Tag Archives: Show Jumping

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

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

Jad Dana and After Eight Jump to Victory in $25k Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix

Jad Dana (LBN) and After Eight. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – Sept. 5, 2021 – The ESP Labor Day horse show concluded with a second victory from the week going to Lebanon’s Jad Dana. Dana and After Eight edged out the competition in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix to capture the lead spot in the victory gallop. The partnership mastered two tracks designed by Oscar Soberón (USA) as the fastest of five double-clear duos.

Early in the morning on Friday, Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Boheme de Fleyres, owned by Ashlee Bond Show Jumping, hit the ground running to take the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake. Only the fourth in the order, Bond and Boheme de Fleyres turned in a quick fault-free time of 38.74 seconds in the immediate jump-off to solidify themselves as the frontrunners and eventual winners.

In the Perfect Products 1.35m Stake on Saturday morning, Dana and Fleur-de-Lis’ Cherie, owned by Kathleen Gannon-Ledsome, ran away with the class as the clear-cut winners. Never letting up on the gas, Dana and Fleur de Lis’ Cherie went midway through the pack and tripped their jump-off timers without faults in a blazing 39.13 seconds. No other competitors were able to come close, giving Dana and his mount the first prize by nearly four seconds.

Sunday morning saw the Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline, challenge a field of horses and riders on the Derby Field. In the end, only three-hundredths of a second separated the top two finishers, with the victory going to Caroline Drummond of Wellington, FL on her own Tsunami with a double-clear time of 40.66 seconds.

Alejandro Karolyi Makes Winning Hunter Debut with Karma AB in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

In his first hunter class ever, Alejandro Karolyi of Wellington, FL rode Emily Cherney’s Karma AB straight to the top of the leaderboard in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline. The partnership concluded the class as the clear victors after earning back-to-back scores of 86 for a final tally of 172, which included all four high-option bonus points from both the classic and handy rounds. A decorated jumper rider, Karolyi gave the hunters a shot for the very first time on Friday, and he proved to be a solid match for Karma AB, the 10-year-old mare that is making the switch from jumpers to the hunter ring.

The combined Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter/Junior 3’3” Hunter divisions, presented by Vita Flex, saw Adrienne Marciano of Collegeville, PA and her own Cooper ride to the championship rosette. Marciano and Cooper were the standout pair in the division after capturing four first-place finishes and a single second-place result to emerge as the clear leaders.

In the Pony Hunter division, presented by Dover Saddlery, Competition Farm LLC’s Skip Day carried Chase Spranklin of Weston, FL to the championship honors. The duo earned two first-place finishes, as well as two third-place results and a fourth-place ribbon to earn enough points to capture the overall title.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.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

Swiss Sweep to Victory in Thrilling Team Final

(L to R): Bryan Balsiger, Martin Fuchs, Chef d’Equipe Michel Sorg, Steve Guerdat, and Elian Baumann. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

The Swiss stole the show when grabbing Team gold at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships 2021 in Riesenbeck, Germany. The final round of the team competition was a breathtaking affair, with everything hanging in the balance to the very end when Germany had to settle for silver, while the defending champions from Belgium leap-frogged Sweden to take the bronze.

Spectator numbers were limited due to pandemic restrictions, but the 2,100 who watched from the grandstands were treated to an epic day of top sport. They too showed great sporting spirit, cheering every horse-and-athlete combination that came into the ring.

As the action began there was no room for error, as less than a fence separated the leading Swiss from the chasing Germans while Team Sweden was only one fence further behind. The Swedes couldn’t hang on when Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S was the only pair in their side to keep a clean sheet.

That opened the door for the Belgians who carried 17.34 points into the round and added absolutely nothing. All four team-members have qualified for Sunday’s top-25 Individual final, with Pieter Devos lying third with Jade vd Bisschop, Nicola Philippaerts in seventh with Katanga v/h Dingeshof, Jos Verlooy in 17th with Varoune, and Olivier Philippaerts in 21st place with Le Blue Diamond v’t Ruytershof.

The real excitement was the intensity of the battle between Germany and Switzerland for gold. It came right down to the wire and, not for the first time, all the pressure fell on the shoulders of Swiss anchor, Steve Guerdat, who withstood that pressure to bring it home.

This victory was the fifth for Switzerland in the 46-year history of the FEI Jumping European Championships and the first since 2009. But it wouldn’t be easily won.

Kicked off

The Swiss effort kicked off with a 12-fault result for Elian Baumann and Campari Z who lowered the last element of the Longines triple combination at fence six, the oxer near the arena entrance at fence 11 and the first element of the penultimate double of uprights.

So when both Andre Thieme with DSP Chakaria and Marcus Ehning and Stargold jumped clear, then the title seemed to be slipping away from the overnight leaders and into Germany’s grasp. But youngest Swiss team member, 24-year-old Bryan Balsiger, held his nerve to bring AK’s Courage through the finish with a zero on the scoreboard, and when compatriot and defending individual champion, Martin Fuchs, did likewise with Leone Jei then things were looking a little more optimistic for the eventual winners.

By now, Germany’s Christian Kukuk and Mumbai had faulted at the triple combination, so when David Will made it all the way to the penultimate double only to fault at the first element there with C Vier, then one of those two errors had to be counted so the German team tally had risen to 12.77.

That gave Swiss anchorman Guerdat a fence in hand, but he was hoping he didn’t need it. However, that bogey triple combination played its part once again. He made it safely through, but Albfuehren’s Maddox got all fired up going down the line that followed it, and when they turned to the oxer at fence nine the stride just didn’t come up right. With four faults now on the board, they still had five obstacles to clear before the finish. Another error and the game would be over, and it would be Germany in gold medal spot.

Out of control

“It wasn’t that I got worried about the mistake I had, but I got a bit nervous because I was running out of control with my horse; he got really strong after the line of the triple combination, and I had to really try to stay calm to bring him home without thinking of the result, but getting him back together with me which I managed to do. The relief was great after that,” he said.

Guerdat’s impressive European Championship record includes team bronze in 2003, team silver in 2005, team gold in 2009, and team bronze in both 2015 and 2017. When it comes to team competition, the London 2012 Olympic champions is rock-solid reliable, and he brought it home once again.

He insisted afterwards that this win was very definitely not all about him. “I had pressure but no more than my colleagues here. Bryan did an unbelievable job to get us back in the race after Elian today was not as good as we expected, although he’s been amazing the first two rounds. That’s the thing, everyone wants to fight not just for himself but for the whole team; there is a great atmosphere in the team. I think it makes you strong when you fight for four and not just for yourself,” Guerdat said.

For Martin Fuchs there was another reason that this win was extra special. He was following in the footsteps of his father, Thomas, who was on the first Swiss team to win the title back in 1983 at Hickstead, Great Britain.

A huge moment

“It’s a huge moment for me and my career to win alongside three friends and after my dad some years ago. It is great to bring another gold medal back to the family. It is amazing to have his knowledge with us and his precious advice as Swiss team trainer. I am so lucky to be able to do all this with him!” said Fuchs, who goes into Sunday’s Individual Final in pole position.

Meanwhile, the German team reflected on their silver medal result. Marcus Ehning was happy because he was keeping a promise to his son, Lyas. “Today is his birthday and I told him I was going to bring him a medal!” said the man who has been at the heart of German showjumping for many years and who is lying 14th with Stargold going into the Individual medal-decider.

Andre Thieme lies second in the Individual rankings and was thrilled with his silver medal. “It is everybody’s dream to ride a big championship in front of his home crowd!” he said.

Rider’s mistake

David Will insisted his four faults were “a rider’s mistake. I did not have the perfect distance and it is a shame as my horse jumped very well,” but he was still delighted with his silver medal. Christian Kukuk is pleased to be lying eighth individually with the fabulous grey stallion Mumbai.

“The last two days everything went exactly how I wanted, but today I made it just a little too difficult for Mumbai at the last double. But he’s still only nine years old and the way he finished the course made me very proud of him. We are looking forward to Sunday!” he said.

So is Belgium’s Pieter Devos who is lying third with the lovely mare Jade. It’s only a few weeks since he stood on the bronze medal step of the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following a great performance with another of his string of horses.

“It is Jade’s first championship and she gives me a lot of confidence for Sunday,” he said. His Chef d’Equipe, Peter Weinberg, celebrated his team’s result.

“We didn’t want to use the same horses who jumped the Olympics – all our horses are competing in their first championship here. Today when we walked the course, we saw it was a step bigger, so ending the day with four clears, team bronze, and all riders qualified for the final on Sunday – now that makes me very proud!” he said.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

It’s Tight Going into Team Medal Decider, but Swiss Are Out in Front

Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

Switzerland moved into the lead in the first round of the Team competition at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships 2021 at Riesenbeck in Germany. However, the same three countries continue to dominate the leaderboard, with the overnight leaders from Sweden now in third behind the hosts from Germany who maintained their second-place ranking.

With one more day to decide the team medals, the result is still very much hanging in the balance because the margins are really tight.

The Swiss start with a score of 5.47, thanks to superb clears from Elian Baumann (Campari Z), Martin Fuchs (Leone Jei), and Steve Guerdat (Albfuehren’s Maddox). Second-line rider, and at 24 years old the youngest on the team, Bryan Balsiger faulted just once on the 14-fence track when the grey mare AK’s Courage hit the water-tray oxer at fence 10 in an otherwise super round.

However, they don’t have even a fence in hand over Team Germany who added just the four picked up by their last man into the ring, David Will. Will and C Vier fell afoul of the second element of the penultimate double of oxers, which proved hugely influential throughout the afternoon.

Zeros

His team-mates Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria) and Christian Kukuk (Mumbai) had both put zeros on the board while Marcus Ehning and Stargold picked up five faults. By the time Will set off, a clear from him would secure the advantage for the host nation going into the final day. His single mistake moved their scoreline on to 8.77. but it still leaves them ahead of the first-day leaders from Sweden, who slipped to third when Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W were the only pair to keep a clean sheet for their side.

On a running score of 11.59, the Swedes are a fence behind the Swiss at the head of affairs, but less than a fence behind the Germans.

Bengstson was delighted with his horse’s performance, and despite the slip down the rankings, he reckons the Swedes shouldn’t be written off yet for the title. “It’s still wide open – Peder (Fredricson) and Douglas (Lindelow) were unlucky, and I didn’t see Angelica (Augustssib Zanotelli) go, but she only picked up four faults too.

“Sometimes it’s good not to be in front on the last day because that means the other teams have to go clear and they feel the pressure. But we need clear rounds tomorrow, that’s the thing!” he said with a big smile.

Both Andre Thieme’s DSP Chakaria and Christian Kukuk’s Mumbai were at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just a few weeks ago, and yet produced two fantastic rounds for Germany.

Developmental

The two riders talked about how the trip to Japan proved developmental for both horses.

“We all said if she’s sound and fresh when she comes home, and the jumping feels normal and loose, then we will come here for the European Championships. She only learned from being the Olympics. In Tokyo she was maybe a bit too green; it may have been a bit too early for her, but today she felt really good!” Thieme said of his mare.

Kukuk said his stallion Mumbai came home fresh, and that their relationship has really grown thanks to the Tokyo experience. “I think going there made me and him, and brought us together. He is only nine years old, and he was probably a bit shy in himself there, but what is very good with him is that after coming back, it’s nearly like he’s thinking about it all, and when we see him now here he looks even better than before. He’s a wonderful horse; even when you have a mistake he thinks about it and wants to do it better next time,” Kukuk said today.

Meanwhile, the Swiss reflected on a great day when they were the only team to produce three clear rounds to leave them in pole position going into the final day of the team competition.

Fuchs’ tour of Frank Rothenberger’s 14-fence course was epic, Leone Jei’s extravagant jumping drawing gasps of delight from onlookers. “He has extreme potential and a huge gallop and is easy to ride. He has unlimited scope and he’s extremely good in his head – he really wants to jump!” said the man who at 29 years old is defending the individual European title he won two years ago with the great Clooney.

Swiss supremacy

This result saw him take over the lead in the individual rankings, and it says something for Swiss supremacy when they hold three of the top-five individual placings at this stage of the competition, with Baumann and Guerdat currently sharing fourth behind Sweden’s Bengtsson in third and Germany’s Kukuk in second spot.

They may be in a strong position, but they are not getting too carried away. There’s more work to be done before those medals are presented.

“It’s still a long way to go; everything is still out there. The teams are quite close, but our horses are jumping good and we will give it a try tomorrow,” Guerdat said.

He has had Albfuehren’s Maddox since he was seven. “He’s a Swedish horse that Peder Fredricson used to ride. He’s a really nice horse and I always thought that one day he would do something big. He didn’t win much as an 8-year-old; he started a bit last year; he’s only ten and still has a lot to improve, but he’s powerful and has what it takes to jump big fences. Maybe he’s not quite ready yet to jump five big rounds but we will try,” he added.

Mixed bag

The year 2021 has been a mixed bag for the London 2012 Olympic champion. “I’ve had great success and pleasure in my personal life; it’s been enjoyable every minute,” said the popular athlete whose daughter, Ella, was born in April. But as he pointed out, it has been a tough year from a sport point of view. In June he lost the mare he always called his “Queen,” Bianca, who died of a brain tumour.

“It was not the nicest time, but it’s one of those things that happen. I was on a little bit of a down after that. I won’t say it’s because of that, but sometimes things don’t go well and that’s the run I’ve been having at the moment. That’s why today was important – everything doesn’t feel as confident and smooth as normal, but I have to at least fight. That’s the one thing I have control over. To show the good spirit out there, I’ve got to fight even more than normally, but this is sport; it’s what I’m trying to do and I have my horse on my side and I hope together we can fight for the best result possible!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Sweden Leads Team Ranking, but Germany and Switzerland Are Close Behind

Germany’s David Will and C Vier. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

Team Sweden swept into the lead on the opening day of the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021 at Riesenbeck, Germany, but the newly-crowned Olympic champions have only a narrow advantage over the host country, who in turn lie just ahead of Switzerland going into the first round of the team competition.

The beautiful big grass arena at the charming new venue created by multiple Olympian Ludger Beerbaum and his team provided the perfect backdrop to a great day of sport. And the hosts had plenty to cheer about when David Will was quickest around Frank Rothenberger’s 13-fence track for a German victory with C Vier in the opening Speed class.

Second-last to go, and chasing the target time set by Tokyo Olympic individual silver and team gold medallist Sweden’s Peder Fredricson riding Catch Me Not, Will shaved almost a second off that without seeming to turn a hair.

“My plan was not necessarily to win this class. I wanted to land a really good round and do everything right leading up to the next days, but of course winning is a very big plus so I couldn’t be happier for myself or my horse. His jumping was amazing; he made it easy for me, so the credit really belongs to him!” said the 33-year-old Will who is competing in his very first Championship.

Pathfinders

Swedish pathfinders, Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli and Kalinka van de Nachtegaele, had a clear but relatively slow tour of the track to come home in 80.92 seconds. But when Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W broke the beam in 75.58, Douglas Lindelow and Casquo Blue stormed home in 73.59, and then Peder Fredricson produced his country’s fourth clear of the competition in 72.58, they clinched pole position in the team rankings when the top three scores were counted.

On top of that, Fredricson lies second and Lindelow third individually, with Olivier Robert from France in fourth with Vivaldi des Meneaux and defending individual champion Martin Fuchs from Switzerland in fifth with Leone Jei.

The German team looked compromised when Maurice Tebbel’s Don Diarado was withdrawn. “Of course it was bad for us that Maurice couldn’t ride, but this decision had to be made for the horse. But if you have Marcus Ehning as the fifth you are still pretty OK! We have a good team and a good team spirit; we are working well together and we’ll see where this leads us. I think we can be very happy with this start,” Will said.

Christian Kukuk’s Mumbai and Andre Thieme’s DSP Chakaria are not long back from Tokyo, but both German horses were looking great when slotting into tenth and 17th individually. The Swedes will be under plenty of pressure if they are to stay ahead of the home contingent. Although the Swiss were a little unlucky.

On course

Anchorman Steve Guerdat looked on course for a really fast result with Albfuehren’s Maddox that could challenge for the lead but, coming down to the wall of planks at fence nine on a seven-stride distance, the stallion put down for an extra one at the last minute and ploughed through the timber. The pair cleared the finish in 71.96 which would have been the second-quickest time of the class, but the addition of four seconds for that mistake left them in 14th place instead, just behind Swiss team-mates Elian Baumann with Campari Z and Bryan Balsiger and AK’s Courage. Fuchs’ great fifth-place result was therefore pivotal at the end of the day.

The Netherlands lies fourth, France fifth, and the defending champions from Belgium are in sixth place. Belgian chances were undermined when, in what looked set to be another good round, Olivier Philippaerts’ Le Blue Diamond v’t Ruytershof did exactly the same thing as Guerdat’s stallion at the planks at fence nine.

At the post-competition press conference, Peder Fredricson said, “There was something about that fence that was a bit spooky. When my horse came in, he also had a little look at it – I showed it to him and he really didn’t like it but when he was up and going, he didn’t mind it!” he explained.

Commenting on the course in general, the Swedish star added, “It was really well built, quite welcoming for the horses – a nice start but with a few good questions, including the turn inside to the water and the two combinations at the end. He (Frank Rothenberger) did a really good job; most horses jumped well and confidently and still there were mistakes,” he pointed out.

Temptation

Lindelow described his feeling after steering his 11-year-old gelding into third individually and helping to anchor his country’s team lead. He also talked about the temptation to try too hard where speed was so important. “It’s easy to get drawn in when the class is running so that you try to ride faster than you planned initially. But I think I stuck to my plan, and I’m very happy with the result, and with my horse,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one feeling pleased. “I’m pleased, relieved, a little bit proud, and a little bit honoured!” said event creator Ludger Beerbaum, who was anxious that everything went right at this first major fixture on his home turf. It’s less than a year since the Championship was allocated to his venue which has been rapidly developed since then.

“It’s my name up front but it’s definitely not all my achievement or glory; we have a great group of people: Karsten (Lütteken, Show Director) and the whole team at Riesenbeck International. You never really know when you do an event for the first time – are we really able to do this, are we competent enough, will the ground last, will we have a nice competition, especially in the speed class? You never know 100%. But I couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.

Results and startlists here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Summer Rolex Grands Prix Season Results

Jessica Springsteen rocks the Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi at the Brussels Stephex Masters (Photo: Sportfot)

The period between 2021’s first two Rolex Grand Slam Majors – The Dutch Masters in April and the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September – played host to no fewer than five top-class show jumping events, each featuring a prestigious Rolex Grand Prix as the pinnacle class of the show, which attracted the world’s very best riders and horses.

The 1m60 Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi concluded five days of entertaining jumping from 23-27 June at Knokke Hippique in the north-west of Belgium. After nine riders progressed to the jump-off, local hero and Tokyo 2020 Team bronze medallist, Jérôme Guery, and his bay stallion, Quel Homme de Hus, proved far too strong for the rest of the field, finishing over six seconds ahead of second-placed riser and Rolex Testimonee, Kevin Staut.

Royal Windsor Horse Show’s crowd in the iconic Castle Arena in the shadow of Windsor Castle witnessed a dominant display of horsemanship on 4 July, after another local hero, Ben Maher, and his extraordinarily talented stallion, Explosion W, took the honours in the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix ahead of Swiss Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat. The Briton’s next stop would be Tokyo 2020, where he and his dependable equine partner were eventually crowned Individual Olympic champions.

Rolex was warmly welcomed to The Masters of Chantilly, as the show’s Official Sponsor, Official Timepiece, and Title Sponsor of the Grand Prix. Staged on the manicured lawns of the Hippodrome de Chantilly from 6-11 July, it was Nicolas Delmotte, who brilliantly continued the local hero theme. The Frenchman and his gelding, Urvoso du Roch, triumphed by just 0.36 seconds over Swiss Martin Fuchs, yet another Rolex Testimonee who had to settle for second place.

Brittany’s Emerald Coast provided an exquisitely picturesque location for the Jumping International de Dinard as spectators were welcomed back in the tribunes from 15-18 July, where Fuchs superbly made amends for his Chantilly disappointment. Paired this time with his gelding Connor 70, the current Individual world champion pipped Ireland’s Denis Lynch to top spot in the show’s finale, the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix de Dinard.

The Brussels Stephex Masters 2021 climaxed on Sunday 29 August with its showpiece class: the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix presented by Rolex. After nine combinations progressed to the jump-off, after navigating the 13-obstacle, Uliano Vezzani-designed course fault-free, it was the USA’s Jessica Springsteen and her 14-year-old mare, Rmf Zecilie who prevailed by a tenth of a second over Germany’s Daniel Deusser, with Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca slotting into third place over a second further back.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

François-Xavier Boudant Has the Greatest Victory of His Career So Far

The Norman, who was the first double clear in the class, went into the lead and held on to his pole position.  With Brazyl de Mezel, the rider made light of the fences and the time before an enthusiastic audience.

This Sunday, thirty-six competitors took part in the HUBSIDE JUMPING de VALENCE’s 4* Grand Prix. The sun was shining, the grandstands were packed, and the audience was enthusiastic.  And rightly so.

The first round, designed by France’s Grégory Bodo, was a technical one, but was “built with the horses in mind” as Philippe Rozier, the French team gold medallist at the Rio Olympics, highlighted during the course walk.  Number 4 which was a plank was undoubtedly decisive in the class and alone was knocked down by thirteen riders. The time allowed was also played a significant role, penalising Ireland’s Stephen Moore, who had a superb clear round in terms of jumping with Albert K, but unfortunately was too slow when he crossed the finish line. France’s Mégane Moissonnier with the powerful Cordial and Argentina’s José Maria Larocca (Jr) with Finn Lente suffered the same fate.

France’s Cédric Hurel and his fantastic Fantasio Floreval Z, who are in great form this season, got the ball rolling with the first clear round. Jeanne Sadrann, the young French lady rider, and Vannan immediately followed suit, and thus ensured that there would be a jump-off. It appeared that there would then be a series of clear rounds as Normandy’s François-Xavier Boudant and Brazyl du Mezel also qualified for the jump-off. But the first round wasn’t that easy. In the end, ten combinations managed to jump clear and obtain their ticket for the jump-off. France, Colombia, Portugal, and Great Britain: the battle for victory was going to be very close considering the level of the riders competing.

Cédric Hurel and Fantasio Floreval Z, who had the difficult task of going first in this second part of the competition, had every reason to be pleased with their result: 4 faults in a time of 34:37, and a seventh place in the overall line-up. This set the tone, and opened the door to a host of possibilities. As there’s no such word as can’t in French, Normandy’s François-Xavier Boudant had the first double clear with Apache d’Adrier’s grandson in a time of 34:36, going into the lead provisionally and suspense was at its height. Titouan Schumacher and his Atome Z unsettled the audience, as well as the leading combination, going over the finish line faster, but knocking down the final fence into the bargain.

Full results here.

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

Six Bars: Lily Attwood, Her Head in the Stars

Thirteen couples had an appointment to touch the stars in the impressive “6 bars” event, which ended in style on Saturday at the HUBSIDE JUMPING in VALENCIA.

After a first passage at 1.55m where twelve competitors passed without a hitch, four jump-offs were necessary to decide between the best. A first jump-off at 1.70m eliminated three couples. For his part, the German Marco Kutscher and Zypern 4, victorious at this height, preferred to stop there. At 1.80m, two other couples bowed, and the Portuguese Rodrigo Giesteira Almeida, in the saddle on Icloud, decided to stop despite a passage without a hitch. Climbed to 1.92m, the penultimate jump-off will have eliminated three. For the final passage, at the prodigious height of 2.02m, there were only two left: the Frenchman Thomas Leveque and the Briton Lily Attwood, respectively associated with Casting de Rueire and I’M Emerone. First to start, the Habs suffered a refusal from his mount on the last obstacle of the line, but did not want to try again. By overthrowing the final bar, the young rider then imposed herself.

Full results here.

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