Tag Archives: Eventing/H.T.

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

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

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

Oliver Townend Soars to the Top of FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings

Photo: Oliver Townend at the FEI Eventing World Championship 2022 in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). FEI – Massimo Argenziano

British equestrian athlete Oliver Townend has claimed the top spot in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings with 504 points, a spot he takes from his fellow countrywoman, Rosalind Canter, who held the coveted position for just one month.

Townend’s ascent to the summit of the rankings comes as no surprise for the Olympic gold medalist, who previously held the world’s number one ranking over a year ago. He temporarily relinquished his position to New Zealand’s Tim Price, who enjoyed an 11-month reign before being surpassed by Canter.

“It is and always will be an honour to be at number one in your sport and it’s great to be back in that spot. The horses are incredible – they’re improving every day, have been so consistent, and will always be my ultimate teammates. I also want to thank the massive amount of people behind me that make this happen, including the team at both yards,” Townend explained.

Townend’s career has seen him hold the top position in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings for a total of 50 months, with a streak of 37 consecutive months at number one.

Rosalind Canter now stands at second place with 467 points, while American athlete Martin Boyd has made a remarkable jump from eighth to third place with 436 points. Meanwhile, Tim Price (NZL) continues to slip in the rankings, currently occupying the fourth spot with 434 points, closely followed by Tom McEwen (GBR) in fifth place with 431 points.

Great Britain’s stronghold in the top end of the Rankings is unequivocal, with three out of the top five in British hands; they also have back up and can count on Harry Meade (408 points), David Doel (393 points), William Oakden (383 points), and Laura Collet (371 points) in 6th to 9th respectively, making that a total of seven British athletes within the Top 10 rankings. Coming in tenth place is USA athlete Philipp Dutton with 367 points.

FULL RANKING HERE

FEI Contact:

Didier Montes Kienle
Manager, Sport Communications and Media Relations
didier.montes@fei.org

Strzegom Autumn Show: Equestrian Tournament with a Star Lineup

Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński

11 classes, including the Polish Championships and the International Young Horses Competition. Outstanding athletes, and for the youngest, the Hobby Horse competition – Strzegom Autumn Show starts this weekend.

The autumn equestrian tournament returns to the Stragona calendar after a five-year break. The hippodrome in Morawa will host riders from 22 countries, with more than 240 horses. Four international classes in the short format, three competitions for young horses, and four national classes will be played out. The battle for the medals of the Polish Championships will also be decided.

The entry list includes some of the world’s best eventers, including the German multi-medalist Michael Jung – the double Olympic champion, world champion, and European Champion; Australia’s Andrew Hoy – the two-time gold medalist of the Olympic Games; Felix Vogg from Switzerland – the silver medalist of the world championships for young horses; Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa – the double gold medalist of the Asian Games; as well as the defending Polish champion – Mateusz Kiempa.

During the International Young Horses Competition, we will see youngsters aged from 5 to 9. “I think this event will be an excellent opportunity to present young horses at the international arena, and for some it may be the last chance to qualify for the World Championships for Young Horses, which will be held in Lion d’Angers, France,” says Marcin Konarski, the show organizer.

The accompanying event will be the Hobby Horse Eventing competition, which will be held on Sunday. This an up-and-coming new sport, in which athletes compete on “horses” built from a wooden pole with a horse’s head with reins, a bridle, and other equipment imitating that used by riders. The rules of competition are inspired by the regulations of equestrian competitions. The hippodrome will feature a dressage arena, a cross-country course with wooden obstacles specially designed for Hobby Horse, and a parkour with jumping fences.

The Strzegom Autumn Show competition starts on September 15. On Friday, dressage trials will be held, and on Saturday and Sunday several arenas will be the playgrounds for both jumping and cross-country trials.

Admission to the competition and parking are free.

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

Olympic Champion Helps Germany Claim Belgian Leg of FEI Eventing Nations Cup

Libussa Lubbeke rides Caramia 34. Photo: FEI/Libby Law Photography

In a nail-biting cross-country finish, Germany claimed The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ in Arville (BEL) by just 0.3 of a penalty over home side Belgium. Their victory was massively helped by a strong performance from Julia Krajewski, the individual gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics. The 34-year-old was also the individual winner of the CCIO4* competition, after jumping a super double clear on her impressive nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion, Nickel 21. The Germans performed well as a team, leading throughout to achieve a score of 103.2, although four very strong and fast cross-country performances left the Belgians breathing down their necks with an overall score of 103.5. New Zealand presented an experienced team of riders, all of whom were established at 5*, to finish third on a score of 116.4.

Hans Melzer, chef d’equipe of the winning team, was delighted with the German performance, particularly after a year that has been somewhat up and down for German riders.

“This year, sometimes we were unlucky in Nations Cups and at Aachen, but this one was important, because we had three long-listed riders for the Europeans (Championships), which are all to go to Blenheim. It was good to show here, because it’s a hilly event and we don’t have so many of those in Germany, so it was good preparation for the rest of the season. What they showed today was very good cross-country riding.

“Julia (Krajewski) was with her younger horse, which was his third time at 4* and is a horse maybe for the future. He will go to the long (CCI4*-L) at Boekelo and the other three were all younger riders from our prospective group based in Warendorf, and it was good to see the younger ones competing here and really attacking.”

12 national teams from three continents came forward to compete at the Nations Cup in Arville, which is one of Belgium’s most prestigious equestrian events. The event as a whole attracted riders from as far afield as India, Morocco, and Australia. Melzer highlighted the significance of the Series and why the event had proved so popular with riders from all over the world.

“The Nations Cups are super events because every rider is proud to ride for their country.  It’s a good competition and especially here we have 12 nations, so it’s like a little championship. It’s really great with atmosphere and a super course. I think it’s important we keep these Nations Cups going the whole year in every country, because when you have enough riders, you can test riders in a team and the team order and everything that they learn being part of a team.

“It was a real four star. It’s not too big, but it was very technical with many questions and the country is really hilly. The second part of the course is up and down and up and down. We had 114 starters here which was unbelievable, but the facilities are super, we had good weather, the ground is perfect, so you could go and try to ride the time because there was no risk. It’s very good here in Arville.”

With the electors weighing up options for next year’s Olympics, events like these become more significant, and Melzer will continue to assess their performance as these German team riders will now head to Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials (GBR) in September. “I think Julia will have a definite Olympic chance, and the others are good enough when they have a good result here and then Blenheim ahead and there is a chance to put them on the long-list.”

When asked if the Germans can rise once again as the dominant eventing nation, he responded, “The Germans did very well at the FEI World Championships in Pratoni, and now the Brits are the strongest team in all ways. Our team must work everything at 100% and maybe we have a chance. It’s important to give the younger rider a good plan; that’s how they have a chance to come to the top and where they ride, how they train, with whom they train. We have our very good system in Germany since 2002 — our prospective group and three of our riders today came through this system. And in the past Julia Karajewski, Sandra Auffarth, and Frank Ostholt – they all came out of this group, and for the future, this is a good thing we have, as we train a group of riders always together and they get more experienced and more confident.”

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ action now moves to the final event of the Nations Cup Series, which will play out at Boekelo (NED) (4-8 October). The Belgians continue to lead the Series with 600 points overall.

Final scores from Arville can be found here: https://live.rechenstelle.de/2023/arville/nationcup03.html.

by Eleanore Kelly

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

British Breeze to Golden Glory Once Again

Team Great Britain. (FEI/Libby Law)

It was all about the British once more when the FEI Eventing European Championship 2023 drew to a close at Haras du Pin, France. At the last edition in Avenches (SUI) two years ago, they swept all before them, and again now they took not only the team title, but team-members Ros Canter (Lordships Graffalo) and Kitty King (Vendredi Biats) clinched individual gold and silver ahead of Germany’s Sandra Auffarth in bronze.

The team ranking established after a thrilling cross-country phase remained the same, with Germany standing on the second step of the podium ahead of the hosts from France during the medal ceremony.

In the final analysis, the British score of 103.9 left them well clear of their German rivals, who completed with 131.2, while the French took bronze on a score of 134.2. German chances had been compromised by the loss of their star performer Michael Jung, who was eliminated for an unlucky fall just a few fences from home with Fischerchipmunk FRH.

Team Ireland finished fourth, with Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, and The Netherlands completing the line-up. A total of 56 combinations started in dressage on Thursday, but that was narrowed down to just 37 in the deciding jumping phase. For Belgium and The Netherlands, there was plenty to celebrate as they picked up the two qualifying spots on offer for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

This was Great Britain’s 24th team and 20th individual title in the 70-year history of this Championship.

Pressure

The French team kept the pressure on Germany with clear rounds from both Karim Florent Laghouag (Triton Fontaine) and Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC), but Stephane Landois (Ride for Thais Chaman D) lost his grip on overnight individual fourth place with a fence down, and Gaspard Maksud (Zaragoza) also left one on the floor. With the German team reduced to just three, they had plenty to contend with, but while Malin Hansen-Hotopp (Carlitos Quidditch K) had a fence error and some additional time faults, both Christopher Wahler (Carjatan S) and Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz) were foot-perfect over the track designed by Quentin Perney, which consisted of 12 fences and 15 jumping efforts.

Lying sixth in the individual rankings at the start of the day, that clear would promote Wahler to individual fourth place behind team-mate Auffarth, and ahead of the two French clear-round jumpers, Touzaint, who slotted into fifth, and Landois, who finished sixth.

Britain’s Kitty King had no room for a fence error if she was to hold Auffarth at bay for the silver medal as she went into the ring to jump the penultimate round of this Championship, but when she added only 1.2 time faults to her scoreline, she was secure for the second step of the individual podium. Then all eyes turned to Canter and Lordships Graffalo, the horse she calls Walter.

When dressage leader Jung went out of contention, she rose to pole position and she had more than two fences in hand as she set off. The first element of the double at fence four hit the floor, but she still completed with a 6.7 fault advantage over King to take the individual honours and to put the icing on the British team cake.

Expectation

Talking about how she handled the weight of expectation, Canter said, “I had to keep in my own bubble a little bit, remind myself who I’m sat on and just try and do the best job I could in that situation.”

The team success means even more to her than her individual achievement. “For me the team always comes first, it’s what I do it for, it’s what I dream of doing!

“For me the team always comes first; it’s what I do it for; it’s what I dream of doing. Our family are sporty all-rounders and it’s always been about riding for Great Britain. After (winning) Badminton, that was such a massive box ticked for me and I didn’t think it could get much better! I’ve got Walter to thank for it all; he’s just unbelievable!” added the 37-year-old, who took team and individual gold at the world championship in 2018 and European team Gold in both 2017 and 2021.

Like Canter, King was on the winning British side at the 2021 European Championship, but she said she wasn’t expecting to feature so prominently this time around.

“I thought I’d be coming out here just to put a score on the board and be a good pathfinder, and that it would be up to the rest with their amazing horses. So to come home with a medal of any colour is a huge honour and achievement and I’m very, very proud of my horse! I’m delighted with silver – and Ros definitely deserves the gold!” she pointed out.

Germany’s Auffarth was quite happy with her individual bronze, but even happier that her team managed to take silver after losing their star player in Michael Jung. She said her chestnut gelding Viamant was a bit fired up by the enthusiastic crowd, but it also made him jump even better. “I’m very proud of him, and proud of my team and all the work we put in at our training camps.”

Favourites

At the post-competition press conference, her Chef d’Equipe, Jens Adolphsen, said, “After Tokyo, everyone said the Brits are favourites for the next 50 years! But then it changed (when the German team won gold at the last year’s world championship) and now I hope it changes again!”

Paris 2024 is now in full focus for all the nations, and the relief for Belgium and The Netherlands with confirmation of their participation was enormous. It was particularly emotional for Dutch team member and coach, Andrew Heffernan.

“I had 20 years of competing and then I got the job as coach, because we needed to qualify for Paris, and with the support of all my riders, I came out of retirement and rode on the team. And thank God it has worked out – now I’m going straight back into retirement because the pressure this week from my perspective doing both jobs has been huge. This was what we needed to achieve, and we’ve done it!” he said, attempting to control an ocean of happy tears.

There was a question about gender balance in equestrian sport from the floor of the press conference, and FEI President and IOC member Ingmar de Vos, who had earlier thanked the show organisers, officials, and volunteers for making this FEI Eventing European Championship such a special occasion, pointed out that “we are the absolute champions of gender diversity because everyone has a chance in our sport!”

Indeed, everyone has a chance, but they’ll all be out to beat the British next summer, so when Ros Canter was asked if she expects to be the Paris 2024 Olympic champion, she replied, “The simple answer is: I hope so!”

For now, she can bask in the light of European golden glory.

Results

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Brits Are Bossing It after Brilliant Cross-Country Day

Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo (FEI/Libby Law)

Team Great Britain’s mission to take their 24th team and 20th individual title is back on track after a thrilling cross-country day at the FEI Eventing European Championship 2023 at Haras du Pin in France.

They were already on top of the team leaderboard, but it was German star, Michael Jung, who was heading the individual standings at the end of the dressage phase.

On a roller-coaster of an afternoon, Jung was eliminated for an unlucky fall at the drop before the final water complex, and going into the closing jumping phase it is Britain’s Ros Canter and the horse with which she won Badminton 2023, Lordships Graffalo, who head the individual standings.

Storming

The pair was in a league of their own when storming around the recalibrated course with nine seconds to spare on a day when not one other combination managed to get home within the optimum time of 8 minutes 18 seconds. Lying second when the actions will resume is Canter’s team-mate Kitty King (Vendredi Biats), while Germany’s Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz) is in third and Frenchman Stephane Landois (Ride for Thais Chaman Dumontceau) is in fourth place.

There were many changes to the individual leaderboard, but none as dramatic as that of Ireland’s Sarah Ennis who, lying 54th of the 56 competitors after dressage, has rocketed up to fifth with Grantstown Jackson going into the final day. Team silver medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, she had the unenviable task of going first on the cross-country track and, coming home in 8 minutes 24 seconds, gave the impression that the challenge was not as difficult as had been anticipated. As it turned out, on a day when three horse-and-rider combinations retired and eight were eliminated, she and her Irish-bred gelding were one of the very best when producing the second-fastest ride in this phase.

Decision

After a night of torrential rain, the Ground Jury made an early decision to shorten the track, dress the take-off areas of some fences, and to delay the start, originally scheduled for mid-day, to 14.00 hours. The loop of fences from 12 to 15 was removed, so horses went directly from the log-pile at eleven to the water complex at 17ab and 18, and there was an option at fence five.

It wasn’t just Pierre Le Goupil’s beautifully designed course that asked questions. The going, already challenged by over 250mm of rain in the last few weeks and further softened by the overnight downpour, tested strength and stamina.

British pathfinder King set her team up nicely when collecting just 3.6 time penalties, but there was a nervous moment when reigning world champions Yasmin Ingham and Banzai de Loir had a run-out at the last element of the coffin combination at fence 22. When Laura Collett’s line through the corner at fence 20 with London 52 went under review, there was further cause for concern. But in the end the pair were awarded just 9.2 time penalties and even before Canter set off, Team GB were already assured of the lead going into the closing day.

Exhibition

Canter gave an exhibition of cross-country riding, recovering quickly from a blip at fence two where a number of others also had an uneasy moment, to return with a fresh horse and a big smile.

“He’s very efficient, a very careful horse; he never balloons, he never goes green, so he always lands travelling which is very good. He’s extremely polite which is unusual – to have a horse that travels at his speed that is so responsive. So when he gallops, he gallops low, but when you sit up, he bunches up and his head comes up. It’s the best of both worlds. There aren’t many that gallop low and then don’t want to stay down there. Not many that have their heads up to jump but then want to gallop low. I think that’s where he’s just amazing. I’ve never sat on a horse like him that travels so efficiently and that is so rideable and so brave.

“He measures every jump; he reads every jump and seems to know how much he has to give everything. He makes my job easy because, hand on heart, I’m not normally the fastest rider!” said Canter afterwards.

Dashed

Michael Jung’s freak fall late on the track dashed German chances of a closer contest going into the final day. His normally sure-footed gelding Fischerchipmunk FRH just didn’t seem to get his landing gear down in time and knuckled over on the slope at fence 24 to leave his rider with no chance of staying in the saddle.

Jung was stoic, however. “It was just unlucky; there was nothing anyone could do about it,” he said afterwards. That’s horse sport, as the double Olympic champion knows only too well.

Auffarth, Christoph Wahler (Carjatan S), and Malin Hansen-Hotopp (Carlitos Quidditch K) are left to fly the German flag, but there is a 27.3 penalty gap between them and the leading British, while the French foursome of Landois, Gaspard Maksud (Zaragoza), Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC), and Karim Florent Laghouag (Triton Fontaine) are only 0.2 penalty points behind in bronze medal position. Team Ireland lies fourth (136.4), the Swiss are in fifth (147.9), Belgium is in sixth place (166.2), Sweden in seventh (194.8), and The Netherlands lies eighth (212.2).

Both Team Italy and Team Austria dropped out of contention, so the battle for the two Olympic qualifying spots is already over and it is the Belgians and Dutch who are on their way to Paris 2024.

Result after Cross-Country

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Jung Takes Individual Lead; British Hold Five of Top Six Placings

Michael Jung rides Fischerchipmunk FRH. FEI/Libby Law Photography

German giant Michael Jung swaggered to the top of the individual standings with a superb performance from Fischerchipmunk FRH as the dressage phase drew to a close at the FEI Eventing European Championship 2023 at Haras du Pin (FRA).

As expected, the individual leaderboard got a good shake-up, but it was four of reigning world champion Yasmin Ingham’s British compatriots who ousted her from overnight pole position, before Jung overtook them all with a ride that earned a sensational leading score of 19.4 going into the cross-country challenge.

His advantage is narrow, with a whole tribe of Brits breathing down his neck. Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo are in second (21.3), Tom McEwen is in third (22.0), Laura Collett and London 52 are in fourth (22.4), while Ingham (23.4) has dropped to fifth, ahead of Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift in sixth place (25.7).

The team classification shows the British out in front on a tally of 67.1, with Germany in second on 76.3 and Belgium in third on 90.9. Switzerland and The Netherlands share fourth place with 93.1 on the board, while France (94.4), Sweden (98.9), Italy (99.1), Austria (103.5), and Ireland (105.5) are lining up behind them.

None of the leading pack are feeling complacent about their results so far. All talk is about the challenge that will be presented by Pierre Le Goupil’s cross-country track.

Overtake

McEwen was first to overtake Ingham. The world number two rider produced two big second-place results – at the CCIO4*-NC-L in Boekelo (NED) last October and at the CCI5*-L in Kentucky (USA) in April 2023 – with the 12-year-old JL Dublin since taking up the ride last year.

“He’s simply stunning on the flat!” he said. “He captures the eye, he swings through, and bar the tiniest few things, he was absolutely excellent. I was delighted; I thought the changes were a serious highlight and as per usual that extended trot – if we could do five more of those we’d be in the lead by a little way!” he pointed out.

Collett and London 52, Olympic team gold medallists in Tokyo and three-time 5* winners, then slotted in behind her compatriot, but Jung set a whole new target when third to go of the final tranche of competitors, and despite a powerful challenge from Canter, he couldn’t be budged from the top of the scoreboard.

Analysing his test, he said, “The highlight was definitely the entire canter-work. However, we lost some points in the walk which could be better. Overall, it was one of the best tests we’ve ever done!”

Over the moon

Canter said she was “over the moon with Walter” – Lordships Graffalo’s stable name. “It’s been a long wait for me this last two days… when I got on today, I felt better that I had a job to do at last! Looking back at old videos of Walter in the spring building up to Badminton, I can’t believe how much he has come on since then; he’s truly an amazing horse and I’m very lucky to have him!”

All the riders know that their dressage scores may pale to insignificance, because the cross-country track cannot be underestimated. Jung described it as “big but fair,” adding that “every question needs to be clearly understood by the horses.”

McEwen said, “I think they’ve built a beautiful track – not what I was expecting, but a stunning track, but you have to be on it the whole way around, stay on your game, feel where you’re going, and judge where you are at.”

Very big

Collett said, “Dimensionally, it’s very big; there’s no real let-up for the horses energy-wise, and of course, the ground is going to play a massive part. (The weather) is probably not what we were all expecting going to France. You are going to have to be on your A-game; the first water is a serious test and it comes very early.”

And it has been raining.

Canter said, “The weather and the ground is something we the Brits have had to cope with a lot this year… we’ve ridden on this going so many times, that hopefully we can stay in our bubble and concentrate on our job. The first water is a very big drop in, so it will be interesting to see how they read that. I think it’s more the undulations, the twists, and the turns that are going to create the challenges at the jumps.”

German team member Sandra Auffart is lying individually eleventh after scoring 28.6 with Viamant du Matz. If there is anyone who knows about riding the cross-country track at Haras du Pin in less than ideal conditions, it is the multi-medalled three-time Olympian who took double-gold here at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014 with Opgun Luovo. She is not intimidated by the challenge of the cross-country track.

When asked if there was any comparison to the course she tackled so successfully nine years ago, she replied, “Yes, it’s a bit similar here and there, with the last water and again the last hill. I remember every bit of the cross-country from 2014, so I think that’s a little advantage! The first water is also a bit similar, with a drop down the curved line to the skinny one in the water. It’s a tough question at the beginning, but the course is interesting and it’s very exciting!”

Result after Dressage: https://results.worldsporttiming.com/event/162.

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org