Tag Archives: Christian Ahlmann

Shanghai Swans in the Lead after GCL Round #1 at Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show

May 27, 2021 — The Shanghai Swans team, already in the lead in the overall standings provisionally, after two legs of the Global Champions League, thanks to their second place in Doha and its victory in Madrid last weekend, got off to a great start in the League’s first round in Ramatuelle/Saint-Tropez.

The team, made up of Germany’s Christian Ahlmann on Solid Gold Z and Austria’s Max Kühner with EIC Caleo, didn’t waver in light of the competition and above all their main challenger, Valkenswaard United, represented on the French Riviera by Sweden’s Peder Fredricson on H&M and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander with Identity Vitseroel, second in the overall standings before this weekend, and also second in this first round in Saint-Tropez. Both of these teams jumped clear on the perfectly balanced course, designed by France’s Grégory Bodo, while five other teams finished with four faults. The St. Tropez Pirates, the ‘local team’ made up of France’s Olivier Robert (Ilena de Mariposa) and Belgium’s Pieter Devos (Claire Z), only finished thirteenth out of the sixteen teams competing in this first round with seventeen faults.

Full results.

LAOHS’ website: https://www.athinaonassis-horseshow.com/

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Awesome Ahlmann Scores Again at Longines Leg in Leipzig

Christian Ahlmann with Caribis Z. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

It’s long been one of his favourite venues, and Germany’s Christian Ahlmann had his home crowd in the palm of his hand once again when scorching to victory in the eleventh leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Leipzig.

Just three weeks ago, the man who currently holds 17th spot in the world rankings clinched a thrilling last-to-go victory in Mechelen (BEL) with the spectacular nine-year-old Clintrexo to shoot up the series leaderboard. Here it was another grey stallion, the 12-year-old Caribis Z, that carried him into pole position when last into the seven-horse jump-off, and he now stands top of the Western European League table with just two qualifying legs left to run.

Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr (Uno de la Roque) and Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (Armitages Boy) produced the only other double-clears to finish second and third, while Ahlmann’s compatriot, Daniel Deusser, posted the quickest round against the clock with Tobago, but had to settle for fourth with an unlucky fence down.

Ahlmann’s record at Leipzig is quite something. This was his seventh win at the fixture which celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year, and it was here that he steered Taloubet Z to claim the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title back in 2011. It was also here that he retired that great stallion after their final and emotional winning performance 12 months ago. It holds a very special place in his heart.

“This has always been an amazing show for me, and for my horses!” Ahlmann said as the fixture celebrated a record attendance of 74,700 spectators throughout the weekend.

German course designer, Frank Rothenberger, was determined he wouldn’t have a repeat of what happened in the last two Longines qualifiers at Leipzig Exhibition Centre. In 2018 a total of 15 went into the jump-off, and in 2017 there were 16 horse-and-rider combinations racing against the clock. However, a relentlessly testing first-round track, and a tidy time-allowed of 72 seconds, ensured there were just seven battling it out in the closing stages.

The Netherlands’ Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Beauty led the way with a fence down in 40.83 seconds, and when Germany’s Tobias Meyer tried a very tight inside turn to the third, he paid the price when Queentina slammed on the brakes. Third to go, Mathy Jr, set a strong target when breaking the beam with a clean round in 41.49 seconds.

Deusser crossed the line in 39.53 seconds but left the same fence as van Asten, the planks at fence five, on the floor and although de Luca was foot-perfect, his time of 42.19 left Mathy still out in front with just two left to go. The crowd gasped when home hero and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion Marcus Ehning kicked out the first before steaming around the rest of the track with the fearless Comme Il Faut, so Ahlmann knew exactly what he had to do, and Caribis Z made it look very easy when cruising through the finish in the winning time of 40.70 seconds to a massive roar of approval from the packed stadium.

“Caribis jumped very, very well – the course really suited him; the short distances were good for me so that was our luck today!” Ahlmann said.

“He’s always been a bit in the shadow of Taloubet and Codex, but he’s taken a huge step forward over the last season and he’s ready for big things now. He jumps really light and he’s very quick in a jump-off; he’s a very sporty horse!” he said of the stallion he knows well, because they’ve been a partnership for the last five years.

Ahlmann said he is unlikely compete at the last two Western European League qualifiers which will take place in Amsterdam (NED) next weekend and Bordeaux (FRA) two weeks later. But with a massive 72 qualifying points Christian Ahlmann can happily relax ahead of the Longines 2019 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April. “I have two horses in great shape at the moment, so I’m really looking forward to the Final now!” he added.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Ahlmann Is the Master at Mechelen

Christian Ahlmann and Clintrexo Z. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Kevin Staut is runner-up in four-way battle of legends

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (44) clinched a thrilling last-to-go victory at the ninth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at the Nekkerhal Stadium in Mechelen, Belgium. In a tense competition from which only four of the 39 starters emerged to battle it out against the clock, the crowd was treated to a feast of legendary proportions, because these were four of the greatest masters of their craft, and they put on an exhibition of showjumping at its very best.

Ahlmann is a four-time Olympian and former FEI World Cup™ champion, and it was Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (38) from France whom he pinned into runner-up spot, while World No. 1, The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders (38), lined up in third. Ahlmann’s compatriot, Ludger Beerbaum (55) has long been one of the biggest names in the sport, but this time around he had to settle for fourth when things didn’t quite go his way in the jump-off.

The first-round course set by Belgium’s Eddy Geysemans tested horses every inch of the way, with the first fence, the double at eight, and the triple combination at 10 all taking a steady toll. But only a single time fault kept Ireland’s Denis Lynch (The Sinner), Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (Armitages Boy), and Celine Schoonbroodt-de Azevedo (Chepetta), one of 13 Belgian contenders, from making the cut into the second round. The 71 seconds time-allowed was tight, but as Geysemans said, “the best riders were able to make it – if we had changed the time after the first three riders, we would have had more clears, but the jump-off was great as it was!”

Staut led the way with a stunning run from his new ride, the 10-year-old Edesa’s Cannary, which he has only been competing since October and which raced through the timers in 40.98 seconds to set the pace. Smolders took time to check his route carefully before setting off with the 14-year-old stallion Don VHP Z, the horse that helped him claim individual silver at the 2017 FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE). But they weren’t quite fast enough when galloping home in 41.42 seconds.

Beerbaum was well in touch when turning to the first of the two remaining elements of the triple combination two fences from home, but he lost his line and the 15-year-old gelding Casello ran past the fence, racking up 14 faults and leaving it wide open for Ahlmann as he set off, last to go. And Ahlmann had his game-face on from the start, weaving his way around the twisting track with the fabulous grey stallion Clintrexo Z who stopped the clock on 39.87 without hardly turning a hair. It was an amazing performance for a horse of just nine years of age.

“We built him up in the stallion approvals and later in young-horse classes, and Judy (his wife Judy-Ann Melchior) did some 3 and 4-Star Grands Prix and then allowed me to take him over and move him up another step. He won in Wiesbaden in May and Münster in August and he’s quickly growing into the big sport now. He really loves it, and he gets better and better week after week.” — Christian Ahlmann (GER)

And he was extra-happy that he did well because his family, including his young son Leon, were watching from the sidelines. He says Clintrexo Z is made of the right stuff for the top end of the sport.

“In the ring he knows exactly what to do and he is afraid of nothing. Whether he’s competing in Aachen or here it wouldn’t make any difference to him; he’s always really positive and tries his best – he’s everything you could wish for!”– Christian Ahlmann (GER)

Now the man who has competed at seven FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, including Leipzig in 2011 where he came out on top with the great Taloubet Z, has the 2019 Longines Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April in his sights. In sixth place with 46 points on the leaderboard he is easily qualified, and he’s spoiled for choice about which of his horses to take there.

Runner-up Staut was also very happy. “This was my goal coming here – not to be second but to gain more points to get to the Final!” he said, having moved into third with 51 points to his credit.

Basel in Switzerland will stage the next leg of the Western European League series in two weeks’ time.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Taloubet Triumphs One Last Time for Germany’s Christian Ahlmann at Leipzig

Photo: Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

In a fairytale finish to his fabulous career, the 18-year-old super-stallion Taloubet Z carried Christian Ahlmann to victory in front of their home crowd at the tenth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Leipzig, Germany. Last to go in an edge-of-the-seat 15-horse jump-off it seemed it would be almost too good to be true if they could beat the rest of the world-class field at a show where they enjoyed so many successes over the years. But they did it and, in his usual style, the extraordinary Taloubet made it look like a walk in the park one last time. There was hardly a dry eye in the house during the prize-giving ceremony in which the German duo took centre stage ahead of runners-up Carlos Lopez and Admara from Colombia and Dutchman Harrie Smolders with Zinius.

Ahlmann isn’t normally one for big emotion, but the 43-year-old rider’s voice kept breaking when he tried to talk about the horse that was such a prolific winner, and that carried him to four World Cup Finals, who claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title at this very same venue in 2011 and who was so tough that he was still capable of claiming team bronze and individual ninth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The German star admitted that he felt under incredible pressure.

“I really didn’t want to mess it up for him! This was just a normal World Cup, like we have every week. But it was very special because it was the last class for Taloubet, and we took the risk to jump him so he could say goodbye, here where everyone knows him, and leave the sport in great shape. So to have a good result and to finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy! It’s the greatest day of my life for sure, not for the points or for the money; it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse who still has all this power even at this age is ending his career in a great way, with a great win!” — Christian Ahlmann GER (1st)

“Yes, for everyone else today was a dream, but for me it was a nightmare!” said course designer Frank Rothenberger after 15 horse-and-rider combinations made it into the jump-off. It was a cracker, however, and Lopez appeared to have it in the bag when scorching through the finish in 43.39 seconds with the gelding Admara who seems to have found his perfect “other half” since partnering up with the Colombian rider two years ago. Smolders and Zinius, winners at the previous leg in Mechelen (BEL) last month, gave it their best shot but fell short by two-tenths of a second when second-last to go.

The arena fell silent as Ahlmann and Taloubet set off on their final adventure together, but it exploded with sound when, turning to the last full of running and at a flat gallop, the German duo broke the beam two-tenths of a second quicker than Lopez for the win. Even the Colombian runner-up wasn’t disappointed: “Today is all about Taloubet anyway,” Lopez said.

And with just three qualifiers still left to go, the next in Zurich (SUI), Ahlmann has now qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Like Smolders, who has also made the cut, that wasn’t on the German rider’s radar until now. “I’ll have to have a re-think about that now,” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Christian Ahlmann and ‘Caribis Z’ Triumph at Longines Masters of Hong Kong

Photo Credit: PSI for EEM.

(Hong Kong, February 13, 2017) – Asia’s most glamorous showjumping event, the last leg of the second season of the Longines Masters Series “Grand Slam of Indoor Show Jumping,” came to a thrilling climax in Hong Kong. The prestigious 3-day event, created and organized by EEM, took place Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12 and combined heart-pounding competition between the world’s top show jumpers with stylish lifestyle and entertainment for equestrian sports enthusiasts of all ages.

“The 6-star series continues to grow from strength to strength with record-breaking attendance, and the final leg in Hong Kong is now firmly established as a major ‘must-go’ sporting and social event in Asia,” said Christophe Ameeuw, Founder and CEO of EEM.

Highlights of opening day were two exciting competitions presented by The Hong Kong Jockey Club, founding partner of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong and the EEM Trophy. New to this year’s lineup, the EEM Trophy was won by Spanish show jumper, Pilar Lucrecia Cordon, in the first class of the day, and Swiss rider Martin Fuchs jumped to victory in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy.

Also on Friday, February 10, was The HKJC Race of the Riders, which paired four Hong Kong jockeys – Joao ‘Magic’ Moreira, Neil Callan, Derek Leung and Vincent Ho – with star showjumpers in an entertaining team sprint relay competition. Cheered on by thousands of local fans, it proved to be an enthralling competition involving world-class riders from different disciplines working together. To the crowd’s delight, Hong Kong’s own Joao ‘Magic’ Moreira and French champion show jumper Roger Yves Bost clinched the trophy.

Day two of the competition on Saturday, February 11, was headlined by the world’s fastest class, the thrilling Longines Speed Challenge. This is the only speed competition of its kind in the world, designed to encourage top show jumpers to improve on their times from one continent to the next over an identical course in Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong.

The crowd was on the edge of their seats in the final round of this nail-biting competition ridden against the clock. In the end, German rider, Daniel Deusser and horse Happiness van T Paradijs triumphed, clocking a time of 67.01, just ahead of Pius Schwizer and Bertram Allen.

The excitement of the competition culminated on Sunday, February 12, as Christian Ahlmann on his horse ‘Caribis Z’ took top honors after a spectacular winning round in the Longines Grand Prix. He was joined on the podium by fellow German rider, Ludger Beerbaum on ‘Casello’ and 3rd place Austrian rider, Max Kühner on ‘Cornet Kalua’.

The technical, Olympic-level course, with twelve obstacles and fifteen challenging jumps up to 1.6 metres high with tough sequences and double and triple combinations, required horses that are perfectly trained and focused, and experienced riders avoiding the slightest error of judgement. With this Longines Grand Prix win, Christian Ahlmann is in the running for the Grand Slam bonus of 1 million Euros for consecutive wins if he triumphs in the Longines Grand Prix in Los Angeles and in Paris this year, in the third season of the Longines Masters.

Legendary “horse whisperer” Santi Serra and his team of performing horses mesmerized audiences throughout the event, with his daily “natural dressage” show, presented by Shanghai Tang. Choreographed especially for Hong Kong, the unique performance highlights the historical links between Chinese culture and horses, combining classic Chinese music with stunning costumes.

Throughout the three days, over 5,000 socialites and VIPs made an appearance at the Longines Masters Club, including Jackson Lai, Mr. Hong Kong 2016, Freeyon Chung, Mr. Hong Kong 2016 second runner up and Tiffany Lau, Miss Hong Kong first runner up. Over 25,000 equestrian sports fans, celebrities and Hong Kong high-society packed the arena for the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, which has become Asia’s equestrian social event of the year.

“I can safely say that this has been our best edition yet, capacity crowds have turned out to marvel at the skills of the world’s greatest show jumpers as well as to cheer on their own local, up-and- coming equestrian stars, also to enjoy the whole lifestyle elements of the event,” said Ameeuw. “Thanks to the support of our Title Partner Longines, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, founding partner and indeed all our partners, it’s been an incredible three days and we look forward to returning to Hong Kong again in 2018 with an even more spectacular show.”

After an amazing second season, in Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, EEM is already preparing for the Longines Masters’ third season and looks forward to seeing everyone there!

Capturing some spectacular moments from the Longines Speed Challenge, this video highlights the best of the second season from Los Angeles through to Hong Kong: https://youtu.be/n5hFODavtHw.

Ahlmann Steers Taloubet to Another Sweet Success in Stuttgart

Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z. (Stefan Lafrentz/FEI)

Stuttgart (GER), 20 November 2016 -Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the brilliant Taloubet Z cruised to victory in the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2017 Western European League on home ground in Stuttgart. Marathon jump-offs have become something of a standard this season as even the world’s best course designers can’t seem to contain the extraordinary talent of the horses and riders now at the top of the game. And in a 19-horse race against the clock it was the gentlemanly 16-year-old stallion and the world no. 1 rider who showed the rest a clean pair of heels to win by more than a two-second margin.

“Everything worked out the way I wanted; we had an amazing run and Taloubet did an amazing job!” said 41-year-old Ahlmann after pinning defending Longines champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, into runner-up spot. Guerdat has now moved into pole position on the Western European leaderboard ahead of the next leg of the series in Madrid, Spain next Sunday.

It was Ireland’s Cian O’Connor who set the jump-off target in 45.03 seconds when fourth to go with the extravagant Good Luck. Guerdat shaved a fraction off that when putting his foot to the floor over the final two fences to break the beam in 44.95 with his exciting 10-year-old mare, Bianca, but, with six left to go, Ahlmann produced a breath-taking round from the horse with which he won the 2011 World Cup title.

This partnership are the epitome of the #TwoHearts dream-team, understanding each other so well that Ahlmann’s slightest movement is clearly interpreted by the stallion. Stopping the clock on 42.85 seconds they were untouchable for the win.

“He was in great shape today and he has been for the whole season,” said the rider who also won the Stuttgart leg of the series last year with Codex One. “Taloubet is a very fast horse but I had no real plan in the jump-off. I just knew I had to take every risk if I wanted to win!” Ahlmann said. Taloubet won’t go to the 2017 Longines Final, however, because it has been decided that the horse who helped secure Olympic team bronze as well as the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ title for Germany this year will be taking it relatively easy in future.

“He feels fresh, like a young horse; he knows every situation in the world and it’s easy to train and keep him fit, so he will do some big shows and continue to enjoy the sport, but no more big finals for him,” Ahlmann explained.

Full result here


Christian Ahlmann GER (1st), talking about how he keeps the 16-year-old Taloubet Z at the top of his game: “He has a super team around him; they take care every single step he does – his home groom, his show groom, his rider, his blacksmith – everyone does a good job to make sure he’s always in top shape.”

Christian Ahlmann GER (1st), talking about his jump-off round: “The whole round was for me and the horse almost perfect! The tight turns were to our advantage at the black vertical (former fence 8) and the wall (fence 9). Also we took one stride less to the last fence, and of course you always need some luck!”

Steve Guerdat SUI (2nd): “I’m very proud to be second today. Christian is a great rider and very fast. This mare is very special; she gives me an amazing feeling and she has improved a lot this year.”

Cian O’Connor IRL (3rd): “I’m very happy to be up there with Christian Ahlmann and Steve Guerdat! This is the first season indoors for this horse. Jumping indoors it is sometimes difficult to get him relaxed and concentrated but here in Stuttgart the ring is big and spacious.”

Full Standings here

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupWEL #RidetoOmaha #FEIWorldCupFinals #TwoHearts

Rider biographies: view online and download from www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Stuttgart:

Joerg Klopfer
Press Officer
+49 711 955 43128


Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Christian Ahlmann Master of Dinard

Christian Ahlmann (ALL)/Cornado II. Photo: Pixels Events.

Out of 37 contestants in the Grand Prix CSI5* of the city of Dinard 2016, 15 managed to qualify for the jump off, but the German Christian Ahlmann, up to his reputation, clinches victory with Cornado II.

The jump off, very competitive, took place in front of fully packed grandstands and overexcited spectators. Since the design of the course did not allow the riders to cut short, the only solution to bring the time down was to turn immediately after landing from the fences. Second to go, the Belgian Jérôme Guéry chose to ask everything to his grey horse Papillon Z, and set the time at 42″73. Nobody could imagine this incredible performance could ever been beaten, but the German genius Christian Ahlmann, world n°2, associated to Cornado II, brings the time down to 42″72, by one hundred of a second, that will allow him to win this CSI5* of Dinard for his first visit and participation. “First of all, I have to admit that I am really impressed by the quality of the site and by the arena. To clear here, you need a very good and experienced horse, but the course was fun to ride. The fact that the public is so big makes a real difference although it puts more pressure on our shoulders.”

The Belgian rider had to do with the second place. “I miss this victory by a fraction of a second, but I am very pleased with this placing. I am very happy to be part of this competition with so many talented riders.”

The Irish Darragh Kenny, in great spirits since the beginning of the Jumping of Dinard, places 3rd, after clearing the course with Go Easy de Muze in a time of 43″25.”This show is fantastic; it is my second time here; my horse jumped incredible. I only had him for eight weeks; he already places 3rd twice in CSI5*.”

The first French, Timothée Anciaume, decided not to play the time, but to clear. His strategy was obviously right, since, associated to Kiamon, he places 6th behind the Belgian Peter Devos/Dream of India Greenfield (4th) and the Swedish Douglas Lindelow/Zacramento (5th).

Results of the Grand Prix of Dinard:

Link to download the free highlights of the Grand Prix of Dinard:


Véronique GAUTHIER / Agence Consulis
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Ahlmann Wins Dramatic Second Competition, but Guerdat Holds Lead

Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z won the second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Gothenburg (SWE), 26 March 2016 – Germany’s Christian Ahlmann won the dramatic second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, but defending champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, leads the standings going into Monday’s third and last competition.

Ahlmann and the brilliant 16-year-old stallion, Taloubet Z, set the standard in the seven-horse jump-off against the clock and couldn’t be caught, but Ireland’s Denis Lynch rocketed up the leaderboard when producing the only other double-clear of the competition to finish second ahead of The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders and Emerald in third, while Guerdat and Corbinian slotted into fourth place.

Marcus Ehning finished fifth with Cornado NRW to keep the potential for a record-breaking fourth series title still very much alive for this popular German star, while his compatriot Marco Kutscher lined up sixth with Chaccorina ahead of America’s Peter Lutz and Robin de Ponthual in seventh spot.

Degree of difficulty

Course designer, Santiago Varela from Spain, increased the degree of difficulty with today’s tough first-round track that tested power, accuracy, rideability and courage. The triple combination at fence eight proved influential, but it was the line from the oxer at 11 to the vertical at 12, the following water-tray oxer at 13 and the final vertical at fence 14 that decided the fate of many. Horses that jumped big at 11 often arrived deep at the tricky vertical at 12 with its gold-coloured poles offset by a rocking horse fence-filler. And some also put their eye on the water-tray under the penultimate oxer at 13 to put themselves out of contention as they rode down to the last.

There were no clears until Ahlmann set off, ninth of the 33 starters, and the pure class of the round he produced from the stallion with which he won the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title on home ground in Leipzig (GER) in 2011, always suggested that today he would be the man to beat.

First to go against the clock, he again just cruised home in 36.85 seconds without appearing to be under the slightest pressure, and although Lynch also left all the fences intact with his stallion All Star who has been in the form of his life in recent months, he seemed to have left the door wide open for those following him when stopping the clock in 41.42 seconds. But as it turned out, none of the rest could leave all the fences in place, both America’s Peter Lutz and Germany’s Marco Kutscher collecting eight faults while Harrie Smolders lowered the oxer at fence two, now the third-last obstacle on the track, and then Marcus Ehning clipped the second element of the double at fence three and the penultimate vertical to put paid to his chances.

Guerdat looked set to threaten Ahlmann’s lead when last to go, but the crowd gasped when Corbinian hit the opening vertical. When asked afterwards if this unnerved him and made him change his plan, the Swiss rider said, “No, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have another fence down, I wasn’t going to catch Christian anyway so I was going for second place. That was the plan – it was never about winning the class today; it was to be in the lead tonight. The championship overall is more important than a single class,” he said wisely.

One of the favourites

Ahlmann was one of the firm favourites to take the 2016 title before the Final got underway, but he was lying well down the leaderboard after two mistakes with Colorit.

He talked about his disappointment when things didn’t quite go his way in the first leg. “The plan was a little bit different, but it’s the sport. I tried to take one day (of jumping) off Taloubet and to use another horse, it was a risk but not a big risk because he did well over the past few weeks, but yesterday was not our best day, and at the end two down left me in 25th place. It was a really bad start, but this is a championship and the possibility is still there and we had a very good second day apparently!” he pointed out.

Talking about his plan for the jump-off, he said, “I sure wanted to go fast; I have a really fast horse, an unbelievable horse and my only chance to move forward in the rankings was a good result today so I had no other option – so I tried to put my colleagues under pressure and it worked out!”

He now lies joint-10th alongside Irishman Lynch and America’s Lutz going into the final afternoon and well within sight of that coveted Longines FEI World Cup™ trophy.

Reason to be pleased

Lynch, meanwhile, also had every reason to be pleased. “My horse (All Star) is not a very quick horse, but today I was lucky because my colleagues had fences down so I finished second. I’ve taken a long time with this horse. I’ve had him since he was six years old and he likes playing around, bucking and messing a lot, so he’s not always that easy, but we know each other really well now,” he said of his 13-year-old stallion. “And he’s been in great form since December and through January and February with lots of good rounds,” he added.

Harrie Smolders admitted that his stallion, Emerald, is also feeling pretty good, in fact so good that he very nearly unseated his rider in the first round today. “He jumped just amazing, almost too well in the first round – I almost came flying off but luckily I stayed on him! I knew I needed a top place today to be in touch for Monday so I’m pleased with how it has worked out, and now I’m waiting for Monday,” he said.

Guerdat, meanwhile, reflected on how things have fallen in place for him over the last two days. The possibility of taking his second Longines title in a row looks very much on the cards.

A lot of questions

“I’m really happy. There were a lot of questions before the Final started that I really didn’t know the answer to… my horse has lot of ability; he has quality and he will be a very good horse one day, but we are still a bit looking for each other and I didn’t think he would be good enough to be in the lead before the final day,” he pointed out. But the defending champion is not getting too carried away with it all just yet. “It was just another day today; I’m going to enjoy myself tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to Monday now!” he added.

Talking about his horse, Corbinian, he explained, “He’s done quite a few big classes with me just we haven’t been so much in the results; we’ve had a lot of four faults and sometimes eight faults, never really because of a lack of quality but because I can’t get to his quality. He’s a bit difficult to ride for me; I did two or three nations cups last year and maybe four or five five-star Grand Prix classes and he was very good in the World Cup in London. I felt then he was the horse for this final; I had the luck to be already qualified so I didn’t have any pressure to get the points.”

Guerdat also made a joke at his own expense as the post-competition press conference was coming to a close. When asked what made him decide to come back for the jump-off knowing that there are two more rounds of jumping and that he might already be leading the standings, he replied, “I’m not that good at calculating, but I thought if I don’t mess it up completely I would be in the lead, but I wasn’t exactly sure – I’m here for the sport and not the mathematics!” he said.

When it comes to the crunch on Monday, however, it looks very possible that the Olympic gold medallist and defending Longines champion may well have the last laugh.

For further information on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2015/2016 in Gothenburg (SWE) from 23-28 March 2016, visit www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Lotta Amnestål, lotta.amnestal@ridsport.se, +46 709 79 56 35.

Full result here.

Full standings here.

Facts and Figures:

33 horse-and-rider combinations started in the second competition at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The winner was Germany’s Christian Ahlmann riding Taloubet Z, the horse with which he won the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title in Leipzig, Germany in 2011.

However, it is the defending champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, who heads the leaderboard going into Monday’s third and final competition when adding a fourth-place finish to his fifth place in the opening Speed class.

Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, presented a 14-fence challenge, with a time-allowed of 79 seconds.

7 first-round clears.

A total of 13 horse-and-rider combinations picked up four faults in the first round.

America’s Katie Kindan was eliminated for two refusals for Nougat du Vallet in the first round, and fellow-American Charlie Jacobs retired with Flaming Star.

The bogey fence in the first round was the vertical at fence 12 which consisted of two gold-coloured poles with a golden rocking-horse as the fence filler.

The top 30 riders after today’s competition will qualify for Monday’s third and last competition, and 20 of those will advance to the second round.

Any riders who jump clear in the first round, even if they will finish outside the top 20, are also permitted to go again in the second round but their result will not count for the final classification.


Santiago Varela, Course Designer: “I want to congratulate all the riders; they rode really well and it was a nice competition. I feel good about how it went.”

Christian Ahlmann GER (1st), when asked about the formula for keeping Talboubet so fit and competitive five years after winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title with him in Leipzig: “It’s nothing special; I just think you need a real Ferrari like him and it makes it a bit easier!”

Steve Guerdat SUI (4th), when asked if he thought he could repeat his winning performance of last year: “We’ll see; I’m delighted to have so many good horses and I can definitely ride better than I did in the final last year!”

Rider biographies: view online and download here.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Gothenburg:

Lotta Amnestål
Press Officer
+46 709 79 56 35


Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Ahlmann Makes It a Hat-Trick with Another Longines Victory at Mechelen

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann produced his third win of the season in today’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League qualifier at Mechelen in Belgium riding Taloubet Z. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Mechelen (BEL), 30 December 2015 – Germany’s Christian Ahlmann galloped to his third victory of the season at the eighth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. The competition came down to a 10-way decider against the clock, and, third-last into the arena, the 40-year-old rider and his brilliant 15-year-old stallion Taloubet Z produced another of their trademark thrillers to seal the result in style.

On a day when the focus was otherwise on all things Belgian, however, home riders filled three of the top four placings and five of the top ten slots. Niels Bruynseels threw down an extraordinary jump-off performance with the nine-year-old Cas de Liberte to claim runner-up position, while Jerome Guery lined up third with Papillon Z. And fourth-placed Jos Verlooy has rocketed up to second spot in the Western European League standings after finishing fourth this evening with his nine-year-old gelding, Sunshine.

With 77 points now to his credit, Ahlmann has a 26-point lead over Frenchman Simon Delestre at the top of the series leaderboard with just three qualifying legs left to run. So along with Verlooy, Penelope Leprevost from France and young Belgian star Nicola Philippaerts, the 2011 FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion is well-qualified for the 2016 Longines Final which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden in March.

Rapid rate

Belgian course designer, Lucien Somers, set them a tough task with tall verticals, wide oxers and obstacles coming up at a rapid rate around his 13-fence track. This was no day for the faint-hearted, with absolute commitment required from horse and rider from start to finish, and Verlooy showed all of that when opening the class with a great clear from his relatively novice gelding.

There were consistent errors at the oxer at fence four, but the majority of mistakes were made along the line that followed, from the double at fence five – vertical to oxer – which led on a right-hand curve to the vertical at six and then on a left-hand bend to a big oxer at fence seven. The skinny planks at 11 also fell frequently, as did various elements of the following triple combination which consisted of a triple bar and two verticals before the last demanding turn to the final oxer which also took its toll.

A total of 10 found the key to the challenging track, but before the jump-off began there was an emotional tribute to Belgian jumping legend Ludo Philippaerts who retired from competition this year. During his stellar career he competed at four Olympic Games, three FEI World Equestrian Games, 11 European championships and in 13 FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals. Amongst his many achievements, Ludo took individual European silver in 2001 and, with the great stallion, Darco, claimed European team gold in 1991. Yolande Wauters, wife of the late Eric Wauters who, 35 years ago, founded the Mechelen event which is dedicated to his name, made a special presentation to Ludo today, as did FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

Superb target

With five Belgians into the jump-off, the home crowd had plenty to keep them on the edges of their seats, and they roared with excitement when Verlooy, who just turned 20 earlier this month, set a superb target when clear in 42.09 seconds. But it was Niels Bruynseels who really set the competition alight when, three horses later, he blazed through the timers in 39.37 seconds to put it up to the rest of the field.

His compatriot, Jerome Guery, has established a great bond with the former Gregory Wathelet ride Papillon Z and the grey raced home to slot temporarily into second place when crossing the line in 40.57 seconds. Ahlmann and Taloubet Z, however, followed that with a jump-off master-class, working in perfect harmony and taking a stride out on the gallop to the last to shave 0.15 seconds off Bruynseels‘ target.

There were still two left to run, but when Great Britain’s Laura Renwick and the ever-more-promising Bingtang ll posted their clear in 42.47 seconds that would slot them into fifth place leaving only 2014 Longines champion, Daniel Deusser, left to challenge. The German rider who lives in Mechelen hit the last fence in a valiant effort with First Class van Eeckelghem and had to settle for sixth place.

Quite confident

Ahlmann admitted that he was feeling “quite confident” going into today’s jump-off. “Taloubet did a great job in the first round and gave me a super feeling – when he’s in that shape I can ride fast and take the risks. To be honest, he just played with the fences today – he has produced some really great rounds over the last few weeks, but this one was possibly the best!” he said.

Runner-up Niels Bruynseels said he wasn’t in the least disappointed with such a close second place. “No, I’m very happy; my horse is only nine and this was her first World Cup. It is a dream for every rider to win a competition like this in their home country but it was very close, and with Christian to come I knew it wasn’t over. Maybe if I made one stride less to the last – who knows?” he mused afterwards.

Following his victory with Codex One in Stuttgart in November which was quickly followed by another with Taloubet Z a week later and now his third success today with the same great horse, Ahlmann will be one of the hot favourites when the 2016 Longines Final gets underway in Gothenburg in three months’ time. He’s already looking forward to it, but is no hurry to decide which of his brilliant string he will take to the Swedish fixture.

It could be Taloubet Z, but first the stallion will take a well-earned break. Asked this evening about restoring the horse which earned him the coveted FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy four years ago to his best after a long injury break, the German rider said, “It’s always a big challenge for the whole team to keep horses fit for many years, and to bring him back now in such great form when he is almost 16 is only possible if you have a really strong team behind you. We are all very happy and very proud that Taloubet is really enjoying himself again!” Ahlmann added.

For further information on the eighth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League at Mechelen (BEL), go to www.jumping-mechelen.com or contact Press Officer Edith de Reys, edith.dereys@skynet.be, +32 475 65 92 81.

The next leg will take place in Leipzig (GER) on 17 January 2016. For details of the German fixture, visit www.engarde.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, andreas.kerstan@comtainment.de, +49 177 75 32624.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

Mechelen in Belgium presented the eighth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League.

A total of 40 riders representing 16 countries competed and 10 of those flew the host nation flag.

Belgian riders filled five of the top-ten finishing places.

The winner was Germany’s Christian Ahlmann riding Taloubet Z, the 15-year-old stallion with which he claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy at the Final in Leipzig, Germany in 2011.

This was Ahlmann’s third victory in the current series and he now holds a commanding lead on the Western European League table ahead of French rider Simon Delestre in second while his fourth-place finish today moved Belgium’s Jos Verlooy into third and leaves him well-qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden in March.

Course designer was Belgium’s Lucien Somers.

10 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the jump-off.

5 horse-and-rider combinations produced double-clear performances.

Following the first round of today’s competition, there was a tribute to mark the official retirement of Belgian star Ludo Philippaerts during which FEI President, Ingmar de Vos, made a special presentation to the 52-year-old rider.

This was the 35th edition of the show in Mechelen, which was created by the late Eric Wauters and which continues to be staged by his family in memory of the Belgian Olympic bronze medallist.


Christian Ahlmann GER (1st) when asked if the round produced by Niels Bruynseels looked almost unbeatable: “I knew I had the best horse and the fastest horse. Niels also had a great round so I tried to do almost the same but be a little faster and it worked!”

Jeromy Guery BEL (3rd) – “It’s been a great season and my horse, Papillon, is amazing! I’m just really happy to have a great result in my home country – I’m surprised, motivated and delighted today!”

Peter Bollen, Mechelen Event Director: “It was very nice to see Belgian riders doing so well, and I’m very happy with a win for such a great star as Christian.”

Peter Bollen, when asked about the challenges facing the Organising Committee ahead of this year’s event: “It wasn’t easy, the arena changed ownership but new contracts were signed a week ago for another five years so all is good, and we’ve had a fantastic crowd this year – even better than last year!”

Christian Ahlmann GER (1st), when asked about training a horse like Taloubet who does not have the biggest stride: “The strides of my horse in general are fast; even if he is doing the same strides as other horses he would still be faster than them. However, I can do that (take a stride out) only once during a round; otherwise he’ll get flat and lose the jump, so I saved it for the last jump today, and it worked out really well!”

Christian Ahlmann GER (1st), when asked if he knew he had won after his brilliant jump-off round: “You can’t think like that with Laura (Renwick) or Daniel (Deusser) following you. They can always beat you; today was difficult and the chance is always there, so I had to wait until the last fence was done!”

Full standings here.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupWEL

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Mechelen:

Press Officer
Edith de Reys
+32 475 659 281


Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142

Emotional Ahlmann Makes It Two-in-a-Row in Madrid

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann, galloping to victory with Taloubet Z. (FEI/Hervé Bonnaud)

Madrid (ESP), 29 November 2015 – Just seven days after coming out on top on home turf in Stuttgart, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann made it a back-to-back double with victory in the sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League in Madrid, Spain this afternoon. Last weekend he partnered Codex One, but this time around it was his old friend, the 15-year-old stallion Taloubet Z, who carried him to success, and the 40-year-old rider couldn’t help but feel emotional in the aftermath.

“My horses are going so well at the moment; it’s amazing – we’ve had some very, very hard days not so long ago, but now we are having some very nice days, and Taloubet was jumping fantastic this afternoon. He’s always a very good horse, but today felt special because I was thinking and hoping that Mr Melchior was looking down and watching him win, and that he would be feeling proud once again!” he said. He was of course referring to the late master of the world-famous Zangersheide Stud and the father of his partner Judy-Ann, Leon Melchior who passed away just a few short weeks ago.

Only five horse-and-rider combinations made it through to the jump-off against the clock today, and runners-up were the pair who won the Madrid leg of the series 12 months ago, Colombia’s Carlos Lopez and Prince de la Mare. Belgium’s Pieter Devos lined up third with Dream of India Greenfield while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann finished fourth with Cantinero ahead of Germany’s Marco Kutscher and Chaccorina in fifth spot.

Tantalising four faults

It was a tough afternoon’s jumping, with 24 of the 40 starters picking up a tantalising four faults in the first round. But when she produced the quickest of these, in a time of 56.03 seconds, Britain’s Laura Renwick slotted into sixth spot with Bintang ll.

The 12-fence track designed by Spain’s Javier Trenor presented a fascinating challenge, with mistakes made from the very first to the very last. The double of oxer to vertical at fence five was followed by a 360-degree left-hand turn to the following vertical at six, and then it was on to a big oxer at fence seven and a tall vertical with a water-tray at the back of it at fence eight which proved a bit spooky for some. There were consistent errors at all of these obstacles even before riders faced into the triple combination at fence nine, while the last two fences – an oxer followed by the final Longines planks – were further complicated by the fact that they needed to be ridden on a short five-stride distance.

As Ahlmann explained afterwards, “Today was a proper Grand Prix. There were nice classes until today in Madrid, not always easy but with plenty of clear rounds. But when we walked the course this afternoon we could see it was going to be different. It was big and technical, but it was not unfair so there were no bad pictures even though only five of us managed to qualify for the jump-off.”

Set the target

Last year’s victor, Lopez, was first to go against the clock and with the long, loping stride of Prince de la Mare he set the target with a great clear in 41.37 seconds. Belgium’s Devos followed with a mistake at the second of the two remaining elements of the triple combination while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Cantinero ran out of luck even earlier when hitting the opening oxer for a slower four faults.

And that annoying first fence also fell for Germany’s Marco Kutscher who then decided not to put too much pressure on his lovely nine-year-old mare Chaccorina, posting a slow time of 45.32 seconds but once again making it all look very elementary indeed. So the door was wide open as Ahlmann entered the ring. Despite all his experience, the German rider knew he still had a job to do.

Good position

“I was in a good position as the last to go – the pressure was there, but not more than usual,” he said afterwards. “The time to beat was quick but I knew from the first fence that it was going to be good. I just rode from fence to fence and the feeling got better and better, but it was still quite close in the end,” he pointed out, after registering the winning clear round in 40.98 seconds.

Ahlmann talked about his winning ride, the stallion Taloubet Z with whom he has recorded many of his greatest successes including victory at the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Leipzig (GER) four years ago, and more recently team silver at the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen. Together they claimed runner-up spot at the third leg of the Longines Western European League in Lyon (FRA) earlier this month.

“Taloubet has been owned by the Melchior family since he was six years old, so he has been with Zangersheide for seven or eight years now. It was Judy (Judy-Ann Melchior) who rode him originally and she brought him up, and then I got to ride him when he was nine. He has been very successful; he has done so much for me in my sporting career and he has done a lot for the sport and for breeding also. He is just a great horse!” he said.

Today’s result has rocketed Ahlmann up to the top of the Western European League table with a massive 57 points and a firm qualifying place for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden next March. French riders Simon Delestre and Penelope Leprevost now lie second and third while Henrik von Eckermann is in fourth going into the seventh leg of the series which will take place at the hugely popular Christmas show at Olympia in London (GBR) on 20 December.

For further information on the sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League in Madrid, go to www.madridhorseweek.com or contact Press Officer Alejandra Cámara, a.camara@madridhorseweek.com, +34 609 915 944.

The next leg of the series will take place at Olympia, London (GBR) on 20 December 2015. For details of the British fixture, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Jo Peck, JoPeck@hpower.co.uk, +44 1753 847 900.

Full result here.

Facts and Figures:

The sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League took place at Madrid Horse Week in Spain today.

40 starters representing 22 nations in today’s competition.

During today’s competition, a special presentation was made by the Organising Committee to Spain’s Pepe Alvarez de Bohorques who was Chairman of the FEI Jumping Committee for eight years and silver medallist at the FEI World Jumping Championships in Buenos Aires (ARG) in 1966.

1 horse-and-rider combination eliminated – Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro and Enriques of the Lowlands, for a rider fall at the penultimate fence on the 12-obstacle course.

Course designer was Spain’s Javier Trenor.

Only 5 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

The winners were Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the 15-year-old stallion Taloubet who together claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title at the Final in Leipzig, Germany in 2011.

This was Ahlmann’s second Western European League victory in a week. He also came out on top last Sunday in Stuttgart (GER) with Codex One.

Runner-up was the 2014 winner at this leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League, Colombia’s Carlos Lopez with Prince de la Mare.

Just five more qualifying rounds remain in the Western European League and the next takes place at Olympia in London (GBR) on 20 December.

Full standings here.

FEI YouTube here.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupWEL

Rider biographies: view online and download from http://www.fei.org/bios.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Madrid:

Alejandra Cámara
Press Officer
+34 609 915 944


Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142