Tag Archives: FEI Nations Cup

Sweden Takes Command in Compiègne

Antonia Ramel (SWE) and Curiosity. (FEI/Laurent Zabulon)

Heading into the final day of competition at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ in Compiègne (FRA), it was apparent it would take a monumental shift in momentum for Sweden to relinquish its grasp on the lead. Still, the dominance with which the squad of Juliette Ramel (Buriel K.H.), Antonia Ramel (Curiosity), and Patrik Kittel (Touchdown), led by Chef d’Equipe Jo Bena, executed victory was eye-opening. When Kittel and Touchdown received an 82.025 percent score for their Freestyle, it left Sweden’s final margin of victory at 32 points. Spain (48 points) finished second, with Belgium (51 points) third.

The win marked the third for Sweden at Compiègne in the last five years, having also triumphed in 2018 and 2021.

“We were a bit ahead of the others this time, and I’m very happy about that. They are doing so well in the ring and also in their training, and it looks very promising for the future,” said Chef d’Equipe Jo Bena (SWE).

Each point was equal to an athlete’s placing, with lower numbers reflecting top performances. All athletes competed in Saturday’s Grand Prix before splitting across Sunday’s Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle tests, with the three best results tallied. No Swedish rider received a point tally in double digits, with all three making the podium in at least one test. After recording just 10 points from the Grand Prix, Sweden was even more dominant on Sunday, adding just six points to their score. While Kittel was the highest placing Nations Cup rider in the Grand Prix Freestyle, Juliet Ramel finished second in the Special (75.277%), with Antonia Ramel just behind her in third (72.043%).

“The horses have done very fault-free tests, and if there have been small faults, we have still be able to pick it up with high points,” Kittel said. “I think that’s what I’m most happy with. The thing is: the horses have all just been there for us through the entire weekend.”

Sweden put forth a squad of veteran riders — each an Olympic veteran — but the horses brought forward were mixed in experience. Touchdown had only performed two previous Freestyle tests at the CDI5* level and had never before contested a CDIO event. Curiosity, formerly trained in jumping, is also new to the level, having represented Sweden in one previous Nations Cup event at Aachen (GER).

“He’s been with me for a long time,” Antonia said. “He was in the beginning a jumping horse, which he did until he was six. I’ve educated him on my own, and I’ve had him now for seven years.”

With three appearances in the Olympic Games and a bronze medal from the European Championships, Buriel K.H. stood tall as the equine veteran of the group. The gelding performed with remarkable consistency, recording just 3 points in the Grand Prix (75.391%) and two points in the Grand Prix Special.

“He’s an amazing character. He always has my back,” Juliette said. “I’ve had him since he was 7; now he’s 16. So we’ve had a long partnership.”

Sweden’s win put them atop the standings for the 2022 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ season with 15 points. Spain sits second with 13 points, two ahead of Belgium (11 points). The FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ returns 23-26 June in Rotterdam (BEL).

“It means a lot [to start the season strongly]. It’s always good to have a victory in a five-star Nations Cup to start with, and then we can go on with the rest,” Bena said. “And we have been lucky and also good, I would say, [in previous years], because we have won in Compiègne before. We like it very much here.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Swiss Team Prove Age Is No Barrier in Eventing with Nations Cup Win

L to R: Beat Sax, Mélody Johner, Nadja Minder, Robin Godel, and Chef d’equipe Dominik Burger. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

It was a double victory for the Swiss, when Robin Godel’s Jumping clear round clinched the individual prize and a win for Team Switzerland. This was the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ and took place in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). France, who were overnight leaders going into the final day, finished a close second, and Sweden, who were overall winners of the Series in 2021, finished third. The home side Italy was fifth.

It was a tense finish after the French team left Godel no room for error in the Jumping phase. The 23-year-old athlete kept his cool on Grandeur de Lully CH, to incur just one time penalty which sealed the deal for his team. “I was very focused, but I tried to have only good pressure,” he said after his round. “It was an amazing week for the team. We did good on the cross-country; the four riders were very impressive and the horses gave all they had. For the World Championships it is exciting.”

Speaking about this as a test event for this year’s FEI World Championships for Eventing, Godel said, “It is amazing here; the ground is wonderful; I have never cantered on ground like this. For the World Championships, we want qualification for Paris (Olympics) and that’s the main focus and for sure we will be going for the podium too.”

Pratoni has proved a happy hunting ground for the Swiss, who won the Nations Cup here in 2019. The team this year consisted of two Nations Cup first timers: 62-year-old Beat Sax, who has just one horse to compete and has been eventing for 45 years, and 20-year-old Nadja Minder. They were joined by Tokyo Olympic riders Godel and Mélody Johner.

Six-time Olympian Andrew Nicholson has been coaching the Swiss team for several years and summed up their performance: “It was outstanding. They keep getting better, more confident, and are pulling together as a team. They are passionate and want to do it and they are making the younger ones hungry, which then pushes the older riders.”

Saturday’s Cross-Country shook up the leaderboard and left it tight at the top. Switzerland finished just 0.1 of a penalty behind France going into the final phase. Germany, who led the way after the dressage phase, was relegated to 9th after just two of their team members completed. Sweden, who was in eighth after the dressage, produced four strong Cross-Country performances to climb to third.

Pratoni del Vivaro will be hosting the FEI World Championships for Eventing and Driving, from 15-25 September. Course Designer Giuseppe della Chiesa and Director of the Championships concluded: “From a sports side the cross-country went well here this week. From the side of the organisation, there’s a lot to do yet but we are getting there, and it was very important to have this competition as a Nations Cup and also as a test event. The nature of the soil here is something unique. Horses love it and if it rains, it doesn’t change it and there are very few places in the world like that. It is an important venue as the Olympic venue in 1960 and is one of the very few Olympic venues which is still used for the same purpose.”

The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing action moves to Houghton Hall (GBR) from 26-29 May, the second of nine events in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series.

Full results here.

by Eleanore Kelly

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
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Mexico Has Triumphant Homecoming at Coapexpan

The winning team from Mexico (FEI/Anwar Esquivel)

Mexico earned the series title when the North and Central America and Caribbean division of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series last took place in 2019. In front of a home crowd at Coapexpan in Xalapa (MEX), the home squad set the tone for a strong 2022 season with a statement victory over Canada and the United States.

Led by newly appointed Chef d’Equipe Mark Laskin, the veteran squad of Nicolas Pizarro (Pia Contra), Federico Fernandez (Romeo), Patricio Pasquel (Babel), and Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane (Hortensia van de Leeuwerk) established a commanding three-rail lead in the first round with a perfect “0” score thanks to clear efforts from Fernandez, Pasquel, and Gonzalez Dufrane. They finished things off with two rails in hand on a final score of 12.

“I’ve been very impressed with the Mexican riders. I have a lot of depth and a lot of riders for us to select from. Obviously, my idea was to really start things off with a bang, and I think we accomplished that,” said Laskin.

It was not quite as smooth of sailing for the United States, as a young American squad was shockingly eliminated in the first round, and with no drop score, every rail counted for Canada, who sat on 12 faults entering Round 2.

But the Canadians rallied. The team’s youngest rider, Jacqueline Steffens, produced a critical clear round to add some pressure, while Pizarro and Fernandez each recorded 8 faults in their respective second rounds. Pasquel and his spectacular homebred Babel bolstered things with a double-clear effort, and Gonzalez Dufrane and Hortensia van de Leeuwerk, who so often have acted as team anchors, delivered once again to cement Mexico’s status atop the podium.

“I’m very comfortable being the anchor rider, and I had no pressure in the second round,” Gonzalez Dufrane said. “My teammates had already [all but] clinched the win.”

“I’m just very grateful to my fellow riders for giving me this amazing gift to win a Nations Cup in our hometown,” Fernandez said, “because that’s the best feeling ever.”

The North and Central America and Caribbean division of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ continues in Vancouver (CAN) on 5 June 2022.

Full results here.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Germany Bests USA in FEI Dressage Nations Cup Thriller

Michael Klimke (GER) riding Harmony’s Sanrino RHP (FEI/Thierry Billet)

The opening leg of the 2022 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ series hinted at a competitive season to come, as defending series Champions Germany bested the United States by just over a percentage point in Wellington (USA).

Strong starts defined the weekend, as the opening day results from Michael Klimke (Harmony’s Sanrino RHP), Christoph Koschel (Dünensee), Lars Ligus (Soccer City), and Frederic Wandres (Dolciario) could not be caught by the American contingent, who were the first official series champions in 2016.

“Last year it was a really big surprise, and it motivated us for this year. We all had a top day yesterday, and today it got very close again,” said Michael Klimke (GER).

Klimke and Wandres each pulled weight for their team, with Klimke winning Thursday’s Grand Prix (72.652). Despite Big Tour combinations receiving a 1.5 percent boost to their scores, Small Tour combination Wandres and Dolciario gave Germany its best Day 2 score in winning the Intermediate I, receiving 73.176 from judges Stephen Clarke (GBR), Carlos Lopes (POR), Michael Osinski (USA), Mariette Sanders – van Gansewinkel (NED), and Knut Danzberg (GER).

“The team can only be successful if all of us are fighting until the end, and we really did that,” Wandres said. “[Dolciario] is just 8 years old, and this is his first CDI tour this season. I was already very happy yesterday, but today was his first Intermediate 1.”

Down to the wire

While Thursday’s results provided a slight cushion, the United States rallied strongly on Friday in the Grand Prix Special to keep the standings incredibly close. Twenty-two-year-old Ben Ebeling took won the deciding event — the Grand Prix Special — receiving 73.649 aboard Indeed, a mount he’s only campaigned since the beginning of the year. Beatrice Berktold (Imperial) won the Prix St. Geroges (72.441), adding a 72.676 score to finish second in the Intermediate I in her first senior Nations Cup.

“I think my teammates can be really happy with their rides. I’m certainly very happy with my ride,” Ebeling said.  “I love riding Indeed. I think it’s so much about my riding, but more about my coaching, from Christoph Koschel and also my dad Jan Ebeling, who did a fantastic job training this horse. I’m just lucky that I get to ride her. She’s got a lot of power in there and today you could really see it, and I really felt it. For me, that’s something that I’m really excited about.”

“I was not aware of how close it was. It was very exciting,” added Koschel, who finished second to his student in the Grand Prix Special. “There was team spirit, and I’m happy that we won. I have to say big congratulations today to Ben for winning the class; well done.”

With just three teams competing, Wellington’s leg will not offer series points. The FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ season will resume 05-08 May at Mariakalnok (HUN).

Full results here.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Canada Claims All-Female Under-25 FEI Nations Cup Team Podium at AGDF

Camille Carier Bergeron riding Sound of Silence 4 ©susanjstickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2022 – The FEI Nations Cup for Under 25 riders, presented by Diamante Farms, was the feature competition on Thursday, March 17, during week 10 of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). The under-25 division was a tussle between archrivals Canada and the U.S., with team Canada coming out on top, scoring 133.323 points to take gold. The U.S. claimed silver with 129.5 points.

Camille Carier Bergeron rode Sound of Silence 4 in only the pair’s second under-25 CDI to the top spot for the winning nation, placing second overall in the CDIOU25 Intermediate II, presented by Diamante Farms. Individually, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) topped the class with 70.529% on Ann Romney’s Status Royal OLD. However, Ebeling was not on the under-25 U.S. team as he is riding Vantage Equestrian’s Indeed on the senior team. The 22-year-old Vanessa Creech-Terauds bolstered the Canadian result, clinching gold by finishing fourth with 65.764% on Fleur De Lis L, Louise Leatherdale’s home-bred 13-year-old daughter of First Dance.

Creech-Terauds, who was also on last year’s winning under-25 Canadian team with Carier Bergeron, said: “It’s very exciting to have won the second year in a row with Camille. It’s always been so much fun. I’ve been competing against and with Camille for a long time, and it’s so nice that in the U25 we’re able to be on the same team, because in juniors and young riders we always had to compete against each other. It’s always a really great experience going in that ring and representing Canada and getting more experience for both of our futures, and I know we both have goals to represent Canada more often, so every time it really makes me proud.”

Germany in Command at Half-way Point of Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup Tussle

At the half-way point of the two days of team competition in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3*, team Germany leads the way. The format at this show allows teams to combine small tour and grand prix combinations, with the latter garnering a 1.5% bonus for the more difficult test.

With all teams having posted four results, Germany is leading the U.S. with 217.204 points to 215.419. Canada is in third with 203.891 points.

Thursday’s action included Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix, with small tour riders progressing to the Intermediate I test on Friday, and the big tour riders tackling the Grand Prix Special, after which the team medals will be awarded.

Germany’s top three scores were over 72%. The team’s two big tour combinations filled the top two spots individually in the Grand Prix CDIO3*, sponsored by Stillpoint Farm. Michael Klimke pulled off a new personal best with Harmony’s Sanrino RHP of 71.152% (72.652% including the bonus) and Christoph Koschel on Dünensee slotted into second with 71.022% (72.522% including the bonus). Katie Duerrhammer claimed third with 70.152% (71.652% including the bonus) riding Quartett, keeping the U.S. team in striking distance of the gold.

In the Prix St. Georges CDIO3*, sponsored by Stillpoint Farm, Bianca Berktold (USA) led the way with a commanding 72.441% on Imperial. Frederic Wandres (GER) clinched second with Dolciario, with his compatriot Lars Ligus filling third on Soccer City.

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

Irish See Off Strong Challenge from UAE for First-Leg Victory in Abu Dhabi

Jack Ryan with BBS McGregor. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team Ireland came out on top in the first clash of the 10-leg Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. But the hosts chased them every inch of the way to finish a close second ahead of Great Britain in third place.

As Irish Chef d’Equipe, Michael Blake, said afterwards the competition turned into “a two-horse race” when only a single fence separated his side, leading on a zero score at the halfway stage, from the home team who were carrying just four faults going into round two.

There was no room for error in the closing stages and, as Blake added, “The UAE really kept the pressure on us. I wouldn’t have dreamt this morning that it would take six clear rounds to win it,” Blake added.

For the UAE, their result easily secured one of the two places at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2022 on offer to teams from the Middle East at this leg, the other going to Saudi Arabia who finished fifth.

The three-member Syrian side dropped out of contention when Ahmad Saber Hamcho retired in the first round, leaving six countries to battle it out in the closing stages in which Team Jordan just missed out on a Middle East qualifying slot when finishing sixth.

Reopened

When the Irish reopened with a clear from Shane Breen and Z7 Ipswich and then youngest team-member 20-year-old Jack Ryan completed a double-clear with BBS McGregor, it was always looking good for the team in green.

However, as Blake had commented during the halfway break, there was no room for complacency, because the UAE really meant business. Like Shane Breen, host-team pathfinder Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri had picked up four faults in the opening round with Sama Dubai, but second time out they made no mistake. So when his compatriot Hamad Ali Al Kirbi was double-clear with the handsome grey Quel Cadans Z, then there was still only that one fence between the two sides.

Then Hamad Ali’s 21-year-old son, Ali Hamad Al Kirbi, piled on the pressure with an equally impressive tour of Alan Wade’s 12-fence track partnering the 13-year-old mare Dalida van de Zuuthoeve, so now the ball was back in the Irish court.

However, third-line Irishman, David Simpson, wrapped it up with his second cool clear of the day from the 12-year-old Foudre F. On a zero scoreline his team could not now be beaten, and Irish team anchor Trevor Breen’s single error with Highland President cost him only a share of the €50,000 going to the five partnerships who posted double-clears – Ryan, Simpson, Hamad Al Kirbi, Great Britain’s Donald Whitaker (Di Caprio), and Germany’s David Will (Babalou HD).

The final scoreline showed Ireland on zero, UAE on four faults in second place, and Great Britain’s Whitaker, William Funnell (Equine America Billy Diamo), and Georgia Tame (Z7 Ascot) in third on 17. Germany finished fourth on 34 faults, Saudi Arabia in fifth on 48, and the Jordanian team were sixth with a final tally of 50 faults.

Looked strong

The Irish always looked strong after wins for brothers Shane and Trevor Breen in the 5* and 2* Grand Prix classes at the fixture earlier in the week, so Chef d’Equipe Blake was feeling confident.

“We competed here four times and had three second-place finishes, but I felt this competition was ours to lose today and that we were the best team here, although I didn’t see the UAE coming as strong as they did – it just shows how showjumping is developing in this region!” he said.

He was delighted with the performances of all his team members, and was particularly pleased with the maturity shown by Jack Ryan who was competing in only his second senior Nations Cup. “He was on the winning team in Vilamoura (POR) last year, so he’s now made it two wins out of two – that’s impressive,” Blake said. He’s had a long association with the young man who hails from Inistioge in County Kilkenny, Ireland. “I was at my first Championship with Jack when he was just 11 years old competing in Children on Horses, and it’s extra special that he is riding a home-bred horse here today,” Blake pointed out.

BBS McGregor is a horse with a story, having recovered from a serious injury early in his life. “We bred him ourselves and as a yearling he got very sick because we think he was kicked in the head by another horse when out in the field. He fell apart physically and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him – he was just fading away. But he had a lump on his nose and when it was x-rayed it seems that a tooth went up through the roof of his mouth when he was kicked and he couldn’t eat because of the pain. He’s so much better now and it’s great to see him doing so well and enjoying himself in the ring,” Ryan explained.

Experienced team

He said he felt “confident but nervous” about competing at 5* level with such an experienced team, “but they helped me a lot.” He relished the competitiveness of this clash of nations. “Fair play to the UAE – they really put it up to us all the way,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri was filled with pride for his country’s result. “I think our best score here before was 17 faults, so today’s result was really great!” he said. “We are aiming two teams for events this year – one for the Asian Games and one for the Longines Final, and of course today’s competition is also a qualifier for the World Championships, so it has been a great experience for all of us.”

Blake meanwhile is turning his attention to selection for the next leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series which will take place at Coapexpan, Mexico in March, but now it’s about celebrating his country’s first big team victory of 2022. “It’s a really great start to the year,” said the happy Irish team manager.

Result

FEI YouTube

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

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