Tag Archives: FEI Nations Cup

Dutch Do Themselves Proud in Rotterdam

Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

In the presence of the former Queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, Rob Ehrens’ Dutch team did themselves proud when coming out on top in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam (NED).

There was a super-sharp edge to this fourth and last leg of the 2021 series as the 10 teams took on the 12-fence track set by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games course designer Santiago Varela. Just three days ahead of the Olympic Definite Entries deadline, every rider was out to impress, and it was the home side that proved most equal to the challenge.

A final tally of seven faults gave Maikel van der Vleuten (Beauville Z), Willem Greve (Zypria S NOP), Marc Houtzager (Sterrehof’s Dante NOP), and Frank Schuttert (Lyonel D) a narrow victory over Swedish runners-up Douglas Lindelow, Angelie von Essen, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, and Peder Fredricson who completed with nine faults on the board. It was only a foot in the open water for Fredricson’s Catch Me Not S that prevented the Swedes from making it a double in this year’s shortened series following their win at the opening leg at St Gallen, Switzerland just four weeks ago.

France pipped Germany for third place when combined times separated the two teams that finished on 12 faults apiece, while Ireland was close behind in fifth with 13. And the Tokyo Olympic hosts from Japan gave a great account of themselves. Reduced to a three-man side when Taizo Sugitani withdrew before the competition began, Daisuke Fukushima, Koki Saito, and Eiken Sato racked up just 14 faults for sixth place, and Sato and his fabulous Saphy des Lacs produced one of the five double-clear rounds posted on the day.

Close-run thing

It was a close-run thing at the halfway stage when France, Sweden, Germany, and the USA all shared the lead on a zero score, followed by Ireland and the eventual Dutch winners carrying just a single time penalty each.

But when the course was raised and the fences widened for the second round, and the evening light drew long shadows across the arena, then the competition took on a completely different complexion.

The Americans lost their grip when Beezie Madden withdrew and they had to count 16 faults, while the Germans and French also slipped when adding 12 to their scorelines.

French pathfinders Penelope Leprevost and GFE Excalibur de la Tour Vidal produced a superb double-clear and it seemed possible their side might stay in front if anchorman Kevin Staut could bring Visconti du Telman home clear for a second time. But the pair was one of many to fault at the open water in the fading light and when they also lowered the oxer at fence seven, then that had to be added to the four picked up by Gregory Cottard’s mare Bibici who, also like many before her, clipped the oxer at the end of the penultimate line this time out.

Strong

The Dutch also kicked off the second round with a double-clear from Van der Vleuten, and when Greve added just a single time fault to his first-round foot-perfect run, then they began to look strong. Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante faulted at the narrow vertical at fence 10 and also collected a time fault, and when Schuttert’s Lyonel D racked up the discard score of 12 faults, then they had to add six second-round faults to the single first-round time penalty for a total of seven.

As Sweden’s Peder Fredricson set off it seemed that might not be good enough. Because a clear from the World No. 7 would mean one of the four-fault results racked up by Lindelow and Von Essen could be dropped, because Bengtsson and the hugely impressive Ermindo W, who clinched that St Gallen win in a thrilling jump-off, had collected just a single second-round time fault, so they could finish with just five faults in the final analysis.

But Catch Me Not S put a foot in the water in an otherwise effortless round, so it would a Dutch celebration.

Happy

Talking after the prizegiving, Van der Vleuten pointed out, “A water jump is always difficult, but I was happy with my horse because he jumped it nice and stretched well over it both times today.”

He was really pleased with the 11-year-old Beauville Z. “He jumped fresh and it’s always nice to be double-clear. He jumped even easier in the second round.”

Talking about the increased level of faults in the second half of the competition, he said, “We started late (17.00 local time) so the shadows were maybe a factor, but also the course was bigger – the middle of the combination (fence 8) was taller and the triple bar (fence 9) went up one hole and was 10cms wider, and the next vertical went up and the last oxer was wider too – all that makes a big difference.”

Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens said he hadn’t had much sleep. The Dutch last won in Rotterdam in 2016, but they were waiting a long time for that to happen.

“I tried to win here so many times, so I was a bit angry with the course designer after the first round because they were so many clears! But of course you win a Nations Cup over two rounds,” he said with a smile. And course designer Santiago Varela agreed. “More mistakes in the second round is typical in a Nations Cup.”

Meanwhile, Ehrens has to be feeling positive after this great result because, as Varela added, “This was a perfect Nations Cup to get a good feeling before the Olympic Games.”

The Dutch should indeed be feeling good not just about Tokyo, but also about their chances at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 which will take place in Barcelona (ESP) in October where all 10 teams from Division 1 will be eligible to compete.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

German Girls Are Victorious in the Nations Cup Class in Strzegom

Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

The German team was the best in the second leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup in Strzegom. Second place went to the home squad and third to Belgium.

The German riders took the lead in the showjumping, besting the Polish team that was in the first position after dressage and cross-country. Josefa Sommer with GEKE Equigrip’s Simple Smile was the best of the team riders and she stood on the podium alongside Elena Otto-Erley with Finest Fellow, Katharina Tietz with Aspen T, and Nadine Marzahl with Victoria 108. The individual winner of the class was another German rider, Jule Wewer aboard Ruling Spirit. Even after two knockdowns in the jumping, her lead after the XC was big enough to secure her victory. Second place went to India’s Fouaad Mirza with Dajara 4.

“I think it was a big course. I have a good jumping mare, but I’m not such a good pilot, so I had one down, but the team was so good that we could win. I’m very happy that we had an all-girls team and it was a lot of fun,” said Josefa Sommer from team Germany.

The home nation that kept their dressage lead throughout the cross country made some mistakes and finished in second place. The best result belonged to Mateusz Kiempa with Lassban Radovix, whose clear round placed him in the third position individually.

“Lassban jumped great. I’m very pleased with him and we had a good result. As a team we lost the lead, but I think that we should be really happy with ourselves, it’s a historic result for Poland and the highest we ever ranked in a Nations Cup,” said Kiempa.

Third place went to the Belgian team, who jumped up from the fourth after the cross-country. Five teams competed in the class overall.

In the CCI4*-L, the most difficult at LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials, the win belonged to Poland’s Małgorzata Korycka with 10-year-old Canvalencia. The rider was eighth after dressage, jumped up to third in the cross-country, and went through the jumping course clear, just three seconds over the time. Second place went to Pietro Grandis from Italy with Go For S. The leader after XC, Malin Josefsson (SWE) with Maggan V, made some mistakes on the fences and finished third.

Sandra Auffarth with Rosveel won the CCI3*-L class. In the CCIY3*-L the best results belonged to Julia Gillmaier from Poland, who took the first place with Red Dream Princes and second with Rarashek. At the same time, she defended her title of the Polish National Champion in the young riders’ category.

The CCI2*-L ended with the win of Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier with Formidable 62. The best three in the CCIJ2*-L were Polish riders that also competed in the National Championships for juniors. First place went to Zuzanna Społowicz with Bankier, second to Karolina Ślązak with Ganges, and third to Weronika Król with Perez.

Sunday was also the cross-country day for the short-format classes. The best rider of the CCI2*-S was Louise Romeike from Sweden with Caspian 15, and in the CCI3*-S the win went to Lara de Liedekerke-Meier from Belgium with Ducati d’Arville.

10 international classes were played out during LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials, with 350 pairs representing 21 countries.

Nations Cup leaderboard:

  1. Germany – 151,0 pkt.
  2. Poland – 165,2 pkt.
  3. Belgium – 205,1 pkt.

Online results: http://results.strzegomhorsetrials.pl/event.php?event=8.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Germans Win on Dramatic Day at Sunny Sopot

Christian Kukuk and Mumbai. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

The weather was hot and the excitement was intense as Team Germany won through at the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2021 series at Sopot in Poland.

The 1,200 spectators permitted to attend the event at the sun-soaked Baltic seaside venue enjoyed a great day of sport in which the result was undecided until the last man rode into the ring. A clear from Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels would force a jump-off with the eventual winners, but it wasn’t to be as poles down saw his side having to settle for runner-up spot, leaving Maurice Tebbel, Marcus Ehning, Christian Kukuk, and Andre Thieme standing on the top step of the podium.

German Chef d’Equipe, Otto Becker, was well pleased with his side’s performance. “I’m a very happy man because we were the only team to stay clear today, and to have three double-clears is amazing!”

On the cards

At the halfway stage it seemed likely that a jump-off could be on the cards, because Germany, Ireland, Norway, and Belgium were all on a zero scoreline. But this competition really was a game of two halves, and the Irish and Norwegians lost their grip when each added 16 faults second time out.

The course designed by Poland’s Szymon Tarant was big but relatively uncomplicated, and although some riders suspected the yellow wall at fence eight would prove daunting, it went almost unnoticed until the USA’s second-line rider, Bliss Heers, took a flying fall there when Antidote de Mars tumbled through it. Horse and rider seemed none the worse afterwards, but the Americans finished on a total of 20 faults along with the French and had to settle for seventh place in the line-up of 10 teams at the end of the day.

The British proved competitive to the very last. Carrying just four faults into the second round their prospects dramatically improved when Alexandra Thornton (Cornetto K) and Harry Charles (Romeo) both delivered lovely clears. And although Joseph Stockdale (Equine America Cacharel) had three fences down, they looked set to stay well in the frame if anchorman William Funnell (Equine America Billy Diamo) could leave the fences up and keep them on that four-fault tally.

But his big chestnut gelding had already hit the opening vertical and the middle element of the triple combination at fence four before knocking the following oxer at five and unseating his rider who was stretchered out of the arena with an ankle injury. So the British would finish fifth behind Norway in fourth and Ireland in third when all three sides completed with 16 faults on the board and were separated only by their combined times in the second round.

Slogged it out

Meanwhile, the Germans and Belgians slogged it out at the sharp end.

Germany’s Tebbel and Don Diarado kicked off round two with a second fabulous clear, but Ehning added four to the eight faults he picked up in the first round with Funky Fred. He competed wearing a yellow armband in memory of young Irish Eventing athlete Tiggy Hancock, whose tragic death at a training session in Ireland last Wednesday has deeply saddened the equestrian community. Marcus was Tiggy’s hero, and all the Irish team also wore a similar armband.

Then Kukuk set off with the stunning grey stallion Mumbai who, for the second time, made the course look very elementary indeed, and when Thieme’s mare, DSP Chakaria, was fault-free once again this kept his side on a zero scoreline and all the pressure was now piled onto Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels.

His team-mates Jos Verlooy with Varoune and Nicola Philippaerts riding Katanga v/h Dingeshof hadn’t put a foot wrong all day, and although Pieter Devos’ mare, Claire Z, hit the final vertical second time out, the Belgians could also finish on a zero and force a jump-off if Bruynseels and Delux van T&L could leave the course intact when last to go.

It wasn’t to be when the oxer at fence two and the first element of the double at six, which became quite a bogey in the second round, both hit the floor. Now the four picked up by Devos would have to be counted and the German win would be clear-cut.

Weather conditions

Christian Kukuk was thrilled with the performance of his nine-year-old stallion Mumbai and said the weather conditions were highly influential in deciding the result. “In general, this was a fair course as you could see when four teams were clear at the end of the first round. But we were competing at the hottest time of the day; it was over 30 degrees, and you could see how that affected horses at the end of the course in the second round when there were many mistakes.

“I wasn’t worried for myself and Mumbai though because he has a lot of power and I knew he wouldn’t get tired. The more he jumps the better he gets!” Kukuk said of the grey stallion who, although still only nine, shows maturity well beyond his years. He has high hopes that Mumbai will take him to the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer but admits that qualifying for the German team is never easy because the competition for places is so strong.

Sopot Show Director, Kaja Koczurowska Wawrzkiewicz, congratulated the German team on their victory. “After two wins for Belgium, we have a change this year! This show is very important for the Polish Equestrian Federation and it’s great to have the riders back in Sopot after the difficult year we have all experienced,” she said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Swiss Are Superb Winners at Beautiful La Baule

Steve Guerdat and Albfuehrens Maddox. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team Jumping lived up to its reputation for edge-of-the-seat excitement when Switzerland won through in a thriller at the second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2021 Division 1 series at La Baule in France.

The Swiss were returning to the scene of their triumph at the last event to be staged in the French seaside town in 2019, and it fell to Beat Mandli to clinch it for them with one final run. The double-Olympian and 2007 FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion didn’t flinch, producing a copybook tour of Frederic Cottier’s course that proved plenty challenging during a brilliant day of sport.

His side finished on a four-fault tally to pip the exciting second-placed Italian team who posted a total of seven, while Belgium lined up in third on a total of eight, just one fault ahead of Great Britain with nine.

The 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ champions from Ireland were sharing pole position with the Swiss on a zero score at the halfway stage, but had to settle for fifth place with 12 faults in the final analysis while Mexico, The Netherlands, Brazil, France, and Sweden lined up behind them.

Clean sheet

There was no let-up on Cottier’s unforgiving track, but 15 horse-and-rider partnerships managed to keep a clean sheet first time out and when the Irish and Swiss produced six of those between them, they jointly led the way into the second round.

Great Britain and Italy were stalking them closely with just single time faults on the board, but while the British lost their grip when adding eight more second time out the Italians challenged to the very end. Out of the 10 nations that competed, Italy is the only one not qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, yet they finished ahead of all but one of their rival countries, so this was an afternoon for Chef d’Equipe Duccio Bartalucci and his side to relish.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, little went right for Sweden. They produced a fabulous victory in the first leg of the new season at St Gallen, Switzerland last Sunday where the hosts finished third. But Henrik Ankarcrona fielded a different team, and when pathfinders Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli had a second-round fall, following which her horse, Kalinka van de Nachtegaele, jumped out of the arena, they ended up with a big score of 31 faults.

Raised

As the last-line riders took their turn it seemed the Belgians might finish with just four on the board to stay well in contention, until a mistake from Niels Brynseels’ Jenson van’t Meulenhof raised that to eight. Over in the Italian camp, Ricardo Pisani and Chaclot produced one of the five double-clears of the day before Fabio Brotto and Vanita delle Roane collected five faults. But Filippo Bologni and Quilazio, who left two on the floor first time out, really rose to the occasion this time out when picking up just a single time fault. So if Luca Marziani and Lightning could be fault-free again, they would be the clear winners on just two time faults because the Irish were out of it and the Swiss couldn’t do better than four in the closing stages.

But Lightning struck both the tricky white planks at fence 10 and the first element of the final double, so they would have to settle for runner-up position.

Second-last to go, Mandli had all the weight on his shoulders as he set off for Switzerland. Newcomer Eilian Baumann had followed his opening clear with Campari Z with a mistake at the dreaded final double, while Steve Guerdat’s Albfuehren’s Maddox faulted at both elements of the same fence.

Martin Fuchs and Conner 70 produced a second spectacular clear, however, so if Mandli could leave all the poles in place they would deny their Italian rivals. And he did it with such ease with his lovely 13-year-old mare.

Big day

It was a big day for Michel Sorg, because this was his first win since taking over the role of Swiss Chef d’Equipe: “I first came to La Baule as a spectator many years ago, and for me it’s a dream to come here for the first time as Chef d’Equipe and get my first win with my team!

“Beat had a lot of pressure because he had to be clear and he hadn’t jumped the first round, but he was fantastic! He was already very good in St Gallen last week where he was double-clear with Dsarie in the Grand Prix and had just a fence down in each round in the Nations Cup.

“For Martin it was the first time Conner jumped such a big course. He was double-clear with Leone last weekend so he’s in great form. Elian had never ridden in a Nations Cup 5-Star so to get a clear and four faults is amazing too, and for Steve’s Maddox, it was also a first top Nations Cup and with a clear and eight faults I’m happy, because all riders could bring something to the team today,” he said.

His decision to include the relatively unexposed Baumann was made because the 32-year-old rider “has achieved many great things in Grand Prix at national level, and last week in St Gallen he jumped double-clear in the Grand Prix and finished in sixth place. He’s a fantastic rider and partner for the other riders, and his horse is fantastic also. I was very happy he was with us today and I know this has been very special for him. I’m proud of every one of them!” Sorg concluded.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Brilliant Bengtsson Seals Swedish Victory at St Gallen

Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Sweden pipped Germany in a third-round showdown against the clock to win the opening leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2021 Division 1 series at St Gallen in Switzerland.

On a dramatic day of top sport in the Grundenmoos Arena where the tradition of wet weather conditions once again played its part, it came down to a face-off between Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Germany’s Christian Kukuk. And super-cool Bengtsson sealed it with a brilliant run on his 12-year-old stallion Ermindo W.

From a starting field of 10 nations, only nine returned for the second round when the British opted to withdraw. And on a tough afternoon, when many of the teams finished with big scores, the closing stages turned into a cliff-hanger.

Testing track

Swiss course designers Gerard Lachat and Reto Ruflin set them a testing track on which nothing could be taken for granted. Looping turns and dog-leg distances had to be accurately ridden, and the triple combination at fence four claimed plenty of victims. The bending line from the vertical at seven to the triple-bar at eight and the following water-tray oxer at nine also saw plenty of action, while the penultimate double at fence 11 was highly influential, with the flimsy white plank on top of the vertical second element falling time and again.

Team Egypt sprang a surprise when tying for the lead with Germany going into the second round with just five faults on the board, while the Swiss were in third carrying eight and the Swedes were close behind with nine at the halfway point.

Brazil, Britain, Israel, The Netherlands, Mexico, and Italy were lying in that order as round two began, but the serious business of the day was played out between the leading four countries, and it went right down to the wire.

Out of contention

The Egyptians slipped out of contention when adding 20 faults despite very smart performances from Mohamed Talaat and his lovely stallion Darshan and just four in the second round for Friday’s Longines Grand Prix winner Nayel Nassar who brought out Darry Lou, the gelding originally competed by American star Beezie Madden.

The unrelenting rain led to several breaks in the competition to attend to the grass footing in the arena, but the horses coped well and the tension increased as Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden continued to slog it out.

Christian Kukuk and Mumbai matched their first-round score of eight, but German hopes were bolstered by a brilliant clear from Maurice Tebbel and Don Diarado. However, the troublesome water-tray oxer at nine hit for the floor for Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria and when Philipp Weishaupt’s Asathir clipped the second element of the penultimate double then Germany had to add eight more to their scoreline for a total of 13.

That left them on level pegging with the Swedes who added just four, thanks to superb double-clears from both pathfinder Douglas Lindelow and Casquo Blue and anchor rider Malin Baryard-Johnsson with the feisty mare H&M Indiana. Both Evelina Tovek and Winnetou de la Hamente Z and Bengtsson and Ermindo had a pole down, but just one of those four-fault results had to be added when taking the best three scores into account.

Delight

Meanwhile, the Swiss crowd, small in numbers due to pandemic restrictions but full of voice for their home runners, screamed with delight when their hero and individual European champion Martin Fuchs returned a double-clear with his exciting gelding Leone Jei.

Luck played its part, however, the fabulous grey clearing the open water at fence five with another spectacular leap but creating heart-stopping moments along the way when hitting the back bar of the water-tray oxer at nine very hard, and also tapping the top of the plank at the second-last which had fallen so easily for many others.

When compatriot, Steve Guerdat, retired Venard de Cerisy after having two down, then the four faults collected by both Bryan Balsiger and Twentytwo des Biches and Beat Mandli with Dsarie had to be counted bringing their scoreline to 16. Assured of third place, the home team would now sit back and watch Germany and Sweden decide the final result.

Jump-Off

First into the third-round jump-off, Bengtsson didn’t flinch, setting off with a determined run that saw him take a risky right-hand turn to the vertical second-last and clearing the final Longines oxer in a fast 43.50 seconds. It was vintage stuff from the man whose career highlights include the individual European title in 2011, team and individual silver at separate Olympic Games and fourth individually at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ with brilliant horses like Ninja la Silla and Casall ASK. And the 12-year-old stallion Ermindo W certainly gave his all.

Germany’s Kukuk also set off with fire in his belly, but when Mumbai hit the third fence then he took his foot off the gas to complete the course with an additional time fault. Second place would have to be good enough for his country on.

The right man

Talking about the choice of Bengtsson for the jump-off, team-mate Douglas Lindelow said he was the right man for the job. “Rolf is very experienced and always very calm, and he performed splendidly and put plenty of pressure on Christian,” he said.

Swedish Chef d’Equipe, Henrik Ankarcrona, was thrilled with his team. “We have never won the Nations Cup here and my riders were fantastic today. The Organising Committee did a great job for the second round, taking the time to have a longer break to take care of the footing and it turned out very well.”

Meanwhile, the hosts were also very happy.

“My horse is still inexperienced at that level, but he showed all his potential today. Sometimes it is not easy to handle his temperament, but today we managed it,” said Martin Fuchs. “I rode him here two years ago in the young horses classes at St Gallen, so it’s special to come back and jump a double-clear in the Nations Cup with him today!” he added.

And it was a special day for Swiss team manager Michel Sorg too. “This was my first time as Chef d Equipe at a 5* show, and being at home made it even more special.

“We are so grateful that the sport could take place, and with some public it was even nicer and we are happy with our results this week. Next week we are going to La Baule and we will have Martin, Steve, Beat, and Elian Bauman as Elian was so good here in the Grand Prix,” he said.

However, they’ll have to face the Swedes again at the French fixture. And on current form, they’ll prove tough nuts to crack.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Historic Home Win for Italy, but Dutch Take 2020 Title

Arianna Schivo (ITA) and Quefira de L’Ormeau. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

Team Italy posted a runaway win at the third and last leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2020 series on home ground at Montelibretti, but the overall title goes to The Netherlands. In the lead after the first two legs at Le Pin au Haras (FRA) and Strzegom (POL) in August, the Dutch could only be threatened by Poland at this final competition.

A Polish victory would have left them on level pegging with the Dutch at the top of the leaderboard, but it wasn’t to be as they lined up third of the four competing nations who enjoyed a great weekend of sport in the autumn sunshine at the Montemaggiore Estate which is home to Italy’s Military Riding Centre.

Austria finished second while the three-member Swiss side lined up in fourth place. For the Italians this was a really special day because it marked their first-ever FEI Nations Cup™ success according to veteran team member Juan Carlos Garcia.

“We had a good lead after cross-country yesterday, so we had a good feeling going into the showjumping today. But you never know the result until the horses and riders are over the last jump. We are very happy this evening!” — Juan Carlos Garcia (ITA)

Held the lead

Poland held the lead after Dressage, buoyed up by a strong test from Mateusz Kiempa and Lassban Radovix who put 33.79 on the board. However, their team total of 106.00 left them only 1.5 points ahead of Austria in second and just over two points ahead of the Italians in third at this stage, and cross-country day would change everything.

“It wasn’t a difficult course, but the time (6 mins 49 secs) was tight,” explained Garcia who galloped through the finish with Ugo du Perron in 7 mins 11 secs to add 8.8 time penalties to his scoreline. All four Italian team members stayed clear over the fences and they had a commanding lead going into the final phase on a score of 132.20. Austria lay second on 159.60 but less one rider following cross-county elimination for Lea Siegl and Van Helsing P, while Poland sat in third on 178.30 ahead of Switzerland in overnight fourth on 189.4.

The Italians sealed it confidently when both Garcia and Arianna Schivo riding Quefira de L’Ormeau were foot-perfect and within the time, while both Pietro Majolino riding Vita Louise DH Z and Marco Cappal partnering Santal Du Halage dropped only a single pole and added a few time faults.

Debut

At 23 years of age, and making his Nations Cup debut, Majolino was the baby of the winning side but his team-mates have a world of experience behind them. Garcia is a veteran of two Olympic Games and four FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG), competing in both Jumping and Eventing at the very top level. Schivo and her 16-year-old mare were on the Italian team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the WEG in Tryon, USA in 2018 while Cappal finished individually 14th at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA in 1996.

The final Italian team total of 138.60 left them well clear of the rest of the field and celebrating a big moment. They finished second in the final classification after lining out in all three legs of the series this season, and as Chef d’Equipe Giacomo Della Chiesa said, “It’s been a very good competition for us and we finish the year in a very good way.”

Title

The Netherlands can also celebrate tonight after taking the title. Tim Lips (Eclips), Janneke Boonzaauer (ACSI Champ de Tailleur), Elaine Pen (Divali), and Laura Hoogeveen (Wicro Quibus NOP) flew the Dutch flag when runners-up behind French winners Thibaut Vallette, Thomas Carlile, Christopher Six, and Karim Florent Laghouag at the opening leg at Le Pin au Haras.

And when Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, Andreas Dibowski, Beeke Jankowski, and Heike Jahncke came out on top in Strzegom later in August, then Hoogeveen was joined by Merel Blom (Ceda NOP), Jordy Wilken (Burry Spirit), and Raf Kooremans (Dimitri NOP) to fill second spot.

Results from Montelibretti here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Germany Wins the Nations Cup in Strzegom, Poland on the Podium

Photo credit: Leszek Wójcik.

German riders were victorious in the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup in eventing, winning both the team and individual classification. Poland finished on the third place.

The win for the German team was guaranteed after the cross-country trial, leaving the previous leaders – Netherlands – in the second position. Ingrid Klimke with SAP Asha P had the best result in the team, and Andreas Dibowski with FRH Corrida, Beeke Jankowski with Tiberius 20, and Heike Jahncke with Mighty Spring were competing alongside her. The current European champion also won the class individually. She took the lead with the 16-year-old gelding SAP Hale Bob OLD after dressage, and even a knockdown in the jumping and points for time in the cross-country did not take away her best position.

Dutch riders Merel Blom with Ceda N.O.P, Jordy Wilken with Burry Spirit, Raf Kooremans with Dimitri N.O.P, and Laura Hoogeven with Wicro Quibus were in the lead after two trials, but eventually ended up on the second position. The best result in the team and third place individually belonged to Merel Blom.

The cross-country trial made the Polish team go up into the third position: Mateusz Kiempa with Lassban Radovix, Joanna Pawlak with Fantastuc Frieda, Jan Kamiński with Senior, and Michał Hycki with Moonshine. The best result among them belonged to Mateusz Kiempa, as he finished fourth in the individual classification. He was in the second place after dressage and jumping, but points for time on the cross-country course made him miss the podium.

„I’m happy with my performance, but I think that we should firstly look at the team score – everyone did very well, and I think we should all be pleased about it,” said Kiempa after the prizegiving ceremony.

Saturday was also cross-country day for the long format classes. The new best result in the CCI4*-L is that of Jonelle Price with Grappa Nera. The rider from New Zealand went clear in the XC and took the lead away from her husband Tim Price. The current number one in the CCI3*-L class is Julia Mestern from Germany with Monarts Masterpiece, and the leader in the CCI2*-L is Dutch rider Merel Blom with Corminta vom Gwick.

Saturday’s cross-country was the last trial of the CCI1* Intro, where the winner was Sophie Leube (GER) with Skyjacker 3.

More than 270 horses from 11 countries compete in 11 classes during LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials.

Nations Cup classification:

  • Germany – 105,90
  • Netherlands – 108,30
  • Poland – 136,80

Online results: http://results.strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

War Horses, Cavalrymen, and the FEI Jumping Nations Cup

Capt Xavier Bizard from the French Cavalry School at Saumur with Honduras after winning the King George V Gold Cup in 1937.

Riders and sports fans all around the globe are pining for the cut-and-thrust of FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ this year. Since it was first staged back in 1909, war is the only thing that has ever stopped this great annual tournament in its tracks, and it is another kind of war that is getting in the way of the 2020 Longines sponsored series as the world currently grapples with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Only two of the 11 qualifying events were completed this season, in Wellington (USA) where the hosts wrestled victory from Great Britain in a thrilling jump-off, and in Abu Dhabi (UAE), also in February, where New Zealand posted an historic back-to-back double.

However, the resilience of this particular branch of equestrian sport, so often described as the “jewel in the crown of the FEI,” is second to none. It emerged from epic sporting battles between military men, and it still stirs the blood in spectators today as they roar on their own national teams, which now of course also include female athletes, at many of the most prestigious horse shows around the globe.

It’s the unique sense of national pride that gives it the edge, with riders often talking about how their horses are “fighting” for them as they tackle the tough courses set by world-class designers. A steed with great courage was what was needed by cavalrymen of old. And in the story of two war horses from very different periods of military history, there’s a reminder of the fighting spirit that continues to set the best apart from the rest to this day.

Vonolel

In the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin (IRL), built in the 1680s for retired soldiers but now home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, there is a gravestone that marks the final resting place of Vonolel, a brave and special horse.

He was the charger of the decorated Anglo-Irish Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, a Victorian era general who became one of the most successful British military commanders of his time. Lord Roberts, aka “Bobs”, was only 160cm tall so was a perfect match for the beautifully-bred Arab horse who stood at just 148cm.

Named after a great Lushai chief, the little grey was bought in Bombay (now Mumbai, IND) as a five-year-old and served Roberts for the next 23 years. Vonolel played a pivotal role in the relief of the Siege of Kandahar (AFG), and also saw action in India, Burma, and South Africa. The horse was a legend in his day and was repeatedly decorated by Queen Victoria, receiving amongst others the Kabul medal and the Kandahar Star for bravery in battle, both of which he wore around his neck on ceremonial occasions.

He travelled about 50,000 miles during his career without ever taking a lame step, and when he passed away at the Royal Hospital in June 1899, Roberts was said to be heartbroken. Vonolel was buried in the rose gardens of the Royal Hospital with full military honours, and there is a painting of him, with “Bobs” on board, in London’s Tate Gallery.

It’s that tradition of horses and riders battling as part of a team on behalf of their country, albeit in peace time and in a spirit of healthy competition rather than antagonism, that underpins the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series to this day.

Honduras and Nipper

Vonolel’s glorious send-off was in stark contrast to that of a black 160cm gelding of unknown breeding who is no less deserving of an honorable mention in dispatches. His name was Honduras when he clinched the coveted King George V Gold Cup for Capt Xavier Bizard in London in 1937. The rider from the French Cavalry School at Saumur was a showjumping star of the 1920s and 30s with a formidable record of success on Nations Cup teams riding a variety of horses.

Bizard was on the winning French sides at Nice (FRA) in 1924, New York (USA) in 1925, and Lucerne (SUI) and Rome (ITA) in 1927. He was back in Rome in 1928 for another victory and the following year helped post two more Nations Cup top spots in Naples (ITA) and Dublin (IRL). In the 1930s he was on three winning teams in London as well as in Nice, Lucerne, Vienna (AUT), Rome, and Riga (LAT). It was partnering Apollan that he won the Nations Cup in the Latvian capital in 1937, and that same year he scooped the King George V title in London with Honduras.

It seems that the ride on Honduras was then handed over to Amador des Busnel who won the Grand Prix with him in Brussels (BEL) in 1939, before the onset of World War ll brought everything to a shuddering halt.

What is intriguing about this horse is not his success-rate, but the fact that he was captured during the German occupation of France, and then re-appeared after the war on the US Army showjumping teams that won the Nations Cups in both London and Dublin in 1948, now competing under the name “Nipper” and ridden by Lt Col Charles (Chuck) Symroski.

He was well-travelled at this stage of his life because, after being captured along with the rest of the German team horses near the town of Bayreuth in Bavaria (GER) in 1945, he was shipped to the United States in August of 1946. He competed across America and Canada that year, and again in 1947 before returning to Europe in the spring of 1948 to compete at a number of shows in the lead-up to the London Olympic Games for which he was selected as the reserve horse.

The Nations Cup win in Dublin in 1948 was historic, as it was the first time for a US side to lift the Aga Khan Cup, the first time for non-Europeans to take the title, and the last time an official US army team would line out at the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds. Nipper and Lt Col Symroski were joined by Capt JW Russell riding Airmail, Col JF Wing with Democrat, and Lt Col CH Anderson with Riem when New York-born Eamon De Valera, then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and later President of Ireland, presented the coveted Aga Khan trophy.

One more time

And Honduras/Nipper would get to meet his old friend, Capt Bizard, one more time. Their encounter took place in London, but whether it was following their Nations Cup win or during the Olympic Games in the English capital that summer is unclear, as it has been separately reported at both venues. Wherever it happened it was an emotional reunion when the Frenchman accidentally came across his former mount who he had thought was long dead.

The story goes that when Capt Bizard told the Americans how old the horse was they were really surprised. However, the 19-year-old gelding wasn’t called into action for the one-round Olympic contest which proved to be a marathon, defeating all but three of the 14 participating teams. Mexico, Spain, and Great Britain clinched gold, silver, and bronze while the USA was amongst the 11 countries eliminated.

Following the Games, the US army team was disbanded and replaced by a civilian side. Although unconfirmed, it is believed that Honduras/Nipper returned to America to live out his days on the family farm of three-time Olympian Jimmy Wofford near Fort Riley in Kansas (USA) whose parents accepted all the remaining remounts for retirement following the mechanisation of the cavalry.

This horse’s life wasn’t celebrated with the pomp and ceremony that marked the passing of Vonolel a half-century earlier, but his story lives on as another symbol of survival in the face of destructive world conflict. And the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ is also a survivor, just waiting in the wings for a return to centre stage as soon as the current pandemic crisis is sufficiently resolved.

Hopes are still high that a revised version of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final will take place in October this year, but one way or another nothing will stand in the way of a renewal of the series that has been engaging and delighting spectators for well over a century and which remains the best-loved brand ambassador for equestrian sport.

And as for the once much-loved Vonolel and Honduras aka Nipper, they will not be forgotten. We’ll leave them with the words carved into that gravestone in Dublin, which reads:

“There are men both good and wise
Who hold that in a future state
Dumb creatures we have cherished here below
Shall give us joyous greeting when
We pass the golden gate
Is it folly that I hope it may be so?”

With special thanks to:
Olympian and coach Jimmy Wofford
Jane Garland, artist

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Major Revision to Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2020 Rules

Photo: FEI/Lukasz Kowalski.

With the global sporting calendar decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has made drastic changes to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 rules in a bid to maintain the series Final at Barcelona in October this year.

Under changes proposed by the FEI Jumping Committee and approved by the FEI Board during its teleconference this week, a total of 22 nations will be invited to compete at the Longines Final, staged at the prestigious Barcelona Polo Club. The 22 teams would be 10 from Europe, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.

The event held in February this year in Wellington (USA) will no longer be considered as a qualifier, and while events in North America and Europe that are still scheduled to take place over the next few months can be hosted as a Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, no qualifying points will be awarded for the Final.

The three teams from North America and the 10 teams from Europe Division 1 will qualify directly for the Final, while the UAE and Syria, who claimed the two top spots at the Middle East qualifier in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, will retain their places for the Final.

The qualification system for the other divisions will be based on the Longines Rankings, using the combined points of each National Federations’ four best Athletes on the Longines Ranking published one month prior to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final:

  • South America: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Asia/Australasia: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Africa: 1 team via Longines Ranking
  • Eurasia: 1 team via Longines Ranking

With Spain as the host nation of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final, this brings the maximum number of teams competing to 22.

As the EEF has announced the postponement of the Longines EEF Series launch until 2021, there will be no promotion and relegation this year, so Division 1 will start with the same 10 teams for the 2021 season.

“The global pandemic has meant that sadly we have had a number of cancellations in the series, and even though we still don’t know what events will take place later in the season, we needed to provide clarity to all our stakeholders as soon as possible, so out of respect to all our Organisers, to our National Federations and their athletes, and of course to our Top Partner Longines, making this decision now was the only way forward,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“There is no certainty that teams would be able to travel to any of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup events that are able to go ahead, and without a fair qualification system and the impossibility of being able to offer a level playing field where all teams have the same possibility to train and participate at events, this was a decision that had to be made.

“Of course all this is dependent on what happens with the pandemic, and we truly hope that there will soon be respite from all the terrible suffering around the globe, but we need to be optimistic and having the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in October with up to 22 countries competing for our sport’s most prestigious team title is a goal we are hoping can be realised.”

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Steffen Peters Extends Unbeaten Run to 11 with Nations Cup Freestyle Gold in Week 10 of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 13, 2020 – Steffen Peters (USA) conjured yet another winning performance from his blossoming partner, Suppenkasper, to claim the gold in the Nations Cup™ FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. This takes his tally of wins to 11 from 11 starts in the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The pair scored 81.535%, their second plus-80% freestyle score of the year. The 10th week of AGDF continues through Sunday, March 15, which is also the conclusion of the 2020 season, a decision announced earlier today due to the Coronavirus.

Right behind Peters, personal bests abounded on the podium. The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz smashed her previous best by 2% to land an emphatic 78.91% and the silver medal on her 15-year-old mare Aquamarijn, by United. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN) also pulled off a career high, riding All In, a 15-year-old gelding by Tango to 78.72% and the bronze.

Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3* here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Benjamin Ebeling Crowns a Winning Week with Third U-25 Nations Cup Gold Medal

In the under-25 Nations Cup division, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) fist-pumped the air at the final halt of the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIOU25, presented by Diamante Farms.

He was right to celebrate: his energetic ride on Illuster Van De Kampert, which he’d finished with a piaffe fan in both directions, was rewarded with 75.13%. It was their best ever score at the level and earned the gold medal — their third of the week.

Freestyle silver went to Canada’s Camille Carier Bergeron, who moved up a place from the previous day, riding Gilles Bergeron’s 13-year-old Acordelli gelding, Acoeur. Natalie Pai (USA) scooped bronze, adding to her team silver from the opening day of week 10. All three podium finishers rode to music put together by Karen Robinson.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.