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Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

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Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

By Louise Parkes

Isabell WERTH (GER) rides WEIHEGOLD OLD

She’s 47 and formidable, an exquisite horsewoman and a long-time legend as the most medalled athlete in her sport. Despite a few glitches in her performance with the fabulous mare Weihegold today, Germany’s Isabell Werth won the opening Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Nebraska by a comfortable 2.5 mark margin when scoring 82.300..

“I’m completely happy, but I’ll have to calm my horse down before Saturday because she got so excited in the prizegiving!”

Werth includes five Olympic and three World team golds amongst the massive medal haul she has accumulated during her amazing career. She also has two FEI World Cup™ titles under her belt, the first collected 25 years ago in Gothenburg (SWE) and the next in Las Vegas (USA) in 2007, and she’s hungry for a third.

But it isn’t going to be a walk-in-the-park because the home side’s Laura Graves (29) was breathing right down her neck today when posting the runner-up score of 79.800 with Verdades, and is bidding to become only the third American ever to take this prestigious title.

Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES

Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES

“I think anything is possible!” Graves replied confidently when asked if she thought she could beat Werth in Saturday’s medal-deciding Freestyle to Music competition, and she has to be taken seriously after finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics with this horse who was so difficult as a youngster that she almost gave up on him.

Britain’s Carl Hester (49) finished third with Nip Tuck and will be another strong challenger on Saturday when just 14 of today’s 16 starters will line out. New Zealand’s Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH were elminated when blood was found in the horse’s mouth post competition and Hanna Karasiova (BLR) and Arlekino failed to make the 60% cut-off mark.

Result:

  • Weihegold (Isabell Werth) GER, 82.300
  • Verdades (Laura Graves) USA, 79.800
  • Nip Tuck (Carl Hester) GBR, 76.671
Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK

Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK

Facts and Figures:
16 riders from 13 nations (Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and USA).

A total of 194 human and 215 equine athletes have competed in the four FEI World Cup™ Dressage Leagues, aiming to qualify for the Omaha Final.

The winning rider, Isabell Werth, is a multiple champion and two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage title-holder.

There will be 16 participants in the FEI World Cup™ Final 2017. Title holder Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) is not competing in Omaha as his horse Glock’s Flirt was lame on the day of departure (25 March). Jessica Von Bredow Werndl (GER) also withdrew from the Final after her horse Unee B developed colic at the airport in Amsterdam prior to departure.

Isabell Werth GER – 1st

“I was well prepared but you never know what to expect! It was my fault we made mistakes in the two-tempis but I always felt safe. It wasn’t easy at the start of my test though because the crowd went crazy when they announced Laura’s score!”

Laura Graves USA – 2nd

“I came here to win, and to finish second to Isabell today feels a lot like winning! It’s my second World Cup Final, we competed in Las Vegas (in 2015) and this has proved how much my horse has developed over the last two years, he felt very honest and I’m very excited about competing on Saturday!”

Carl Hester GBR – 3rd

“I always give my horse an easy ride in the Grand Prix so that he’s perfectly rideable for Saturday. I don’t expect to be too far behind on Saturday.”

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Touchdown! First Olympic horses arrive in Rio de Janeiro!

Rio 2016FEIFEI PRESS RELEASE
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), Saturday 30 July

Touchdown! First Olympic horses arrive in Rio de Janeiro!

The first Olympic horses are settling into their athletes’ village today – the new-build stables at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro – with Team New Zealand’s Ringwood Skyboy winning the opening heat of the Rio 2016 Games to be the first to set foot on Brazilian soil.

It’s not just the human athletes that are flying into Brazil for Rio 2016. The Olympic horses touched down at Rio de Janeiro Galeão International Airport just before midnight last night after a near-12 hour flight from London (GBR).

The 34 Eventing horses may have been on a cargo plane, but it was a specially designed Emirates Boeing SkyCargo 777-F, and they all flew business class! And there’s no need for flat beds as horses sleep standing up, but that doesn’t stop some of them asking for extra legroom!

Just like the human athletes, they had to go through passport control (and a health check) at London Stansted Airport before boarding with their carry-on luggage and check-in bags.

Sporting the equine equivalent of flight socks (leg bandages), they received the full business class treatment, with special meals delivered by flight attendants (actually grooms), a drinks trolley (buckets) offering water (not fizzy) with a choice of mixers. Apple or carrot sir?

Vets are also on board to ensure the precious equine cargo arrived in tip-top form. Which is important, as these four-legged athletes mean business!

Nathan Anthony, team vet for the Australian Eventing squad, was one of the six vets that flew with the horses. “Flying is actually easier on the horses than going by truck”, he said. “The only slightly difficult bit is the take-off, after that there are no bumps in the air! And we had a great captain on board who made the landing nice and smooth, and then the transfer to the Olympic stables with a police escort was really easy.”

Welcomed into Rio in the early hours of the morning, the horses were driven in specially kitted out trucks, complete with a full Federal highway police escort, under the watchful eye of Christ the Redeemer en route to the stables at the Olympic Equestrian Centre, where they rolled out the equine equivalent of a red carpet – black rubber matting!

Some of the equine stars clearly thought they were on a catwalk, with Zimbabwean horse Sam The Man strutting his stuff in a very fetching compression suit, colourfully emblazoned with his national flag. And Chilli Morning, the stallion that Britain’s London 2012 team silver medalist William Fox-Pitt will ride in Rio, was sporting an equine baseball cap, complete with sheepskin lining.

One that let his natural beauty shine without any adornments was Leonidas II, the horse that legendary Kiwi Mark Todd will ride. The 60-year-old Todd, who took individual gold at Seoul 1984 and Los Angeles 1988, is contesting his seventh Olympics and also training the Brazilian team on the side.

This in-bound flight, the first of nine during the Olympic period, transported horses from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Japan, Italy and China. And over the next couple of weeks, more than 200 horses from 43 nations will be arriving in Deodoro, ready to put in their bid for gold with their human partners in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of Eventing, Dressage and Jumping.

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Eventing: Ten teams start the season at Fontainebleau

FEIEVENTINGFEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 22 March 2016

FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing: Ten teams start the season at Fontainebleau

The 2016 international Eventing season promises to get off to an exciting start at Fontainebleau (FRA) this weekend with up to 10 nations fielding teams in a highly competitive first leg of this year’s FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing.

 

Top names in the field at Fontainebleau include Olympic and European champion Michael Jung (GER), World champion Sandra Auffarth (GER), the host nation’s former European champions Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) and Jean-Lou Bigot (FRA), alongside Christopher Burton, a key member of the prominent Australian squad last year, and World team bronze medalist Tim Lips (NED).

Great Britain, firm supporters of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing since its inception in 2012, and the leading nation last year, brings another strong group including Boekelo winner Nicola Wilson, plus fellow European squad members Izzy Taylor, Laura Collett and Gemma Tattersall. Ireland has also entered a strong squad, which includes all four members of the team that produced a stunning performance to win the final event at Boekelo (NED) last year, and Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden will field teams.

First for USA

There are eight legs at CIC3* level in this year’s FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, including a brand new addition in the USA at The Plains, Virginia on 8-10 July.

This event will also serve as one of the final trials for the US Olympic Eventing team and other nations with just a month to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first Games to be held in South America.

Team experience

The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing was designed to help national coaches give valuable team experience to up-and-coming riders. Last year, 15 nations contested the series which culminated in a thrilling finale at Boekelo.

This year, the series will be of particular value in view of the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the athletes will be able to get a flavour of the Olympic Cross Country Course Designer’s style as Pierre Michelet (FRA) is also officiating at Fontainebleau this weekend.

“The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing continues to go from strength to strength as national coaches realise how useful it is for evaluating and preparing riders for championships,” said Catrin Norinder, FEI Director, Olympic & Eventing. “As it is an Olympic year, I would expect the series to be even better supported and more competitive. We are in for a really exciting season.”

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Jäiser, Kaiser, Engelberty and Jacobs take 2016 titles at dramatic FEI World Cup

FEIVaultingFEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2015/2016
Dortmund (GER), 6 February 2016
Jäiser, Kaiser, Engelberty and Jacobs take 2016 titles at dramatic FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final in Dortmund
by Louise Parkes

German vaulters Daniel Kaiser, Pia Engelberty and Torben Jacobs clinched the Male Individual and Pas-de-Deux titles, while Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser brought her brilliant career to a close when soaring to victory in the Female category at the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Final in Dortmund (GER) over the weekend.

Kaiser sprang a big surprise when beating fellow-countryman Jannis Drewell in the Male division, but in the other two competitions the favourites won through in fine style. This sixth FEI World Cup™ Vaulting season was packed with fantastic competition, but the Final brought the tension, excitement and degree of excellence to a whole new level, and the event at Dortmund was hailed a huge success.

Female Final

Jäiser threw down the gauntlet in Friday’s first round of the Female Final when coming out on top with a score of 8.602. Germany’s Kristina Boe lined up second on a mark of 8.348 while Austria’s Isabel Fiala finished third on a score of 7.838. Anna Cavallaro was expected to be Jäiser’s strongest opponent, but things didn’t go as planned from the outset for the Italian vaulter when her top horse, Harley, didn’t pass the veterinary inspection. With her replacement horse, Dante, she posted 7.190 for sixth and last place in round one, behind Anne Sophie Musset from France with 7.238, and she couldn’t recover from there. 

Switzerland’s Nadja Buttiker didn’t enjoy much luck either when the athlete who finished a creditable fourth in the first competition was dislodged during her second performance because her horse, the aptly-named Keep Cool, decided to stop for a toilet-break. As the eventual winner, Jäiser, pointed out afterwards however, this is a situation that every vaulter has experienced. “If the horse suddenly goes faster or slower or even moves to the inside, then he’s not under your feet when you are doing your movements and it is impossible to stay on!” she said.

Cavallaro improved her score to post 7.418 but it wouldn’t be nearly enough to make an impression on the final result when all three remaining athletes scored over the 8.0 mark. Fiala really upped her game, putting 8.225 on the board for a performance that was crisp, clean and confident but then Boe piled on the pressure when earned 9.125 from Technical judge Rob de Bruin (NED) which helped secure a second round total of 8.632 and an overall total of 8.490 over the two rounds of competition.

Within her grasp

As Jäiser came into the ring, victory was well within her grasp but she admitted afterwards to feeling extremely nervous. “It was a really big dream for me to finish my career by taking the World Cup title and I knew this was the last time I would run into the arena in a competition. I had to tell myself “go for it” – and in the end it was good!” she said afterwards. 

 In fact it was near perfection, the 29-year-old vaulter demonstrating that awesome power, control and artistry that earned her both the gold medal at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) and the world number one slot. Her strength in the holding positions, her balance in the jumps and her symmetry with her horse, Luk, and her lunger who is also her mother, Rita Blieske, was stand-out from start to finish. Luk has a reputation for being sensitive and spooky in crowded circumstances but in competition he has a very different attitude. “He gets much more confident when we are in the arena – he knows his job!” the delighted new FEI World Cup™ Vaulting winner said, adding “I never thought we could have such an amazing year!”    

And she is looking forward to working as a coach, now that her competitive career has come to a close.

 “I’m already training a junior team – we have nearly 100 members in our vaulting club, with six individuals and three pas-de-deux pairs, juniors and squads so it’s going to be very busy!” Jäiser explained.

 Pas-de-Deux

 Both the Female and Pas-de-Deux Finals took place on Saturday night, and Engelberty and Torben produced an exemplary performance to seal the latter.  Having taken command with a score of 8.763 on Friday, they raised the stakes even higher with scores well in excess of 9 from three of the four judges to post a second-day total of 9.217 and an overall total of 8.990. 

 As expected their closest rivals were the young Italians, 19-year-old Erika Forti and Lorenzo Lupacchini who turned 20 in January. They scored a highly-competitive 8.183 on Friday and added 8.111 in Saturday’s second round which again earned high artistic marks. Their final total of 8.147 left them 0.843 adrift of the winners, but there is no denying the lightness and fluidity of their work together and this pair look set for extraordinary success in future years.

 American sisters, Kimberly and Cassidy Palmer, were thoroughly consistent when scoring 7.916 and 7.708 for a final tally of 7.812 for third place while Germany’s young pair of Jolina Ossenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes, again just 19 and 20 years of age respectively, look set to follow closely in the footsteps of their more senior stars when also impressively rounding up their scoreline at 7.700 for fourth of the four starting Pas-de-Deux partnerships.

It was an emotional evening for Engelberty who, like Jäiser, has decided to quit while at the top of her game. There was a lot of pressure on this Germany duo. “We knew we should win but the pressure was high because everyone expected we would win. It was never going to be easy, we knew we just had to stay relaxed and to concentrate. We told ourselves “okay, we don’t have to do magic, just do it as usual – stay calm – that was our plan and it worked out at the end!” said Engelberty afterwards.

 Close to my club

 “I have no exact plans for the future” said the 25-year-old athlete, “but I do know I will stay close to my club. I have been in this club for 16 years and it is part of my life and has given me so many opportunities.”

Engelberty said she was feeling “everything at the same time, sad, happy, really thankful – I know I have so many special moments in my life because of this sport and I’m going to miss it, but I’m happy looking forward. I always said I want to stop before nobody wants to see me anymore!”

 Her vaulting partner, Jacobs, said he was also “happy and sad at the same time, so we celebrate our last freestyle together and it’s hard to believe it is coming to an end.” Without Engelberty he has to take a whole new look at his future in the sport, and for now that means he will start with a team for the rest of this year and may find another pas-de-deux partner sometime in the future.  

 As he pointed out, much of the success he enjoyed with Engelberty, including silver medals at both the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy (FRA) 2014 and at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) came about due to fantastic choreography allied with the vaulter’s hard work. “We trained together since 2012 and there’s always been a good harmony between us. It’s very important for pas-de-deux to have good artistic skill and choreography. It was our goal for this year to focus more on the music and choreography and it worked well” he added.

 Male Individual

 The Male Individual produced the highest drama when firm favorite, Jannis Drewell, was, quite literally, thrown off course in Friday’s first Freestyle. “I made a big mistake at the mount when I lost the grips” said the 24-year-old who burst to prominence with a spectacular win at last summer’s European Championships. His first-round score of 8.225 on Friday left him chasing Daniel Kaiser, who posted 9.473 to sit in the driving seat going into today’s second and deciding competition. 

 Czech Republic’s Lukas Klouda had already scored 8.010 and Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler posted 8.087 before French vaulters Clement Taillez and Vincent Haennel each put 8.317 and 8.479 on the board, but the real action came down to the final two contenders. Knowing that only a disaster could prevent Kaiser from taking the title, Drewell knew he had it all to do today and  put in a brilliant performance that earned 8.847 to shoot way into the lead. 

 But Kaiser really kept his cool, his lovely horse Down Under LR giving him the firmest base on which to display his skills, and when the scoreboard shows 8.697 that was good enough for runner-up spot on the day and the overall Final title. It was a desperately closely-fought affair however, with only 0.1 points separating the two Germans in the final analysis.

 Absolutely amazed

Kaiser said he was “absolutely amazed” by his victory. “Jannis has been so dominant over the last months and even though I knew I would compete on a good level, that fact that I beat him is a small wonder for me! He had a big mistake yesterday which was good for me, but I had two good rounds” he added. He was performing a new programme based on the theme of the famous escapologist Harry Houdini, so was covered in chains during his performance. “In Leipzig (in January) I felt it was over for the old programme, and after talking with the judges I decided if I wanted to have a chance I needed to do something new” he explained. “I’ve been working on this new programme now for more than a year” said the vaulter who was forced to take time out for more than two years due to health problems, but who has bounced back with a vengeance this season. 

Today’s victory was all the more special because his wife and family were all there to cheer him on and join in the celebrations. “This is my first international title!” said the delighted athlete who has been competing since he was six years old and who was assisted in his success this weekend by lunger Nina Vorberg, wife of the German national trainer.

 Changes

 Second-placed Drewell was one of the first to congratulate the new title-holder and talked about some changes he too has planned. “I’m happy and glad today to win the second round and to be able to show my freestyle in a really good way for the last time. I think tomorrow the outfit from Charlie monk will be in wardrobe – I might take it out again for a show or something like but we are already working on a new programme” he explained. 

 “Today I was really satisfied because everything worked and my horse was really good. Daniel had the advantage from first round and it is good he won” said the sporting young German. “He did so much for FEI World Cup Vaulting, he brought a lot of support for this Final and he did not make a mistake on Friday. It’s great for the home crowd to have first and second today, and for me this was special because Dortmund is only one hour from home, so many family and friends and supporters came to see me which was a lot of fun!” 

 FEI Top Vaulters Awards

 In an exciting new initiative, FEI Director of Driving, Reining and Vaulting, Bettina de Rham, presented Top Athletes Awards for Vaulting for the very first time, based on the annual rankings list for this discipline. The first recipient was World No 1, reigning European champion and newly-crowned FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2015/2016 Female series winner Simone Jäiser, while Drewell was presented with the Top Male Athlete Award as World No. 1 in the Male category.

 These awards will be decided on a yearly basis, in this case from January to December 2015, so the Pas-de-Deux award goes to reigning European champions Lukas Wacha and Jasmin Lindner who held the World No. 1 slot at year-end.  

 Looking back on a fantastic weekend of top sport, Bettina de Rham said today, “we want to thank the Organising Committee at Dortmund for putting on such a great show. The spectators and the atmosphere were amazing, and everyone including the vaulters, the horses and the officials were all very happy. I hope we can come back here again next year!” 

 Female Individual: 1, Simone Jäiser (SUI) 8.651; 2, Kristina Boe (GER) 8.490; 3, Isabel Fiala (AUT) 8.032. 

Male Individual: 1, Daniel Kaiser (GER) 8.757; 2, Jannis Drewell (GER) 8.617; 3, Vincent Haennel (FRA) 8.402.

Pas-de-Deux: 1, Pia Engelberty/Torben Jacobs (GER) 8.990; 2, Erika Di Forti/Lorenzo Lupacchini (ITA) 8.147; 3, Kimberley Palmer/Cassidy Palmer (USA) 7.812. 

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Olympian Shane Rose heats up the action at Adelaide

FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 20 November 2015

FEI Classics™: Olympian Shane Rose heats up the action at Adelaide

by Anna Sharpley

Olympian Shane Rose jumped out of the barriers and got a head start on the opposition riding Elizabeth and Felicity Wischer’s CP Qualified, as a cool change blew away the heat of the last few days at the Adelaide International 3 Day Event, second leg of FEI Classics™ 2015/2016.

Early to go, Rose and the horse by Quiet Capitol out of a Corofino mare, produced the winning test, and sitting on 42.10 penalties they lead their nearest rival by a seven penalty margin.

They were in this position two years ago with the horse, then a green four-star contender, however with two more years of competition under their belts, Rose will be heading to the Cross Country phase with a little more than his usual can-do confidence.

“He’s a different horse from two years ago and I would have been disappointed if I was not in this position today. I am confident he is going to do a good job in the next two days”. Rose has added assurance because the horse was imported to Australia as a potential jumper.

Thirty-two-year-old Katja Weimann bred and produced her BP Flamboyant, and is delighted to be in second place and declares she will be, “chasing Shane all the way tomorrow”. Flamboyant had a serious injury a few years ago and has been carefully nursed back to the peak of fitness by Katja. “He feels very fit and strong,” said Katja, who is a tough and experienced competitor.

New South Wales rider and trainer Christine Bates is certainly no outsider and with Adelaide Hill is just 0.30 of a penalty behind Katja Weimann and BP Flamboyant. “I have been working hard with Eventing dressage trainer Gareth Hughes, and Adelaide Hill was the most relaxed and rideable he has ever been and he gave me 110% out there, even though the marks did not reflect that. I’d be very disappointed if I am not sitting in this position or better tomorrow evening.”

New South Wales rider, Katie Roots is just a hair’s breadth from the podium in fourth place riding her impressive UK import, the Fleetwater Opposition gelding, Trevalgar II.

And what of tomorrow? “It is a really nice track and the going is good”, says Rose. “It is a typical Mike Etherington-Smith track. There is not one individual fence that looks difficult, just a consistent test all the way around and the time will be a factor, as it always is at Adelaide”. “It is a track that tests the communication you have with your horse”, adds Christine Bates. “You really need to know your horse”.

The top ten is a closely packed and talented bunch, with New Zealander Clarke Johnstone positioned nicely in fifth place just eight penalties behind the leader riding the New Zealand Sporthorse, Balmoral Sensation.

Will Enzinger, who gave Chris Burton his winning ride two years ago, holds sixth place with Wenlock Aquifer ahead of Shane Rose’s second ride, Michelle Hasibar, and Brett Jones’ Vivant gelding, Virgil. Megan Jones, second last year riding Kirby Park Allofasudden in eighth place is poised to strike if given the opportunity. The globetrotting and history making Brit, Alice Dunsdon sits at eleven, just outside the top ten.

Adelaide International 3 Day Event – Dressage leaderboard
1. Shane Rose (AUS)/CP Qualified 42.10
2. Katja Weimann (AUS)/B Flamboyant 49.10
3. Christine Bates (AUS)/Adelaide Hill 49.40
4. Katie Roots (AUS)/Trevalgar II 49.70
5. Clarke Johnstone (NZL)/Balmoral Sensation 50.10
6. Wilhelm Enzinger (AUS)/Wenlock Aquifer 50.40
7. Shane Rose (AUS)/Virgil 50.80
8. Megan Jones (AUS)/Kirby Park Allofasudden 52.80
9. Isabel English (AUS)/Feldale Mouse 54.60
10. Elinda Isbister (AUS)/Holy Bruce 54.60
Full leaderboard: http://bit.ly/1l9iWuO

FEI Classics™ in Adelaide live on FEI TV
Watch daily live Adelaide action (20-22 November) on www.fei.org

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

See FEI YouTube interviews
Dressage Review:

Cross Country Course Animation:

Andrew Hoy – Course Walk (ATCO Stag Corner, 22 a, b, c):

Sam Griffiths – Course Walk (Corners 18, 19a, b):

Shane Rose – Course Walk (Fence 6 a, b, c):

FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 Leaderboard (after 1 of 6 events)
1 Astier Nicolas (FRA) 15 points
2 Michael Jung (GER) 12
3 Tim Price (NZL) 10
4 Emily King (GBR) 8
5 Karim Florent Laghouag (FRA) 6
6 Claas Hermann Romeike (GER) 5
7 Sarah Bullimore (GBR) 3
8 Clare Abbot (IRL) 2
9 Sir Mark Todd (NZL) 1

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FEI WORLD BREEDING EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR YOUNG HORSES 2015

FEI WORLD BREEDING EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR YOUNG HORSES 2015 

FEILe Lion d’Angers (FRA), 20 October 2015

Collett and Jung take Young Horse Eventing gold at Le Lion: ISH Studbook claims overall title

by Louise Parkes

 

German superstar, Michael Jung, steered Fischerincantas to victory in the 6-year-old division while Great Britain’s Laura Collett clinched the 7-year-old title with Mr Bass at the FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2015 at Le Lion d’Angers, France at the weekend.

 These Championships have been staged annually since 1992, and the 30th edition of the French fixture at the lovely Haras National at l‘Isle de Briand once again highlighted new and exciting talent in both age categories, and attracted a total of 103 horses representing a wide range of studbooks. The two new champions were both Holsteiners, while the KWPN and ISH studbooks filled silver and bronze in the 6-year-olds and the AA and Trekehener registers did likewise in the 7-year-old division. 

 The ISH Studbook claimed the overall Studbook title with a score of 151 points ahead of the German Holsteiner in second on 153 and the Dutch KWPN a close third on 153.2 when the results of both age categories were analysed.

 Six-Year-Olds

 The Ground Jury for the 6-year-olds consisted of Great Britain’s Sandy Philips, Pascal Laurencon from France and South Africa’s Lesley Mawhinney, and, from the field of 34 starters, they placed Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and the grey Holsteiner mare Weisse Duene   (Clarimo/Esprit V/Romino) in pole position on a score of 38.6 after dressage. 

Jung and Fischerincantas (Ibisco/Ressina/Coriano) however were just 0.5 points behind in second place followed by the Selle Francais gelding Vingt Vingt (Rubins des Bruyeres SF/Chana du Gwern SF/Robin des Pres), ridden by Frenchman Stanislas de Zuchowicz, in third on 44.1. Dutch rider, Merel Blom, was next in line with the KWPN The Quizmaster (Albaran XX/Zarah Maro/Casco) followed by Poland’s Kamil Rajnert and the BRAND mare, Libertina, in fifth, Sweden’s Christoffer Forsberg and the Oldenburg gelding, Quinn, in sixth and the ISH gelding SRS Adventure, ridden by Ireland’s Sophie Richards, in seventh spot.

 Only seven horse-and-rider combinations encountered problems over Pierre Michelet’s cross-country track, and amongst them were Klimke and Weisse Duene whose 20 penalties for a refusal at fence 15c was compounded by an additional 5.2 for exceeding the optimum time of 8.54 minutes to drop them well out of contention. So Jung moved into the driving seat when producing one of the 21 clear rounds recorded, with de Zuchowicz, Blom, Rajnert, Forsberg and Richards lining right up behind him after the second phase.

 Jung had just over a fence in hand going into yesterday’s final Jumping round, but the reigning Olympic, World and European champion and World No. 1 knows how to keep a cool head under pressure, and secured the gold despite leaving one on the floor. De Zuchowicz however paid the price for two mistakes, which saw Blom and Quizmaster claim the silver while Richards rocketed up to bronze medal position with SRS Adventure (Newmarket Venture/Newmarket Dato Two/Aldato) when Rajnert had one down and Forsberg collected eight faults.

 Horses from the KWPN Studbook filled two of the top four places, silver medallist The Quizmaster flying the flag along with the grey mare Enjoy (Cartano/next Joey/Haarlem) who finished fourth for The Netherlands‘ Sanne de Jong. When it came to sheer consistency however the Irish Sport Horses held the whip hand, with three finishing in the top nine and six in the top 18 in this category.

 Seven-Year-Olds

 It seemed quite possible that Jung could emulate the historic double recorded by Frenchman Thomas Carlile in 2013 when the German ace also took the early lead with the Hannoverian gelding, Lennox, in the 7-year-old championship. 

 Ground Jury members Janis Linnan from the USA, Nathalie Carriere from France and Great Britain’s Harry Payne rewarded Jung with a mark of 38.0 for the top spot after dressage, with fellow-German Julia Krajewski holding second spot on 41.1 with another Hannoverian, Chipmunk FRH, at this early stage and Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt in third with the Irish Sport Horse, Reinstated.  

 Australia’s Emma Dougall slotted into fourth with another Irish-bred, Fernhill Tabasco, ahead of Britain’s Noah Brook and the KWPN Deo Volente in fifth, while Christopher Burton held sixth spot for Australia with the ISH, Cooley Lands, ahead of the eventual champions Laura Collett and Mr Bass in seventh. The cross-country track was more testing for these older horses, but there were still plenty of clear rounds, 34 of the 67 starters adding nothing to their dressage scores, while two riders opted to retire on course and 12 were eliminated.

 Amongst the latter was Fox-Pitt who had already steered the Soapdodger, lying 11th after dressage, home with nothing to add, before taking a fall with Reinstated at fence 20, the Owl Hole, when second-last to go out on the course. The multiple champion and current World No. 3 rider was taken to Angers Hospital where his condition continues to be reported as “stable” today.

 Proved influential

 The Jumping phase for the 7-year-olds proved influential, with 12 faults sending Jung and Lennox plummeting down the order, while five faults for Dougall and a single mistake for Burton also proved expensive. In the absence of the leading three who had also toured the cross-country track without penalty the previous afternoon, Collett took full advantage when moving up from overnight fourth to pole position with a foot-perfect performance from Mr Bass (Carrico/K-Jeunesse/Exorbitant). 

 And the 2013 double-champion and winner of the 6-year-old division in 2014, Frenchman Thomas Carlile who was lying sixth after the tour of the fixed fences, also jumped into the medals when coasting home with nothing to add to the dressage mark he had established with the AA stallion, Upsilon (Canturo Bois Margot/O Vivee/Fusain du Defey). His final scoreline of 46.5 left him just 1.3 penalty points behind Collett and 2.4 ahead of bronze medallist Vincent Martens who had every reason to be particularly pleased with his result.

 Last year at the same fixture the Belgian rider was poised in gold medal position after dressage in the 6-year-old championship with the Trekehner stallion Eiskonig (Songline/Eiskonigin/Trocadero), but following two cross-country refusals he wisely decided to call it a day. On Sunday the horse demonstrated the very essence of these championships which are designed to help identify and develop potential when, with 12 months more experience under his belt, he rose from eighth place after cross-country to earn the bronze medal in the 7-year-old category when finishing on his dressage mark.  

 Results:

 Seven-Year-Old Championship: 

  • GOLD – Mr Bass (Laura Collett) GBR 45.2; 
  • SILVER –  Upsilon (Thomas Carlile) FRA 46.5; 
  • BRONZE – Eiskonig (Vincent Martens) BEL 47.6.

 

Six-Year-Old Championship: 

  • GOLD – Fischerincantas (Michael Jung) GER 43.1; 
  • SILVER – The Quizmaster (Merel Blom) NED 45.2; 
  • BRONZE – SRS Adventure (Sophie Richards) IRL 47.3.
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REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 – Preview

REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 – Preview

ReemAcuraLausanne (SUI), 13 October 2015
Gearing up for Gothenburg as Reem Acra Western European League gets underway
By Louise Parkes

Dressage riders all across Western Europe are polishing up their pirouette, piaffe and passage ahead of the opening leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 League which gets underway at Odense (DEN) this weekend. The series, sponsored by Beirut-born New York fashion designer Reem Acra, will see the best riders from the region join their counterparts from the Central Europe, North America and Asia/Pacific qualifiers in the race for a place at the Reem Acra Final which will be staged in Gothenburg (SWE) next March.

The defending double-champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, who scored back-to-back wins in Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and in Las Vegas (USA) earlier this year, will be looking to make it three-in-a-row this time around. However the sparkling duo, who have raised the bar as never before in this most technically demanding of equestrian sports, will have to be in tip-top form if they are to succeed. Because a legacy of the tremendous success that has seen them set – and reset – world records with remarkable regularity since they burst onto the international stage four years ago, is that the standard of competition has improved beyond recognition as others work to emulate the British pair’s level of excellence.

It is six years now since top Dressage judge, Britain’s Stephen Clarke, said that the scoring system may have to change because “100 percent won’t be enough!” to reward top horse-and-rider partnerships in this sport. That was on a remarkable night when the now-retired super-stallion, Totilas, produced a breathtaking performance with The Netherlands’ Edward Gal in the saddle. And Dujardin’s Valegro has pushed the envelope even further over the intervening years.

Familiar with super-stardom

The FEI World Cup™ Dressage series is familiar with super-stardom, and owes much of its ever-increasing popularity to the decision to allow “Freestyle” performances take centre stage. Performing difficult and demanding movements to music has truly engaged audiences all around the world ever since Dutch athlete, Anky van Grunsven, became the first mistress of the art, initially with the brilliant Bonfire and later with Salinero.

During her 13-year FEI World Cup™ Dressage winning spree that began in 1995 and ended in 2008, the now-retired rider lifted the trophy on nine occasions, and The Netherlands heads the leaderboard for most wins in the series with a total of 12.

One of the most remarkable athletes of the modern era however is Germany’s Isabell Werth who was only 23 years of age when winning the first of her two FEI World Cup™ Dressage titles riding Fabienne in Gothenburg way back in 1992. It was 15 years later when she did it again in Las Vegas, this time partnering her much-loved Warum Nicht, and it is testament to her great skill and enormous character that she continues to blaze a trail at the top of the sport and is one of the most decorated equestrian athletes of all time.

Favourite for a top spot

Favourite for a top spot in Odense this weekend however may be Dutchman Edward Gal, who has rarely missed a podium placing at a major event in recent years. The man who took three gold medals with Totilas at the 2010 world championships in Kentucky (USA) brings out Glock’s Voice, the horse with which he helped take team bronze at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) just over a year ago. With his 2012 Olympic ride, Glock’s Undercover, Gal has finished third at the last three Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals and, currently number three in the world rankings, he is always a major force to be reckoned with.

However his life-partner and fellow-countryman, Hans Peter Minderhoud, may prove a strong opponent with Glock’s Romanov, while the Danish contingent also look super-strong. Anna Kazprzak should be well-recovered from the injury that kept her out of the later stages of competition at the FEI European Championships in Aachen in August.

Her horse, Donnperignon, kicked her in the chest after the veterinary inspection at the German fixture, but the talented 25-year-old rider struggled valiantly through the early stages before having to retire. Agnete Kirk-Thinggaard and Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein will also be amongst the squad flying the Danish flag, and there will be plenty of Irish interest as Judy Reynolds, who has rocketed up the world rankings over the last year, lines out with Vancouver K. The 33-year-old Irishwoman, who lies 54th in the world rankings, has an enthusiastic bunch of followers and her success has inspired a dramatic spike of interest in the sport in her home country.

Road to Rio

For many athletes, the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League will pave the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Horses and riders will gain more experience and hone their skills ahead of the great event, and audiences across Europe will enjoy the best of top sport as a result.

Following Odense, the Western European League continues at Lyon (FRA), Stuttgart (GER) and Stockholm (SWE) in November before moving on to Salzburg (AUT) and London Olympia (GBR) in December. Amsterdam (NED) opens the New Year followed by Neumunster (GER) in February and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March.

The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final visits Gothenberg for the eighth time when the doors of the Scandinavium Arena open from 23 to 28 March 2016, and all eyes then will once again be on the multiple world-record-breakers and reigning Olympic champions, Dujardin and Valegro, who were pushed so very hard by Germany’s Kristina Broring-Sprehe and Desperados at the FEI European Championships this summer when they came out on top in the Freestyle by a narrow margin of just 0.25 percent.

It’s all part of a recipe for a winter of fabulous sport, with Reem Acra Dressage at the heart of it.

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Vilmos Lázár takes individual title and leads Hungary to team gold

FEIFEI PRESS RELEASE
Fábiánsebestyén (HUN), 15 September 2015
FEI World Pair Driving Championships Fábiánsebestyén 2015: Vilmos Lázár takes individual title and leads Hungary to team gold

By Cindy Timmer

After four days of fascinating sport at the 16th FEI World Pairs Driving Championships at the Kinizi Horse Park in Fábiánsebestyén (HUN), the home side’s Vilmos Lázár was re-crowned as world champion, making this the 48-year-old’s fifth world pairs gold – a record in Driving history. Lázár’s younger brother Zoltan claimed silver, while Italy’s Jozsef Dibak took bronze.

Hungary also took team gold for the sixth time since the first FEI World Pairs Driving Championships in 1983, after victories in 1989, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2013, with Italy finishing with the silver, and bronze going to Germany.

Italian Dressage

The Dressage took place over two days in less than perfect weather in the Kinizi grass arena for the 65 competitors from 20 nations, but the continuous rain didn’t bother Italian driver Claudio Fumagalli. The 38-year-old, based in Beekbergen (NED), drove a marvellous test with his Dutch-bred horses finishing on 42.18 to take the lead ahead of defending champion Vilmos Lázár. Fumagalli’s compatriot Jozsef Dibak was third after Dressage, putting Italy on track for a team medal in pole position after the first phase, with Hungary second and Germany in third.

Hungarian superpower

Hungarian course designer Gábor Fintha was responsible for the exciting marathon course on the Kinizi grounds, with all eight marathon obstacles – including two water obstacles and one with a water passage – requiring the best technical skills from the drivers. Weather conditions were perfect but the earlier rain made the footing heavy and slippery. The Organising Committee put in a tremendous effort to improve conditions, including scraping off the top layer of mud from over six kilometres on the A-section of the marathon the night before, but it was well worth the trouble as it resulted in fit horses at the finish of the 16-kilometre long marathon.

More than 5,000 spectators cheered on the drivers, enjoying the sun and great sport, especially as the Hungarian drivers performed extremely well. Vilmos Lázár, competing with Hungarian sport horses, won the marathon by a small margin. Jozsef Dobrovitz jr, who competed as a member of the Hungarian team at the FEI European Four-in-Hand Championships in Aachen (GER) last month, took second place, and German individual driver Sandro Koalick finished third. These results meant that Hungary took over the lead in the standings, with Italy dropping to second despite strong performances from Fumagalli and Dibak.

Final day

The cones course on Sunday proved to be real a challenge with no-one going clear. Romanian Eduard Bartha was best on the day, finishing with just 0.33 penalty points for exceeding the time allowed. Jozsef Dibak was next best in the cones to secure team silver for Italy, and also rewrote history by capturing individual bronze at the expense of his team mate, Fumagalli who dropped to sixth place with two knockdowns and time penalties.

Overnight leader Vilmos Lázár held his nerve and, with just one knockdown, successfully defended his title on home soil and also led Hungary to team gold together with brother Zoltán (individual silver) and József Dobrovitz jr (fourth place). The German trio of Arndt Lörcher, Anna Sandmann and Sebastian Warneck held on for bronze.

With Dibak taking home the bronze medal, the individual podium was actually completely Hungarian as Dibak was born in Hungary but moved to Italy and has Italian citizenship. The 42-year-old professional carriage driver works for the Italian pairs driver Francesco Aletti Montano, who was the third Italian team member in Fábiánsebestyén.

Individual results

1. Vilmos Lázár (HUN) 160.12
2. Zoltán Lázár (HUN) 166.25
3. Jozsef Dibak (ITA) 166.86
4. József Dobrovitz jr (HUN) 169.26
5. Sebastian Warneck (GER) 170.99

Team results
1. Hungary 322.47
2. Italy 340.29
3. Germany 357.41
4. Austria 365.35
5. Romania 370.51

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Carl Hester talks about his GPS Test

Carl Hester analyses his GPS test – Michael at the Euros – Aachen – FEI European Championships 2015

Carl Hester is interviewed about his GPS test Nip Tuck while watching his 5th place ride.  He talks about what the judges are looking for and how the ride went.  Mr. Hester has owned Nip Tuck since he was a yearling and watched him grow from a awkward baby to an 18 hand Grand Prix horse.  Nip Tuck recently moved up to Grand Prix and Carl talks about the ten long years it took to properly train Nip Tuck to the Grand Prix level and how the careful planning and training set him up with a horse that will improve in the next ten years at the Grand Prix level.

To learn more about Carl Hester visit his website.

 

Michael Kurn meets Carl Hetser and together they make a detailed analysis of his GPS test.

The FEI European Championships take place from the 11/08/2015 – 23/08/2015 in Aachen, Germany.

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The Queen crowns Michael Jung and Germany as European Champions

FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 13 September 2015

Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: The Queen crowns Michael Jung and Germany as European Champions

By Kate Green

German riders were simply the best on the final day of the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle (GBR) where, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, who presented the medals, they won team gold by more than 50 penalties and the matchless Michael Jung captured the fifth individual title of his career.

All four team members – Jung, Sandra Auffarth, who also took individual silver, Ingrid Klimke and Dirk Schrade – went clear in the Jumping phase to give Germany a fifth successive team title. Their winning run began at the 2011 FEI European Eventing Championship at Luhmühlen (GER) and has included three European titles plus Olympic and world team golds.

Michael Jung (GER) & FischerTakinou - Jumping - Longines FEI European Eventing Chamionship 2015 - Blair Athol, Scotland - 13 September 2015

Michael Jung (GER) & FischerTakinou – Jumping – Longines FEI European Eventing Chamionship 2015 – Blair Athol, Scotland – 13 September 2015

Jung confirmed his place in Eventing history as one of the world’s greats when he equalled Ginny Elliot’s (GBR) record, set in the 1980s, of three European titles on three different horses. He has, however, now beaten her record of six consecutive individual medals – this is his seventh since his senior championship debut in 2009.

This third European title was perhaps the hardest fought, as it came on an inexperienced eight-year-old horse and after a Cross Country phase run in the most testing of weather.

“Now I can say I have a champion for the future,” said a visibly thrilled Jung, in a warning to the rest of the world that he is not planning to give anyone else a chance just yet. “fischerTakinou is a really good horse and I think he has the quality for the next championships.”

Great Britain, the silver medallists, have not been beaten at a home European Championship since 1959, but they faced a mountainous task when they had to add Nicola Wilson’s Cross Country penalties after the retirement of William Fox-Pitt.

“I feel rather fraudulent sitting here,” joked Fox-Pitt, who was competing at his 10th European Championship and has only once failed to bring home a medal. “But the girls did so well. They really deserved the silver.”

Pippa Funnell, who finished eighth on the nine-year-old Sandman 7, and Kitty King (Persimmon) both produced clear rounds, and team newcomer King, fourth, only missed an individual medal by 0.1 penalty. British individual Izzy Taylor, in overnight third with KBIS Briarlands Matilda, hit the planks to drop to sixth.

Funnell, European champion in 1999 and 2001, summed up a weekend of personal triumph: “I think the selectors hoped that with my experience I would coax a good result out of an inexperienced horse, but I didn’t need to coax at all. This has kept my Olympic dream alive.”

A difficult weekend for Wilson nearly got worse when she misjudged fence seven and One Two Many tripped through it, leaving her clinging on around his neck. “It felt like a lifetime in which I had plenty of time to think through the consequences of falling off,” she said. “I knew we were down to three riders and I kept saying ‘don’t fall off, don’t fall off!’ to myself.”

The French were a very happy quartet after taking the team bronze medal and securing their Olympic qualification. The icing on the cake was an individual bronze medal for team newcomer Thibaut Vallette.

The French army officer, a Lieutenant-Colonel based at the army equitation school at Saumur (FRA), jumped a superb clear round on Qing du Briot ENE HN, an 11-year-old Selle Francais by Eolien ll.

“I never expected this to happen,” said Vallette. “Our first job was to qualify for the Olympics so to come home with two medals is a real bonus.”

The other Olympic qualifying spot goes to the Swedes, who finished in fifth place behind the Netherlands, who had booked their ticket to Rio last year in Normandy.

The magnitude of the German victory will have left the rest of the world wondering what they can do to beat them. “You can see by our smiles how much this means to us,” said Ingrid Klimke. “But we are very aware that we have to keep working to stay here because there are many other nations who want to be standing where we are.”

“The best team has definitely won,” concluded Event Director Alec Lochore. “The Germans did the best job of dealing with Scotch mist!”

Final Individual Results
1 Michael Jung/fischerTakinou (GER)* 33.5 + 0 + 0 = 33.5
2 Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER)* 31.4 + 11.2 + 0 = 42.6
3 Thibaut Vallette/Qing du Briot ENE HN (FRA)* 36.8 + 8.4 + 0 = 45.2
4 Kitty King/Persimmon (GBR)* 36.9 + 8.4 + 0 = 45.3
5 Ingrid Klimke/Horseware Hale Bob (GER)* 37.8 + 8.8 + 0 = 46.6
6 Izzy Taylor/KBIS Briarlands Matilda (GBR) 44.0 + 0 + 4 = 48.0
7 Dirk Schrade/Hop And Skip (GER)* 43.1 + 5.2 + 0 = 48.3
8 Pippa Funnell/Sandman 7 (GBR)* 41.0 + 9.6 + 0 = 50.6
9 Gemma Tattersall/Arctic Soul (GBR) 47.3 + 0 + 6 = 53.3
10 Peter Thomsen/Horseware Barney (GER) 47.3 + 10.4 + 0 = 57.7
*denotes team rider

Final Team Results
1 Germany 122.7;

2 Great Britain 173.3;

3 France 183.7;

4 Netherlands 213.3;

5 Sweden 284.

About the European champion
Michael Jung (GER), 33, is the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and the first to win five championship titles consecutively. He first came to prominence in 2009, when he won the Luhmühlen CCI4*, the FEI World Cup™ Eventing final in Strzegom (POL) and an individual European bronze medal in Fontainebleau (FRA), all on La Biosthetique Sam.

The pair went on to win the world title in Kentucky (USA) in 2010, double European gold in Luhmühlen in 2011 and double Olympic gold in London (GBR) in 2012. In 2013, they were second at Badminton CCI4*; this year they finished third at Kentucky (USA) and last weekend they added the Burghley CCI4* title to their collection.
Jung won a second European title, at Malmö (SWE) in 2013 on the nine-year-old Halunke, and last year finished second at Luhmühlen and won world team gold and individual silver medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA) on FischerRocana FST, also the winner of Kentucky CCI4* in April this year. He lives at Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment.

FischerTakinou is an eight-year-old chestnut gelding by the Jumping sire Jaguar Mail out of an Anglo-Arab mare. He is owned by the Jung family and Klaus and Sabine Fischer.

Audio links

Michael Jung (GER) Individual and team gold:

Sandra Auffarth (GER) Individual silver and Team gold

Kitty King (GBR) 4th Individual, Team silver:

Izzy Taylor (GBR) 6th Individual, Team silver:

Michael Ryan (IRE) 14th Individual:

Sara Algotsson Ostholt (SWE) 23rd Individual, 5th Team

 

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