The world’s best riders, including three FEI world no. 1s in Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving, have announced they will be descending upon the capital to compete at Olympia, the London International Horse Show which takes place from 15-21 December.
Show Jumping sensation Scott Brash will be making a rare competitive appearance in the UK along with Team GBR Dressage legend Charlotte Dujardin and Carriage Driving’s unstoppable Boyd Exell, who will head up the first-rate quality of competitors taking part over the seven days at London’s premier horse show.
Once again, the world’s top-class show jumpers will gravitate to the Olympia Exhibition Halls to compete at the UK’s biggest indoor equestrian show and wow fans with unforgettable competition. A collection of the world’s top 10 riders are among the entries along with the top British riders in attendance, including British world no.1 Scott Brash.
The talented Scotsman, and Team GBR gold medal hopeful for Rio next year, has had an incredible 2015 and hopes to end it on a high at Olympia: “I love Olympia. The atmosphere is always great and the home crowd always cheers me so I’m looking forward to that. I don’t often get the chance to ride in front of home fans as there aren’t many five star events in Britain so it’s always nice to come home and compete in front of the home crowd.”
Brash will face fierce competition with some of the biggest international names in the sport confirmed, including an incredibly formidable team of German riders: Daniel Deusser, Marcus Ehning, Ludger Beerbaum and Hans-Dieter Dreher.
From across the pond top French riders Simon Delestre and Kevin Staut will be hoping to continue their 2015 success at Olympia. European Team Champions, Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Jur Vrieling (NED), will also be returning to the famous arena, whilst world number six, Bertram Allen, will be hungry for a victory to end the year on.
The best of the British will be out in force much to the delight of the home crowd, including Olympia’s favourite family, the Whitakers, with John, Michael, Robert and William all confirmed and armed with a strong team of horses. Former world no.1 Ben Maher will be hoping to defend his Olympia Grand Prix title, bringing with him a solid selection of horses, including Diva II. Young rising star, Jessica Mendoza, will be the one to watch hoping to round off a stellar year with a win at Olympia. Joe Clee, Laura Renwick and Guy Williams will complete the impressive line-up.
Show Jumping takes place during every performance from Thursday 17 December to Monday 21 December. Highlights include the Alltech Olympia Puissance on Thursday 17 December, the Longines FEI World Cup™ Leg presented by H&M on Sunday 20 December, and the Olympia Grand Prix on Monday 21 December.
The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage, supported by Horse & Hound, which takes place on the first and second day of Olympia, welcomes a star-studded line-up. Returning this year is the current world, Olympic and European champion, Charlotte Dujardin, who will be hoping to retain her unbeaten record at the event.
Joining Dujardin is crowd favourite Carl Hester upon his noble partner Nip Tuck, with whom he helped the team to score a silver medal at the European Championships earlier this year. With a career spanning over three decades, Hester is arguably one of the greatest dressage riders the world has seen and will be hoping to produce a shining performance under the bright lights of the Olympia arena. Fiona Bigwood, Henriette Andersen and Lara Griffith will complete the British line-up.
Leading the international contingent is one of The Netherlands’ best riders, Hans Peter Minderhoud, on his chestnut gelding Glock’s Flirt. Individual Bronze medallist at this year’s European Championships, Minderhoud will be joined by fellow Dutchmen, Diederik van Silfhout, both of whom will certainly provide stiff competition for the British riders.
A total of seven of the world’s leading four-in-hand drivers will set the arena alight in what promises to be a flurry of nail biting competitions on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 December, with the Final taking place on Saturday 19 December.
Defending champion, Boyd Exell (AUS), who has won the FEI World Cup Driving Championship title a record six times, will be hoping to repeat last year’s success where he drove an unimpeachable round to win by a four-second margin.
Ranked second and fourth from the outdoor season are Dutch competitors, Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, both of whom have competed at the show each year since 2011. Chardon has been at the top of world four-in-hand driving longer than any other driver currently on the circuit and his tally of medals is correspondingly larger; most recently he was on the gold medal winning team at last year’s WEG and this year’s European championships where he claimed second place individually. Just pipped to the post by Exell in 2014, he will be hungry for the win this year. De Ronde is also serially successful, having been a team member with Chardon over several years; he was third in the 2015 European Championships.
Jozsef Dobrovitz snr (HUN), ranked third in the world, is making his Olympia debut. Georg von Stein (GER) and Glen Geerts (BEL) will be looking to make the mark on the competition, and flying the flag for Great Britain is Daniel Naprous, lead member of the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, who emerged victorious from the three events staged in the autumn to be selected as the home driver. He will be bringing the daring, precision and skill of his display and film work to driving a four-in-hand.
For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.
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Olympia, The London International Horse Show
The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 15-21 December 2015 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.