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McLain Ward Wins the Tourmaline Oil Cup

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

On a breezy and autumnal Calgarian afternoon, 28 horse and rider combinations representing 12 nations contested Friday’s feature class at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the 1.55m Tourmaline Oil Cup. Legendary course designer Leopoldo Palacios set the pairings – which included three out of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders – 12 testing obstacles, with the Venezuelan and his team of assistants making full use of the vast and iconic International Ring.

American McLain Ward set the early pace with his 15-year-old bay mare, HH Azur, going clear in a time of 72.51s, within the 75-second time limit. Compatriot Kent Farrington and his 14-year-old gelding, Creedance, looked to be on imperious form, breezing around the course fault-free. In a show of American domination, winner of 2019’s CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, Beezie Madden and her 15-year-old La Silla-bred Stallion, Breitling LS, also made light work of the 15-fence course. Much to the delight of the crowd, home favourites Tiffany Foster and Erynn Ballard progressed to the shoot-out, both aboard their talented 10-year-olds, Hamilton and Gakhir, respectively. In-form Nayel Nassar from Egypt and his veteran 19-year-old gelding, Coronado, was joined in the jump-off by Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and his stallion H5 Chagauns and Australia’s Rowan Willis partnered by his grey stallion Ashton Dakota.

First to go in the jump-off was recent Olympic Team silver medallist, McLain Ward, who set a blistering time of 37.38s, which looked hard to beat, after the next seven riders – Rowan Willis, Kent Farrington, Eduardo Menezes, Erynn Ballard, Beezie Madden, and Tiffany Foster – all failed to navigate the eight-fence jump-off without penalties. Last to go, it was apparent that Nayel Nassar was playing it safe, with his sights set on second spot, eventually crossing the line without a fault and finishing runner-up behind deserved winner, Ward.

On his victory and his mare HH Azur’s stunning performance, the two-time Olympic Team gold medallist commented: “I don’t know if I particularly did it better than any of the other riders; she just jumped it better! I actually wasn’t upset by my position in the jump-off. I was just going to ride my plan. I know what her strengths and weaknesses are at this point, and I thought if I put a little bit of pressure on, there might be some mistakes and that played out.

“HH Azur is going to jump the Nations Cup tomorrow for our team, and then Casper, a stallion I’ve been kind of bringing along, who’s a phenomenal jumper and has had a strong summer in Europe, is the horse I’m aiming towards the big Grand Prix on Sunday.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Fairytale Finish in Freestyle for von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera

(L to R): Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (silver), Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (gold), and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (bronze). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was filled with emotion after clinching her third gold medal of the week when topping the Freestyle at the FEI Dressage European Championship 2021 in Hagen (GER).

“It’s like a fairytale; the ride today was the best I ever felt!” said the 35-year-old athlete who also swept all before her at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. “It may not have been the highest points ever, but for me it was the best feeling I ever had with Dalera. I was very emotional after finishing. No matter what points or what place I got, I was so happy!” she added.

Scoring 91.021 when third-last to go, she finished almost three percentage points ahead of Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who took silver with Bohemian, and it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Gio who grabbed the bronze.

Going fifth from last, Dujardin put 87.246 on the board, and she might have expected that would not be enough for a podium placing with the final German partnership of Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD still to come. But second-last into the arena, Werth’s multiple medal-winning mare was clearly lacking energy and power, and their score of 84.896 left them in fourth place.

Pleased

Dujardin was hugely pleased with her result. At only 10 years of age, Gio is still very much on a learning curve, with little exposure to top sport other than his sensational results at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he won double-bronze. This performance was even more impressive.

“I’m so proud of him; it’s only his second time through that music and as you could see the degree of difficulty is immense. The Olympics was the first time I rode it and it was mistake-free there; unfortunately I made a mistake in the ones on the centre line today – rider error, not horse error – and I thought that would have cost me a medal. It’s still frustrating that I made that mistake and I’m so cross with myself because he tried so hard – but obviously we have medalled!” said the 35-year-old athlete.

She really pulled out all the stops, including taking all the risk in extended canter. “All week I hadn’t pushed him full out because he is a young horse and I want him for the future and he did the Olympics. He tried for me every day here; he did a great Special (on Thursday where the pair finished fourth). I was so proud of him, and we just missed out on a medal. So I thought today, I’ll just put that extra bit in,” she said.

Competitiveness is in Dujardin’s DNA. “I went in there wanting a medal for sure. I wasn’t going down without a fight! And being the first of the last five combinations, you know you have to give it a good go, set the standard. I felt we did that, even with a mistake. We got 87 percent with those mistakes; without those mistakes, who knows what it might have been? I asked him to step up and he sure did! she added.

And having finished his test, the little horse, whose rider calls him Pumpkin, was completely relaxed as he left the ring.

“That’s the thing with him: he just gets more and more confident and that’s his first time in an arena with that atmosphere; he’s not used to crowds. He’s just brilliant; he switches on and does his job, and then he switches off and off he goes home!” she said.

A joy

Dufour was equally pleased with Bohemian, whose test was a joy to watch, filled with energy and power.

‘I’m really happy, first because I had a super ride – almost flawless – we had a tiny mistake in the ones at the end and that was totally my mistake. We have grown a lot since Wednesday this week and today he felt so happy, so ready to deliver. It was just so super-easy going. I was back to no pushing, no forcing, just enjoying and dancing with him!” said the dynamic 29-year-old Dane.

Her emotional music from Les Miserables added a poignancy to her performance. “It expresses something about where I am in my life. It delivers a kind of message – that I’m really enjoying life and I’m in a good place now and that my horse and I have found our path together. I feel really comfortable with what I’m doing with my team, with the people I have around me. I have a super family, an extra family, and it feels fantastic!” she pointed out.

But the new European Freestyle gold medallist was happiest of all.

Talking about Dalera’s magical Freestyle performance, von Bredow-Werndl said, “She was 100 percent focused, she was light, she was on fire, but not too much. Two days ago (in the Grand Prix Special) she was a bit too hot so I couldn’t ride for example the extensions fully, and then it looked a little bit tense sometimes, but today it was a perfect, perfect kind of energy.

“She loves what she does, and I feel it in every second and every movement. Even my collected walk felt super today. The feeling was the best I’ve ever had so far, in my whole life, on any horse!

“That’s why I was pretty emotional when I finished because this is not normal – that a horse improves during a competition. Today she had no wet hair (sweat), either in the warm-up or after the competition, and that’s crazy!” she said.

Atmosphere

The spectators at Hagen certainly added to the great atmosphere and the new European triple champion, who also has two Olympic gold medals in her trophy cabinet after this extraordinary summer, commented on the difference it makes to have them there.

“It’s so great to ride in front of an audience again; it feels completely different; we were carried by them I think, and they were so supportive of all the riders during the week. I hope it will stay like this; it’s so good to have this back!”

Von Bredow-Werndl has led Germany to a glorious summer of gold, and now has next year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in her sights. However, Dufour gave her fair warning that she and her Danish compatriots will be ready and waiting when the action begins on their home ground in front of their home crowd in Herning next August.

She intends narrowing the gap between herself and the German star over the next 11 months.

“Right now, we can only aim at Jessica’s marks, and congratulations to her on a great season this year. It’s exciting with the WEG next year in Denmark. I’m sure the Danish audience will put pressure on the Germans!”

For now, however, the Hagen hosts can continue to bask in a golden glow.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Von Bredow-Werndl Untouchable for Special Gold

(L to R): Germany’s Isabell Werth (silver), Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (gold), and Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (bronze). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl scooped her second gold medal of the week when coming out on top with TSF Dalera BB in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 in Hagen (GER).

Firm favourites after their spectacular performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer, the 35-year-old rider and her 14-year-old mare produced the highest score to help their country claim the team title for the 25th time. And they won again, this time pinning team-mates Isabell Werth and Weihegold into silver while Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour and Bohemian took the bronze.

Team silver medallist, Britain’s Carl Hester, set the early target score when posting 77.310 with En Vogue. “That was as good as Tokyo, if not maybe a little bit better – I got the ride I really wanted to get,” said the man who also took team bronze in Japan a few weeks ago.

“He was steady, relaxed, and calm. I always know that if he’s going to be funny, it will be in the piaffes. That’s what he did yesterday (in the team competition) and he gets wilder and wilder. But tonight he was fine. All you want in a championship really is for the horse to grow. I don’t expect to win when he’s this young, but I do it in the hope that he gets better every day.

“The changes tonight were spot on; the piaffes were showing the future of what he can do, because I think there’s a 10 in there for those – not tonight, but they were going the right way, so I was just pleased they are progressing. And the pirouettes,” he pointed out.

In front

Hester was still in front when Werth set off with her mare, fifth-last to go. It was clear from the outset that the German pair who took European Special and Freestyle gold in Gothenburg (SWE) four years ago meant business again. Before starting, Werth made sure Weihegold was listening, practically galloping down the long side of the arena before beginning her test.

“It gives her the fire, and me too!” she said. “I knew I had to fight and take all the risk I could; she’s so experienced in this business, more in the Freestyle than the Special, but this was one of her best Specials, no big mistakes, and I’m very happy with her,” said the lady who won her first European Grand Prix Special title with the great Gigolo back in 1991 in Donaueschingen (GER).

Big marks for piaffe, passage, and pirouettes put her on a score of 81.702 for a strong lead going into the closing stages.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin followed with 79.787 from her sweet little 10-year-old chestnut Gio, slotting temporarily into bronze medal spot. “It’s only his third Special and I couldn’t ask for much more. He needs more time to strengthen up; he’s getting better and better at every show, and he went in there and tried and did his best, and that’s enough for me,” said the rider who took all the European Individual titles in both 2013 and 2015 with the record-breaking Valegro. However, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour immediately overtook her with a cracking test from Bohemian that was filled with power, energy, and excitement.

Dufour looked well set to oust Werth from pole position but, although quickly rectified, a mistake on the final centreline proved costly. The quality of the performance was so strong, it still earned a healthy mark of 81.079.

Reflecting

The 29-year-old Dane has been reflecting over the last few weeks. “What I felt in the last few tests was that I had to push him a bit too much in Tokyo, and that’s not at all the way I want to ride him. Today I wanted to build more trust so he doesn’t feel that I push him one thousand percent every time he goes in the ring, because I had the feeling he might not continue to perform with me if I continue to ask for more. But today he was so confident. I could have asked for more, but I want to rebuild that trust and show him that it’s super-nice to be in the ring.

“What Tokyo has taught me is that less is more,” Dufour said. “He will give me the moon as long as I offer trust and space for him to grow, which I feel I forgot the last few times. Yesterday I had a nice feeling but today was even better,” she added.

Britain’s Charlotte Fry was second-last to go with Everdale whose 78.146 slotted them in behind Dujardin, and then only von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera stood between Werth and the tenth Individual European title of her long and illustrious career. But the new world number one was placed first by all seven judges. With marks ranging from 81.277 to 86.596, their final tally was 84.271 for victory.

“Winning in front of the home crowd was great; we’re not used to it anymore.

“When we entered the arena, Dalera became even bigger, put her ears up; she was really excited and when I did the trot extensions, I tried not to move because it could have brought her out of balance, because she was so on fire! It’s a great feeling, especially after the Olympics, that she’s so fit and so happy again,” said von Bredow-Werndl, who seems to have the world at her feet right now.

Leading combinations

While the leading 15 horse/athlete combinations go through to Saturday’s Freestyle, only three can represent each country. However, the new Grand Prix Special champion certainly won’t miss the cut. Von Bredow-Werndl looks set to make it a golden hat-trick, with Werth chasing her all the way.

Werth admitted that the last couple of days have been a huge strain for a different reason entirely. Her beloved mare Bella Rose, who took triple-gold at the European Championships in Rotterdam two years ago, has taken ill. But fortunately, there’s good news.

“I’m glad to say she’s fine,” Werth said, when asked about the mare who was due to be officially retired at the CHIO Aachen next week. “Yesterday I got a call from my vet to say she had a colic, so I was really worried. Yesterday evening we had to take her to the clinic because this kind of colic meant you have to operate, because something is in the wrong position. It’s just bad luck; it’s not a typical colic situation. So I’m really happy and very thankful to the vets. She woke up yesterday evening and this morning she ate some grass and looked really good and like normal. She will stay at the clinic a few days and if everything is normal, we will then bring her home. I didn’t get much sleep last night!” Werth admitted.

She should rest well in the knowledge that Bella is fine. And she and Weihegold are likely to come out with all guns blazing when the Freestyle begins.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Germany Grabs Team Gold Yet Again

(l to r) Isabell Werth, Helen Langehanenberg, Dorothee Schneider, and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

In the history of the FEI Dressage European Championships, Team Germany has a formidable record. There have been 29 editions, and they clinched the team title for the 25th time.

Dorothee Schneider (Faustus), Helen Langehanenberg (Annabelle), Isabell Werth (Weihegold OLD), and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB) joined forces to pin Great Britain into silver and Denmark into bronze. It was the same side that took team gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games less than two months ago, but Langehanenberg was an alternate there and didn’t get to compete. Only von Bredow-Werndl was riding the same horse, and she posted the biggest mark in this Grand Prix to put the result beyond doubt.

The British were in the lead as the action resumed, and Carl Hester was first into the ring for them, partnering En Vogue who earned a score of 74.845.

Brilliant in parts

“The test was brilliant in parts and disappointing in others,” he said. “Last night (leading the scoreboard) it actually looked quite exciting! That horse gets very big scores, so we did think it would be good to have a really good shot at it; it doesn’t always work like that and it didn’t work like that today, but he’s come right back from the Games where he did three amazing tests with no experience. Some of the things he does are so brilliant that he makes himself a bit nervous,” the British rider explained.

“I didn’t deserve more points; there were too many mistakes, and I’m just disappointed I made mistakes because they weren’t huge mistakes,” he added, but he sees great development in the 12-year-old bay gelding now that he is getting more competition exposure. “What he’s done in one year – he’d never have gone into that arena a year ago!”

It might have been a nervous night for some teams in Germany’s situation, lying third after Schneider and Langehanenberg took their turn when Denmark slotted into silver medal spot. Daniel Bachmann Andersen was the first Dane to go, producing a lovely test for a score of 76.366 with the gelding Marshall-Bell who is only nine years old.

But then Werth and her mare Weihegold came into the ring, and you could feel the changing tide even though the German legend clearly wasn’t happy with her score. She had ridden a technically brilliant test for a mark of 79.860.

Superb

“We had just a little mistake at the end of the two-tempis where she was bit quick at the end, but the last centreline was superb, so I was really happy. But a score under 80 percent. In the last three years I had just one competition with her under 80 percent and that was in Paris at the World Cup Final. But of course, you have to take it sportingly,” she pointed out.

Denmark’s Cathrin Dufour and Bohemian came really close to Werth’s leading score, always forward and brave and chasing every mark. A blip in the first canter pirouette held them back from an even bigger result, however.

Dufour was a bit like Britain’s Hester, happy and frustrated all at the same time. “It might be the best warm-up I’ve ever had; he felt fantastic, and it was almost hotter than Tokyo, but he felt really super!” she said. Several riders commented on the incredible heat that descended on the showgrounds at Hof Kasselmann.

“We had a little misunderstanding earlier and I just managed to save it, and then in the canter pirouette left, he wanted to turn a tiny bit too much and I tried to correct him, maybe a little bit too roughly – he’s a hot horse so he reacts really quickly, but I think I managed to sort it quickly and we had a really nice second pirouette,” she explained. The mark for the first was 3.6, but she was awarded a whopping 8.9 when the second pirouette came off really nicely.

“Overall, I’m really happy, of course a bit annoyed with that big mistake, but we always have to try something new every time we go into the ring because we always want to develop. If you do the same you get the same so we have to try to push ourselves,” she pointed out wisely, adding, “My team-mates have been great here; it’s been a pleasure to watch them and it’s a pleasure to have three of our riders above 75 percent – I can’t remember when that happened last time for Denmark!”

Brilliant mark

Germany’s von Bredow-Werndl was fourth-last to go in the final group and sealed the German deal with a brilliant mark of 84.099 for a test that oozed the kind of class that spectators have come to expect from her 14-year-old Olympic double-gold mare.

“She is amazing! She was on fire but still so focused and concentrated that I couldn’t have asked for more. From the very first second to the very last second she didn’t give me any doubt!” said the lady who has recently been named world number one.

When asked if she felt under pressure because her team really needed a good score, especially with Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin yet to start, she admitted she did, because the margins were still a little too close for comfort.

“It was not as easy as it was in Tokyo because in Tokyo, I only had to achieve 72 percent to win gold for the team. Today was a little bit more, but anyway I’m always giving my best and so is Dalera!” she said.

Like so many of the other horses competing at the Championships this week, Dalera returned from Tokyo full of beans and still rearing to go, so much so that von Bredow-Werndl had to sit tight when starting her back in work after a short break.

“I had to make her keep walking for a few days because she was really bucking when we were hacking out!” she said. As Hester explained earlier in the day, the trip to Japan certainly didn’t seem to take much out of the Tokyo equine athletes. Peden International got permission for the horses to fly over Russia, so their travel time was reduced by almost seven hours. “It made it so much easier for them,” he said.

A huge pleasure

Last of the British to go, Charlotte Dujardin and her super sweet little 10-year-old, Gio, produced a lovely test that put 79.829 on the board. It slotted her into third individually, behind Werth in second and von Bredow-Werndl at the top of the order. Germany finished on a final tally of 238.944 and Britain’s closing score was 232.345, while Denmark finished a very close third in bronze on 231.165.

Britain’s Hester insisted his silver medal finish was “a huge pleasure for all of us. Last night Charlotte did talk about the gold and hopefully it will happen again one day, but looking at the top you can see how experience carries the horses. Our team (of horses) at this age – we are thinking of the World Games in 2022 and Paris (Olympics in 2024) and we are just feeling so lucky to be winning medals!” he said.

With the team medals now out of the way, attention turns to the Grand Prix Special. The rivalry is going to be really intense again, especially since the horses are now much more familiar with the lovely Hagen arena. There’s lots more history to be made, and while von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera look set to sweep all before them, you could sense her senior compatriot’s trademark determination to continue in her role as the Queen of international Dressage.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Who to Look Out For at the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters 2021

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The CSIO 5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ returns from 8-12 September 2021, and will play host to the second Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the year: the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, which will be staged in the impressive International Arena on the final day of the competition.

After winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in April – and in doing so becoming the live contender – Austrian Max Kühner has confirmed his attendance, alongside a stellar list of competitors, including five out of the current top 20-ranked riders in the world, and five Rolex Testimonees. As ever, the five-day competition promises to be a truly international affair, with 15 nations represented, with the hosts welcoming no fewer than 42 of its very own home-grown athletes.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Current world number three Martin Fuchs travels to Calgary brimming with confidence, following Switzerland’s win in the team jumping competition at the European Championships, which he and his gelding, Leone Jei, played a crucial role in. The 29-year-old will be accompanied at Spruce Meadows by his talented 10-year-old gelding, Conner Jei, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at the Jumping International de Dinard.

British rider Scott Brash returns to Spruce Meadows, where he was crowned the first ever Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion in 2015 with his legendary gelding, Hello Sanctos. The current world number four brings Hello Vincent to Calgary, with whom he finished a very credible fourth in the Rolex Grand Prix at Knokke Hippique in June.

Fuchs’ compatriot and the current world number 10-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat, has also added the Team European champion accolade to his impressive list of titles. The three-time World Cup champion (2015, 2016, 2019) will compete at Spruce Meadows with his dependable 12-year-old gelding, Venard De Cerisy, who he took to this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where the duo finished fifth in the Team competition.

Rio 2016 Olympic Team silver medallist Kent Farrington leads the charge of athletes from the United States, and in a clear demonstration of intent, brings seven horses with him to Spruce Meadows. Of note, the current world number 13 will compete with his 15-year-old mare, Gazelle, 14-year-old gelding, Creedance, and nine-year-old hot prospect, Orafina.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

British Lead the Teams after Exciting Opening Day

Charlotte Fry and Everdale. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

On a day full of fascinating stories and great sport, Great Britain took the early lead in the Team Competition at the FEI Dressage European Championship 2021 in Hagen, Germany. Gareth Hughes was first to go for the British side, posting 74.394 with Sintano van Hof Olympia, but it was their second-line rider, Charlotte Fry, who boosted them to pole position when producing a brilliant test with her Olympic bronze medal winning ride, Everdale, when second-last to go.

Judges Susanna Baarup (DEN), Thomas Lang (AUT), Maria Colliander (FIN), Isabelle Judet (FRA), Isobel Wessels (NED), Henning Lehrmann (GER), and Mariette Sanders van Gansewinkel (NED) awarded the pair a mark of 77.671 to leave them over two percentage points ahead of next-best horse/athlete partnership, Denmark’s Nanna Skodberg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia, who put 75.078 on the board. To the surprise of many, it is the Danes who lie second going into the second half of the Team event ahead of the defending champions from Germany in third.

Skodberg Merrald was delighted with the result she produced with the 16-year-old mare formerly ridden by both Britain’s Fiona Bigwood and Danish star Agnete Kirk Thinggaard. “I’ve had her for less than a year and this was the best Grand Prix I’ve ever done with her! I’m very happy that I did all I could for the team, and I couldn’t ask for more. It was what I’ve been dreaming about!” she said.

For Germany, however, things didn’t quite start as expected, although Dorothee Schneider set the early target with a nice performance with Faustus for a mark of 74.965. “It’s the first championship for him and I think it was a good start for the team,” she said.

Mistakes

Her score might have been higher but for two mistakes in passage. “Sometimes when he’s not confident he tries to come behind me, and then I want to ride to the bit and there’s one or two moments when he’s not directly going to the bit and we have a mistake,” she explained. “His highlights were really the canter. It needs a bit of time to close this big canter and to balance him, but he comes more and more in a good balance. I’m proud of him!” Schneider added.

However, compatriot, Helen Langehanenberg, followed with a score of 73.960 with Annabelle.

“She started super good but then there were some expensive mistakes, so it is different than we hoped, but that’s OK – this is the sport!” said Langehanenberg’s team-mate, double-Olympic gold medallist and new world number one Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.

Hughes, who slotted into individual fourth place at the end of the day, was happy to have given the British a solid start. He travelled all the way to Tokyo as team alternate but didn’t get to ride, so entering the ring was a big relief.

“I woke up 30 times last night; it feels like we have been building up to this for three months. It was great to be in Tokyo but emotionally it was really difficult because you have to prepare to ride and then you don’t ride. Your adrenalin goes up and down. It’s weird because you didn’t get what you want to do which is help the team. And then we had the build-up to this,” he explained.

Running on adrenalin

Fellow-Briton Fry admitted that she’s just running on adrenalin right now. After Tokyo she travelled to Verden in Germany, where she claimed the Six-Year-Old title at the FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship with Kjento, posting incredible scores. Just over a week later, she is making the headlines at the European Championships.

“It’s been a great few months and Everdale has been amazing,” she said. “He came home so fresh from Tokyo, excited and ready to go again. He had a week off last week. I got back on Sunday and he was feeling great still. His energy never runs out; he goes all day and he loves to work,” she pointed out.

She said he has definitely grown up since travelling to Tokyo and that he has grown more secure in the arena. “He hasn’t been tired at all, and today it really felt like we could just wait and enjoy it. I could take my time a bit more. It was a really nice feeling,” she said.

There is still another whole day of sport ahead before the Team medals are decided, and with the incredible Isabell Werth yet to go for the host country with Weihegold and British stars Carl Hester (En Vogue) and Charlotte Dujardin (Gio) also yet to strut their stuff, there’s a lot more to look forward to.

But some athletes achieved something great just by competing at Hagen.

Mixed emotions

For Sweden’s Jacob Noerby Soerensen, there were mixed emotions. Just two months ago a terrible fire destroyed his farm, and he’s still shocked from the experience.

“I was in Denmark qualifying two horses for Verden, and on my way home I got a call from the stable that there was a fire. They didn’t think it would get so big but the whole stallion stable and the apartments and the Rehab Centre with a spa and gym for the horses were burned down. It was awful. In half an hour everything was gone. No horses were killed and the staff were super; they rescued 26 horses in half an hour, but it was a horrible, awful day,” he recalled.

So posting 68.431 and lying individually 20th. he was hugely happy with his 11-year-old stallion Moegelbejergs Romeo. “He’s a big horse; he’s only 10 and it’s my first championship, so I was really, really nervous. But today made everything feel good again!” he said.

Also feeling good was Ireland’s Carolyn Mellor, who steered Gouverneur M to a score of 64.395. She’s 59 years old, groomed for some of Ireland’s top riders, grooms her own horse, lives in Comber in Northern Ireland, has competed mainly on the relatively modest Irish circuit throughout her career, and is riding a 10-year-old horse who she bought as a three-year-old and who, like her, is competing in his very first championship. And she became a granny last month.

“It’s very surreal. I never thought I’d make it to this stage but it’s brilliant and I think with this horse there is much more to come!” she said.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

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

Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Takes Centre Stage for 2nd Leg of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 7 September 2021 – The prestigious showgrounds of Spruce Meadows in Canada will once again welcome the world’s top horse and rider combinations for the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. The esteemed 5* competition, which forms part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, will take place on Sunday 12 September 2021, providing a spectacular finale to the five-day CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament.

Staged in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, the event is widely regarded as the leading equestrian event in North America. Rolex’s affiliation with Spruce Meadows dates back to 1989 and is part of its long-standing support for the sport. For more than six decades, the brand has forged close relationships with elite international events and athletes who share its commitment to perpetual excellence.

Launched in 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most coveted prize in equestrianism, rewarding the rider who wins the Grand Prix at three of the four Majors in succession. To date, Scotland’s Scott Brash is the only competitor to achieve the feat, having done so in 2014-2015 with Hello Sanctos.

To aspire to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping requires a unique harmony between horse and rider, a special bond crafted over years with infinite patience, care, and expertise. Once trust and communication have been established, a pairing can push the boundaries and confront all obstacles placed before them. The bar is almost impossibly high, which is why only the finest riders keep rising to it.

The CP ‘International’ is the Grand Slam’s second Grand Prix of 2021. Max Kühner will head to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament as the Rolex Grand Slam live contender following his victory at The Dutch Masters in April.

As the winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in 2019, World No. 3 and recent European Championship team gold and individual silver medallist Martin Fuchs travels to Canada with the opportunity to claim a bonus for winning two of the past four Rolex Grand Slam events. He will be joined by compatriot Steve Guerdat, who will be looking to add this title to his long list of honours, which includes individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Rolex Grand Prix victories at CHI Geneva and CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Scott Brash, the current World No. 4, is a two-time Grand Prix winner at this venue, including in 2015 when he completed the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. He will return full of confidence following excellent recent results, including a victory in the Netherlands on the eve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he finished equal seventh in the individual jumping competition.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze will also be seeking his third Grand Prix title, at an event where he has enjoyed so much success, and Kent Farrington will join in taking on the testing course designed by Leopoldo Palacios. Farrington heads to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in top form following a successful week at the CSI Spruce Meadows ‘National’, culminating in victory in the RBC Grand Prix of Canada with his exceptional 15-year-old mare, Gazelle.

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

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

Competition at 2021 Southeast Medal Finals Concludes with Day of Championship Crownings

Mckenzie Clayton and Bea Ready.

Tampa, Fla. – Sept. 5, 2021 – Competition at the 2021 Southeast Medal Finals (SEMF) came to a close on Sunday, Sept. 5 featuring a packed schedule. With riders of all levels and ages vying for championship titles, Mckenzie Clayton and Bea Ready were the first duo to claim top honors in the Junior Medal Finals presented by The Clothes Horse, while Lexie Kate Crumbaker and My Way topped the field in the Pony Medal Finals. Top Show Jumping competition also came to a head featuring the largest purse of the weekend in the $25,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Day Grand Prix presented by The Adams Group eXperience of eXp Realty, where Callan Solem and Essenar Crixus emerged victorious, wrapping up competition at the 2021 Southeast Medal Finals for the 5th anniversary at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center.

Top junior riders were eager to show off their textbook skills and effortless style in the Junior Medal Finals presented by The Clothes Horse. Following a tight first round, 12 of the riders were invited back for an over-fences work-off. Riders contested over the shortened course and were asked to display the counter canter and a posting trot without stirrup irons. The second round could lend any of the top three riders the leading title, but ultimately it was North Carolina junior rider, Clayton, that impressed the judges the most to move up and earn first place aboard brand new mount, Bea Ready. Madison Ramsey and Maguro would finish the class in second place, with Kate Neily and First Verdi rounding out the top three.

Clayton, who showed Bea Ready for the first time just this week at the 2021 SEMF, walked away with the unexpected win aboard Kristen Bond’s 9-year-old KWPN mare. Having only ever ridden the mare three times prior to entering the Teco Indoor Arena for the Junior Medal Finals, Clayton was just hoping to get a better feel for the mare heading into indoor finals season where she will compete in the ASPCA Maclay and USEF Medal Finals. With the help of her good luck charm necklace, in addition to her cool and composed demeanor, Clayton not only produced two smooth trips but also nailed the counter canter, having never practiced the movement on her newest mount.

The youngest equitation riders took to the Gene Mische Ring for the Pony Medal Finals where Crumbaker impressed the judges with her style and finesse aboard her own 18-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding, My Way, taking home the first-place ribbon. Second place was ultimately awarded to Elizabeth Dorward riding Show And Tell. Rebecca Holcomb and Mi’Amore rounded out the top three.

34 top horse-and-rider combinations took the Grand Prix Ring for one last class at the 2021 Southeast Medal Finals for the feature event of the week, the $25,000 Dr. Eli Farri Memorial Day Grand Prix presented by The Adams Group eXperience of eXp Realty. The large field of competitors provided an exciting display of show jumping as 9 riders moved into the jump-off. In a nail-biting finish, it was ultimately Solem who was last to take to the ring who bested Catalina Peralta’s 39.999 by a half of a second with a time of 39.428 seconds. Sarah Gordon and Castella closed out the podium with a third-place finish.

Solem and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Elan Farm secured their first grand prix win together Sunday afternoon out of a competitive field of 34 athletes. The newly partnered duo plans to compete on the winter circuit at The World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida later this year.

For more information, please visit www.southeastmedalfinals.com.

Individual Gold for Thieme on a Magnificent Day of Sport

Andre Thieme. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Individual glory for Germany’s Andre Thieme and his lovely mare DSP Chakaria brought the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021 to the perfect close at Riesenbeck (GER). On an afternoon of spectacular sport, the 46-year-old rider rose from overnight silver into gold medal position in the first of two final rounds. Once there, he held on tight, pinning Friday’s team gold medallists, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei, into silver while Sweden’s Olympic team gold and individual silver medallist Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not took bronze.

And the new champion wasn’t holding back. At a press conference filled with joy, relief, reflection, and laughter, Thieme said, “I’m just as much in love with that horse as I am with my wife – and she accepts that!” before turning his attention to Fuchs.

The Swiss rider had teased him by calling Thieme “one of the happy ones!” when he met him in the aftermath of Friday’s team competition, in which the hosts had to settle for silver. But the German rider pointed out that the result had been very close. “And he looked at me and said, ‘Did you really think you guys could beat us? He really said that!” Thieme said with a laugh, very pleased that he had managed to turn the tables on the 29-year-old defending champion, who had to settle for runner-up spot this time around.

Vintage

It was vintage stuff from start to finish and course designer, Germany’s Frank Rothenberger, played a big part in ensuring drama and excitement all the way.

Fuchs was in the lead as the action began, but there was less than a fence between the first seven and less than two fences between the top 12 in the opening round in which the top-24 started. And when the Swiss rider’s fabulous nine-year-old, Leone Jei, hit the oxer after the water at fence nine, then he opened the door for his German rival whose mare made it look pretty easy as she posted a clear to take the lead.

Only the top 12 returned for the second-round medal-decider, and Fuchs was lying fourth on a score of 5.31 this time out, with the sensational partnership of Ioli Mytillneou and Levis de Muze from Greece in third on 4.64 and Sweden’s Fredricson now in silver medal spot, just over two points behind Thieme.

So when the Swiss star lowered the first element of the triple combination in the final round, it seemed his chance was gone. But that fence caused multiple problems and when Mytillneou and her brilliant stallion met it all wrong, she decided to retire. At 24 years old, and with relatively little experience compared to those she was competing against, it was a mature decision as Show President Ludger Beerbaum pointed out later in the day.

So that let Fuchs into bronze medal spot, and when Fredricson’s grey gelding hit the second fence, Fuchs moved up into silver. Thieme could now afford one fence down but no more, and at the bogey triple combination he used up all his luck. But he kept his nerve to bring it home to the delight of the home crowd who roared their approval.

Challenge

The new champion talked about the challenge of that second course: “Walking it you could see that triple combination was going to be very difficult for everybody. The course designer was just very smart.

“From fence three to four he gave us a floating forward six strides to a big oxer with bushes underneath, so you arrived with a lot of impulsion and then it was a bit downhill coming into those two tall verticals. So you had to ride it perfect, and even then there was a chance to have it down,” he explained.

“I got there (to the first part of the triple combination) exactly the way I wanted to, and then boom! I hit the front rail and I thought we have a long way to go. So I tried to stay calm, and she stayed calm with me and I don’t know how many times I can say it, but I’m very blessed with that horse! It’s something very special. Tokyo (Olympic Games) came too early for us; we thought we could do it and then we paid our price, but she learned something in Tokyo and I learned something in Tokyo and I’m glad it came out this way!” he added.

Show President, Ludger Beerbaum, paid tribute to Mytillneou, whose copybook clear rounds throughout the week put her well in contention until things didn’t go right for her. “She showed us how a trusting relationship between a rider and horse can make such difficult courses look easy. And the way her horse jumps, your heart starts smiling by watching it…. I’m absolutely sure we will see this pair again in the top classes, and some day probably on the podium!” he said.

Fuchs admitted that playing second fiddle doesn’t come easy for him. “For the first few minutes I was disappointed about the result, that it wasn’t good enough for gold, but now I’m really happy with silver! I’ll go home with two medals, one gold (team) one silver (individual). Andre was just better than me today and I hope one day I’ll be better than him!” said the 2019 champion.

Fredricson blamed himself for the mistake with Catch Me Not made at the second fence, after he changed his original plan on how to ride that line. And as he said, his time fault was also expensive. “But I think the course designer built in a really clever way: questions all the way around, time just tight enough. Like Martin, at first I was really disappointed with the choice I made, but 45 minutes later I feel happy for my bronze medal,” he said.

Huge task

Multiple champion Ludger Beerbaum admitted that he took on a huge task when he offered to step in and run this Championship at Riesenbeck after it was cancelled last year. But he was happy and relieved.

“I couldn’t be more happy or grateful for having the opportunity to host such an event. It was a brave decision, and the whole team knows what we had to deal with, and it was a tough job, no question. But once we decided to go ahead with it, we had a lot of support and positive energy from everyone. You have to be fortunate to get two weeks weather like this and we are thankful. We’ve seen great, great sport, a super podium, and an unbelievable winner – and I’m also really pleased with number 4 Christian Kukuk who was really close. I’m delighted and well done to everyone!” he said.

He wasn’t the only one feeling grateful after an amazing week at his fabulous venue surrounded by the Surenberg Forest.

Speaking on behalf of all the riders who competed at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021, silver medallist Martin Fuchs said, “Ludger, thank you very much for organising this. We have seen many shows that have years and years of putting on a show; you didn’t have that and for all of us riders, you are one of the most inspiring people in the sport. We call you the legend behind your back!

“And now that you start to do even more for our sport and that you hold this European Championship during these difficult times, everybody really appreciates it. Everyone has great things to say about the whole organisation and the competition, and I think this deserves a big and warm thank you from all of us!”

No-one was disagreeing with that.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Europe’s Dressage Superstars Head to Hagen

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Just a few short weeks since they claimed all gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Team Germany will line out at next week’s FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 on home ground in Hagen where they look set to claim their 25th team title.

There may have been brief lapses in their domination of the European team gold medal leaderboard – the Dutch coming out on top in 2007, 2009, and again in 2015, and Great Britain victorious in 2011 – but in the 58-year-history of this event that takes place every two years, the German record is phenomenal.

They posted their 24th team victory in Rotterdam (NED) two years ago where longtime legend Isabell Werth brought her personal European medal collection to a staggering 24 when adding both the individual Grand Prix Special and Freestyle titles riding Bella Rose. In the Special it was a German one-two when Dorothee Schneider (Showtime) lined up in second, and they were completely dominant in the Freestyle when Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB) took silver and bronze.

Compatriots

At the 2021 edition, Werth is joined by the same two compatriots, although von Bredow-Werndl is the only one who will ride the same horse – the fabulous Dalera with which she won triple-gold in Tokyo. This pair is now the dominant force in the sport and the ones everyone else have to beat.

Werth will partner Weihegold, the 16-year-old mare with which she won Olympic team gold in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in 2016 and triple-gold at the FEI European Championships in 2017, while Schneider will compete Faustus 94, the 13-year-old gelding with which she has been posting some big results this summer.

Rounding up the formidable German side will be Helen Langehanenberg, who rode on the winning European team in Gothenburg (SWE) in 2017 and who was individual silver medallist in Rotterdam in 2011 and Herning (DEN) in 2013 partnering Damon Hill. In Hagen she will ride Annabelle, the 13-year-old mare with which she won the Grand Prix Special at the CDI3* in Aarhus, Denmark last October and who finished fourth behind team-mates Schneider (Showtime), von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB), and Werth (Bella Rose) at CDI4* Kronberg (GER) in June.

A total of 72 athletes from 23 countries will contest the medals this time around. And of the 15 participating teams, the biggest challenge to the defending champions look set to be the British who clinched Olympic team bronze.

Olympic side

They are fielding their full Olympic side and, in the four-horse format, their Olympic reserve partnership of Gareth Hughes and Sintano von hof Olympia will get to perform this time around.

Charlotte Dujardin’s 10-year-old Gio set hearts fluttering in Tokyo, with the emergence of another dream partnership to follow in the footsteps of the great Valegro always a possibility. Carl Hester’s En Vogue and Charlotte Fry’s Everdale will complete their line-up and, fresh and rested after their trip Japan, the British horses will be on familiar territory in Hagen having competed there before.

There is plenty of experience in both the Dutch side of Adelinde Cornelissen (Governer-STR), Hans Peter Minderhoud (Glock’s Dream Boy), Marlies van Baalen (Go Legend), and Dinja van Liere (Hermes) and the Swedish selection of Jeanna Hogberg (Lorenzo), Therese Nilshagen (Dante Weltino), Juliette Ramel (Buriel KH), and Jacob Noerby (Moegelbjergs Romeo).

Cathrin Dufour and Bohemian headline the Danish foursome while Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Elegance will lead the Spanish team when the action gets underway with the first group of riders in the Grand Prix on Tuesday, 7 September. The Team medals will be decided when the Grand Prix concludes on Wednesday and the Grand Prix Special will take place on Thursday followed by the Freestyle on Saturday 11 September.

The FEI Dressage U25 European Championships will also take place at Hagen during the week, coming to a close on Sunday 12 September.

Details here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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