfect, meaning Heiko could save his horse, keeping it fresh for the second round. My horse was brilliant in the second round as well. We’re all fighters here!” Oppermann added.

Buoyant mood

German Chef d’Equipe, Seemann Eberhard, was also in buoyant mood.

It’s a good feeling to win here because it is always very nice to win a Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ qualifier, it’s always something special. Today we were really good in the first round, but the second round was tight and we had to battle hard against both the Swiss and Canadians. In the end, we are very happy to win this class,” he said.

It was Germany’s eleventh win in Bratislava, and the team manager said, “We are more than proud to do it again in 2014!”

He talked about the strategy behind competing at Bratislava from a German perspective. “It is all about giving the younger riders the opportunity to gain some international experience. Laurence (Greene), for example, is competing in his first ever Nations Cup – it’s all about setting these riders up for the future,” he pointed out.

“Bratislava is a great show in the East; it’s one of the best ones and it’s quite tough but a good place for young riders nevertheless, especially those that don’t have many chances to get involved in the international sport,” he added.

Huge success

For CSIO 3*-W Bratislava Event Director, Andrej Glatz, yesterday’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping qualifier was a huge success.

“I think this year was the best one for us as far as the strength and depth of the teams competing goes. We were very happy to see full stands today, with many people interested in equestrian sport. To be honest, we were a bit scared last Sunday as there was a lot of rain and half of the ground was covered in water. Credit to my team and all the members of the OC who worked tirelessly to ensure the footing was great – and you saw the result out there today!” he said.

For the teams in Europe Division 2 now, it is right down to the wire. Norway still heads the leaderboard going in to the last round of this qualifying series at Arezzo, but the Italian hosts will be one of eight nations chasing those last remaining qualifying points when the action gets underway on September 19, and it’s bound to be a fierce fight to the finish.

The Norwegians have used up all their points-chasing chances, so a win for Italy would see them move to the top of the table from which just two nations will qualify for the much-anticipated Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Final. And should Slovakia come out on top then they would be on level pegging with Norway, so it’s still all to play for as the super-exciting Europe Division 2 qualifying season draws to a close.

For further information on round 18 of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 2 League in Bratislava (SVK), visit website or contact Press Officer Michal Zitny, Email or Tel +421 918 500 148. The last qualifying leg of Europe Division 2 will take place at CSIO 3* San Marino – Arezzo, Italy on Friday 19 September. For all information on the Italian fixture, go to website or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, Email, Tel +39 335 610 7070.

Detailed result here.

Facts and Figures:

Bratislava in Slovakia presented the seventh and penultimate leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Europe Division 2 League yesterday, 8 August.

13 countries fielded teams – Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey and USA.

6 nations were competing for points towards the Furusiyya 2014 Final – Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey.

Course designer was Croatia’s Eduard Petrovic.

Germany finished first ahead of Switzerland and Canada in second and third while the USA lined up fourth.

Brazil and Slovakia finished equal-fifth and the host nation claimed the maximum amount of qualifying points – 100 in total – as the best of the points-chasing countries.

8 teams returned for the second round.

3 double-clear performances – from German pathfinder Joerg Oppermann (Che Guevara), Swiss anchor Werner Muff (Pollendr) and third-line Canadian rider Elizabeth Gingras (Zilversprings).

Norway continues to hold the lead in Europe Division 2 ahead of the last qualifying leg of the 2014 season which takes place at CSIO 3* San Marino-Arezzo on Friday 19 September.

However, the Norwegians have completed their points-collection outings and could be overtaken by second-placed Italy if the host nation wins on home ground in six weeks’ time.

8 nations will be chasing points in Arezzo – Italy, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Croatia, Greece, Slovakia and Turkey.


Joerg Oppermann GER: “Today was super! The weather was great and the crowd was perfect. We have a great team; we had so much fun together – we really are a fantastic bunch. I am happy and proud of what we have achieved today!”

Eduard Petrovic, Course Designer: “The oxer and triple combination was made a bit more parallel in the second round – that was the only change from the 1st round. It’s difficult for riders to train their hoses for the water jump here because the shadow from the trees in the arena plays a big part. That’s what makes this arena so unique.”

Thomas Kleis GER: “I am proud to be in the team. It’s always a very nice feeling to be part of a winning team at the Nations Cup as it is the biggest team jumping competition in the world without a doubt.”

Full standings here.

For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series check out this link.

“Furusiyya” (Arabic: فروسيه) this single Arabic word conveys so much, embracing the idea of horsemanship, chivalry, and equestrian knowledge in general. The term is a derivation of faris, or horseman and faras, a horse.

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By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Bratislava:

Michal Zitny
Press Officer
Tel: +421 (2) 4929 4914


Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 133

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