Category Archives: Competitions

Megan Elphick and Richard Waygood’s Eventing Masterclass Returns to London International 2024

Megan Elphick taking part in last year’s Masterclass at London International Horse Show 2023 @LondonInternationalHorseShow/PeterNixon

The organisers of London International Horse Show are delighted to announce the first in the LeMieux Masterclass series for this year’s Show, which takes place at ExCeL London from 18-22 December 2024.

The eventing-focused masterclass, Grassroots to Glory, will take place on Friday 20 December in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, and will feature world-renowned coach Richard Waygood MBE alongside YouTube personality and equestrian Megan Elphick. The pair will be joined by a top event rider to be selected this Summer after the Paris Olympics.

Bringing the outdoors indoors, the session will focus on how to improve cross-country riding and technique across a range of obstacles and challenges in an arena setting. Perfect for picking up tips to practice over the long winter months, coach Richard Waygood will use a mix of poles and indoor cross-country fences provided by Jump for Joy to design a series of exercises suitable for all levels, aimed at improving confidence, capability, and technique. The Masterclass provides the perfect way for eventing fans to keep their training momentum up over the winter; Grassroots to Glory will showcase the best of both top-level talent and grassroots graft.

Currently the British Equestrian Federation’s Technical Director and Eventing Performance Manager, Richard Waygood has a string of achievements, including riding at the Mars Badminton Horse Trials and at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, and his long tenure as Riding Master of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, alongside an MBE for services to equestrianism.

YouTuber Megan Elphick will be making her third appearance in a Masterclass at the London International, following packed-out performances in last year’s session with Laura Collett, and 2022’s session with Pippa Funnell.

Richard Waygood stated: “I’m delighted to be coming back to London International Horse Show this year with Grassroots to Glory after we had such a great time last year. Hopefully the crowd around the New Horizon Plastics London Arena will be inspired by this Summer’s sport and enjoy a new take on cross-country training. We had great fun in 2023 with Meg and Laura Collett, so I’m looking forward to pushing Meg out of her comfort zone again this year!”

Megan Elphick added: “I can’t wait to return to London this year for another LeMieux Masterclass – it was brilliant to see such a great turnout in 2023! Richard managed to make last year’s exercises applicable to both me and Laura Collett, which is an impressive gap to bridge… so definitely one to come and watch, regardless of your level! See you there.”

Elsewhere at the Show, Megan will also be making two appearances on the Live Zone for Meet & Greet sessions, on Thursday 19 December at 17:30 and Friday 20 December at 10:00. Both Meet & Greets will be first come, first served, open to that day’s ticket holders.

For more information, please contact: Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

The Fifth Leg of the Nations Cup in Eventing Takes Place in June in Strzegom

Photo: Leszek Wójcik

The competition for the Nations Cup in equestrian triathlon and medals of the Polish championships will take place in June at the hippodrome in Morawa during LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup competition season kicked off in May in Montelibretti, Italy. The race for valuable points features eight legs held in Europe. The fifth one will be decided in Strzegom. In Poland, it will be the highest-ranked eventing competition, i.e. the equestrian triathlon in which the riders compete in three trials: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

In addition to the Nations Cup, the sports programme includes as many as ten international classes with a difficulty level of one to four stars, including competitions for all youth categories. The event will also feature a battle for medals of the Polish Young Riders and Junior Championships. It will also be the last chance to check out the form of the Polish representatives, whom we will soon see at the Olympic Games in Paris.

There is more to fight for than the podium placings alone. For some pairs, the event will be the last chance to obtain the minimum qualification requirements for participation in the Olympic Games in Paris. And for many riders in the junior categories, it will be an important stage of preparation for the European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Eventing, which will be held in Strzegom in August.

“In Strzegom, we are in for more than just a sporting spectacle. We are planning many attractions for the public, and the cross-country route has been designed so that the spectators will have the chance to witness incredible sporting emotions at their fingertips,” says Marcin Konarski, chairman of the organising committee.

The programme includes, among other things, performances of stuntmen who will showcase their voltaic skills in a demonstration of the jigit, which originated in the Caucasus, and a dog agility show.

The competition will take place from 20 to 23 June at the hippodrome in Morawa near Strzegom in Lower Silesia. Entry to the competition is free of charge.

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

A Beginner’s Guide to Equestrian Eventing Competitions

Introduction to Eventing

This is my favorite riding discipline. I was working toward riding in cross-country/eventing competitions, but I had too many falls off of my other horse, with broken ribs and more, that I had to promise my employer that I wouldn’t jump.

That was tough. I didn’t really quit jumping, but I didn’t compete in it. I stayed with Dressage, which is usually easier on the body.

Table of Contents

Cross-country equestrian jumping is one of the three phases in the sport of eventing. It can also stand alone as a competition, often called hunter trials or simply “cross-country,” typically held as lower-level, local events.

EVENTING/CROSS-COUNTRY

I will walk you through the ins and outs of eventing. Suppose you’re new to the equestrian scene. In that case, you’ll find out about this thrilling sport, which combines the elegance of dressage, the adrenaline rush of cross-country, and the precision of show jumping into one competition. Eventing is not just an athletic challenge for horses and riders; it’s a rigorous test of their communication, skill, and endurance.

Eventing has three distinct phases, each assessing different aspects of horsemanship.

  • First is Dressage, the ballet of equestrian sports, where horses and riders perform a sequence of predetermined movements called ‘tests’.
  • Next is the cross-country phase, which is like a steeplechase with natural obstacles and varying terrain.
  • Show jumping rounds out the competition, testing the duo’s ability to navigate a course of fences accurately.

Most people are keen to watch the cross-country phase. This phase can also stand alone as a competition, often called hunter trials or simply “cross-country,” which is typically held as lower-level, local events.

What is the history behind all this? Eventing has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test requiring soldiers to master a variety of riding skills. It evolved into a competitive sport and made its Olympic debut in 1912. Today, eventing is a celebrated equestrian discipline with events held worldwide, attracting riders who relish the challenge of excelling in all three phases.

Getting Started in Eventing

I will walk you through the initial steps to ‘jump’ into the world of eventing. This isn’t just about getting your feet wet; it’s a full plunge into a thrilling equestrian sport.

First, understanding the different levels of competition is crucial. Eventing tiers range from beginner or intro levels to advanced, each with its own challenges and requirements. I suggest starting at a comfortable level for both you and your horse.

Andrew Hoy and Master Monarch jump one of the mushrooms at Coutts Curve during the cross-country phase of Burghley Horse Trials 2007.

By Sffubs - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2707874
Andrew Hoy and Master Monarch jump one of the mushrooms at Coutts Curve during the cross-country phase of Burghley Horse Trials 2007. “Skinny” fences are designed to test the training of the horse and the rider’s ability to ride accurately, and provide the horse an easy “way out” if the rider does a poor job.

Don’t be surprised if, at the beginning, you select a tier that is too tough for you. The jumping part may seem easy to people just starting out in eventing. You may have jumped obstacles like this before. The Dressage phase may look easy to a novice. It’s not. This is where you need to concentrate. You need the lower scores in Dressage to advance in the jumping phases.

Understand This – Your Equipment is Your Best Ally

What You Need – The Basics

  • a saddle,
  • bridle,
  • protective boots,
  • and safety gear like
    • a helmet
    • and body protector for yourself.

Always opt for quality and comfort because in eventing, gear isn’t just about looks—it’s about performance and safety.

Finding a qualified coach or trainer can make a world of difference. I was lucky to find a good trainer, Kathy Daly, fairly early in my competition life. A good trainer will guide you through the complexities of the sport and ensure you and your horse are competition-ready. Choose someone that resonates with you—you’ll be spending a lot of time together.

You can always adjust your approach as you grow in the sport, but it’s key to start on the right ‘hoof’, lol. So, as you mull over this information, don’t focus too much on perfection. Your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last. Instead, it’s about learning and enjoying the journey with your equine partner.

Training for Your First Event

Embarking on your first eventing competition can be exhilarating, but it will also require dedication. Your trio of disciplines—dressage, cross-country, and show jumping—demand distinct skill sets, both for you and your horse.

DRESSAGE PHASE IN EVE NTING/CROSS-COUNTRY COMPETITION Photo by chris clark: https://www.pexels.com/photo/young-female-jockey-riding-horse-during-training-in-arena-5784513/

Let’s start with the choreography of horse and rider: dressage. This phase lays the foundation for the rest of the competition, emphasizing precision, elegance, and harmony. Begin with the basics—work on your posture, the horse’s gait transitions, and maintaining a steady rhythm. The secret here is consistency, so regular practice sessions are key.

EVENTING PHASE Photo by TheOther Kev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/an-equestrian-in-action-5655497/

Now for the adrenaline rush—cross-country. Building trust between you and your mount is crucial, as you’ll face natural obstacles like water, ditches, and logs. Start with lower fences, and gradually introduce more complex challenges as your confidence grows. Cross-country is a test of endurance, so cardiovascular fitness for you and your horse is paramount.

SHOW JUMPING & FINAL PHASE OF EVENTING Photo by Aliaksei Semirski: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-riding-a-horse-jumping-on-a-hurdle-13814413/

Show jumping is all about accuracy and timing. Jump courses are designed to challenge your ability to navigate a series of obstacles. Practice will include lots of repetitive drills to help your horse understand stride lengths and improve your reflexes for tight turns and swift corrections.

In my opinion, the most successful eventing pairs are those with a strong bond. So, don’t forget to invest time in simply getting to know your horse—its likes, dislikes, and cues. This connection will shine through in competition.

Remember, eventing is a marathon, not a sprint. Your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last, so learn from every round and every jump. Now, you’re ready to take the final steps before the big day.

Preparing for the Competition

You’ve clocked in countless hours of training, and the event day is just around the corner. Here’s what you’ll find out about ensuring you’re as ready as your horse when the big day arrives.

Know the itinerary. Eventing competitions typically start with dressage, followed by cross-country, and end with show jumping on the last day. Each phase has its schedule, and you must be fully aware of the timings.

Your pre-competition checklist is essential. This isn’t just about ensuring you have all the necessary tack and attire for you and your horse; it’s also about attending to all those last-minute details.

It’s critical that you have

  • your competition numbers,
  • health papers for your horse,
  • and any other required documents.

The day before the competition, pack up your gear. Double-check that you have everything you need – helmets, boots, saddles, bridles, grooming supplies, and of course, treats for your horse.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. A good night’s sleep will keep you sharp, and eating a healthy meal will give you the energy you need to compete at your best.

Your horse’s well-being is paramount. In the run-up to the event, stick to your usual feeding and exercise routine to keep your horse settled. If you make nutritional adjustments for increased energy or focus, plan to do this well in advance to avoid any adverse reactions.

Remember, a successful competition is about showing up well-prepared. You can always adjust your approach down the road, but a solid foundation will set you up for success on your first eventing experience.

Essential Eventing Rules and Etiquette

What’s an eventing competition without a set of ground rules and proper conduct? This section will explain the framework that keeps the sport fair and enjoyable for everyone involved. It’s not just about the dos and don’ts; it’s also about embracing the spirit of eventing. Each element plays a vital role, from scoring intricacies to the value of good sportsmanship.

Scoring in eventing is unique, blending precision, speed, and form. Your performance in each phase determines your overall score. Lower scores mean better performance here, which is a bit different from what you might expect in other sports. Understanding penalties for refusals, falls, or time penalties is crucial. I’ll walk you through the common reasons for penalties so you can avoid them.

Safety is paramount. Helmets, body protectors, and proper footwear are more than just recommended—they’re often mandatory. This event isn’t just about looking good; it’s about staying safe. Always check the rules about equipment for both horse and rider; they’re updated regularly to prioritize welfare.

Your attire speaks volumes in eventing. It’s part of the tradition, but don’t worry too much about it; choose something that fits well and is within the regulations. For dressage, think polished and poised. Cross-country colors can express your personality, but in show jumping, tradition usually retakes the reins.

I’m here to teach you sportsmanship, too. Acknowledge your fellow competitors, be gracious in victory, and be considerate in defeat. This community is thrilling and supportive, so show gratitude to organizers, volunteers, and fellow eventers whenever you can. A thank you can go a long way here.

Closing Thoughts on Beginning Your Eventing Journey

I will wrap up our beginner’s guide to eventing, but this is just the starting point of an exhilarating adventure. Eventing isn’t just about the competition; it’s also about the incredible bond you’ll form with your horse and the personal achievements you’ll experience along the way.

Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect on your first try. Eventing is a learning process; every competition can teach you something new about your horse, your skills, and yourself. You can always adjust your approach as you gain more experience and confidence.

Choose something that resonates with you – a particular phase of eventing, a style of training, or a role model in the sport – and use that as your inspiration. Remember, this sport has a lot of opportunities to grow and push your boundaries.

If you’re excited about the prospect of entering your first eventing competition, I hope you take that next step. Start attending events, get involved with your local eventing community, and maybe even volunteer. It’s not just about riding but being part of something bigger.

Finally, I’d love to hear your feedback on this guide or any questions you might have as you embark on your eventing journey. Drop your comments below, and let’s help each other progress in this thrilling sport. Here’s to your success in the eventing arena!

Faurie’s Fairytale Freestyle at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Emile Faurie (GBR) and Bellevue @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Dressage once again was at the forefront of the action on day two of Royal Windsor Horse Show. Competitors pulled out all the stops with high-energy performances accompanied by complex musical productions in The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle in the Castle Arena.

Elsewhere across the private grounds of Windsor Castle, Showing got underway with Championships taking place for the Working Hunter sponsored by Irish Horse Board, the Coloured divisions sponsored by the Leeman Family, and the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse.

National Showjumping saw some of the country’s best up-and-coming horses take centre stage in The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises, with The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition providing a thrilling competition for spectators.

BELLE(VUE) OF THE BALL

The pinnacle class of the day, The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle, took place with 10 combinations competing for the highly sought-after prize. Ever-popular, the Freestyle sees horses and riders competing to their own specifically chosen music track and floorplan, matched to a set number of the complex moves required at this level of Dressage. Unlike in the Grand Prix, judges provide two sets of marks, one for the technical execution and the other for artistic impression.

First into the Castle Arena was Britain’s Lisa Marriott, who was making her debut at the Show. Set to the iconic soundtrack from ‘The Holiday’, Marriott impressed judges to set the standard with a total score of 67.160%. Compatriot Nicholas Kröncke and Flanell – competing in only their second Freestyle test together – then took the lead with 71.100%. The German-born rider, who took a 17-year hiatus from top level sport and returned in 2021, changed nationalities at the beginning of this year to compete for Great Britain, having previously ridden successfully as part of the German Youth teams.

Australia’s Championship combination of Jayden Brown and Willingapark Quincy B could not quite match the personal best of 75.485% they set at CDI3* Hartpury last summer. However, their score of 74.415% was enough to put them into the top spot at this stage of the competition. Two further riders took to the iconic arena prior to the midway break – China’s Sarah Rao and Italy’s Nathalie Wahlund – however, neither could reach the score set by Brown.

After an interval, it was the second placed combination’s turn to canter down the centre line. Emile Faurie once again proved why he has represented Britain at Championship level so many times as he – much to the delight of the crowd – set the new standard of 76.280% with Bellevue. None of the remaining combinations, which included Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike, could produce a test which matched the harmony and precision set by Faurie. Faurie’s victory in The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle capped a fabulous competition at Windsor, with Britain’s Lewis Carrier taking second and Singapore’s Caroline Chew completing the top three.

Following his win, Emile Faurie said: “It’s been a weird build-up to the Show because she [Bellevue] threw a splint six weeks ago, but she’s such an incredible, honest mare and she came and did her thing. Unfortunately, at the beginning of last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so that led to significant time off and some serious operations, but I luckily had my great team and my rider Tom behind me to be able to get back on and go on to win today.”

Faurie went on to say: “I kept the programme quite simple as this was only Bellevue’s third ever Freestyle, but the music was composed by Tom Hunt especially; it’s an original score for us as a pairing.”

The victor closed with: “It’s always special to be here at Royal Windsor; it has that little extra magic – you don’t find that backdrop of the Castle anywhere else in the world. The English are such a ‘horse nation’ so the atmosphere from the crowd is amazing; you can feel their energy, and even when they’re silent you can hear them willing every rider on.”

HERE COME THE GIRLS

National Show Jumping got under way with the Redpost Equestrian Senior Foxhunter – First Round, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of the 98 starters, it was Sally Goding with the seven-year-old mare Red Head who triumphed with a double clear in a time of 31.81, almost a second faster than Natasha Hewitt in second. Goding is a previous winner at Royal Windsor Horse Show, having also won The LeMieux 1.40m Open Jumping Competition in both 2022 and 2023. The 12 highest placed six-year-olds from this class qualified for The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of these, five combinations made it through to the jump-off against the clock, with the Billy Stud’s Billy At Last coming out on top under Lucy Townley, and Nicole Lockhead Anderson coming in second by just a third of a second.

It was a successful day for Lockhead Anderson, who went one better in the next class to claim The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition with the eight-year-old gelding Mecoblue PS, by Messenger. The ‘Single Phase’ competition is always hotly contested, and this year included notable entries from World No. 2 Ben Maher and Royal Windsor Horse Show Ambassador Joseph Stockdale, who placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

Lockhead Anderson stated: “It’s great to be here riding in the beautiful Castle Arena in the LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition at Royal Windsor Horse Show, we’re very lucky in Britain to have a show like it, and winning makes it even more special!”

Talking about her horse, Lockhead Anderson said: “Mecoblue PS is fantastic; he just gets better and better.” She went on to say: “He is very green but finds jumping the big jumps easy – he’s definitely one for the future – he gives you the feeling he could be here in the 5* next year.”

The British rider closed by saying: “We ended up flying to the last fence; he has a huge stride and luckily he trusted me to go for it; it paid off because we only just beat Ronnie Jones by a second.”

HM THE KING TAKES THE CROWN

HM The King struck gold twice in the Showing at Royal Windsor Horse Show, courtesy of First Receiver.

His Majesty’s ex-racehorse First Receiver first strode to victory in the hugely popular RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) Tattersalls Thoroughbred In-Hand Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse for the second year running, and then captured the overall Championship, exhibited by Chris Hunnable. Not long afterwards, First Receiver changed modes to win the RoR Tattersalls Ridden Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse with Katie Jerram-Hunnable in the saddle. To Jerram-Hunnable’s amazement and delight, they went on to land that Championship too.

Essex-based Jerram-Hunnable has shown horses for the Royal Family for many years, and one of her major success stories came with Her Late Majesty The Queen’s ex-racehorse Barbers Shop, who took every title on the show circuit in his second career and even stood overall Supreme of Show here at Royal Windsor.

First Receiver, a seven-year-old bay gelding, joined Jerram-Hunnable three years ago, after Her Late Majesty The Queen was considering a replacement for Barbers Shop.

“Her Majesty asked me to go to Sandringham and give her an opinion on this one,” said Katie. “He was still entire then, but I thought he had enormous potential as a future riding horse — three weeks later he came to my yard and he hasn’t left since!”

Jerram-Hunnable said: “It’s always very special to win at Windsor, but to do so with a horse belonging to the reigning monarch is a moment to treasure and I was amazed to take the Ridden Championship against some very strong competition.”

As a five-year-old, First Receiver won the Novice RoR title at the Royal International Horse Show, and the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Final at Horse of the Year Show.

“We put him away after Windsor last year, as we felt he would benefit from some time out,” added Jerram-Hunnable, who intends to show him in Novice Riding Horse ranks.

Courses for the popular Working Hunter classes proved as testing as ever, and after two absorbing competitions, the overall Working Hunter Championship sponsored by Irish Horse Board title in the Castle Arena went to first-time Royal Windsor winner, Lancashire-based Adele Hanson with her upstanding Heavyweight victor, 12-year-old Irish-bred The Top Drawer.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Belgian Rider Victorious in Four-Star Class in Strzegom

Tine Magnus won the 4*-S class, the highest ranked one at the season-opening Strzegom Spring Open event.

The Belgian rider, riding Dia Van Het Lichterveld Z, was 11th after the dressage and jumped up into fourth thanks to a clear showjumping round. She crossed the cross-country finish line six seconds late, with no mistakes on the obstacles, and won the competition with a total of 35 penalty points.

With a loss of only 0.2 penalties to the winner, the second place went to Christoph Wahler riding D’Accord FRH – 35.2. The final placing of the German representative was determined by his dressage score. The rider scored a clear in the jumping and rode the cross-country course in exactly the same time as Tine Magnus.

Runner-up after two trials, Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt on Dynamite Jack, with cross-country time penalties, was third on the podium with 37.

The best one in the 3*S was Calvin Böckmann from Germany with Altair de la Cense – 29.4. He took the lead after the jumping and secured with a clear inside the time in the cross-country. Second place went to Malin Asai with Maggan V – 35.4. The Swedish combination was 22nd after dressage and jumped up into second after a double clear in the jumping and cross-country trials. Third place, only 0,1 behind Asai, was taken by Australia’s Andrew Hoy with Vassily de Lassos – 35.5. The best Pole of the class was Paweł Warszawski riding the Polish-bred Hatteria II, finishing 5th with 36.6.

In the 2* class, Germany’s Sophie Leube was unbeatable, taking the two first places. With Isselhook’s Asaro she won after clear jumping and XC rounds – 26.2, and with Heda she was second with 26.4. Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier with Quintus rounded up the Top Three with 27.9.

In the 1* Intro, the win belonged to Lara de Liedekerke-Meier with Jungle Drum 3 – 27.9, followed by Germany’s Juliane Barth with Can’t Stop Caspar – 30.8 and Polish athlete Halszka Wiktowska-Nowak with Apollo – 32.2.

In the national CNC100 class, the best one was Dutch athlete Tim Lips with Quiwi – 27.5, in the CNC100-18, Polish rider Julia Rohde with Kingston – 29.1., and in the CNC80, Daria Kobiernik from Poland with Las Vegas – 30.8.

The Strzegom Spring Open kick-started the season of international eventing competitions in Poland. Four international classes in short format and three national ones were held. Almost 320 horse-and-rider combinations representing 19 countries took part.

The next edition of the Strzegom Spring Open will take place in two weeks, from 18 to 21 April.

Online results: https://livejumping.com/ap/event/10006/competitions

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

Dujardin Dances to Victory on Second Day of London International Horse Show

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) riding Imhotep @LondonInternationalHorseShow/Ashley Neuhof

Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep set the ExCeL alight on day two of the London International Horse Show as they took the victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd supported by Horse & Hound. The International Arena also saw action from the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett and the Yeti Under-25 British Show Jumping Championship.

Meanwhile, in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, Showing kicked off with highlights coming from the Rising Star of Cob Type Championship, and the Rising Star of Hunter Type Championship. Spectators were also treated to the first of the LeMieux Masterclass series, ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ featuring FEI Eventing World Champion, Yasmin Ingham, Richard Davison, and Gareth and Ruby Hughes.

FABULOUS FREESTYLE

The pinnacle class of Thursday’s schedule came from the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which saw a packed International Arena wowed by perfect piaffes and exceptional extensions.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and the 10-year-old chestnut stallion Imhotep followed up on their Grand Prix victory, and produced a breathtakingly beautiful performance to the sheer delight of the home crowd to take the win with a score of 89.465%.

It was once again a British top three, with double FEI World Championship gold medallist Lottie Fry claiming the runner-up spot. Fry, who was last to go in the competition with the stunning black stallion Everdale took to the arena with a brand-new Freestyle routine that featured numerous highlights including their phenomenal final line. It was a father-son one-two, with the success of Everdale, the sire of Charlotte’s Imhotep, proving the strength of this bloodline.

Third place went to Becky Moody and her homebred Jagerbomb with a score of 83.675%. The combination was not only making their debut at the Show, but also in the FEI World Cup Qualifier Series. The highest placed international rider was Denise Nekeman, who scored a personal best of 77.035% to claim the fourth spot.

Speaking on her win, Dujardin stated: “This was Imhotep’s first indoor show, and it was a full house tonight; you could hear the crowd in the warm-up, which was really incredible. I was so proud of him; he has never been in that kind of atmosphere before, and so it was a great learning experience for him. Even though he was nervous, he was still with me, which is all I can ask for. He is still a young horse and has so much more to give. I am very excited for what is to come next year!”

Third placed Moody continued: “You dream about riding at this Show. It is somewhere that we all aspire to compete at. I was incredibly nervous in the buildup, and my horse is a legend. Being on the podium with Lottie Fry and Charlotte Dujardin is amazing. They both inspire me on a daily basis. They are incredible role models, and it is incredible being sat next to them. But I do have every intention of beating them in the future!”

THE STARS OF THE FUTURE

24 British pairings faced the challenging 1.45m course in the Yeti Under 25 British Show Jumping Championship. The difficulty of the course became evident as the initial three combinations encountered issues with early faults. The fourth participant, Oliver Fletcher, son of Tina Fletcher – one of Britain’s leading female riders of recent decades – rode Hello William, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, securing the first flawless performance of the competition. The second faultless round was delivered by Alexander McLean and Gino F, who wisely steadied their stride in the triple combination towards the finish, a section that posed challenges for many. The third clear round came from the winner of the 2023 Ella Popely Award, the Shane Breen-trained Lauren Caroline, riding Gait L.

By halfway – after Nicole Lockhead Anderson, with the small but mighty chestnut stallion I Am a Harley, and Jennifer Billington, with Flipper Darco Uk Z, both jumped clear rounds – it meant only those with a faultless first round score would progress to the jump-off. To take the total number of second-round contenders to eight, there were three more clears from Jessica Hewlett, followed by London International Horse Show Ambassador and the Show’s 2022 leading rider, Jodie Hall McAteer, as well as Antonia Platt and Marvin van de Waterhoeve – 2023’s Royal Windsor Horse Show Under 25 Grand Prix winners.

The eight-fence jump-off had the audience gripped to their seats, with the young riders giving their all to win. The number of strides between the penultimate and last fence proved to be the differentiating factor in overall time. Jennifer Billington and Flipper Darco Uk Z led from the outset, being the only clear with the next to follow all having four faults – often, including the likes of Oliver Fletcher, heartbreakingly at the last fence. The only other clear round came from Scotsman Alexander McLean and the meticulously careful Gino F, who, building on their intelligently crafted first round, jumped fence one on an angle, taking out one stride to the second fence, resulting in them becoming champions.

Speaking on his win, McLean said: “I am over the Moon. I didn’t think we were going to be anywhere near fast enough, but we battled hard and performed under the pressure. I’m so proud of Gino; he has done so much for me over the last two years and is the horse of a lifetime. The atmosphere at the London International Horse Show is fantastic; it’s my second time competing here and I love this show – it’s one of the best shows in Britain by far, with a great Christmas feel to it.”

STUNNING SHOWING TO START THE NEW SERIES IN THE NEW HORIZON PLASTICS LONDON ARENA
Written by Nicola Jane Swinney

It is appropriate that the Showing programme for the London International Horse Show began with the Rising Stars sections — looking forward to the New Year with some names to watch.

Sections include Hunters and Cobs, and there was plenty to like. Sarah Moreland, who won the opening class for Small and Lightweight Hunter Types, was quite overcome, kissing her beloved horse before pulling herself together to comment, admitting she was “quite emotional.”

Coulthard, a bay gelding bred in Aberdeenshire, means everything to Sarah, not least because when buying him four years ago, she had to choose between him and a car.

“He is incredible,” she said. “He does everything. He also jumps so we are doing the Working Hunter class on Saturday.”

The judges, Robert Walker and Jenny Banks, clearly agreed with Sarah’s opinion of her splendid horse, awarding him the Rising Stars Hunter Type Championship over the Middleweight and Heavyweight winner, Eleanor Liddle riding Val Doidge’s Cu Chulainn Carrabawn Rebel. A former hunt horse, Bruce — which is much easier to say — has taken to showing with aplomb, although he hasn’t always been easy. Hunt horses are not used to standing still!

Relishing the atmosphere at the London venue, Carly Chapman and Frazer Foxes Covert headed the Rising Stars Heavyweight Cob class and claimed the Championship.

“It was a fantastic experience; the ring is absolutely great and he gave me a great spin in the go-round, so I’m really delighted,” said Carly. She was enthusiastic about the new venue at the ExCel, the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, saying the atmosphere was “really buzzy.”

The Maxi Cob class and reserve went to Alex George and his six-year-old Paulines Boy, who, he says, “has done very well for a young horse, very well behaved. He’s a good boy.”

The electric atmosphere at this centre is appreciated by riders, horses, and the public alike, and the showing classes over the next few days look set to end 2023 on a high note.

More information about The London International Horse Show can be found at www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact: Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

British Dressage Riders Line Up to Compete at London International Horse Show

Gareth Hughes riding Classic Briolinca at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition at London International Horse Show is one of the key events at the Show and has, in the past, seen some of the most important record-breaking achievements in the sport. This year, Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd is the new presenting sponsor and the class continues to be supported by Horse & Hound. The competition is set to feature some of the world’s best Dressage combinations including several of Britain’s most accomplished riders.

Taking place on the first two days of the Show, the Grand Prix provides a fitting opening on Wednesday 13 December, and the Freestyle to Music is always an exciting end to the competition on the evening of Thursday 14 December.

Last year, Great Britain’s double world championship-winning combination, Lottie Fry and the 12-year-old black stallion Glamourdale, wowed both the audiences and judges with their spell-binding performances, featuring their immaculate piaffe, passage, and signature extended canter to take home both the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix and the Freestyle to Music.

The London International Horse Show provides one of the final chances for British riders to impress selectors on home soil before Paris 2024 Olympic selection. Whilst entries are yet to be confirmed for this year, spectators can expect to see breathtaking and inspirational performances from elite dressage riders, including members of the British gold medal-winning team from this summer’s FEI European Championships.

British Olympic Dressage rider and Dressage consultant to the Show, Richard Davison, stated, “British Dressage is in fantastic shape at the moment with many new combinations starting to compete at top level. This class in London is the pinnacle of the sport in the UK where we have seen many records, and hearts, broken. I know that my fellow British riders, Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, and Lottie Fry, are really looking forward to getting back in the International Arena again to show what they and their horses are made of. All British riders fight for a place at the Show and this year Becky Moody and Lewis Carrier stand as good a chance as any to make the cut.”

Dressage aficionados can also watch Richard in action when he presents the LeMieux Dressage Masterclass on the afternoon of Thursday 14 December in the Show’s new arena – the New Horizon Plastics London Arena. Richard will appear alongside his compatriot, Gareth Hughes, and Gareth’s daughter Ruby, who has had a very successful year in Young Rider classes, plus the audience can watch medal winning eventer, Yasmin Ingham, being put through her dressage paces.

For tickets to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd and supported by Horse & Hound, please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Swede Victorious in the Four-Star Competition in Strzegom

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo. Photo: Mariusz Chmieliński

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo wins the CCI4*-L class, the most demanding competition at Strzegom October Festival.

Christoffer Forsberg was third after dressage, went double clear in the cross-country and showjumping, and won the with a score of 30.5 penalty points. Belgian Julien Despontin jumped up into second with Clever Man Waf after a faultless parkour with a mere two-second delay – 34.9. Third place was taken by Australian Andrew Hoy riding Cadet De Beliard – 37.3. The leader of the competition after two trials, New Zealander Clarke Johnstone with Aces High, had three knockdowns, and with a score of 39.3 finished just behind the podium, in fourth place. The only Polish pair taking part in the competition, current Polish champions Julia Gillmaier and Red Dream Princes, were in 10th position after dressage, and a good cross-country performance only with time faults ensured their promotion to seventh. Unfortunately, two knockdowns and overtime resulted with a final score of 64.3 penalty points and placed the pair in ninth place.

The first place on the podium in the 4*-S competition went to Sara Algotsson Ostholt riding Dynamite Jack – 33.9. The representative of Sweden was fourth after the dressage and took the lead after a clear cross-country round. With a significant advantage in points over her rivals, not even one knockdown in the jumping arena threatened her position. Second place went to French rider Maxime Livio with Enjoy De Keroue – 35.6, and third to German representative Katharina Meyer with Aspen T – 40.9.

Sara Algotsson Ostholt was also the best in the CCI3*L riding Dinathia – 30.3. They went up one notch after each trial, starting from third place after dressage. Second and third places were taken by the German representatives: Jan Matthias with Peppermint Patty Frh – 30.3, and Jerome Robine with Avatar – 31.7.

The final showdown in the CCI3*S kept the spectators in suspense until the end. The leader, Germany’s Michael Jung with Palm Beach, had one knockdown and the penalty points added to his score equaled that of the runner-up, Julia Krajewski with Ero De Cantraie, who rode a faultless round. As a result, the riders finished the competition with the same score – 30.1. The final classification was determined by the penalty points from the dressage test, during which Michael Jung was better, and ultimately, he became the winner. Third place went to the Czech Republic’s Eliška Orctová with Kirea – 30.5.

First place in the CCI2*L, after faultless cross-country and jumping, went to Switzerland’s Eveline Bodenmüller with Dark Gambler – 26.7, ahead of Germany’s Emma Hartmann with Baloucor – 27 and Ann-Catrin Bierleinwithn Come On Lotti – 30.2.

The best rider in the CCI2*S, after a double clear, was Germany’s Pia Leuwer riding Cascada – 32, the second went to her compatriot Nicoletta Massmann with CARLSON – 35.1, and third to Danish rider Anne-Dorthe Möller with First Class Gs – 35.2.

The 1*-Intro class ended with the victory of Pole Mateusz Pabijanek riding Tango 310 – 30.6. Dutchman Dennis Huits with Perseverance Luxery from Second Life Z was second – 30.6, and Germany’s Amelie Reisacher on Tissot finish third – 31.8.

European Youth Eventing Masters

In the European Youth Eventing Masters tournament, only the German team took part in the young rider category. In the individual classification the best score belonged to Linn Klümper with Candyman 145 – 30.8, second went to Emma Wiedenhöft with Naughty Girl 5 – 34.2, and third to Amelie Reisacher with Quintus 155 – 40.4.

The junior competition ended with the win for the team from Belgium – 110.6, consisting of: Lise Matton and Kenzo Van ‘T Farsenhoven, Clarisse Walbrecq and Fussac De La Quairelle, Anais Van Vaerenbergh I Marion Van De Perelaar, and Max Thual QC and Rock and Roll. Second place went to Germany with 115.9 and third to Poland with 118.3.

In the individual classification, the winner was Andrea Novotna from the Czech Republic riding Eldorado – 30.4, before Neel Friedrich Dehn (GER) with Better Luck – 31.9, and Polish rider Laura Gillmaier with Ding Dong – 34.

In the pony rivalry, Germany’s Hannah Pfitzmann and Mary Poppins P, Nell Röming and Majestro, Pita Schmid with Sietlands Catrina. and Anni Müller riding Nightys Flashlight were unbeatable with 126.6. Second place on the podium went to the Netherlands with 132.9 and third to Belgium with 152.2.

Individually, the first place went to German rider Pia Sophie Schreiber with Motsi Mabuse – 33.4, Julie Geurts from Belgium was second with Kinou Des Marronniers – 35.9, and Thilde Holm Nielsen from Denmark topped off the podium with Karlshoejgaard’s Monique – 36.5.

The national class CNC100 ended with a win for Austrian Harald Ambros with Mogli 45 – 31.6, in the under 18-year-old category, the best rider was Dominika Mączyńska (POL) with Avenido – 30.4, and in the CNC90, the first place went to Patrycja Pastuszek (POL) with Monaco – 26.1.

Online results: https://livejumping.com/ap/event/9191/competitions

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

Titles Shared between Nations at the FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses

Fabrice Martin (FRA) & Idromel Noir – FEI/FFE/Mélanie Guillamot

Venturing outside Hungary for the first time since the event was established in 2016, the 7th FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses was held at the superb equestrian centre Parc Equestre Fédéral at Lamotte-Beuvron, south of Orleans (FRA).  It has been a busy time for the French as the event followed the FEI World Pairs Championship in Haras-du-Pin in Normandy last weekend.

First to be crowned World Champion on a bright Sunday morning was Swiss singles supremo Mario Gandolfo in the 6-year-old class with the Franches-Montagnes Lemmy-K, owned by Lisby Bastin.  Maintaining the winning momentum he showed last year to win the 5-year-old title in Szilvásvárad (HUN), the powerful Swiss bred gelding was in front at each stage of the competition to end on 15.93. Mario is currently ranked number two in FEI Singles.  Runner-up was Lars Krüger (GER) with the German Sathu mare Salome on 14.80, and in third was Sabrina Melotti (NED) driving the KWPN mare Melotti Texel with 13.67.

The next class to find a new champion was for the youngest category, the 5-year-olds.  Fabrice Martin (FRA), driving for the host nation, also led at each stage with the stunning black Selle Français mare Idromel Noir, owned by the IFCE, and they topped the leaderboard with 15.30.  Matching his position from the previous class, runner-up once again was Lars Krüger with the Sathu stallion Valentino on 14.12.  Trading a first for third, Mario Gandolfo drove his own Franches-Montagnes gelding Johnson Du Signal to take the remaining podium place with 12.98.

Despite a slight delay to the start of Sunday’s competition due to water problems in the arena, by late lunchtime, the third title of the weekend had been awarded in the 7-year-old category to Marie Schiltz (LUX).  Currently ranked number three in FEI Singles, Marie was another to lead throughout the competition, driving her father Franz’s Oldenburg mare Freaky Friday 12 to end on 14.53, who impressed the judges with her supple and uphill movement.  Franz drove the mare two years ago in the 5-year-old category, but he is also a previous world title winner in the 7-year-old category, which he took at the first World Championship in 2016 with his Oldenburg stallion Frodo, who Marie now drives.

Placed second was Wilbrord Van Den Broek (NED) with his own KWPN gelding Love to Dance with a total of 12.46, marginally ahead of Agnes Paulovics (HUN) with Józef Vida’s KWPN stallion L-Grappa-WK on 12.31.  As well as appearing at the last two Young Horse World Championships, where he was third last year in the 6-year-old class, this versatile horse also drives in Józef’s Four-in-Hand, and with Agnes competes in Horse Singles classes.

The competition, like other championships, takes place over four days, after the initial ‘fit to compete’ inspection.  However, in all other areas the format is different.  On Thursday, athletes and horses enter a qualifying ‘Aptitude Test’ which combines a series of Dressage movements and a sequence of Cones. The top 50% proceed to the Dressage on Saturday, but on Friday, the lower 50% drive again to try again to gain a place in the final phases.  The number permitted to through after the second qualification is determined by the officials, but there is a maximum of ten athletes in the final rounds for each class.

Sunday’s Combined Marathon takes place in one arena and consists of two Marathon type obstacles plus Cones, but the course varies between the classes to alter the complexity depending on the age category, for example in the 5-year-old class, only one of the Marathon obstacles was used.  The course designer was Josef Middendorf, who also designed at the Four-in-Hand World Championships in Pratoni (ITA) last year.

The marking system is also different from most Driving competitions, which are penalty based, so the lowest overall score wins.  Here it is the highest score which wins and marks are awarded together by the four judges, who decide collaboratively what mark out of 10 will be given, which is then averaged to give a single mark at the end of each phase.  For the final placings, two marks count, which are from the Dressage and the Combined Marathon.  Penalties are deducted from the total and can be for a knocked ball, which is 0.3, or for time and other errors, such as a groom down.

“Having the judges sit together allows for really good discussion around the way of going expected from the age range.  The key point is this is judged around the performance of the horse, not a series of Dressage movements. It is refreshing to look at the horse according to age and have a good discussion between colleagues. It is also important to understand how we train horses correctly, giving them time to develop and mature. It’s such a special event, being able to look at some amazing horses and really getting into the movement, training scale, and minds of some wonderful equines,” said Andrew Counsell, President of the Ground Jury.

In total, 50 athletes and 50 horses came forward from 10 nations.  Athletes compete as individuals and there is no team competition.  Each athlete can enter two horses per age category.  Throughout the event, the emphasis is on the performance of the horse. Marks are given in accordance with the scales of training in the context of the age and stage of its development.

FULL RESULTS

by Sarah Dance

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

British Are Best on Opening Day

Robert Whitaker and Vermento. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Team Great Britain got off to a flying start when topping the first round of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2023 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain with the only zero scoreline of the afternoon.

Foot-perfect runs from pathfinder Tim Gredley (Medoc de Toxandria), Robert Whitaker (Vermento), and anchorman Harry Charles (Aralyn Blue) meant that the 12 faults collected by Lily Attwood (Cor-Leon VD Vlierbeek Z) would be their discard. They finished a full fence ahead of Brazil, Germany, and Switzerland, who filled second, third, and fourth places with four faults apiece and separated only by their combined times.

The top eight nations have qualified for Sunday’s title-decider in which they will all start again on a clean sheet, and the remaining countries that have made the cut are the defending champions from Belgium and Team USA, who each posted eight-fault results, and Ireland and France who finished with 12.

Team Mexico just missed out when also putting 12 on the board but in a slower time, and on Saturday night they will once again defend the Challenge Cup trophy they won so memorably 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, the battle for the single qualifying spot on offer for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games has been whittled down to a two-way contest between Brazil and the USA, because the other contenders from Mexico, Argentina, Italy, and Australia didn’t make it to Sunday’s second round, which already looks set to be another cracking contest.

Think about

Spanish course designer Santiago Varela gave them lots to think about with a 14-fence track with plenty of height and curving lines that tested power and accuracy. The vertical with a yellow plank on top at fence nine and the penultimate double of verticals were the bogeys of the day.

Harry Charles clinched top spot for the British with a superb clear with the 12-year-old mare Aralyn Blue. Talking about the challenges of the course, he said fence nine, which followed the beefy Longines triple combination, “was on an unusual line and angle; you were coming straight out of the corner. You could see at the start of the class the horses weren’t jumping it well. I just made sure to give myself a bit more room there.

“Coming to the double of verticals (fence 13) it was either five or six (strides) and on the six you take away a bit of the power, slowing down so much to jump it. For me it was a waiting five and my mare was able to have a bit of room and kept the power, so not too many problems there for me,” he explained.

Like all the British, he was delighted with the result. “I’m really proud of us today actually!” he said. “My horse is pretty new at this level; she’s only done one Nations Cup prior to this, and it was a tough enough course, not overly big but delicate with some fun lines in there! The other guys did a good job; there were two clears already (for the British team) so I luckily could go in and do the clear.”

When asked if he felt under pressure, he replied, “Today probably wasn’t the most pressure I’ve ridden under, but we wanted to be in there on Sunday, so there was that to it.” He admitted that the result for his team was a bit of a surprise. “Probably an unexpected result if you told us at the start of the day, but we’ll take it and hopefully we can do something similar on Sunday!

“We will go back to a blank slate unfortunately (in Sunday’s final round), it would be nice if we carried it through, but it’s been really good and hopefully we will be in good enough nick for Sunday,” he added.

Anticipation

There’s a lot of anticipation of a great final day. The Swiss have never won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ title, but their fourth-place finish gives them another opportunity to clinch it. However, it hasn’t been plain sailing ahead of this year’s event.

“We’ve always been a bit unlucky with this Final, and this year the horse from Edouard is injured and Bryan (Balsiger) lost his horses and the horse of Pius (Schwizer) was injured, so we don’t have our ‘A’ team. But still our horses jumped good today and we’ll see if Elian (Baumann) goes on Sunday. We won’t be the favourites on Sunday, but we’ll try!” said Steve Guerdat who, just a few short weeks ago, added the individual European title to the Olympic gold he won back in 2012.

“We’ve had a very good year and it would be a great way to finish, and for the horses to finish as well. My horse (Venard de Cerisy) didn’t have a rail down in the whole Nations Cup season – St Gallen double-clear, Aachen double-clear, Dublin double-clear, and now clear today, so I hope I can do a clear again! We are here, we will try, the sport is great, and we are looking forward to Sunday now!” said the man who sits third in the current world rankings.

Focus

In contrast, the focus for Brazil is fully on that Olympic qualification and the battle against the USA. Pathfinder Marlon Modolo Zanotell and Grand Slam VDL produced a perfect clear and team veteran, Rodrigo Pessoa, did likewise. Pessoa has won Olympic and World titles and is as hungry as ever to help take his country to Paris next summer. His top ride, the 10-year-old gelding Major Tom, made nothing of the course.

“It’s a freak of a horse – the intelligence, the ability to jump, the whole package. He’s very straightforward and has a lot of blood, a lot of temperament, but at the end he wants to jump clear; that’s all he wants to do,” Pessoa said.

When asked about the recent addition of former Portuguese rider Diniz to the Brazilian side, he said she is a real asset. “Yes, she’s super-experienced and her horse is really good and it’s always good to have one more – the more soldiers the better!”

As for Sunday, “It’s just about us, the USA!” he said. “They are a big nation with a very strong team as well. Today was just a warm-up and we have to go again. I think it went well today; the two mistakes that we had (a fence down each for Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Chevaux Primavera Imperio Egipcio and Luciana Diniz with Vertigo du Desert) were silly mistakes that I think we can get rid of, but better to do those little ones today than on Sunday!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org