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  • German wins with last-to-go daredevil ride

    German wins with last-to-go daredevil ride By Louise Parkes Daniel Deusser (37), winner of today's third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League, admitted this evening that it was a last-minute change of plan that gave him victory. "The first question we all had when we saw the jump-off course was, is it possible to do six strides from fence one to fence two? I was thinking for me it was definitely seven because my horse would be hard to turn...and actually I only did the six because I saw Niels going in six, and I know that he has not the biggest horse and he was in the lead so I had to do the same!" the German rider said after bringing the crowd to their feet with a breathtaking last-to-go run with Calisto Blue. There's something about Jumping Verona that always guarantees a thriller, and this was vintage stuff. "I've been here a couple of times with my best horses in good shape, and every year we have big sport with close results and a lot of people in a very exciting jump-off. So to be one time the winner here makes me very proud!" Daniel Deusser (GER) The Italian fixture attracted a spectacular line-up including all three medallists from the individual podium at last month's FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA, and their horses too. However new world champion, Germany's Simone Blum, had a tumble with DSP Alice on Friday and although both are fine she decided to ride her young horse Cool Hill who had eight first-round faults. So when bronze medallists Steve Guerdat and Bianca also faulted in the opening round then silver medallist Martin Fuchs and his brilliant gelding Clooney were the only ones to make it through to the 14-horse jump-off. Fifth to go against the clock, Italy's Luca Marziani set the crowd alight when storming home with Tokyo du Soleil in 39.69 seconds, but then Bertram Allen (23) raised the bar with a brilliant round from his 2014 Verona winner Molly Malone in 38.60 seconds to take the lead. However the young Irishman was immediately demoted by his Swiss friend Martin Fuchs who shaved 0.2 off that, and then Niels Brynseels and his incredibly quick mare Gancia de Muze re-set the target once more when blazing through the timers in 37.03 seconds. With just three to go it seemed that just couldn't be bettered, and that the Belgian had it in the bag. Even Deusser doubted he could do it - "but I was last to go, and with the public and the atmosphere like that, I just stopped thinking about it and went in and I really wanted to try!" Daniel Deusser (GER) The roar of the crowd was enough to tell him he had succeeded, by an incredibly narrow margin of just 0.2 seconds. His expression of sheer delight said it all. He has only been riding the 11-year-old gelding Calisto Blue since July and it hasn't all been plain sailing. "In the beginning it was very difficult, he's scopey, very careful and fast but he's very nervous. Especially with me with my long body, it was difficult to find the co-ordination because he was very sensitive. I've had good results in Grand Prix at Berlin and Brussels, but I was always fourth or fifth and he was never really able to win a class for me" explained the tall German. That was until today of course. Fuchs was very happy with his third-place finish and some valuable early points in the battle for one of the top-18 places in the Western European League that will take riders to the Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April. "This is my first big show since Tryon so many riders I haven't seen since my (silver) medal have been coming to me to say congratulations and so it has been a very nice show!" Martin Fuchs (SUI) Deusser was reminded this evening that he has finished first, second and third on the World Cup podium. "Yes my history in the World Cup sounds quite good if you look at it like that, but every year we start on zero again! It's nice to start the season with 20 points, but it's still a long way to the Final and I'm definitely hoping to qualify!" said the man who line out again next week in Lyon (FRA), the place where he posted his memorable series victory in 2014. Watch highlights of Daniel Deusser's win here Results 1. Calisto Blue (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/0 36.83 2. Gancia de Muze (Niels Bruynseels) BEL 0/0 37.03 3. Clooney (Martin Fuchs) SUI 0/0 38.40 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League after Round 3 at Verona (ITA): 1 Hans Dieter Dreher GER 28 2 Kevin Staut FRA 22[caption id="attachment_10975" align="alignright" width="300"] Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Verona Daniel Deusser and Calisto Blue (GER)
    Photo FEI/ Massimo Argenziano[/caption] 3 Gudrun Patteet BEL 21 4 Luca Moneta ITA 21 5 Daniel Deusser GER 20 5 Douglas Lindelow SWE 20 7 Niels Bruynseels BEL 17 8 Steve Guerdat SUI 17
  • Madden & Breitling Reassert Themselves With Longines Win in Washington

    Madden & Breitling Reassert Themselves With Longines Win in Washington

    [caption id="attachment_10972" align="alignright" width="300"] Breitling LSElizabeth Madden (USA)[/caption]Madden & Breitling Reassert Themselves With Longines Win in Washington By Catie Staszak As the defending champion of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, US Olympian Beezie Madden is prequalified for next year's Final in Gothenburg. Saturday night in Washington, D.C. (USA), she reminded everyone why she's earned such a distinction. Madden, aboard her World Cup Champion Breitling LS, put on an absolute clinic to win the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington. On a night that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Washington International Horse Show, the duo topped a four-horse jump-off, crossing the timers of Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER)'s shortened course in 30.74 seconds. It was an all-American female podium, as Katie Dinan (USA) and Dougie Douglas finished second (32.93 seconds), and Lucy Davis (USA) and Caracho were third (33.44). "This was Breitling's first indoor this year...nice to see he's in form. It just shows why he was so good at World Cup Finals!" Beezie Madden (USA) "This was [Breitling's] first indoor event of the year," Madden said. "It's nice to see that he's in form. It just shows why he was so good at World Cup Finals. He walked right in here, and he's clever, rideable, adjustable, careful, and he can handle tight spaces like this." Coming back third in the jump-off, Madden and Breitling were able to shave more than two seconds off Dinan's time thanks to their swift turns—particularly one taken to the penultimate vertical. "My horse has natural foot speed and is quite good at turning," Madden said. "I think I made [the time] up on the turns at both ends [on the ring], particularly on the last turn." A Closer Race in the East Washington's results made the World Cup standings tighter than ever. Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) remains at the top of the east coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with 29 points, but with her third-place finish, Davis is now tied with Georgina Bloomberg (USA) in second. They each have 28 points. A point behind them is Mattias Tromp (USA), and just four points separate the top five, with Madden (26 points) now sitting in fifth. The North American League continues in Lexington, KY (USA), on 3 November 2018. Results 1. Breitling LS, Beezie Madden (USA) 0/0 30.74 2. Dougie Douglas, Katie Dinan (USA) 0/0 32.93 3. Caracho, Lucy Davis (USA) 0/0 33.44 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League -East sub league standings: 1 Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) 29 2 Georgina Bloomberg (USA) 28 3 Lucy Davis (USA) 28 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League -West sub league standings: 1 Zazou Hoffman (USA) 32 2 Eve Jobs (USA) 31 3 Uma O'Neill (USA) 24
  • Germany’s Wilhelm Genn Puts On a Show in Sacramento to Notch First Longines Victory

    Germany’s Wilhelm Genn Puts On a Show in Sacramento to Notch First Longines Victory

    Germany's Wilhelm Genn Puts On a Show in Sacramento to Notch First Longines Victory By Catie Staszak Less than three hours from the city of Columbus, which hosted its first ever Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier this weekend, is German rider Wilhelm Genn's Rheinland Farm. Genn wasn't there, but found himself on top in the World Cup competition, more than 2,400 miles away. Genn (GER) and his mount Bugatti topped a nine-horse jump-off to win the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento, their first victory in a World Cup event. With a clear jump-off in 36.88 seconds, the duo topped Karrie Rufer (USA) and Georgie d'Auvray EC (37.31 seconds) by just under a half-second. Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou finished third, crossing the timers with a clean round in 38.47 seconds. "I was hoping I got a chance to run for it today, and it worked out. Bugatti likes the footing, and he likes the crowd—it gets him a little excited, and that makes him better, because normally he's a very lazy horse. It all kind of played a little bit in my favor." Wilhelm Genn (Germany) The stands were packed to capacity Saturday night at the Murieta Equestrian Center as 25 combinations lined up to take on Olaf Petersen, Jr.'s (GER) 1.60m course. The first clear round did not come until the 14th horse in the order, but eight others quickly followed suit. "My horse felt great," Genn said. "I like to plan things, so before we came here, we showed in Kentucky, because they have a grand prix Friday night under the nights [indoors]. That was our warm-up, and we jumped very well there, so I felt pretty confident." Genn had not originally planned to compete on the west coast, but when his son Theo, who also jumped Saturday night with Taylor Reid's Boucanier, elected to make the journey, he decided to join him. The decision proved to pay off in spades. "I really came here for my son," Genn said. "And then I thought, 'I'll bring my two horses.'" Two New Leaders New names sit atop the standings in both the east and west coast sub leagues of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League. Genn, who is declared on the east coast, now leads those standings. He is tied at the top with Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), who earned her first Longines victory in New York. Both have 20 points. Rufer may have finished second in Sacramento, but she also ended the night a winner, going to the top of the west coast standings with 21 points. She earned 17 points for her runner-up finish, combined with the four points she received in at Vancouver (CAN) in August, the first qualifier of the 2018-2019 season. The North American League continues with a double-header weekend. On the east coast, Columbus, OH (USA) hosts its first World Cup qualifier on 07 October 2018 at 1:00pm ET. Results 1. Bugatti, Wilhelm Genn (GER) 0/0 36.88 2. Georgie d'Auvray EC, Karrie Rufer (USA) 0/0 37.31 3. Caillou, Karl Cook (USA) 0/0 38.47 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League -West sub league standings: 1 Karrie Rufer (USA) 21 2 Uma O'Neill (USA) 20 3 Carlos Hank Guerreiro (MEX) 17 FULL STANDINGS Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League -East sub league standings: 1 Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) 20 2 Wilhelm Genn (GER) 20 3 Conor Swail (IRL) 17
  • USA finishes second ahead of Brazil in third

    USA finishes second ahead of Brazil in third

    [caption id="attachment_10964" align="alignright" width="300"] Marcus Ehning of Germany rides Come IL Faut 5 as the Germany team wins the Challenge Cup in the Real Club de Polo where during the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, 06 October 2018. The Finals run on 07 October 2018.
    Photo FEI/Jim Hollander[/caption]USA finishes second ahead of Brazil in third by Louise Parkes by Louise Parkes Marcus Ehning was the hero of the hour when clinching the Challenge Cup for Germany at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final 2018 in Barcelona (ESP) tonight riding Comme Il Faut. Team-mate Philipp Weishaupt produced a foot-perfect pathfinding run from the lovely mare Asathir, but when Hans-Dieter Dreher left two fences on the floor with Berlinda and youngest team member Maurice Tebbel had a fence down and a time fault with Chacco's Son, then all the pressure was piled on Ehning's shoulders. He knew exactly what he had to do because he's done it so many times before. "I had to go clear to win the class. This last 20 years I've been doing the sport I'm used to the pressure. Especially this year I had a few rounds where I had to be clear and I was lucky I was clear, but I hope that will change and that in future years the pressure is on someone else!" Marcus Ehning (Team Germany) he said with a smile tonight after his team won through on a total of five faults. Of the seven competing nations there were two with just three team-members, Canada who started out that way in yesterday's first round of the Final and USA whose numbers were reduced when Jessica Springsteen and RMF Zecilie were a late withdrawal this evening. But Alex Granato, who was on the reserve bench yesterday, really rose to the occasion by steering Carlchen W through a foot-perfect round. So when all the US had to count was a double-error from Andy Kocher and Kahlua and a single time fault from Lucy Deslauriers with Hester then their nine-fault total was good enough for runner-up spot. That time fault was costly however, because Deslauriers was the last of the five riders chasing down a €50,000 bonus on offer to anyone producing clear rounds both yesterday and today. If she had been just that little bit faster she would have had it all to herself. Brazil lined up third on 10 faults ahead of Spain with 15, Canada with 16, Great Britain with 20 and the United Arab Emirates on a big score of 40 faults. The Germans had mixed feelings about tonight's success. The competition was open to the teams that did not qualify in yesterday's first round for tomorrow's top-eight Final. Philipp Weishaupt said it was tough to miss the cut by such a narrow margin when time was taken into account after four teams completed with an eight-fault scoreline. "We missed out by less than a second, and it wasn't so easy to keep the motivation up today. We put our breeches on in the hotel and came out to jump tonight but all the other teams had their jeans on. But we knew we had to do it and we knew we had to try our best", he added. Ehning, who along with Tebbel was a member of the German team that claimed bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA two weeks ago when their team-mate, Simone Blum, also took the individual title with the lovely mare DSP Alice, is one of the world's most admired horsemen. Tonight he had the crowd spell-bound as he cruised at high speed around the track to bring glory to his country once again. Asked how he prepared to go into such a pressure round he explained that Comme Il Faut had been jumping too high in the practice arena, so he schooled him over small fences to get him to jump lower which would allow them to take on the course at greater speed. "Especially at the first fence I wanted him to be fast. The time was a bit tight...but if you can flow with him then you just have to follow him and he makes it very easy for the rider, he's a very clever horse!" Marcus Ehning (Team Germany) Meanwhile his Chef d'Equipe described the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series as "the biggest thing we have in our sport! All of our different stakeholders are fighting for it, the breeders, supporters, owners, the riders, the Chefs' d'Equipe, the Federations, everybody. It's something special to be in a team, to fight with a team, to lose or win together for your country. I love this!" Otto Becker said.
  • Plenty of surprises on the opening day

    Plenty of surprises on the opening day

    Plenty of surprises on the opening day by Louise Parkes [caption id="attachment_10960" align="alignright" width="300"] Longines FEI Nations Cup™ final Barcelona 2018 Julia Houtzager-Kayser AUT riding Sterrehof's Cayetano Z
    Photo FEI/ Lukasz Kowalski[/caption]"We won already!" said Austrian Chef d'Equipe Marcus Wallishauser after his team shared top spot with Italy at the end of the first round of competition at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain tonight. But there's still a long way to go before the new champions are crowned on Sunday afternoon when the top eight teams from tonight's class return to the arena for the second and deciding round. The Austrians and Italians collected just a single time fault each, and with just four faults apiece Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands have also made the cut along with the Irish who picked up five faults. But it came down to the combined times of team riders to separate the Swiss, French, Germans and Americans when they all completed with eight faults on the board. And when the calculations were done it was the Swiss and French who were signed up for Sunday afternoon, while the Germans and Americans will join Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, the UAE and host nation of Spain in tomorrow night's Challenge Cup for those that didn't make it. Wallishauser's team booked their tickets to Barcelona when winning the Europe Division 2 qualifier in Budapest (HUN), but they were not hot favourites coming into tonight's competition even though that victory in August was a convincing one when they trounced the opposition with a zero score. "For us to be in the final is already perfect - now we just need to focus like we did today and let's see what we can do!" said the Austrian team manager who is hoping that Roland Englebrecht (Chambery), Julia Houtzager-Kayser (Sterrehof's Cayetano Z), Felix Koller (Captain future 3) and Max Kuhner (PSG Final) can continue this run of great form. But as Italian anchorman, Lorenzo de Luca, pointed out tonight, the next challenge from Spanish course designer Santiago Varela is going to be considerably more testing. "There's still a big day ahead - Sunday is going to be huge!" Lorenzo de Luca (Team Italy) He picked up four faults with Ensor de Litrange but was under absolutely no pressure when last to go because team-mates Luca Marziani (Tokyo du Soleil) and Riccardo Pisani (Chaclot) had both jumped clear while Bruno Chimirri (Tower Mouche) clocked up just a single time fault. So that was all they would have to put on the board when the best three scores were taken into account. "It was a very good night for Italy, my team all jumped great so I didn't have to jump but I decided to bring my horse in to let him see the fences. We are going to celebrate tonight but we will still be focused for Sunday, I promise you!" de Luca added. In stark contrast to the Italian rider, Irish anchorman Darragh Kenny had no room for error when he came into the ring. With five faults already on the board, another four would leave his team well outside the qualifying zone, but he kept a cool head to steer Balou du Reventon through the finish with nothing to add. "Our goal was to get into Sunday, that was the most important thing for us so we were very happy we did that. We have a great team and we're all working really well together so I think we should do well. We'll go out there trying to do our best and see what happens, that's for sure!" he said.
  • Thrilling 10-horse jump-off sets Finnish crowd wild

    Thrilling 10-horse jump-off sets Finnish crowd wild

    [caption id="attachment_10957" align="alignright" width="300"] Helsinki International Horse Show; Longines FEI World Cup Helsinki; Gudrun Patteet - Sea Coast Pebbles Z BEL
    Photo FEI /Satu Pirinen[/caption]Thrilling 10-horse jump-off sets Finnish crowd wild By Louise Parkes Gudrun Patteet (33) and Sea Coast Pebbles Z won the sizzling second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Helsinki, Finland today. Second-last to go in an edge-of-the-seat 10-horse jump-off, they scorched through the finish to post the Belgian rider's first-ever World Cup success and to firmly grasp those maximum qualifying points on the road to the Longines Final next April. And it wasn't the easiest of tasks because the second-round decider was stacked high with some of the most formidable opposition on the showjumping planet. Swiss supremo Steve Guerdat set a blistering target with the great mare Hannah when third to go against the clock, but they just kept getting quicker and quicker. However Patteet, who has an outstanding reputation as a producer of top-class young horses, is no shrinking violet, and neither is her quirky 12-year-old gelding. "He's not normal, he's very complicated and very, very hot, but he's so brave and very talented. I'm really happy for him, he was super today!" Gudrun Patteet (BEL) Guerdat looked to have really thrown down the gauntlet when galloping home in 40.10 seconds over the jump-off course set by Brazil's Guilherme Jorge. And when French rider Olivier Robert and the handsome Tempo de Paban and Belgium's Christophe Vanderhasselt with identity Vitseroel were clear but slower, the Swiss star remained in front. But when Germany's Philipp Weishaupt and the 11-year-old mare Asathir broke the 40-second barrier despite a wide run to the last, and then reigning European champion Peder Fredricson from Sweden was faster still when breaking the beam in 39.51 seconds with the 10-year-old Hansson WI, the lead kept changing. The 2011 series champion, Christian Ahlmann from Germany, didn't threaten when stopping the clock in 40.43 seconds when third-last to go with his exciting nine-year-old grey stallion, Clintrexo Z, who looks set for future-stardom. However Pateet and Pebbles most certainly did, racing through the track with absolute determination and scorching through the finish in the winning time of 39.30 as the crowd went wild with excitement. Last in, Hans-Dieter Dreher and the flamboyant 17-year-old stallion Embassy ll gave it their best shot, but when the Longines clock showed 39.47 seconds the German duo had to settle for runner-up spot ahead of Fredricson in third. Pateet, who is based in the heart of Belgium's horse-country between Brussels and Antwerp, won gold in 2013 and bronze this year at the prestigious FEI WBFSH Championships for Young Horses in Lanaken, Belgium. "I used to ride them from four-year-olds but now I start riding them at six, and I want to continue doing that because you become more of a team with your horse when you ride them from when they are young", she said today. She only acquired Pebbles as an eight-year-old however, and he was never easy. He still isn't. She has an unusual warm-up routine before going into the ring. "First he goes on the lunge, and then I get on him with 10 horses to go because if I warm him up any other way he just loses it! I know how to handle him now, but I have to follow my plan carefully. He's one of the fastest horses in world so if the plan goes well he can beat anybody!" Joe Bloggs (Team Country) Today's win leaves her in second place on the Western European League table going into next week's third leg of the series in Verona, Italy with Germany's Dreher sitting in pole position when adding points from last weekend's open in Oslo (NOR) where he finished sixth.
  • Irish Sport Horse Studbook reigns supreme once again

    Irish Sport Horse Studbook reigns supreme once again

    French-bred Cristal Fontaine tops 6-year-olds, Brandenburg mare Asha P wins 7-year-old category By Louise Parkes
    [caption id="attachment_10953" align="alignright" width="300"] GBR-Kitty King rides Cristal Fontaine during the Cross Country for the CCI1*6YO. Interim-3rd. 2018 FRA-Mondial du Lion World Breeding Championships for Young Horses. Saturday 20 October.
    Photo FEI/ Libby Law Photography[/caption] The Irish Sport Horse Studbook won the overall title for the second consecutive year at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2018 which drew to a close at the Haras National at l'Isle de Briand in Le Lion d'Angers (FRA) yesterday. The title is decided by the best three scores of each Studbook in both categories, and it was the performances of Emerald Jonny ridden by Great Britain's Piggy French, Cooley Moonshine with America's Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Universal Cooley with Britain's Camilla Millie Dumas that decided the result when these three finished second, third and fourth in the 6-year-old division. The combined score for the Irish-bred horses was 79.5, giving them almost three points of an advantage over the second-placed Selle Français Studbook while the KWPN Studbook of The Netherlands finished third on a score of 102.0. There were 25 Irish horses representing eight nations in the two categories, but it was the Selle Français gelding Cristal Fontaine that claimed the 6-Year-Old title for Britain's Kitty King while the Brandenburg mare, Asha P, was steered to success in the 7-year-old class by Germany's Ingrid Klimke. 6-Year-Olds King and the French-bred grey owned by Alex Wakeley posted a score of 25.4 for third place on Dressage day and never faltered. America's Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine were the dressage leaders ahead of Dumas and Universal Cooley in second while British compatriot, Piggy French, sat in fourth spot going into cross-country day when the 20-fence track presented relatively few problems. However single showjumping errors cost the top two dearly yesterday, dropping Halliday-Sharp to third and Dumas to fourth while clears for King and French saw them claim the top two places. King (36) is an Olympian and a veteran of multiple Young Horse Championships at Le Lion where she previously finished third with Zidante as a 6-year-old before returning to win the 7-year-olds with the same horse the following year. She was filled with emotion yesterday when she realised she'd done it again, and was mighty proud of her lovely grey gelding.

    "He's just tried really, really hard. I always said to the owner he was as good as Zidante.....and I'm just chuffed to bits with him. Millie (Dumas) and Liz (Halliday-Sharp) are on really good jumpers, I know what their English form is like so I would have been delighted to just finish third on my dressage score. It's wonderful, I'm so pleased for my team at home, my sponsors and especially my owners!"

    Kitty King (GBR) A total of 40 horse-and-rider combinations started in this category and 36 completed. 7-Year-Olds In contrast to the younger horses, the 7-year-olds found the cross-country test set by master course designer Pierre Michelet much more challenging, with 19 different horse-and-rider combinations racking up penalty points including three that retired and seven that were eliminated. A total of 69 started in this category, and 56 completed. Newly-crowned team and individual world champion, Great Britain's Rosalind Canter, made it all the way to fence 20, four from home, before her Irish-bred Rehy Royal Diamond collected 20 penalties for a refusal. Well down the line in 17th place after dressage she finished 44th in the final analysis, while dressage leader, Germany's Michael Jung, was eliminated for a fall with Chocolat at fence 8 which left the three-time Olympic gold medallist with a shoulder injury. As a result second-placed Klimke and Asha P rose to pole position when cruising round the cross-country track well inside the time-allowed of 9'14", but going into yesterday's final phase they had only 0.3 of a lead over Britain's Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin who posted the second-quickest cross-country time. However a fence down yesterday saw this pair drop to fifth and it was Great Britain's Tom Jackson with the Irish-bred Capels Hollow Drift who slotted into runner-up spot behind Klimke and her bay Brandenburg mare who never put a foot wrong. Third place went to Astier Nicolas from France with Babylon de Gamma (SF) and Belgium's Karin Donckers and Leipheimer van't Verhah (BWP) finished fourth. Double Olympic and double World Championship team gold medallist Klimke, who clinched individual bronze with SAP Hale Bob at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA last month, was delighted with her result.

    "It's my third win at the Mondial du Lion and the happiness is still the same! I love more and more bringing young horses to top level, and winning here is really important. My mare is really good and I believe she will easily rise to 3-Star level. I have no doubt she will step into Hale Bob's shoes!"

    Ingrid Klimke (GER)
  • FEI Dressage World Cup™ WEL: Home win for Daniel Bachmann Andersen at opening leg in Herning

    FEI Dressage World Cup™ WEL: Home win for Daniel Bachmann Andersen at opening leg in Herning

    Germany's Langehanenberg second, Sweden's Vilhelmson Silfven takes third By Louise Parkes
    Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) and Blue Hors Zack were definitive winners of today's first leg of the new FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League season on home ground in Herning, Denmark. All five judges put the Danish duo into pole position while Germany's Helen Langehanenberg (36) steered Damsey FRH into second spot ahead of Sweden's Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (51) and Don Auriello in third. "It was a fantastic Freestyle today - no mistakes and very easy, very light and smooth. Yesterday Zack felt tight during the Grand Prix and we had a few mistakes. But today he was suppled up a little bit more and that paid off a lot", Bachmann Andersen said. [caption id="attachment_10949" align="alignright" width="300"] Daniel Bachmann Andersen DEN riding Blue Hors Zack 21/10/18
    Photo FEI/ Ridehesten.com/Kristine Ulsø Olsen[/caption] Langehanenberg won yesterday's Grand Prix ahead of Vilhelmson Silfven in second and Bachmann Andersen in third. But the Danish rider who became part of the Blue Hors Stud team four years ago was determined to do better.

    "I felt I had a chance to win today but I knew I had to be humble. Helen and Tinne could also do good so I had to ride really well - I took my chance and I rode my chance!"

    Daniel Bachmann Andersen (DEN) The bar was raised to over 80 percent by six-time Olympian, Vilhelmson Silfven, when third-last to go with her 16-year-old gelding. The pair finished second at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) two years ago and were on the Swedish team that finished fourth at last month's FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA. However their mark of 80.90 was immediately bettered by London 2012 Olympic team silver medallist Langehanenberg whose brilliant record at the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals includes victory with Damon Hill NRW in 2013. A score of 81.40 with the 16-year-old stallion Damsey FRH put her out in front when second-last into the arena today, but her advantage was short-lived. Big marks included two scores of 9.9 for Degree of Difficulty from judges Katrina Wuest (GER) and Mariette Sanders-Van Gansewinkel (NED) as Blue Hors Zack soared to the top of the leaderboard on a final tally of 83.37 for victory. Bachmann Andersen was delighted with the horse who he says has "an amazing temperament, he's sharp and yet he's still very calm".

    "He's also a breeding stallion and he's not just my horse, he's my friend and my partner, he's everything to me! He was given up a bit by other riders who had him before, he wasn't easy because he's very sensitive, so I had to get into his heart and get him to trust me - now what we have is very special!"

    Daniel Bachmann Andersen (DEN) And Zack is also special because he's blind in one eye. "There were a few issues to work on and a lot of bumps along the way, and he was actually 12 years old when he made his debut at this level of of the sport but he just got better and better from show to show after that", Bachmann Andersen added. However after today's great result, Zack will take a break because he's had a busy year, finishing seventh at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2018 in Paris (FRA), competing successfully in Aachen (GER) in July and finishing 10th individually in the Grand Prix and 17th in the Special at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ last month. "My plan now is to give him a rest until the qualifier in Amsterdam (NED) in January, and I definitely want to make it to the Final in Gothenburg with him" the Danish rider said this evening. Watch highlights here
  • Let’s face it falling off is never fun! This article by Malila Wollan has some tips, and the statistics are startling!

    Let’s face it falling off is never fun! This article by Malila Wollan has some tips, and the statistics are startling!

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    How to Fall Off a Horse

    “Don’t jam yourself into the ground like a lawn dart,” says Austin Anderson, a trick rider and horse stuntman from Troup, Tex. You’ll have a few fractions of a second in the air before you land; use them to protect yourself by tucking your chin to your chest and preparing to roll, which will increase your deceleration time and distribute the force of the impact over more of your body.

    “Your priority should be protecting your head and neck,” says Anderson, who estimates that he has fallen from horses 150 times since he started performing at age 4. Many training courses on how to fall off a horse encourage riders to be careful about breaking their descent with their arms, but Anderson says that if you’re going down head first, you should use your arms as a bumperlike “crumple zone”: A broken wrist is better than brain trauma. Researchers have found that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by as much as half, but fewer than a quarter of riders wear them, including Anderson, who opts for a cowboy hat instead.

    In his stunt work, Anderson is usually being paid to look as though he has been shot off his horse, which means he needs to tumble in an uncontrolled, limbs-akimbo way and often land directly on his back or belly. For this type of fall, wear a protective vest and prepare the ground ahead of time by removing rocks and laying down sand or peat moss to make for a softer landing.

    If you ride horses enough, you will eventually fall off; equestrians are admitted to the hospital at a rate of about once per 2,000 hours of riding, which is more than motorcyclists. Horse riders suffer higher rates of severe brain and body injuries than skiers, automobile racers and rugby and football players combined. Anderson has spent much of his life atop horses; he can ride standing with a foot planted on the back of two steeds galloping side by side. No matter how comfortable you are, though, horses are powerful animals: Some can weigh thousands of pounds; some can run 40 miles per hour. In comparison, you are slow and fragile — eminently breakable, really. “When you’re young, you recover easier,” says Anderson, who is 49. “But as you get older, you end up paying for those falls.”

      reposted from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/25/magazine/how-to-fall-off-a-horse.html o.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Fellow-American Ryan finishes a close second, Sweden’s von Eckermann takes third

    Fellow-American Ryan finishes a close second, Sweden’s von Eckermann takes third

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    Fellow-American Ryan finishes a close second, Sweden’s von Eckermann takes third  By Louise Parkes
    [caption id="attachment_10840" align="alignright" width="477"] Elizabeth Madden of USA (C), winner of the FEI Longines World Cup Final in Jumping sprays Champagne on Henrik von Eckermann (R) of Sweden, who took third place, as Devin Ryan (L) of USA, runs away from the podium during the awards ceremony in Paris, France, 15 April 2018.
    Photo FEi/Jim Hollander[/caption] America’s Beezie Madden (54) held on to win the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 title in Paris (FRA) today, but she didn’t do it the easy way. In a cliffhanger of a second round she faulted for the first time over three tough days of jumping when last to go with the brilliant Breitling LS. And the crowd had to hold their breath until she crossed the line to a roar of approval, separated by just two penalty points from compatriot Devin Ryan (36) in second place. The biggest surprise package of the week, the relatively unknown Ryan was relentlessly cool yet again as his apparently bomb-proof grey gelding son of the great stallion Zirocco Blue continued to make the super-tough courses designed by Spain’s Santiago Varela look fairly elementary. The hard-luck story of the final afternoon was that of Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (37) who had to settle for third place for the second year in a row. In runner-up spot and carrying four faults as the afternoon began, he might have forced Madden into a jump-off but for a mistake with Tovek’s Mary Lou in the closing moments. This evening he wasn’t forgiving himself for that. Madden knew she’d been in a fight.

    "When I had that rail down I was a little nervous, but I still felt my horse was jumping well and I knew I had to pull it together to finish on four (faults) and try to get it done!"

    Beezie Madden (USA) The rider who previously claimed the title in 2013 said it was “double-exciting” to post her second win, and particularly with this 12-year-old stallion. “We’ve really believed in him but he’s taken time to mature, so for him to come through today is fantastic! It’s taken a little while to replace Simon (her 2013 World Cup winning ride) and Cortes (team silver 2016 Olympic Games) but it’s happening!” she added. Her two nearest rivals kept all the pressure in place when making no mistake in today’s first round, von Eckermann carrying his four points forward and Ryan still sitting on a total of six.  A little rattle at the oxer at fence three on the 13-obstacle course, and another at vertical no. 7 set American hearts beating a little faster, but Madden cleared the line with nothing to add, so the top end of the standings looked the same when the top 20 returned for round two over a new track. And Ryan, who hails from Long Valley in New Jersey, did it again, steering Eddie Blue home with apparent ease once more. At just nine years old the horse was the youngest in the Final but you’d never have guessed. “His brain is unbelievable, he never knocked a pole as a five or six-year-old, he won the American Gold Cup as an eight-year-old and was second at Devon, one of our biggest shows in the US - he’s just a fantastic horse!” said the man who qualified from the US East Coast series. Second-last into the ring von Eckermann knew he would pressure Madden with a clear, and this evening he was beating himself up about having the second fence down this time out. “It was my mistake, my horse jumped fantastic as always, but we got too close and I interfered - I should have trusted her quality and it wouldn’t have happened”, said the clearly disappointed Swede. You could hear a pin drop after Madden’s stallion hit the middle element of the triple combination at fence six. One more error would hand the title to fellow-American Ryan, but the lady who has two Olympic gold medals in her trophy cabinet along with a whole lot more valuable hardware didn’t crumble, bringing Breitling home with nothing further to add for a very popular victory. Only five female athletes have taken the title in the 40-year history of the series that every rider wants to win, and they all have one thing in common. Like today’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion, Melanie Smith (1983), Leslie Burr Lenehan (1986) and Katharine Burdsall (1987) all flew the American flag, while three-time winner Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum from Germany (2005, 2008, 2009) was born in Los Angeles, California. It seemed history was repeating itself, as Burdsall’s victory was also posted at exactly the same Paris venue when the Jumping Final was last staged in France 31 years ago. The final standings showed three US riders in the top four places tonight as 2017 winner, McLain Ward, slotted into fourth spot. The happiest of all was new double-champion Madden. “I love the World Cup Final - each year I make it a goal to get there, and to win, and I did it again!” said the lady who will be aiming join the elite club of three-time champions when the Final returns to Gothenburg in Sweden for the 23rd time next April.
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  • FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2018: Is anyone betting on the boys this time around??

    FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2018: Is anyone betting on the boys this time around??

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    The statistics are stacked against them, but the five male athletes competing at next week's FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) won't be intimidated by that....
    by Louise Parkes [caption id="attachment_10806" align="alignright" width="300"]Isabell Werth Isabell Werth from Germany rides Weihegold OLD as she finishes her final ride and wins the Grand Prix Freestyle in the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha, Nebraska, USA on 01 April 2017.[/caption] Defending champion, Germany's Isabell Werth, may be the clear favorite to reclaim the title with her fabulous mare Weihegold, but as the lady, herself so often says, "with horses you just never know what's going to happen!", and there isn't an equine expert in the world who will argue with that. A total of 18 combinations from 12 nations will be strutting their stuff at the AccorHotels Arena when the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Final kicks off in the heart of the City of Lights on 11 April. Today's final start-list (HERE) shows a single change, as Australia's Mary Hanna has withdrawn with Calanta and is replaced by Great Britain's Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite. This means that four countries, Great Britain, Netherlands, Sweden, and USA, will field two riders each, but Germany continues to have the largest representation as Werth is joined by Dorothee Schneider riding Sammy Davis Jr., and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl with Unee BB, giving their country a very strong hand. Making waves as the very first rider from the Philippines to qualify for the Final will be the 26-year-old former model, Ellesse Jordan Tzinberg, whose captivating back-story includes a determined recovery from a life-threatening accident, and who is likely to attract plenty of attention throughout the week.

    In the history of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series, which is celebrating its 33rd Final, only four men have ever claimed the coveted title.

    First was Germany's Sven Rothenberger with Andiamo in 1990, and it would be another 19 years before America's Steffen Peters followed suit with Ravel in 2009. Edward Gal and the amazing stallion, Totilas, were champions in 2010 and then his Dutch counterpart, Hans Peter Minderhoud, came out on top with Glock's Flirt in 2016. Otherwise, however, the ladies have been the dominant force, and the most dominant of all was the incredible Anky van Grunsven who posted nine victories over an extraordinary 13-year period between 1995 and 2008, a record unlikely ever to be challenged. To a large extent, she is responsible for bringing the sport to the level of popularity it enjoys today, as she championed the early development of Dressage Freestyle to Music which has become so popular with audiences all around the world over the intervening years. Watching horses "dance" to the rhythm of their Freestyle musical score is quite an experience, the sense of symmetry and the depth of understanding between man and horse is spine-tingling stuff. Edward Gal and Totilas were one of those mesmerising partnerships that left audiences with goose-bumps during their relatively short, but hugely successful, career together, and the Dutchman, the only previous male FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion in contention this time around, brings another really exciting horse to Paris next week, Glock's Zonik whose extravagant movement has been delighting spectators throughout the winter season. At 27 years of age, Denmark's Daniel Bachmann Andersen will be one of the youngest competitors at the Final, earning his place with three great performances from the stallion, Blue Hors Zack. And although Britain's Emile Faurie just squeezed into a qualifying spot after having to withdraw at the last leg in 's-Hertogenbosch (NED), he has been showing tremendous form with Delatio who shot to center-stage when runner-up behind Sweden's Patrik Kittel at Olympia in London (GBR) in December. Kittel, of course, is a master show-stealer. If you want to easily understand the appeal of Freestyle Dressage then he's your "go to" rider right now, as his gift for combining crisp, quality choreography with the most toe-tapping music is second to none. And his unbounded enthusiasm is, quite simply, infectious. It was no surprise when he galloped to the top of the Western European League table this season, and he brings the brilliant Deja to Paris in a few days time where the host nation will be represented by Rio Olympians Ludovic Henry and After You. Girl-power will be out in force, but while the boys will be fewer in number they won't be overwhelmed. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2018 - bring it on!!
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  • Riding The 20-Meter Circle

    Riding The 20-Meter Circle

    20 Meter Dressage CircleRiding The 20-Meter Circle

    Why Use the 20-meter circle to improve lateral flexion on your horse and learn how to change your bend when you change direction. When you ride on a 20-meter circle, you teach your horse to soften to the inside aids, and you learn how to ride your horse across their body from the inside leg (first) to the outside rein (second). Think Things to remember when riding a circle is that a circle is circular, so you are the same distance from the center at every step on the circle. Look at the spatial relationship of the circles in the Small and Standard Dressage Arena while riding the circle your horse's body arcs following the curve of the circle. So the inside of your horse’s body on the track is shorter than outside of your horse’s body on the track of the circle. Notice Circles will reveal stiffness in both the horse and the rider, and if you are uneven with your reins, the track of the circle is difficult to follow. Take note if it is easier to track one direction, if so then your horse may have a problem. Perhaps your horse is less flexible in one direction which is common, and the remedy is to spend more time in the awkward direction. When riding the circle your horse’s inside hind foot should track up into your horse’s inside front foot, and your horse’s outside hind foot should track up into your horse’s outside front foot. And you (the rider) shoulders and hips should match the horses bend. Plan Start riding the first 20-meter circle at the walk and plan your course. Remember that the bend is constant all the way around the circle. Think of a circle as having 4 points and ride from point to point on a curved line. Aids When you begin in this example tracking to the right: use the right rein or inside rein lightly to ask for for the bend and provide direction. The left rein or outside rein maintains contact and keep your horses straight on the circle. The riders right leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The left leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horse's hind end and keep it on the curved track and moving forward. Remember you are seeking lightness so if you have an unresponsive horse make a correction then return to the light aid.
  • Dressage Training 20 M Circles vs  Corners

    Dressage Training 20 M Circles vs Corners

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    Riding a Circle vs the Corner in the Dressage Arena


    Dressage Training Corners and CirclesWith an understanding of the spatial relationship of a circle in a dressage arena let's look at some tools to help horse's and rider's riding through the corner. Use cones to create a path and define the difference between a corner and a circle. On the ground start in the corner and measure 9 feet from the wall where the corners meet. Place a cone at your feet. Do this for each corner and in the center of the arena using an imaginary line from B to E. Once mounted you begin this exercise on the path between the arena wall and the cone, this is your corner. The path inside the cones is your 20 meter circle. Start this exercise at the walk keeping your training pyramid in mind. Look for a rhythmically relaxed walk and follow the path of the corners then at A or C move off the track and try the circle. While working the circle set a goal to keep your horse the same all the way, around the circle. This means the same pace and the same bend. On a circle, you maintain the same bend all the way around to achieve a round circle. Always take the time to teach yourself and your horse the exercise at the walk before trying the trot or canter. Once you have achieved this goal reward and take note of your horses physical and mental state before starting a new challenge. If your horse is fatigued mentally or physically call it a good day! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

    Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix

    [vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"] Queen Isabell reigns supreme in Dressage Grand Prix By Louise Parkes [caption id="attachment_10623" align="alignleft" width="400"] Isabell WERTH (GER) rides WEIHEGOLD OLD[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_10622" align="alignright" width="400"]Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES Laura GRAVES (USA) rides VERDADES[/caption] “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
    [caption id="attachment_10624" align="alignleft" width="400"]Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK Carl HESTER (GBR) rides NIP TUCK[/caption] 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.” [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Why Equine Thermography?

    Why Equine Thermography?

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    Whey Equine Thermography?

    My friend Kelly Jewel posted this video to Youtube the other day, and it caught my eye.   I have always been curious about what equine thermal imaging is, and this bit of video got me motivated enough to do a little research.  Thermal imaging works by reflecting heat from the body of your horse, and it creates a pictorial representation of your horse's surface temperature.  By measuring your horse's skin temperature, it illustrates alterations in the circulation of deeper tissues.
    This image gives us a tool to "read" what is going on under the surface of your horse's body.  Heat may be a sign of inflammation or a "hot spot" while "cold spots" may be a sign of injuries that reflects swelling, decreased circulation in damaged tissue or the presence of scar tissue.

    Equine Thermography  is useful in:

    • Saddle fitting
    • Preventative care
    • As a diagnostic tool
    • Checks tendons and ligaments
    • Checks hoof balance
    • Monitors joints
    • Monitors circulation
    • Measuring progress
    So, in a nutshell, thermal imaging gives you the inside track on your horse's physical health by helping locate injuries, specifically when your horse is presenting with inconsistent or unclear symptoms. To learn more visit Racers to Riders a Thoroughbred retraining center run by trainer Kelly Jewell. We source quality animals and thoughtfully educate them ready for a new career and a loving home. For more details please visit www.racerstoriders.co.uk or email: racerstoriders@gmail.com.
    
    
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  • Isis meets Heather Moffett

    Isis meets Heather Moffett

    During the EE teacher training, Heather Moffett gives a quick lesson for Kelly and Isis. This is Isis's first time indoors with a gallery full of people so was naturally, a little unsettled compared to her usual surroundings. This is week 7 into her training including time off with mastitis. This mare has so much potential!
  • Retraining a racehorse episode 1

    Retraining a racehorse episode 1

    [vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][ig_special_heading heading_type="2" heading_style="default" heading_align="textalignleft" padding_bottom_heading="30" animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"]Retraining a racehorse, with Heather Moffett & Kelly Jewell - episode 1[/ig_special_heading][vc_column_text animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"] Racers to Riders TV's mini series on retraining ex racehorses, featuring legendary 'Enlightened Equitation' trainer, author and saddle maker, Heather Moffett. Kelly Jewell from Racers to Riders hosts, debates and discusses techniques and tips to help in the metamorphosis from speed to elegance. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Beginning trot poles.

    Beginning trot poles.

    Dressage Training Trot PolesBeginning trot poles.

    The natural length of your horse's step this is, usually, between 4 feet and 5 feet, but this varies depending on your horse or ponies height. When you introduce the ground poles set them to match your horse's natural step. You might need some help on the ground to accomplish this but once you figure out the distance, you can memorize it and use it for future reference. Begin this exercise by breaking it down to the most simple elements. If your horse has a 4 foot step then set your poles 4 feet apart. The goal in the beginning is to introduce your horse to the trot poles. Do not start by trying to get your horse to change the length of his/her step. Let them have an opportunity to figure out where to put their feet without having to edit their stride. If you or your horse have never worked through trot poles then walk through the first couple of times. Set your goal to keep your horse going forward through the poles. The second option is to set one pole out for your horse to step over then add a second pole continuing to add poles until you have four to five poles in place. The addition of poles does not have to happen all in one day. Depending on your and your horses experience, add poles accordingly. It might take you a one or five rides to get all the poles in place. When you have your poles in place, and you have ridden your horse through the poles at the walk. Pick you your working trot and start using your half halts through the corners to get your horse attentive, forward and soft in the bridle. Riding through the corners use your eyes to find your path. Keep looking towards the ground poles. Before you begin turning half halt your horse then continue through the corner. Keep your horse balanced and bent in the direction he/she is heading. As you come down the long side approaching the ground poles half halt to help your horse remain balanced, try not to speed up and keep your horse straight through the middle of the poles. As you travel through the ground poles make sure to allow your horse to adjust his step and feel the swing in your horse's stride. Riding through the ground poles keep your hips loose and accommodating to your horse's step. Use your eyes to stay on your path. Keep your upper body tall and centered over your hips and keep your hands, and arms supple following your horse's mouth. Avoid pulling or gripping with your hands or legs. If your horse speeds up through the ground poles then enforce the halt-halt way before and as you approach the ground poles. As you gain confidence continue riding the ground poles in both directions changing rein through the diagonals. Trot poles require more energy then simply trotting, and you want this exercise to be fun for your horse. Give your horse frequent breathers and quit while you are ahead. You are much better off working through any exercise accurately then excessively.
  • Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge

    Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge

    Rio 2016 FEI News RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - DRESSAGE, FREESTYLE Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 15 August 2016   Photo Caption:  Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro secured their second successive individual Olympic Dressage title when winning the Freestyle today. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)   Free images for editorial use at http://goo.gl/nRrshc Password fei2016     Dujardin and her horse with a heart of gold do it again: Individual Dressage Final by Louise Parkes   Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin (31) and the fabulous 14-year-old gelding, Valegro, were in a class of their own when posting an Olympic Dressage record score of 93.857 in the Grand Prix Freestyle to claim their second successive individual title today. The double-gold medallist at London 2012 is the first British woman to retain an individual Olympic title, and she now matches the British record of three gold medals for a female athlete set by cyclist Laura Trott yesterday.   On an afternoon of high emotion in Deodoro Olympic Park it was two members of Friday's gold-medal-winning German team who took silver and bronze, the multi-medalled Isabell Werth (47) and Weihegold scoring 89.071 to finish ahead of world no. 1 Kristina Broring-Sprehe (29) and Desperados on a mark of 87.142.   Emotions   Dujardin could hardly contain her emotions after securing the victory. "He couldn't have done anymore" she said of the much-loved horse who is known at home as Blueberry, "I was thinking this could be the last time" she added before bursting into tears. The British partnership hold all the world records in their sport, and today's result was just short of the Freestyle record of 94.30 per cent they set at Olympia Horse Show in London (GBR) in 2014.   The scores really began to soar as the final six combinations took their turn, and IOC President, Thomas Bach, arrived just in time to see Broring-Sprehe set the new standard before Dujardin and Valegro blew that away when rocketing into the lead by a margin of more than six points. America's Laura Graves produced the performance of her career with Verdades to finish just off the podium on 85.196, her third personal-best result posted at these Games.   Record books   Werth already entered the record books when her team gold on Friday gave her the edge over the previously most-medalled German Olympic equestrian, Dr Reiner Klimke. Today's silver brings her tally to a massive 10 Olympic medals during an extraordinary career but, last to go today, she was realistic in her expectations. "I knew Charlotte had 93 or 94 per cent, and Germany already won team gold, so with silver today I couldn't ask for more. I really enjoy competing against the best, that's what makes us all better, and Charlotte and Valegro really deserve this" she said.   Dujardin talked about her own expectations. "We set the world record at 94 so I knew it was possible, but to come and do it again here at the Olympics is quite special. Today was magic, in London there was no pressure to take gold but today I was nervous because I felt the expectation to deliver. But trotting around the arena before the start, Blueberry felt so good it just put a smile on my face and I just knew it was going to be ok. I felt he knew what I was thinking in there and he looked after me, he did his very best. I have a partnership, a connection with this horse that nothing is going to break, he has a heart of gold", she said.   Lit up   The pair have lit up the sport since coming together in 2011. "To think what he has achieved in the last four or five years, it seems almost impossible", the British rider said, admitting that retirement is "on the cards" for Valegro now. "We'll discuss it when we get home, and he definitely won't be doing another Olympic Games or a big championship. I owe it to him to finish at the top", she pointed out.   As for her own plans, marriage is at last on the horizon. Her partner, Dean Wyatt Golding, proposed to her during the London 2012 Games "and I said yes" she explained today, "bless him, he's been waiting a long time, we've been together nine years but it's definitely going to happen now!" Somehow it seems very likely that a horse with three Olympic gold medals around his neck could be a prominent member of the wedding party.   Result here https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-dressage-individual-grand-prix-freestyle   Quotes:   Patrick Kittel SWE: "I only heard a couple of days ago that I couldn't use my Stevie Wonder music. We asked a long time ago about using it for the Olympic Games and we only heard back at the very last minute so this music is an old one and Deja isn't used to it and I think she felt lost in it, and I did too! I'm happy overall, this is an amazing horse, she needs more experience competing over three days but she's going to be great!"   Carl Hester GBR: "I felt the mark matched my test, sometimes you go in there and think you should have gotten more, but not today. We got five more marks than Friday and he was so much more relaxed. He was so quiet I could just let him walk for the last five minutes before we came in."   Charlotte Dujardin GBR: "I've only ridden that floorplan once, at Hartpury and we've changed it a few times since. There were things I hadn't even tried before today and that's why he is so magical!"   Laura Graves USA: "I'm thrilled with this score, I didn't feel like I had quite as much horse as I had in the last couple of days, it's obviously very hot, we've been here now for a day over two weeks, so it's been a long time to keep our horses going like this.   It was another personal best for me, by three percent or something like that, so that's three personal bests at the Olympic Games!"    
  • Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge

    Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge

    Rio 2016 FEI NewsRIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - EVENTING CROSS COUNTRY

    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 8 August 2016

            Aussies in front after spectacular Olympic Eventing cross-country challenge By Louise Parkes Australia, Eventing team gold medallists in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, heads both the team and individual standings in Olympic Eventing after a day of cross-country thrills, spills and surprises at the Rio 2016 Olympic Equestrian Venue in Deodoro today, topping the teams on 150.3 and with Christopher Burton in pole position in the individual rankings with Santano II. But their neighbours from New Zealand are stalking them closely going into tomorrow's final showjumping phase, just 4.5 penalties adrift, with the French in hot pursuit in overnight bronze a further 6.2 off the pace. Germany, London 2012 team gold medalists and leaders after dressage, dropped to fourth on 172.8, while Britain's William Fox-Pitt plummeted from pole position on the individual leaderboard to 22nd after a runout at the final element of the Ski Jump at fence 20 on a course that all the riders agreed was an enormous test. The statistics tell the tale of a tough day at the office, with eight of the 13 teams reduced to just three team-members, and USA and Russia no longer in contention after retirements and eliminations. Only Brazil, France and Great Britain will have full four-member sides as tomorrow's action begins, provided all goes well in the early-morning horse inspection. Influential It was clear from the outset that the 33-fence track would prove hugely influential, and with three of the first eight riders biting the dirt it more than lived up to expectations. Sam Griffiths got the Australians off to the perfect start however when cruising home with the lovely Irish mare, Paulank Brockagh, with only 6.8 time penalties to add to his dressage score, and when Burton and his super-talented nine-year-old, Santano ll, produced one of just three zero scores on the day then things were looking even better. That was reinforced by another great run from Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio who put just 2.8 time penalties on the board, so even though Shane Rose was eliminated late on the track with CP Qualified they still went out in front at the end of the day. With New Zealand pathfinder Tim Price out of the picture after a slip-up on the flat, the remaining Kiwis had no choice but to keep it together and they succeeded brilliantly, the legendary Sir Mark Todd (Leonidas ll), Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) and Tim Price's wife, Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo) each collecting just time faults to leave them on a scoreline of 154.80. Meanwhile Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B'Neville) set up the French with a fault-free run so they could drop the 50.40 collected by Karim Laghouag (Entebbe) who ran into trouble at the first of the two angled brush fences at 12.  Team-mate Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) also faulted at this one but came home with a relatively modest 24.4 penalties to add, while Mathieu Lemoine (Bart L), individually third after dressage, took a careful tour of the track, and the final team tally of 161.00 was good enough for overnight third. Successive The German dream of a third successive team title took a hammering despite a brilliant clear from defending team and individual Olympic champion Michael Jung (Sam) when Julia Krajewski (Samourai du Thot) was eliminated, so mistakes from Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo) and Ingrid Klimke (Bob) had to be taken into account to drop the team from first to fourth. But Jung (40.9 penalties) is stalking individual leader, Burton (37.6), very closely and with less than a single fence advantage the 34-year-old Australian will be under extreme pressure tomorrow. Frenchman Nicolas is just 1.1 penalty points further behind in third while Kiwi, Todd (46.0) just shades America's Philip Dutton (Mighty Nice) on 46.8 and Boyd Martin (Blackfoot Mystery), 50.9 in fifth and sixth. Burton said his horse is "very inexperienced" so he took some longer options on the course, "but the horse is so fast. I couldn't believe it....he is a rocket!" Sensationally, Brazil's Carlos Parro has rocketed up all the way from 33rd place after dressage to hold equal-seventh spot with New Zealand's Clarke Johnston (Balmoral Sensation). Riding Summon up the Blood, and on a day when so many of the major stars of the sport failed to find the key to the course set by Frenchman Pierre Michelet, the 37-year-old Brazilian, 236th in the world rankings, will be taking on the very best in the battle for Olympic glory. And his team is lying fifth ahead of The Netherlands in sixth as the new day begins. Unfolded As the competition unfolded today, riders quickly learned from those who went before them, but tackling the many complex questions on the course still proved a difficult task. The reality was that only a speedy run on the direct routes would be fully rewarded, but that meant risking a glance-off or stop if the skinny combination obstacles in particular didn't come up right. In all there were 15 eliminations and two retirements while 38 of the 65 starters collected fence penalties. Of the top 18 riders going into tomorrow's showjumping phase, the first three all completed today without adding anything to their dressage score and the remainder picked up only time penalties. In all, 27 horse-and-rider combinations had clear jumping rounds and this group included some very special horses like the 10-year-old gelding, The Duke of Cavan, who carried Japan's Oiwa Yoshiaki through the extremely challenging double of brush corners at fence six on the direct route to slot into 17th spot, and the super-honest 13-year-old Ranco who wasn't going to be rushed but who did himself and his Chilean rider, Carlos Lobos Munoz, justice as he carefully negotiated the entire track to finish 30th. All four of the British contingent collected both fence and time penalties to slot into eighth place and Fox-Pitt was clearly disappointed at his own result. "I had a very good round, it was just annoying that I went off at that third element (of the Ski Jump). It was my fault entirely. I went too quickly I think....and there was no way I could turn him. He didn't do anything wrong. Watching those first few horses, you could see the course was asking questions all the way, and a lot of them weren't coming up with the answers," he added. Clear French pathfinder Astier Nicolas was just third to go today with Piaf de B'Neville and returned clear within the time. "It was such a good feeling. I realised the pressure - I had to do well for my team-mates, and that's a huge feeling. I didn't expect to have such stress and joy for the team competition. It's a very demanding course and there's never a place to drop your reins and let him breathe" he said after moving up from 11th to third place. Michael Jung's clear promoted him to silver medal spot, but he said he didn't have an easy time before he set off on his cross-country run. "The warm-up was difficult on Sam's nerves. The loudspeakers, horses galloping by, the cheering spectators. He was already sweaty in the stables. He was overly motivated in the beginning but nevertheless wonderful. He gave me a good feeling and was still fresh at the finish line and staying inside the time was easier than I expected", he explained. Mark Todd said "I had instructions from the team to stay safe and clear. Fence six had me worried but it was mostly a perfect round. The horse (Leonidas ll) was brilliant all the way through. I was told to take one long route and briefly thought 'do I disregard the order?' But then I thought I should better behave myself!" Exceeded Individual leader, Christopher Burton, said this evening that finding himself in gold medal spot going into the final day "has far exceeded my expectations!" He's not getting too carried away however. "My horse is good at dressage and I was told to take one long route and it worked out, so I'm just going to enjoy today and for tomorrow? Whatever...." Course designer, Pierre Michelet, felt he had provided plenty of different options for the riders to get themselves around the track. "You could change your mind and take a different route if you needed it" he said, "but I was surprised there were a lot of run-outs and dramatic things happening!" Sir Mark Todd summed it all up this evening. "I want to thank Pierre for building this course because if he hadn't then we (New Zealand) wouldn't be in silver medal position tonight! The course offered alternatives to everyone, it was perfectly jumpable but if you wanted to made a medal position then you had to go direct and fast." The next hurdle to cross is the final horse inspection at 08.00 tomorrow morning before the medal-deciding showjumping phase of Eventing which will begin at 10.00. Quotes:  Mark Todd (NZL) talking about negotiating the "frog" fence at the end of the Fisherman's Lake complex. "It was a relief to get over that one. The fences are coming quick and fast....two hedges and then the frog, that is hard at 570 metres a minute. There is no room for error." Sam Griffiths (AUS): "It was a tough course and I was lucky to be on such a good horse. I am over the moon. What a star. To go straight overall you must be a gold medal rider." Tim Price (NZL), talking about his fall on the flat on the way to fence 24 with Ringwood Sky Boy: "You walk the course so many times, you make so many plans and then you go out and fall over! But that is the nature of the game. I had planned the long route (at 23/24) from the beginning and on the first turn it happened. I am so gutted. My horse is absolutely fine." Boyd Martin (USA): "I'm so grateful I was on an old racehorse from Kentucky (Blackfoot Mystery)!  He kept fighting the whole way home. It's one of those courses where you can't ease up for one second. You've got to jump, get through one fence then think about the next. I'm relieved. My biggest fear was letting everyone down, especially the group that bought him, my team-mates, and my country. The biggest thing that motivates me is to not fail. I have to say, I thought I was fit but I'm not (laughs). I ride events week after week after week and I've never been gassed (short of breath) after cross country, which goes to show how hard I had to work to get him around!" Astier Nicolas (FRA): "I feel very proud this evening being in third place amongst riders like these! If I ride until Mark's age I still have 33 years to go! We have three relatively young talents on our team, and it's great for us all to be here." Results here   
  • Klimke secures narrow German lead in Olympic Eventing ahead of intriguing cross-country challenge

    Klimke secures narrow German lead in Olympic Eventing ahead of intriguing cross-country challenge

    RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - EVENTING DRESSAGE DAY 2FEI News

    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 7 August 2016Rio 2016

     

    Klimke secures narrow German lead in Olympic Eventing ahead of intriguing cross-country challenge

    by Louise Parkes

     A brilliant ride by Ingrid Klimke maintained Team Germany's lead as Eventing dressage drew to a close today at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA). But her score of 39.50 with Bob gives the defending Olympic champions only a fractional advantage of 0.2 penalties over the feisty French side going into tomorrow's much-anticipated cross-country phase.

    In a typical Olympic contest during which some competitors exceeded expectations while others couldn't find the performances they were looking for today, it was the mark of 39.20 earned by Mathieu Lemoine and the elegant Bart L that put the French right into the frame. So, fourth-last to go, Klimke could feel the pressure, but the 48-year-old daughter of dressage legend Reiner Klimke, who scooped eight Olympic medals during his spectacular career, kept a cool head.  It wasn't all plain sailing however. "Bob was quite excited outside in the warm-up and he was bucking, but when he came into the arena he just went "OK, here I am, I'm ready - if you want let's go for it!" she said afterwards. Little There's very little between the leading group of countries going into tomorrow's cross-country phase, with the Australians lying third, just over four penalty points behind the French, and the British just one more point further adrift in fourth. The Irish moved up a place to fifth thanks to a great performance from Jonty Evans and Cooley's Rorkes Drift, while New Zealand and USA share sixth. First-day leader, Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt, remains at the head of the individual standings with Australia's Christopher Burton hot on his heels, and Lemoine has slotted into third and Klimke into fourth, while defending double-Olympic champion, Michael Jung, is next in line in fifth place. With less than five points separating the top 10 riders however, and few, if any, expected to avoid time penalties while negotiating the tough track set by French course designer, Pierre Michelet, the stage is set for a tremendous day of cross-country action tomorrow. "I haven't seen such a challenging course since Sydney (2000 Olympic Games). My Bobby is fast and he is a mature horse so he should cope well and I'm looking forward to it. But we know that when we go out there we have to do a very precise job tomorrow," Klimke said this evening. Surprises There were surprises of various kinds as the day-two session played out, with some dreams beginning to unravel while others were just starting to take shape. The latter was the case for Jonty Evans who produced a personal-best score at championship level when posting 41.80 with Cooley's Rorkes Drift. This has left him lying ninth individually and has anchored his country's chances going into their more-favoured cross-country phase. The judges clearly appreciated the quality of the canterwork of his 10-year-old gelding, one of 11 Irish-bred horses in the field of 65 starters. Evans said, "I'm thrilled to bits with him, he couldn't have done any more today - he couldn't have tried any harder." China's Alex Hua Tian enjoyed some moments of brilliance in his test, but had to settle for 42.40 and 12th place at the end of the day with Don Geniro. "I made two big mistakes, the judges really wanted to give me good mark - but I nailed all the changes I think" he said. "The first entry was great, he has a massive extended trot but he took an unbalanced step and broke into canter. It's very frustrating because it's the extended that gives him his big scores!" he pointed out. Belgium's Karen Donckers slotted herself into seventh individually when posting 41.10 with Fletcha van't Verahof, but it was two competitive results from Lemoine and Thibaut Valette (Qing du Briot) who put 41.00 on the board, that kept the French team right in the frame. Meanwhile Australia's Shane Rose really did the business with CP Qualified whose 42.50 ensured the 56.80 posted by Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio could be discounted. Tense Many of the horses were tense coming into the arena today, but Rose reassured his 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding with a big pat on the neck before going to work into the arena, and was rewarded with a very pleasant performance. Last-line British rider, Kitty King, found herself struggling from the start however with the Dutch-bred Ceylor LAN. And another for whom things didn't go quite the right way was New Zealand's Jonelle Price whose nine-year-old, Faerie Dianimo, broke into a canter during their early trot-work, eventually posting 49.50. "I was very disappointed" she said, "he was really hot in the warm-up but I was hoping for better in the arena. It was too bad it happened at the Olympic Games, but I'm hoping for a much better day tomorrow." Klimke's vital anchor ride for Germany might also have been blighted by over-enthusiasm, but she managed to get all the fizz under control at just the right moment and pulled off that all-important score that has kept Germany out in front in the race for the team medals. "I was so pleased in the end, he did a fabulous test" she said of the 12-year-old Bob. Influencing Every one of the riders agree however that dressage will not be the all-influencing factor in Eventing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Pierre Michelet has thought long and hard about how to challenge the most experienced riders in the sport along with those who have relatively less mileage on the clock. "I want the best to win without asking too big questions of the less experienced riders. The reputation of the sport is important. I want to challenge the riders and I ask them to find clever solutions for the many options on offer. To get on the podium they will need to be brave, accurate and bold" he said. There has indeed been a lot of course-walking going on over the last few days as riders make their plans and then alter them and settle on new ones that will get them home on the quickest and safest route. "This course is not about one signature fence, it's about about clearing all of them! I ask the difficult questions from the start, that is my signature. The first water will be fence no. 4 already. The riders need to be ready from step one." Track Talking about creating the lovely track that wends it way up and downhill through the land that surround the Deodoro military complex he explained, "we started three years ago, first with an architectural firm to map out the track and the walkways and then the track builders started to work with improving the ground. Then we decided the spots for the fences. I came to Brazil in December for a month and the final details took two weeks. The layout was the same for the test event in 2015, but all the fences are new because of the different level of difficulty" he pointed out. Cross-country day looks set to be a thriller, and it seems it's going to be a wide-open race for the medals right down to the final day. There is almost nothing between the Germans and French at the head of affairs, and with the British so close to the Australians who are currently in bronze medal spot and Ireland, New Zealand and USA a real threat to any of those ahead of them who might lose their grip there's no room for error over a course that, the night before they take it on, may well be giving many of the world's top event riders a restless night's sleep. Quotes: Pippa Funnell (GBR): "I was really, really pleased with his [Billy The Biz] performance, I was thrilled with him. There were a few little bits here and there, but if I'm honest I think I'm being greedy, if I think of where he came from three years ago I'm thrilled." Kitty King (GBR): "It was slightly disappointing because he's capable of a lot better; he did some good work but he just made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. One of his highlights is usually his medium trot, but it's a massive atmosphere for the horse and he's only nine. Today wasn't quite what we'd hoped for but hopefully we'll pull some back tomorrow." Pierre Michelet course designer (FRA): When asked about the Ground Jury's opinion of his cross-country track - "they said it is fantastic, but they are always polite!" Nick Turner, Irish Chef d'Equipe, talking about the competitive position of his team after dressage: "We are doing great and now we just need to keep a lid on it. They (the Irish team) just need to keep doing what they're doing. This result is why these four riders were selected." Results after Eventing Dressage, Day 2 here
  • Britain’s William Fox-Pitt leads after day one in Olympic Eventing in Rio

    Britain’s William Fox-Pitt leads after day one in Olympic Eventing in Rio

    Rio 2016FEI NewsFEI PRESS RELEASE
    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 6 August 2016
    Britain's William Fox-Pitt leads after day one in Olympic Eventing in Rio
    It's not everyone's idea of the perfect rehab for a serious head injury, but Britain's William Fox-Pitt defied all the odds to take the early lead as Olympic Eventing got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) today.
    Riding the 16-year-old stallion, Chilli Morning, the man who spent two weeks in a coma after a fall while competing in France last October produced a great score of 37.00 in the opening dressage phase of this sport that is seen as an equestrian triathlon.
    "All along Rio has been my target, totally. It was unrealistic, but it was mine", the 47-year-old said. "I was in a coma for a couple of weeks and my sight was quite dodgy, I went from blind to seeing double so when I started jumping there were two jumps. It's been a journey, but I've had so much support! Mentally I was very tired, I probably still am. I feel like I'm waking up, but slowly."
    He was chasing the target of 37.60 set by Australia's Christopher Burton (34) and his young nine-year-old gelding, Santano II, whose performance was greeted by a roar of approval from the crowd. But when Fox-Pitt overtook his Aussie rival by a mere .6, the gentlemanly Brit was rewarded with another huge response from the spectators.
    His result, added to the 47.20 achieved by team mate Gemma Tattersall (31) with Quicklook V, leaves Team GB in third before the remaining 31 horse-and-rider combinations take their turn in the dressage phase tomorrow. But it's very tight at the top of the teams, with London 2012 gold medalists Germany in first on 82.5, just 1.5 ahead of Australia in second. Great Britain, on 84.2, is third of the 13 teams.
    Just behind Burton in the individual rankings is defending Olympic champion Michael Jung (34) on Sam, the horse he rode to spearhead the Germany team win four years ago. On a mark of 40.90 Jung is just ahead of his compatriot and reigning world champion Sandra Auffarth, who lies fourth with Opgun Louvo on 41.60.
  • RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – EVENTING HORSE INS

    RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – EVENTING HORSE INS

    RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - EVENTING HORSE INSPECTION

    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 5 August 2016

    Swedes steal the show as horse inspection gets Olympic Eventing underway

    By Louise Parkes

    The Swedish contingent set the photographers alight as Olympic Eventing got underway with the first horse inspection at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) today. A total of 84 horses, including reserves, were trotted up in front of the Ground Jury which is headed up by USA's Marilyn Payne, and all were passed fit to compete.

     It was the eye-catching bright yellow dresses worn by Frida Andersen and Swedish sisters Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Linda Algotsson that got the shutters snapping. However reserve rider Linda Algotsson's inclusion in the side has come about at the expense of Anna Nilsson whose 17-year-old gelding, Luron, was withdrawn. The fourth member of the Swedish team is the equally dashing Ludwig Svennerstal.

     Another reserve partnership called up today was New Zealand's Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy after Jock Paget's Clifton Lush was also declared a non-runner. Tim joins his wife, Jonelle Price (Faerie Dianimo), Mark Todd (Leonidas ll) and Clarke Johnstone (Balmoral Sensation) in the New Zealand side.

     Buoyant

     There was a buoyant mood around the arena, with riders singing the praises of the facilities at Deodoro which British team-member, Pippa Funnell, described as "fantastic". The 47-year-old, who is a double Olympic team silver medallist and who claimed individual bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004, said "we didn't know what to expect when we came here, but so far it's just unbelievable! It's really super for the horses, the stables are so spacious and so cool, they are really happy because where they are living is so quiet, and there's no noise or fuss. They're loving it!"

     Dressage is first up tomorrow and first into the ring at 10.00 local time will be America's Jessica Phoenix with A Little Romance, who will be followed by Frenchman Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B'Neville) and then Ireland's Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe). A total of 33 horse/rider combinations will take their turn tomorrow, and the remaining 32 will do their tests on Sunday.

     Cross-country

     However riders are already thinking ahead to Monday's cross-country challenge. Course designer, Pierre Michelet (FRA), has given them plenty to think about, particularly through his clever use of the terrain at the Brazilian army sports venue at Deodoro where the 2007 Pan-American Games were staged. "It's quite tricky and big enough" said Funnell who will partner  the home-bred Billy the Biz. "He (Michelet) has used the hills a lot, and this is definitely an Olympic track. The competition definitely won't be a dressage test!"

    She described the mood of her team, which also includes William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), Kitty King (Ceylor LAN) and Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V), as "quietly excited. We have a team of good young horses, three of the four are stepping up a level but if they can make that step up they are all very capable."

     Ireland's Mark Kyle, also competing at his third Olympics, had plenty of good things to say about the organisation at these equestrian Games too. "Our horses all travelled brilliantly, they arrived last Saturday (six days ago) and we took them for a walk the following day and they felt great!" He also pointed out the feel-good factor for the horses who appeared to be glowing with good health in today's bright sunlight. "The facility here is really good, lots of arenas and open exercise areas so the horses are very relaxed."

     Cool

     Talking of relaxation, Germany's Michael Jung was his usual cool self today having sailed through the horse inspection with his faithful 16-year-old gelding, the spring-heeled Sam. "He's in brilliant form" said the man who has won all before him and who returns to defend Olympic team and individual gold with the horse he rode to glory in London (GBR) four years ago. Sam wasn't his first choice for Rio, but when the nine-year-old Takinou was unable to compete, the 34-year-old rider had his older friend on call-up.

     "He's really ready. He won Badminton this year and he was always my second horse and did all the same training", said the man who will lead Team Germany in chasing down a third consecutive team title here in Rio.

    Jung can be expected to produce a stunning test when he enters the dressage arena tomorrow at 14.58, but he also had Monday's cross-country run on his mind this morning. "This is a really tough course, not just because the fences are technical but because the hills will really test the condition of the horses. They will need to be very fit."

     And asked if he felt less pressure competing at his second Olympic Games with a horse he knows so well and which has brought him such extraordinary success, he replied wisely, "yes I can be a bit more relaxed, but I know I still need to concentrate fully. It's easy to have a run-out, even at the simple fences, or to make a mistake if you don't keep your mind on your job!"

     Startlist for Eventing Dressage here

     FEI OLYMPIC HUB: for further information visit the FEI Olympic Hub which is dedicated to all things Olympic and Paralympic, both old and new, here.

    Equestrian in the Olympics Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines - Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals. The equestrian events in Rio will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Olympic cluster, alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting. The countries represented in Equestrian in Rio are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. They will compete in: Jumping: 27 countries, 15 teams, 75 horse/rider combinations Eventing: 24 countries, 13 teams, 65 horse/rider combinations Dressage: 25 countries, 11 teams, 60 horse/rider combinations
  • All five Russian equestrian athletes cleared to compete at Rio 2016

    All five Russian equestrian athletes cleared to compete at Rio 2016

    FEI PRESS RELEASE
    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 4 August 2016
     Rio 2016
    All five Russian equestrian athletes cleared to compete at Rio 2016
    The FEI has today received confirmation from the IOC that all five Russian equestrian athletes have beeFEIn cleared to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio. The news comes following a detailed submission by the FEI, including confirmation that all five had no previous anti-doping rule violations.
    The five Russian equestrian athletes that are now cleared to compete in Rio are:
    Eventing: – Aleksandr Markov and the horse Kurfurstin; Andrey Mitin with Gurza; and Evgeniya Ovchinnikova and Orion.
    Dressage: – Inessa Merkulova with Mister X; Marina Aframeeva and Vosk;
    Following a meeting on 24 July 2016, the IOC Executive Board (EB) declared that Russian athletes would only be accepted as eligible for the Rio 2016 Games if they met a set of stringent criteria, including individual analysis of each athlete's individual anti-doping record. The IOC EB also ruled that any Russian athlete that had ever been sanctioned for doping, even if they had served the sanction, would not be eligible to compete in Rio.
    FEI President Ingmar De Vos welcomed today's news. "This has been a very difficult time for our Russian athletes, who all have clean anti-doping records under both human and equine testing regimes, so we are very happy to have confirmation today from the IOC that all five are now declared eligible to compete.
    "Our sport is not implicated in the McLaren Report, we also have confirmation from the IOC that there have been no equestrian positives in the re-testing of athletes from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and WADA has no cases against Russian athletes in equestrian sport, but obviously we still had to go through the process as outlined by the IOC Executive Board last month.
    "All five riders have been tested and we did individual analysis of their anti-doping history, which we submitted to the IOC. That documentation has undergone a detailed assessment by the CAS expert and the full process has now been signed off by the Review Panel set up by the IOC specifically to deal with the issue of Russian athlete eligibility.
    "The good news has come just in time as the Eventing starts tomorrow morning with the first horse inspection at 8.30!"
  • RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES - DRESSAGE PREVIEW

    Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 2 August 2016

    Can Britain's golden couple do it again? 

    By Louise Parkes

     You could hardly have scripted it better when Great Britain's Dressage riders scooped Olympic team gold on home turf at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Greenwich Park. A day after their jumpers topped the team podium for the first time in 60 years it was the turn of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin to bring spectators to their feet in celebration of the first-ever British Dressage medals in the history of the Games - and, even better, they were also golden ones. Dujardin went on to add the individual title and, four years later, the question is whether she and her wonderful gelding, Valegro, can do it again.

     They arrived into the sport already on the crest of a wave of excitement created by the spell-binding Dutch partnership of Edward Gal and the fabulous black stallion, Totilas. This pair set the world of Dressage on fire on an August night in 2009 in the shadow of Windsor Castle (GBR) when they won the European Freestyle title, and nothing has ever been the same since.

     The previously relatively sedate sport suddenly realised the entertainment value of the discipline, and Dujardin and Valegro have picked up that flag and flown it high ever since, with a passionate fan-base following their every hoofprint!

     World records

     The pair now hold all three world records in Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle. They took double-gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) and Grand Prix Special and Freestyle gold at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen (GER) in 2015. They were also crowned champions of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in both 2014 and 2015. They have, quite simply, been all but unbeatable.

     However their margin of victory in the Freestyle at Aachen last summer was a very narrow one, with just 0.25 percent separating the British pair from Germany's Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH who are expected to give their main rivals a run for their money again in Rio.

     Team Germany had to settle for bronze at the Europeans a year ago when the British took silver and the Dutch side of Diederik van Silfhout, Patrick van der Meer, Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud claimed the gold. But the Germans look super-strong for Rio 2016, where Bröring-Sprehe is joined by Sönke Rothenberger (Cosmo), Dorothee Schneider (Showtime FRH) and the inimitable Isabell Werth (Weihegold OLD).

     Werth is a long-time legend with eight Olympic medals already in her trophy cabinet, dating all the way back to the Barcelona Games in 1992 where she took team gold and individual silver with Gigolo. Werth has found another magical partnership in the 11-year-old mare Weihegold, and there's a whole new energy around the 47-year-old athlete as she heads into her fifth Olympics.

     Spectacular

     At the 2016 German Dressage Championships in Balve in June, Werth pinned her Rio team-mates Dorothee Schneider and world number one Bröring-Sprehe into silver and bronze with some spectacular results.

     Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) joins Dujardin, Fiona Bigwood (Orthilia) and Spencer Wilton (Super Nova ll) in the British bid to defend that London 2012 title, while the Dutch send out Adelinde Cornelissen (Parzival), Edward Gal (Voice), Hans Peter Minderhoud (Johnson) and Diederik van Silfhout (Arlando),.

     But somehow this time around, Team Germany – the country with the most outstanding record in Olympic Dressage with 12 team and seven individual titles to their credit – look set to be the real force to be reckoned with.

     What is Dressage?

    Dressage is about training the horse to a high level and highlighting its athleticism and the beauty of its movement. At its best, horse and rider work in complete harmony and together they appear to "dance"!

     How it will play out...

     The team medals will be decided after the Grand Prix Special on 12 August, which is also the second individual qualifier from which the top-18 (and those tied for 18th place) will go through to the Freestyle Final two days later. The Freestyle to Music is a stand-alone competition to decide the individual champion. Only three athletes from each nation are eligible compete in the Freestyle.

     A team is composed of three or four horse/rider combinations, with the best three results from the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special counting for the final team classification.

     A computerized draw to decide the starting order in the Grand Prix will take place after the Horse Inspection on 8 August. Individual athletes will be drawn first, in reverse order of the World Dressage Ranking List, in two groups and with the highest-placed athletes drawn on the second day. Teams will be drawn in groups of five.

     The starting order for the Grand Prix Special will be drawn in groups during the Chefs d'Equipe meeting on the day after the Grand Prix. The starting order of the athletes within a team will remain the same as in the Grand Prix.

     The starting order for the Grand Prix Special will be drawn in the following groups during the Chef d'Equipe meeting on the day after the Grand Prix:

    (i) 1st group: individual Athletes placed five to eight (5-8) in the Grand Prix;

    (ii) 2nd group: Athletes of the teams placed four to six (4-6) in the Grand Prix;

    (iii) 3rd group: individual Athletes placed one to four (1-4) in the Grand Prix;

    (iv) 4th group: Athletes of the teams placed one to three (1-3) in the Grand Prix.

     The starting order of the Athletes within a team will remain the same as in the Grand Prix.

     The Dressage Tests are the FEI Grand Prix, the FEI Grand Prix Special and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

     Facts and Figures - Dressage:

     25 nations

    11 teams

    13 countries represented by individual competitors

    60 riders in total

    The British are team and individual defending champions.

    The British partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro won both team and individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. They hold the world records in Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle. They took double-gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) and individual gold at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen (GER) in 2015. They were also crowned champions of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in both 2014 and 2015.

    Germany's Isabell Werth is another phenomenon of the sport and looks ready to set a new record at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She already has eight medals from Games dating back to Barcelona (ESP) in 1992 when she took team gold and individual silver. If she adds to her Olympic medal collection in Brazil then she will exceed the nine-medal target set by Anky van Grunsven (NED) during her spectacular career.

    Anky van Grunsven also holds the record for taking three back-to-back Olympic titles – at Sydney (AUS) in 2000, Athens (GRE) in 2004 and Hong Kong (CHN) in 2008.

    In the history of Olympic Dressage, Germany has dominated the medal tables, taking 12 team and seven individual titles.

    There will be three separate competitions – Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle to Music.

    The Dressage Grand Prix takes place on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 August followed by the Grand Prix Special on Friday 12 August. The Grand Prix Freestyle will bring the Dressage discipline to a close on Monday 15 August.

    The Team medals will be decided after the first two competitions - the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special - when the scores are combined.

    The Freestyle will decide the fate of the individual medals.

    The Officials

      Dressage Ground Jury President is Mexico's Maribel Alonso and the remaining members of the panel are Gary Rockwell (USA), Stephen Clarke (GBR), Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode (NED), Peter Holler (GER), Thomas Lang (AUT) and Susanne Baarup (DEN).

    The Judges Supervisory Panel (JSP), was introduced by the FEI in 2011 to provide an official back-up system to correct marking errors at all major events, including Olympic Games. The JSP also evaluates the quality of work of leading Dressage judges, assists in selection of those officiating at the top end of the sport and acts as a link between judges and the FEI. The members of the JSP at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are Mary Seefried (AUS), David Hunt (GBR) and Uwe Mechlem (GER).

    FEI Delegate for Dressage is Belgium's Jacques van Daele.

    Dressage Chief Steward is Elisabeth Williams, who will be assisted by fellow-American Lisa Gorretta.

     The Teams 

     Australia: Mary Hanna (Boogie Woogie 6), Kelly Layne (UdonP), Kristy Oatley (Du Soleil), Lyndal Oatley (Sandro Boy). Reserve: Susanne Hearn (Remmington).

     Brazil: Luiza Tavares de Almeida (Vendeval 4), Giovana Prado Pasa (Zingaro de Lyw), Joao Victor Marcari Oliva (Xama Dos Pinhais), Pedro Manuel Tavares de Almeida (Xaparro Do Vouga). Reserve: Manuel Rodrigues Tavares de Almeida Neto (Vinheste).

     Denmark: Anna Kasprzak (Donperignon), Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (Jojo AZ), Cathrine Dufour (Cassidy), Anders Dahl (Selten HW).

     France: Stephanie Brieussel (Amorak), Ludovic Henry (After You), Karen Tebar (Don Luis), Pierre Voila (Badinda Altana), Alexandre Ayache (Axel).

     Great Britain: Fiona Bigwood (Orthilla), Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro), Carl Hester (Nip Tuck), Spencer Wilton (Super Nova ll). Reserve: Lara Griffith (Rubin Al Asad).

     Germany: Kristina Broring-Sprehe (Desperados FRH), Sönke Rothenberger (Cosmo), Dorothee Schneider (Showtime FRH), Isabell Werth (Weihegold OLD). Reserve: Hubertus Schmidt (Imperio).

     Japan: Kilchi Harada (Egistar), Yuko Kitail (Don Lorean), Akane Kuroki (Toots), Masanao Takahashi (Fabriano 58).

     Netherlands: Adelinde Cornelissen (Parzival), Edward Gal (Voice), Hans Peter Minderhoud (Johnson), Diederik van Silfhout (Arlando). Reserve: Madeleine Witte-Vrees (Cennin).

     Spain: Claudio Castilla Ruiz (Alcaide), Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (Delgado), Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez (Lorenzo), Jose Daniel Martin Dockx (Grandioso). Reserve: Borja Carrascoa (Wonder).

     Sweden: Patrik Kittel (Deja), Juliette Ramel (Buriel KH), Therese Nilshagen (Dante Weltino), Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (Don Auriello). Reserve: Mads Hendelowitz (Jimmie Choo).

     USA: Steffen Peters (Legolas 92), Laura Graves (Verdades), Kasey Perry-Glass (Dublet), Alison Brock (Rosevelt). Reserve: Shelly Francis (Doktor).

     The Individuals

     Austria: Victoria Max-Theurer (Della Cavaleria).

     Belgium: Jorinde Verwimp (Tiamo).

     Canada: Belinda Trussel (Anton), Megan Lane (Caravella).

     Dominican Republic: Yvonne Losos de Muniz (Focoloco W).

     Ireland: Judy Reynolds (Vancouver K).

     Italy: Valentina Truppa (Chablis).

     Korea: Dongseon Kim (Bukowski).

     Mexico: Bernadette Pujals (Rolex).

     New Zealand: Julie Brougham (Vom Feinstein).

     Palestine: Christian Zimmermann (Aramis).

     Republic of South Africa: Tanya Seymour (Ramoneur 6).

     Russia: Inessa Merkulova (Mister X), Marina Aframeeva (Vosk).

     Switzerland: Marcela Krinke Susmelj (Molberg).

     Ukraine: Inna Logutenkova (Don Gregorius)

     The Nations

     Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA.

     The Full List of Riders

     All the horse/rider combinations are listed here

  • Olympic Eventing: This Jung man could be very hard to beat

    Olympic Eventing: This Jung man could be very hard to beat

    Rio 2016Olympic Eventing: This Jung man could be very hard to beat By Louise Parkes Michael Jung – the legend. MICHEAL JUNGSome say that if you sent him cross-country wearing a blindfold and facing backwards on his horse that Germany’s Michael Jung could still bring home Olympic gold. The most phenomenal rider of the modern sport is the man they will all have to beat when the Eventing discipline of the XXXl Olympiad gets underway at the Olympic Equestrian Venue in Deodoro in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) on 6 August. Jung arrived at the London Games four years ago hoping to become the first-ever rider to hold the World, European and Olympic titles at the same time, and celebrated his 30th birthday by winning not one, but two gold medals. He has since added team gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA) in 2014, double-gold at last summer’s FEI European Championships in Scotland, and the CCI4* titles at Burghley (GBR) last September and both Lexington (USA) and Badminton (GBR) in May of this year. Just a few short weeks ago he finished first and sixth individually in the latest leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016 series on the hallowed ground of Aachen (GER). It’s no wonder that fans of this sport are in awe of the formidable athlete and his consistent supremacy. micheal jungJung won’t compete in Brazil with his intended ride, Takinou who picked up an infection recently, but the fact that he has had to switch to his 2012 Olympic ride, 16-year-old Sam, won’t diminish his chances, as it was this horse that cruised into the winner’s enclosure at both Burghley and Badminton. Strong As defending Olympic champions Team Germany look strong, with Jung joined by the 2012 golden girls Ingrid Klimke and Sandra Auffarth, along with Andreas Ostholt. However they didn’t have things all their own way in Aachen where many Olympic contenders were giving their horses a run and the resurgent Australians sprang a major surprise by overwhelming their hosts. Australia, Germany and the USA have all won the Olympic Eventing team title four times, and Christopher Burton, Sam Griffiths, Shane Rose and Stuart Tinney look set to fly that Australian flag high once again. The closest their neighbours from New Zealand have come to the top of the podium is the bronze they claimed in London four years ago, and they certainly shouldn’t be under-estimated this time around either as three of that side are in action again, including the charismatic Sir Mark Todd who took back-to-back individual gold with the great Charisma in Los Angeles (USA) in 1984 and Seoul (KOR) in 1988. Only one other rider in Olympic history has ever achieved that distinction, Dutchman Charles Pahud de Mortanges with Macroix in Amsterdam (NED) in 1928 and Los Angeles (USA) IN 1932. However Michael Jung could possibly join that elite if he and Sam reign supreme once more. Busy man Todd will be a busy man in Rio, because not only will he be chasing down medals for himself, but the 60-year-old athlete will also be taking a significant interest in the performance of the Brazilian team he has been training for the last few years. Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and USA will also be in the race for the team title along with a Russian side fielding just three riders, and of course the British whose squad includes London 2012 team silver medallist William Fox-Pitt, as well as Pippa Funnell who took individual bronze in Athens (GRE) in 2004. All three of the individual medallists from London will be in Rio, Germany’s Jung and Auffarth who claimed gold and bronze and Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt who separated them when taking silver. In all, 29 of the 75 Eventing athletes are female and if one of them succeeds in winning individual gold she will be the first-ever female athlete to do so. Jung, however, is unlikely to make it easy for anyone to spoil his seemingly unstoppable run. What is Eventing? Once known as “The Military” because it was a test for cavalrymen and their horses, Eventing is the most comprehensive test of horse and rider, combining the separate disciplines of Dressage, Cross-Country and Jumping, with results from each phase totaled for a final score. And it’s the lowest score that wins, both for the team and individual medals. An Olympic competition since 1912. How it will play out….. The horse inspection follows the all-important draw, which will decide the running order for the first two phases of the competition. This takes place in the presence of the Ground Jury. As the draw is made, blocks of individual athletes will be interspersed between team members, with the fourth athlete from each team going in the final group. Eventing Dressage takes place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August, followed by Cross-Country on Monday 8 August. The Dressage Test is OG CCI 4-Star Test B, Short Version. If you want to be really clued up before the Games, you can check it out here. After the second horse inspection the following morning, Tuesday August 9, the team medals will be decided in the first round of Jumping. The top-25 will then qualify for the Individual final in the afternoon, again competing in reverse order of merit and with only three riders from each nation permitted to make the cut. FACTS AND FIGURES - EVENTING: 24 nations 13 teams 65 horse and rider combinations New Zealand’s Sir Mark Todd will match the record held by Australia’s Andrew Hoy and USA’s Mike Plumb for most Olympic appearances in Eventing. Rio 2016 will be his seventh Games, and he was also team trainer at Athens 2004. Todd competed in two disciplines, Eventing and Jumping, at the Games in Seoul (KOR) in 1988, Barcelona (ESP) in 1992. Sir Mark Todd and Mike Plumb share the record for the largest number of Olympic medals won in Eventing, with 6 each. Teams consist of a minimum of 3 and maximum of 4 horse/rider combinations with 3 best results to count for team classification. The Team and Individual competitions run concurrently. Individual final Jumping test will take place after team Jumping on the same day, 9 August. The individual final is open to the top 25, including ties for 25th place, with a restriction of 3 horse/rider combinations per country. The Cross-Country course is approximately 5,700 metres in length. The time-allowed is 10 minutes and the maximum number of jumping efforts will be between 42 and 45. In the final Jumping phase, the fences for the first round which decides the team medals, will be up to 1.25m in height, with between 11 and 13 fences on the course. The fences will be raised to 1.30m for the individual Jumping final. One country, Russia, will be represented by a team of just three riders. Germany won both the team and individual titles at the London 2012 Olympic Games and three members of that winning team are competing again in Rio de Janeiro - Ingrid Klimke, Michael Jung and Sandra Auffarth. Jung and Mark Todd are the only former Olympic individual champions in the field. Jung is defending team and individual gold medallist, and Todd won individual gold at Los Angeles (USA) in 1984 and Seoul (KOR) in 1988.
  • Touchdown! First Olympic horses arrive in Rio de Janeiro!

    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.
  • FEI European Dressage Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2016

    FEI European Dressage Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2016

    FEIFEI European Dressage Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2016
    Valencia (ESP), 24 July 2016 Germany claims four-time gold again at Valencia By Louise Parkes Team Germany more than lived up to expectations at the FEI European Dressage Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2016 staged in Valencia (ESP) which drew to a close yesterday, when taking gold in four of the eight Championship categories. They completely dominated the Junior division, but once again had to yield to the Dutch in the Young Riders Individual and Freestyle in which Jeanine Nieuwenhuis held sway. For only the second time in the history of these Championships there were also Team and Individual Championships for Children, and it was Russia that took both titles this time around. With a massive entry it was a hectic five days of competition in soaring summer temperatures. Juniors For the third year in a row the Junior team medal podium remained the same, with Germany taking the top step followed by The Netherlands in silver and Denmark in bronze. However the Dutch narrowed the gap this time, finishing less than four percentage points behind the champions. Semmieke Rothenberger led the German assault with a great score of 77.351 from the nine-year-old mare Dissertation. The rider who will turn 17 next month was joined by Hannah Erbe (Carlos), Rebecca Horstmann (Friend of Mine 2) and Alexa Westendarp (Der Prinz 4) to post a team tally of 224.000. Lisanne Zoutendijk and Kostendrukkers Ringo Star produced the leading Dutch score of 73.865, and joined with Esmee Donkers (Zaffier), Febe van Zwambagt (FS Las Vegas) and Diana van de Bovenkamp (Corvette) to post 220.136 overall. The Danish bronze medallists - Celine Rorbaek Silfen (Romo Hoejris), Camilla Andersen (Rafaella K), Caroline Eisner (Alskenz Firfod) and Karoline Rohmann (Noosa Melody) - racked up a final scoreline of 212.405. A total of 14 nations fielded Junior teams, and Sweden missed out on a podium placing by just over four percentage points. Rothenberger had to settle for silver in both the Individual and Freestyle Championships however when Hannah Erbe reclaimed the Junior Individual title she took in 2015 before also going on to add Freestyle gold. Rothenberger's lovely young mare didn't sparkle quite as much as she had done in the Team event, finishing only fractionally behind Erbe's Carlos in the battle for the Individual title while The Netherlands' Lisanne Zoutendijk (Kostendrukkers Ringo Star) took the bronze here. In the Freestyle Erbe and her nine-year-old Rhinelander gelding were outstanding when posting their gold-medal-winning score of 81.625. The judges panel of Francisco Guerry Diaz (ESP), Vincenzo Truppa (ITA), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Raphael Saleh (FRA) and Eike Ebert (GER) awarded Rothenberger a mark of 78.975 while Febe van Zwambagt pushed Dutch team-mate, Zoutendijk, off the podium this time time when taking the bronze with a mark of 77.500 with the nine-year-old gelding FS Las Vegas. Young Riders Last year Sweden pushed Denmark off the Young Riders team podium, but the Danes reclaimed their spot this time around when lining up behind the Dutch in silver and the Germans in gold medal spot. Once again there were 14 nations represented in the team competition, and it was a close-fought affair with only just over a single percentage point separating the victors from their Dutch rivals. It was the pure consistency of the German performances that clinched it for them, Jil-Marielle Becks (Damon's Satelite) posting 74.816, Anna-Lisa Theile (Ducati K) posting 73.947 and Anna-Christina Abbelen (Fuerst on Tour) scoring 73.079 while Leonie Richter's (Babylon) mark of 70.842 was not counted for the team total of 221.842. The Netherlands' Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and TC Athene produced the best score of the competition when putting 76.947 on the board, and when that was added to 72.026 from Jeanine Nekeman (Vlingh) and 71.579 from Jasmien de Koeyer (Esperanza) then Lotte Meulendijks' 70.737 with MDH Ohio was the discount mark as they racked up 220.552. The Danes had a final scoreline of 213.889 when Maja Andreasen (Kano) posted 73.026, Michala Mejlgaard Jensen (Uno lV) scored 71.290 and Caroline Aarosin (Daydream) earned 69.553, Marie Skov Olesen (Brizard) providing the discard score of 64.632. The Swedish team missed out on that podium placing by over four percentage points. The Netherlands' Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and TC Athene powered on to take both the Individual and Freestyle titles. Judges Kurt Christensen (DEN), Katrina Wuest (GER), Francisco Guerra Diaz (ESP), Alla Soubbotina (RUS) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED) awarded them 78.974 in the Individual Championship to leave them more than two points ahead of the German silver medallists Jil-Marielle Becks and Damon's Satelite while Germany also filled third, fourth and fifth places, Leonie Richter and Babylon clinching the bronze on a mark of 72.842. The Freestyle judges, Francis Verbeek von Rooj (NED), Clive Halsall (GBR), Katrina Wuest (GER), Freddy Leyman (BEL) and Christoph Limbach (LUX) gave Nieuwenhuis 81.000 for gold, Britain's Halsall placing the Dutch pair second while the remainder of the panel all put them at the head of the scoreboard. Becks had to settle for bronze this time out when Leonie Richter really rose to the occasion with a fractionally better score than her German counterpart, and it was Switzerland's Estell Wettstein who just missed out on the podium when lining up fourth. Children Last year's silver medallists from Russia clinched both the Team and Individual titles this time around, and their star performer was Anna Guseynova who steered the 11-year old Westfalian gelding, Lauda, to two excellent performances. The 14-year-old rider, who was a member of that 2015 silver-medal-winning side, posted 73.100 in the Team event in which her compatriot, Ekaterina Aristova (Shania) also produced an excellent mark of 70.800. When these were added to the 69.67 earned by Polina Ivanova (Norlunds Cartoon), the final scoreline of 213.667 gave Russia a significant advantage over France in silver while Spain claimed the bronze. With only four teams competing it was Italy that didn't make it on to the podium. Judges Raphael Saleh (FRA), Eike Ebert (GER), Christoph Limbach (LUX), Juan Carlos Eampos Escribano (ESP) and Freddy Leyman (BEL) awarded fourth-line Russian rider Taisia Rusakova (Terrano) 66.667, just 0.1 percentage points less than team-mate Ivanova.  The overall Russian score was 213.667. There were just three scores over 70 percent in the Team competition, two going to Russia and the third to French rider Jade Laborgne partnering Don Calypso who posted 70.500. French team-mates Eugenie Burban (Mighty Magic) and Mado Pinto (Rafale du Coussoul de la Gesse) scored 66.900 and 67.633 respectively, and fourth-line rider Enora de Vienne (Limerick) was close behind when putting 66.433 on the board for the discard as the final French tally stood at 206.083. Spain's Ainhoa Vera Arias (Mosquetero), Casida Rubio Breton (Daconte), Roser Serrano Pons (Sander) and Clara Munoz Roldan (Capricho) all scored between 64 and 69 percent to run up a team total of 202.700 for that bronze medal spot, and Ainhoa Vera Arias only just missed out on a podium placing in the Individual medal decider. Posting 69.344 for a strong ride on his 17-year-old Spanish-bred stallion Mosquetero, he was squeezed off the podium by just 0.062 percentage points by Czech Republic's Eva Vavikova riding Belle Ennie who earned the bronze. Silver went to Luxembourg's Celia Giorgetti and the black gelding Decoeur who posted a smart 70.375, but it was Russia's Guseynova who reigned supreme with Lauda whose mark of 77.438 reflected the top score awarded by all five judges, Alla Soubbotina (RUS), Tina Karkkolainen (FIN), Juan Carlos Campus Escribano (ESP), Kurt Christensen (DEN) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED). Results: FEI European Dressage Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2016 Childrens Team Championship: GOLD - Russia 213.667: Lauda (Anna Guseynova) 73.100, Shania (Ekaterina Anstova) 70.800, Norlunds Cartoon (Polina Ivanova) 69.767, Terrano (Taisia Rusakova) 66.667; SILVER - France 206.083: Don Calypso (Jade Laborgne) 70.550, Mighty Magic (Eugenie Burben) 67.900, Rafale du Coussoul de la Gesse (Mado Pinto) 67.633, Limerick (Enora de Vienne) 66.433; BRONZE - Spain 202.700: Mosquetero Vll (Ainhoa Vera Arias) 69.700, Daconte (Casida Rubio Breton) 67.133, Sander (Roser Serrano Pons) 65.867, Capricho (Clara Munoz Roldan) 64.500. Childrens Individual Championship: GOLD - Lauda (Anna Guseynova) 77.428 RUS; SILVER - Decoeur (Celia Giorgetti) LUX 70.375; BRONZE - Belle Ennie (Eva Vavikova) CZE 69.406. Junior Team Championship: GOLD - Germany 224.000: Dissertation (Semmieke Rothenberger) 77.351, Carlos (Hannah Erbe) 74.811, Friend of Mine 2 (Rebecca Horstmann) 71.838, Der Prinz 4 (Alexa Westendarp) 67.324; SILVER - Netherlands 220.136: Kostendrukkers Ringo Star (Lisanne Zoutendijk) 73.865, Zaffier (Esmee Donkers) 73.595, FS Las Vegas (Febe van Zwambagt) 72.676, Corvette (Diana van de Bovenkamp) 65.514; BRONZE - Denmark 212.405: Romo Hoejris (Celine Rorbaek Silfen) 72.324, Rafaella K (Camilla Andersen) 70.054, Alskenz Firfod (Caroline Eisner) 70.027, Noosa Melody (Karoline Rohmann) 69.703. Junior Individual Championship: GOLD - Carlos (Hannah Erbe) GER 77.658; SILVER - Dissertation (Semmieke Rothenberger) GER 77.579; BRONZE - Kostendrukkers Ringo Star (Lisanne Zoutendijk) NED 74.684. Junior Freestyle Championship: GOLD - Carlos (Hannah Erbe) GER 81.625; SILVER - Dissertation (Semmieke Rothenberger) GER 78.975; BRONZE - FB Las Vegas (Febe van Zwambagt) NED 77.550. Young Rider Team Championship: GOLD - Germany 221.842: Damons Satelite (Jil-Marielle Becks) 74.816, Ducati K (Anna-Lisa Theile) 73.947, Fuerst on Tour (Anna-Christina Abbelen) 73.079, Babylon (Leonie Richter) 70.842; SILVER - Netherlands 220.552: TC Athene (Jeanine Nieuwenhuis) 76.947, Vlingh (Jeanine Nekeman) 72.026, Esperanza (Jasmien de Koeyer) 71.579, MDH Ohio (Lotte Meulendijks) 70.737; BRONZE - Denmark 213.869: Kano (Maja Andreasen) 73.026, Uno lV (Michala Mejlgaard Jensen) 71.290, Daydream (Caroline Aarosin) 69.553, Brizard (Marie Skov Olesen) 64.632. Young Rider Individual Championship: GOLD - TC Athene (Jeanine Nieuwenhis) NED 78.974; SILVER - Damon's Satelite (Jil-Marielle Becks) GER 76.763; BRONZE - Babylon (Leonie Richter) GER 72.842. Young Rider Freestyle Championship: GOLD - TC Athene (Jeanine Nieuwenhuis) NED 81.00; SILVER - Babylon (Leonie Richter) GER 78.675; BRONZE - Damon's Satelite (Jil-Marielle Becks) GER 78.425.
  • “Blue Chip All Stars”

    “Blue Chip All Stars”

    The "ALL STARS FINALIST'S" parody music video.The "Blue Chip All Stars" get together to film a parody music video at Talland School of Equitation for a bit of fun while their TV series is being shown on H&C TV. This is not an advert for any associated business or association, it is just a bit of fun from a great bunch of people who shared the same experiences. Hope you enjoy 🙂
    Kelly Jewell, is a 36 year old mum fKelly Jewellrom the UK. She specializes in retraining racehorses for new careers and also owns a company that specializes in veterinary and medical digital thermal imaging. I have a successful Vlog on YouTube where I offer training tips and horsemanship advice to everyone who has is as hungry to learn as I am. I also enjoy grabbing the odd equestrian celebrity for an ‘on the spot’ interview too – please subscribe to my YouTube channel for exclusive videos and an all round happy and informative horsey environment. You can also join our Facebook groups ‘racers to riders’ or ‘Thermology uk’ or pop along to my website atwww.thermology.uk . Oh and you cannot forget Kelly is also a very successful parody artist who is the genius and talent behind the horse flavored Adele Video.    
  • A teaser video for the upcoming series The Equestrians

    A teaser video for the upcoming series The Equestrians

    A teaser video for the upcoming series The Equestrians, filmed on a blustery day and night at the 2015 Dressage at Devon, the premier North American equestrian event since 1975. It combines world class dressage competition and the world's largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival shops and special activities for the entire family.

    The 2016 Dressage at Devon Horse Show will be held Tuesday, September 27 through Sunday, October 2. Dressage has been called poetry in motion and ballet on horseback. Dressage is an ancient equestrian discipline, and the fastest growing equestrian sport in the USA today. In September, Dressage at Devon brings top competitors, horses, trainers and judges from across the continent and around the globe together for one of the highest-rated international dressage competitions and the most complete breed show outside of Europe. Olympic medalist Robert Dover calls Dressage at Devon “the standard by which all American horse shows should be judged.” More than 700 horses are expected to compete with an anticipated 35,000 spectators. Dressage at Devon opens with the three-day Breed Division, in which horses are judged for movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds are represented. The USDF Breeders Championships East Coast Series Finals and the Born in the USA Breeders Awards are among the highlights of the show’s first days. New this year is the first Foal Championship ever to be held in the United States. The combination of breed classes and performance classes gives the spectator a unique perspective. Thursday, the four-day Performance Division begins. Most Dressage at Devon classes are F.E.I. (Fédération Equestre Internationale) level, including four Grand Prix classes, the level of Olympic competition. Musical freestyles classes, like dancing to the music, are favorites. Dressage at Devon takes place at the Devon Horse Show Grounds, Route 29, in Devon, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, September 27 through Sunday, October 2. General admission is available for $10 at the show grounds during the show; children under 3 are free and children 4-12 are $5 for General Admission. Reserved seating has no discounts for children. For more information, visit dressageatdevon.org
  • NEW! SANI-HAT! Don’t be a minger this summer!

    NEW! SANI-HAT! Don’t be a minger this summer!

    Kelly Jewel has a new Equine Parody for us SANI-HAT

    NEW! SANI-HAT! Don't be a minger this summer! From the makers of the Adele "Hello" parody. These UK girls are toooooo funny we need more silly stuff like this to get the fun back in riding, making friends and laughing.  Playing with horses can be both fun and silly,  hum do you think I can get EquiTart to advertise on www.TheDigitalHorse.com 😉


    Kelly Jewell, is a 36 year old mum fKelly Jewellrom the UK. She specializes in retraining racehorses for new careers and also owns a company that specializes in veterinary and medical digital thermal imaging. I have a successful Vlog on YouTube where I offer training tips and horsemanship advice to everyone who has is as hungry to learn as I am. I also enjoy grabbing the odd equestrian celebrity for an ‘on the spot’ interview too – please subscribe to my YouTube channel for exclusive videos and an all round happy and informative horsey environment. You can also join our Facebook groups ‘racers to riders’ or ‘Thermology uk’ or pop along to my website at www.thermology.uk . Oh and you cannot forget Kelly is also a very successful parody artist who is the genius and talent behind the horse flavored Adele Video.
  • Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art

    Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art

    The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art will be here in London, at Olympia, this Christmas for the first time in 40 years! Here is a brief video of the Dancing Horses from their home in Jerez giving you a taster of their performance to come!
  • What should I eat on competition days?

    What should I eat on competition days?

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    Rider Nutrition

    In general, riders and horse owners have a pretty comprehensive understanding of nutrition.... when it comes to their horse. I'm not suggesting all riders have a bad diet but a good nutritious diet is lacking in a large proportion of riders. When I have been to various riders yard kitchens, the cereal boxes and bars are flowing, the chocolate bars and the hot chocolate/ coffee / donuts are on tap! Yum, yes! Energy? Short term yes, healthy er no. Mostly those that are based on the yard or barn daily, early hours late nights horses to ride. And those of you that are at work in an office etc all day, it's tiring packing up the lunches in advance getting to your horse before/after work, working out and riding. None of us have it easy, and the first thing to slide is nutrition. Right? The physiological demands of horse-riding as a whole do not require any particularly extreme dietary considerations. However, the prolonged and varied activity patterns evoke a significant physical demand and riders particularly competitive or those working in yards should plan nutrition to match long days and extended physical activity. Dehydration (too much coffee and tea too little water sound familiar?!) are important factors in riders also. There is a great chapter 'Nutrition for Equestrian Athletes' in the book Equestrian Training Performance which is written by my colleagues Dr C and Dr N Potter (this is the same book you can find my chapters on rider performance). I will summarize the key points they make below. Energy availability should be the primary concern for riders. A complete days rest maximizes glycogen availability, but equestrian events usually require significant preparation the day before. In this instance riders should prepare and include a carbohydrate rich diet 2-3 days prior to competition. Approximately 200g of carbohydrates should be consumed throughout the day and ideally 25-30g carbohydrate should be eaten the morning of competition. If one large carbohydrate based meal is not an option due to early rises etc then smaller meals with the same macronutrient intake should be planned. Myfitnesspal is a great app you can track your macronutrients (carbohydrate, proteins, fats). An ongoing feeding strategy the day of competition should be considered to avoid glycogen stores being depleted. Regular small carbohydrate meals does increase decision making and technical skill execution in other intermittent sports and should be of primary importance in such a risk based sport. Oh, yes carbohydrates. What I mean here do not include simple carbohydrates! Insufficient sleep and simple carbohydrates causes soporific effects and will leave you tired and making poor decisions-not good! Dehydration decreases cognitive skill and does affect performance reduces endurance and effects decision making. A fluid replacement strategy should be included as thirst is a poor indication of dehydration. Sports drinks may be used at competition (I would avoid otherwise especially regularly). Fruit juice with electrolyte powders are a more cost effective way of supplementing your drinks.
    • Clean healthy eating avoiding as much processed food as possible with the odd treat is the way forwards
    • It can be difficult when busy to make a list, recipies and meal plan, consider joining an online clean eating challenge. I do them sporadically so keep you eye out. Planning is the key to success!
    • Consider protein shakes to supplement your diet. Many riders have mentioned to me they feel much better taking a shake before/during the morning yard shift. I've tried lots of brands and you can get one to tailor to your lifestyle. A high protein low carb for muscle building, a moderate protein and moderate carb for energy/snack. It's more nutritious than not eating at all then grabbing 7 digestives and a cup of tea 😉
    You are as important and your horse, take care of you too. Hope this is food for thought![/vc_column_text][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title="About Jenni" color="custom" accent_color="#dd3333"][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4"][ig_lightbox_image image="10203" thumb_widht="150"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="3/4"][vc_column_text]Jenni is a Visiting Associate Principal Lecturer: Higher Education Equine Sciences, at the Centre for Performance in Equestrian Sport, Hartpury College, UK. Jenni is a certified personal trainer and has taught and published in both human and equine sports science fields. To learn more about Jenni visit her profile page. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][ig_blank_divider height_value="40"][vc_separator color="custom" el_width="90" accent_color="#dd3333"][vc_single_image image="10351" img_size="526" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" css_animation="top-to-bottom" link="http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/membership-account/membership-levels/"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row section_mode="normal" bgmode="default" bgposition="top_left" bgrepeat="no-repeat" bgattachment="scroll" section_overlay="no_overlay" sectionoverlayopacity="0.70" video_opacity_overlay="0.70" padding_top_value="70" padding_bottom_value="70" shadow="shadow-off" css=".vc_custom_1462649010961{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647462021{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="What we do." animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-horse-riding"]We train your  mind. When you know your dressage test, you can focus on your horse and your ride. You are prepared, sharp and ready to ride your best. When you become a member you have access to all the content on the site for the life of the tests.  The USEF tests renew every four years. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Visit a Classroom" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-newspaper2" animation_delay="300"]Visit a Dressage Test classroom and experience our visual and auditory aids that help you master the tests and the spatial relationships of movements in the arena. Become a member and have access to the animated classrooms, exercises and the downloadable PDF library. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="PDF Documents" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-print2" animation_delay="200"]When you ride your test it is critical, to have a good reference tool. Our tests are viewable on your desktop computer, as color hard copy prints and on your mobile devices. Use the link below to purchase single levels or the entire set. Immediate Download. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Membership" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-users2" animation_delay="400"]We offer flexible membership choices. Be a Dressage Member or a Eventing Member or BOTH depending on your riding style. You can purchase a membership one time and use the site for the life of the tests or  try our monthly option. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647609760{margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="About Digital Horse?" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fabout-dressage-tests%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="View A Test" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fdressagetestclassroomexample%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Download Diagrams" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fsites.fastspring.com%2Fthedigitalhorse%2Fproduct%2FPDFDressageTests||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Become a Member" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fmembersonly%2Fmembership-account%2Fmembership-levels%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1462649098398{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_cta h2="Become a member today and have access to all the USEF Dressage tests " h4="Your one time purchase lasts the life of the tests" txt_align="center"]
    • Learn your test online
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    • Immediate Access to all our learning material
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  • *The Religion of Dressage*

    *The Religion of Dressage*

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    This week's Trinity Schooling Idea

    *The Religion of Dressage*

    So I was planning on writing a little blurb about how you really need to be a perfectionist to do dressage. In my preparation (and with the advice of a writing mentor lent to me about 20 years ago ringing in my head about avoiding overgeneralization and offending your audience) I went to google to find words that would reflect the opposite of a perfectionist. I not only wanted to use them, but also wanted to see if the dragnet of the English language might also catch some of my peers (or worse yet, clients). And so, not unlike several other of my posts, my googling shocked me enough to write about it, and completely jump in the deep end and start swimming. I might yet drown, but here we go. WAY BACK when I was in school and striving to be a particularly overachieving student, I was continually taught that anything less than 100% didn't reflect excellence. The word was everywhere in school: The cafeteria, the gym wall, the cheerleader's poster-paint banners, even on the sign outside the parking lot. When a paper was handed back with an 88%, I would imagine my teacher's frustration and disappointment as she completed the last circle on the second 8. I would walk past the desk and see the open grade book and see the numbers recorded on it and quickly scan for my name and torture myself when I saw the 88. Because it wasn't perfect. And I wanted to be the not only the best; I wanted to be excellent. I wanted everyone to know that I was trying my hardest and succeeding. When I googled the word "perfectionist" I was shocked to find an entire page about how to overcome it . . . About how to keep your children away from the perils of perfectionism . . . About how bad it is for you, and all sorts of other things written by people with a lot more letters after their name than me. Everything was about how to 'lighten up' and change your perspective to allow for differences (that to me, also interpreted to include failures). My mind put her hands on her hips and said a loud "hmph." Since when did trying to be perfect at something become offensive? Our peers, colleagues, and friends might regard us perfectionists as uptight, accuse us of overthinking, say we are judgemental or even call us hypocrites when we vocalize the standards we hold ourselves to. However, how often do we hear eulogies and news program mentions of famous perfectionists who describe them as geniuses who pursued excellence Who devoted themselves to perfecting their music, or performing as an athlete, or in the great length, they took to fulfill their vision as a humanitarian. Were they not perfectionists? Or are we just allowing the spin doctors to weave their web of rhetoric around something we aren't supposed to be? Because heaven forbid, we try harder than someone else to do something well. First of all, I think we could all use a little more perfectionism in our lives. Take handwriting, for example. My dear little daughter Paige will not learn cursive in second grade. Her time spent learning to write her letters on lined paper was terrifyingly short, and she didn't learn the wonders of connecting all her letters together with swirls and lilting lines. She can hardly read anything written by hand unless it is in block letters, or printed in Arial or Times New Roman. This is astonishing to us "old folks" that spent tireless hours copying cursive letters and developing our handwriting, or later when I learned shorthand in high school. First, we learned the perfect way to do it, and then we developed our own style. But it had to be perfect first. If you followed the dotted lines, you got an A+, and then you practiced it, and you added your own little flourishes and made it your own. After it was perfect, after the time was put in. Then you could add to it. I know my own desire was linked to my faith. Being brought up in a Christian home and school where every Sunday, we were reminded by the pastor that we were asked, nay, expected to be perfect in God's eyes. It was impossible, of course, but it was still the standard. Without divine intervention, our inability to meet the standard would result in our eternal damnation, and only our belief and our faith could save us. Even so, we had to try - the standard of perfection remained, like the cross behind the altar at the front of the church. Most human actions and interactions could be described as either right or wrong, either an A or and F. . . for the things that didn't have written direction, there was the examples of leadership to look to, and their advice was offered when requested. The attitude of the church that I grew up in was one of structure, diligence, education and self-examination. There was little that fell under the umbrella of "tolerance," though there was always an ear lent to understanding the reasoning and elder words of wisdom to guide decision-making. Those words of wisdom often stressed one's personal values: the things that no one else could see, that very few ever even knew - personal struggles, quiet victories, prayer and remorse, and forgiveness known only to the one who requests it and He who offers it. Often people view religion as 'antiquated' and 'out of date.' Most often, the people that feel this way are offended by the structure, and the standards more than the social aspect of people assembling to worship: Whether it's because they feel they are being judged, or it's a result of their belief system and desire to be inclusive instead of exclusive, some people seem to be left feeling alienated by perceived standards which remain unknown to them, perhaps simply because they don't want to be associated or don't feel comfortable with learning more. I understand this. Does any of this sound familiar? Dressage can seem unfair, impossible and also antiquated when you're standing on the outside of the ring. If you know enough to recognize which test you're watching, you probably know enough to know what's hard and what's not. If you have no idea, and you only see the horse going sideways and forwards and around, it may seem ridiculous to see that the rider didn't score well. Dressage is amazing, and it fulfills so much of the drive for perfection in me, but in a constructive way. Not unlike religion, there is an impossible standard, and until I read a blog or Facebook post about your last 100% dressage score, I will maintain that position. We see photo after photo of beaming, proud riders - the most educated and brilliant riders of our time wearing medals and holding aloft bouquets of flowers, proudly passaging in front of adoring masses, often over wins with scores that are little better than a C+. And yes, it is called a test, after all! The only comments I've ever received that said anything like "nice try" were largely sarcastic (yes, and I still have that test). Every score on my score sheet shows where I am lacking, and there are no extra points for wearing spurs to try harder, or grip tack to sit better, or the custom boots to keep from wiggling my heels. In fact, the better you get, the less these things matter, and the more I have to do without them (and without help from a whip, even!). The perfectionist in me turns into the second grader peeking at the teacher's grade book when I scan my scoresheet. It's easy to get bogged down in the "needs more . . " and "crooked . . . " and "not enough . . . " but the dressage rider in me, instead has learned to make a mental checklist to either work on these things and adopt them into my riding, or sometimes to ignore them because it was just bad ride! To me, the low scores stick hot pokers in my eyeballs, and the words punch me in the gut a little. Other riders might be able to laugh it off, and they instead see the "elegant pair" comment and the words "active" near the walk score and smile when they see the 8s pop out at them. This is the personal part of dressage, and why I respect riders who don't wave their scoresheets around for everyone to read. If you're someone who takes these comments to heart, who tears down, rebuilds, and regroups all in the 5 seconds, it takes to scan a scoresheet and speed read the comments (maybe wincing a little). . . . You are in good company. As the education, we require our judges to seek out before licensing becomes more and more comprehensive, and as our tolerance for abuse disintegrates and the requirement for respect of these noble animals becomes more and more apparent in how we develop the definitions for dressage, the standards will continue to be fortified. If it is to follow history, Dressage will become an older religion, with less tolerance and a firmer resolve. While its aims may change, as they already have from military need-based to recreational, it will always find the perfectionists challenging themselves at the top: those who are willing to accept the impossible standard, those who will follow the directives, those who will change themselves to help the horse pursue perfection, even though they may feel the feeling of it so few times, if ever, in their lifetime compared to the hours spent in the pursuit. There will also be others who will pay lip service, who will attend the show, commune at X and return home only to do whatever they feel they are justified in doing. And for those, they fail themselves in their personal journey, even if they achieve in the eyes of others. So after your final salute at your next show, I dare you to mutter under your breath as you walk a few steps toward the judge . . . Dearly, Beloved, we are gathered here to repent of our transgressions, our late changes, our humongous pirouettes, our egg-shaped circles. We ask forgiveness for our late canter departs, and our lateral walk. We glorify the standards of dressage, to which we are held and which we can never achieve. May the judge have mercy on our poor white full-seats and forgive us as we accept the judgment passed down upon us. Thank you for your time, have a nice day. . . .Thank God that's over.
    [/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title="About the Author Eliza Banks" color="custom" el_width="90" accent_color="#dd3333"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"][vc_single_image image="10060"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text]Eliza Puttkamer-Banks (Trinity Dressage) is a dressage trainer, competitor and instructor with a diverse discipline and breed background. Originally from the Midwest, Eliza married her husband Stephen and moved to England, and then returned to the USA to New Jersey, where they have settled and are parents to a horse crazy 7 year-old daughter, Paige.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="10351" img_size="526" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" link="http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/membership-account/membership-levels/"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row section_mode="normal" bgmode="default" bgposition="top_left" bgrepeat="no-repeat" bgattachment="scroll" section_overlay="no_overlay" sectionoverlayopacity="0.70" video_opacity_overlay="0.70" padding_top_value="70" padding_bottom_value="70" shadow="shadow-off" css=".vc_custom_1462649010961{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column][vc_separator color="custom" el_width="90" accent_color="#dd3333"][ig_blank_divider height_value="40"][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647462021{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="What we do." animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-horse-riding"]We train your  mind. When you know your dressage test, you can focus on your horse and your ride. You are prepared, sharp and ready to ride your best. When you become a member you have access to all the content on the site for the life of the tests.  The USEF tests renew every four years. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Visit a Classroom" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-newspaper2" animation_delay="300"]Visit a Dressage Test classroom and experience our visual and auditory aids that help you master the tests and the spatial relationships of movements in the arena. Become a member and have access to the animated classrooms, exercises and the downloadable PDF library. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="PDF Documents" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-print2" animation_delay="200"]When you ride your test it is critical, to have a good reference tool. Our tests are viewable on your desktop computer, as color hard copy prints and on your mobile devices. Use the link below to purchase single levels or the entire set. Immediate Download. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Membership" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-users2" animation_delay="400"]We offer flexible membership choices. Be a Dressage Member or a Eventing Member or BOTH depending on your riding style. You can purchase a membership one time and use the site for the life of the tests or  try our monthly option. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647609760{margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="About Us" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fabout-dressage-tests%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="View A Test" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fdressagetestclassroomexample%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Download Diagrams" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fsites.fastspring.com%2Fthedigitalhorse%2Fproduct%2FPDFDressageTests||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Become a Member" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fmembersonly%2Fmembership-account%2Fmembership-levels%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1462649098398{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_cta h2="Become a member today and have access to all the USEF Dressage tests " h4="Your one time purchase lasts the life of the tests" txt_align="center"]
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  • Michael Jung rides into history at Badminton

    Michael Jung rides into history at Badminton

    FEI PFEI ClassicsRESS RELEASE

    Lausanne (SUI), May 8, 2016

    FEI Classics™: Michael Jung rides into history at Badminton

     by Kate Green

     There were happy scenes at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), fourth leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, as a sell-out crowd watched the phenomenal Michael Jung (GER) La Biosthetique Sam FBW make history.

     He is the first German to win the 67-year-old event and, in the process, has become only the second winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

     The top four riders after Cross Country all went clear in a tense final Jumping phase, but Jung was the clear winner by a huge nine-penalty margin, and his final score of 34.4 was the lowest in Badminton history.

    When asked the secret of his success, the Olympic champion and world number one said simply: “I just like riding horses; it’s not only my job, it’s my hobby.”

     And, when asked if he felt like shedding a tear, he smiled and said: “I think I might. Sam is more than just a good horse to me; we’re a special partnership”.

     He added: “I need a bit of time for this to sink in, but it is a special moment for me, especially when you think of the history and tradition of Badminton and all the great riders who have won it before.

     “We [my family] agreed that we would treat this as a normal competition but now I can realise what it means. It’s not just for me, it’s a win for my whole team.”

     Jung’s extraordinary run of success began with victory at Burghley (GBR) last September on his parents Joachim and Brigitte’s La Biosthetique Sam FBW, followed by the European title a week later on FischerTakinou, his potential ride at the Rio Olympic Games, and, last weekend, a repeat win at Kentucky with FischerRocana FST.

    Andreas Ostholt (GER) scored a career best in second place on the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding So Is Et and said: “It’s like a win for me. My only expectation after two unlucky times at Badminton was to finish in a good way, so this is much more than I could have wished for.”

     Gemma Tattersall (GBR) thrilled the home crowd in third place on the fabulous Cross Country horse Arctic Soul and looks to have a good chance of securing a place on the British team at the Olympics.

     “I’ve had such a journey with this horse, managing to keep him when he was going to be sold, so this is a dream come true,” she said.

     “What a fantastic horse – he was still racing over fences when he was six years old. He has been in the form of his life this spring and I knew it was just a case of us competing at the top of our game. He did a personal best in the dressage and he’s finished on that score, so I could not be more proud of him.”

    The New Zealanders showed what a force they will be in Rio. The legendary Sir Mark Todd was a popular fourth on Leonidas ll and Badminton first-timer Clarke Johnstone’s journey from New Zealand paid off with fifth place on Balmoral Sensation – he is now second, behind Jung, in the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016.

     Jock Paget was sixth on Clifton Lush, Jonelle Price 10th on Classic Moet and Blyth Tait, riding at his first Badminton for 13 years, 13th with a double clear on Bear Necessity V.

     The British selectors also have interesting choices to make. Kristina Cook (GBR), a medalist in Beijing and London, has three horses qualified for Rio and, although Star Witness, on which she finished eventual seventh at Badminton, is considered the weakest in the Dressage phase, he rose 35 places as the fastest horse across country and jumped a double clear.

     Izzy Taylor, a great-niece of the 1962 Badminton winner Anneli Drummond-Hay, could also be going to her first Olympics after finishing ninth on the CCI4* first-timer Allercombe Ellie, the highest-placed mare.

     The French, who had such a good day on the Cross Country, fared less well in the Jumping. Astier Nicolas (Quickly du Buguet), Gwendolen Fer (Romantic Love) and Jean Teulere (Matelot du Grand Val) each hit two fences to drop to 14th, 16th and 17th places respectively.

     Worryingly for everyone, Michael Jung joked that he was not ready to retire Sam yet. “He was like a three-year-old this morning and I like to think that Tokyo (the 2020 Olympics) might be his retirement event!”

    About the winner

     Michael Jung (GER), 33, is the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and was the first to win four championship titles consecutively. He 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 FBW.

     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*; last year they finished third at Kentucky (USA) and now they have added the Burghley and Badminton CCI4* titles to their collection. Jung has also won Kentucky twice in succession on FischerRocana FST.

     Jung has equaled Ginny Elliot’s (GBR) record of three European titles on three different horses: in 2011 on La Biosthetique Sam FBW, in 2013 on Halunke and in 2015 on FischerTakinou. He also won world team gold and individual silver medals on FischerRocana FST in 2014. He lives in Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment.

     La Biosthetique Sam FBW is a 16-year-old by Stan The Man out of a Heraldik mare. He is owned by the Jung family, Erich Single and DOKR.

     Final results

    1 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam FBW (GER) 34.4 + 0 + 0 = 34.4 penalties

    2 Andreas Ostholt/So Is Et (GER) 38.2 + 5.2 + 0 = 43.4

    3 Gemma Tattersall/Arctic Soul (GBR) 44.6 + 0 + 0 = 44.6

    4 Sir Mark Todd/Leonidas ll (NZL) 44.8 + 0 + 0 = 44.8

    5 Clarke Johnstone/Balmoral Sensation (NZL) 40.8 + 4.8 + 0 = 45.6

    6 Jock Paget/Clifton Lush (NZL) 45.2 + 0 + 4 = 49.2

    7 Kristina Cook/Star Witness (GBR) 49.7 + 0 + 0 = 49.7

    8 Izzy Taylor/Allercombe Ellie (GBR) 40.4 + 6.0 + 4 = 50.4

    9 Camilla Speirs/Portersize Just A Jiff (IRL) 49.9 + 0.8 + 0 = 50.7

    10 Jonelle Price/Classic Moet (NZL) 47.3 + 0 + 4 = 51.3

     Full results on www.badminton-horse.co.uk

     FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 Leaderboard (after 4 of 6 events)

    1 Michael Jung (GER) 42 points

    2 Clarke Johnstone (NZL) 16

    3 Astier Nicolas (FRA) 15

    4 Shane Rose (AUS) 15

    5 Sir Mark Todd (NZL) 13

    6 Andreas Ostholt (GER) 12

    7 Lauren Kieffer (USA) 12

    8 Gemma Tattersall (GBR) 10

    9 Maya Black (USA) 10

    10 Tim Price (NZL) 10

    FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 calendar

    1 Les 4 Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 22-25 October 2015

    2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 19-22 November 2015

    3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 28 April-1 May 2016

    4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 May 2016

    5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 16-19 June 2016

    6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 1-4 September


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  • Follow your Dreams Mary King Badminton 2016 interview

    Follow your Dreams Mary King Badminton 2016 interview

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Mary King Badminton 2016 interview on dressage day at Badminton 2016. Kelly Jewel caught up with the lovely Mary King at Badminton to chat about talented her daughter, Emily's, Badminton debut. What a Mother's Day Treat!
      Kelly Jewell, is a 36 year old mum fKelly Jewelrom the UK. She specializes in retraining racehorses for new careers and also owns a company that specializes in veterinary and medical digital thermal imaging. To learn more about Kelly Click Here.      
    Learn Your Dressage Test Online [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row section_mode="normal" bgmode="default" bgposition="top_left" bgrepeat="no-repeat" bgattachment="scroll" section_overlay="no_overlay" sectionoverlayopacity="0.70" video_opacity_overlay="0.70" padding_top_value="70" padding_bottom_value="70" shadow="shadow-off" css=".vc_custom_1462649010961{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column][vc_separator color="custom" el_width="90" accent_color="#dd3333"][ig_blank_divider height_value="40"][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647462021{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="What we do." animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-horse-riding"]We train your  mind. When you know your dressage test, you can focus on your horse and your ride. You are prepared, sharp and ready to ride your best. When you become a member you have access to all the content on the site for the life of the tests.  The USEF tests renew every four years. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Visit a Classroom" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-newspaper2" animation_delay="300"]Visit a Dressage Test classroom and experience our visual and auditory aids that help you master the tests and the spatial relationships of movements in the arena. Become a member and have access to the animated classrooms, exercises and the downloadable PDF library. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="PDF Documents" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-print2" animation_delay="200"]When you ride your test it is critical, to have a good reference tool. Our tests are viewable on your desktop computer, as color hard copy prints and on your mobile devices. Use the link below to purchase single levels or the entire set. Immediate Download. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Membership" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-users2" animation_delay="400"]We offer flexible membership choices. Be a Dressage Member or a Eventing Member or BOTH depending on your riding style. You can purchase a membership one time and use the site for the life of the tests or  try our monthly option. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647609760{margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="About Digital Horse?" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fabout-dressage-tests%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="View A Test" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fdressagetestclassroomexample%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Download Diagrams" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fsites.fastspring.com%2Fthedigitalhorse%2Fproduct%2FPDFDressageTests||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Become a Member" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fmembersonly%2Fmembership-account%2Fmembership-levels%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1462649098398{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_cta h2="Become a member today and have access to all the USEF Dressage tests " h4="Your one time purchase lasts the life of the tests" txt_align="center"]
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  • Yodeling your way to RIO

    Yodeling your way to RIO

    Looks like someone from the FEI has a silly sense of humor 🙂
    Learn Your Dressage Test Online [vc_row section_mode="normal" bgmode="default" bgposition="top_left" bgrepeat="no-repeat" bgattachment="scroll" section_overlay="no_overlay" sectionoverlayopacity="0.70" video_opacity_overlay="0.70" padding_top_value="70" padding_bottom_value="70" shadow="shadow-off" css=".vc_custom_1462649010961{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column][vc_separator color="custom" el_width="90" accent_color="#dd3333"][ig_blank_divider height_value="40"][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647462021{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="What we do." animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-horse-riding"]We train your  mind. When you know your dressage test, you can focus on your horse and your ride. You are prepared, sharp and ready to ride your best. When you become a member you have access to all the content on the site for the life of the tests.  The USEF tests renew every four years. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Visit a Classroom" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-newspaper2" animation_delay="300"]Visit a Dressage Test classroom and experience our visual and auditory aids that help you master the tests and the spatial relationships of movements in the arena. Become a member and have access to the animated classrooms, exercises and the downloadable PDF library. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="PDF Documents" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-print2" animation_delay="200"]When you ride your test it is critical, to have a good reference tool. Our tests are viewable on your desktop computer, as color hard copy prints and on your mobile devices. Use the link below to purchase single levels or the entire set. Immediate Download. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][ig_box_icon icons_select="icon_only" position="top" title="Membership" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" animation_loading="yes" icon="icon-users2" animation_delay="400"]We offer flexible membership choices. Be a Dressage Member or a Eventing Member or BOTH depending on your riding style. You can purchase a membership one time and use the site for the life of the tests or  try our monthly option. [ig_blank_divider_sh height_value="7" class=""][/ig_box_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner css=".vc_custom_1462647609760{margin-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="About Digital Horse?" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fabout-dressage-tests%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="View A Test" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fdressagetestclassroomexample%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Download Diagrams" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fsites.fastspring.com%2Fthedigitalhorse%2Fproduct%2FPDFDressageTests||"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/4" positionalign="center"][vc_btn title="Become a Member" style="3d" color="danger" align="center" css_animation="bottom-to-top" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedigitalhorse.com%2Fmembersonly%2Fmembership-account%2Fmembership-levels%2F||"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1462649098398{margin-right: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}"][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_cta h2="Become a member today and have access to all the USEF Dressage tests " h4="Your one time purchase lasts the life of the tests" txt_align="center"]
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  • Michael Jung makes history at Kentucky

    Michael Jung makes history at Kentucky

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 2 May, 2016  FEI Classics™: Michael Jung makes history at Kentucky by Kate Green

     

    The packed crowds at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), third leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, roared their approval of Michael Jung’s (GER) back-to-back victory on FischerRocana, realising they were in the presence of greatness.

     The world number one has an unbeaten record at America’s premier venue, having won on all his three visits, which includes the world title back in 2010.

     “I like this place a lot,” said Jung, smilingly acknowledging the crowd. “The people are very friendly and my horse, Roxie, likes it as well. She is getting better and better. I’m learning all the time from her.”

     Richard Jeffrey’s Jumping track proved influential and any hopes of applying pressure on Jung evaporated when he was left with four fences in hand to win. He did use up one, when the 11-year-old mare just clipped the second part of the double, but his winning margin of 13.3 penalties is thought to be the biggest in Kentucky’s CCI4* history.

     Lauren Kieffer (USA) will surely have done her Olympic selection chances no harm with second place – a repeat of her 2014 result - on another mare, Veronica. This was a rise of four places thanks to achieving the only clear round, albeit with one time penalty, in the top 14.

     Kieffer won the Land Rover Ride of the Day prize as the US rider nearest the optimum Cross Country time on Landmark’s Monte Carlo but a disastrous five rails down dropped that partnership from seventh to 18th.

     Phillip Dutton (USA) also plummeted, from second to 13th, with 20 Jumping penalties on Fernhill Fugitive, but he still finished fourth and fifth on Mighty Nice and Fernhill Cubalawn.

     Maya Black (USA) enjoyed a career best in third place on the spring-heeled Doesn’t Play Fair.

    The scarcity of clear rounds at the top of the leaderboard meant that four faults was good enough to elevate Boyd Martin (USA) from 10th to sixth on Blackfoot Mystery, Sir Mark Todd from 12th to seventh on NZB Campino and Elisa Wallace from 14th to eighth on Simply Priceless.

     As attention turns to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this weekend, Jung has now risen to taken the lead in the FEI Classics™ as well as setting himself up for the Rolex Grand Slam. His great horse La Biosthetique Sam is already en route for the famous English venue.

     “My dream is to win Badminton, of course, but we will have to see what happens,” he said. The rest of the world has been warned.

     About the winner

     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, culminating in the European title at Blair Castle (GBR) last year on FischerTakinou.

     He first came to prominence in 2009, when he won the Luhmühlen CCI4*, the FEI World Cup™ Eventing series 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*, last year they finished third at Kentucky (USA) and then added the Burghley CCI4* title to their collection.

     Jung won a second European title, at Malmö (SWE) in 2013 on Halunke, and in 2014 finished second at Luhmühlen and won world team gold and individual silver medals on FisherRocana FST, also the winner of Kentucky in 2015.

     He lives in Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment.  

     FischerRocana FST is an 11-year-old mare by Ituango XX out of a Carismo mare, owned by Joachim and Bridgette Jung.

     Final results

    1 Michael Jung/FischerRocana FST (GER) 34.4 + 0.8 + 4 = 39.2

    2 Lauren Kieffer/Veronica (USA) 43.9 + 7.6 + 1 = 52.5

    3 Maya Black/Doesn’t Play Fair (USA) 45.5 + 4.4 + 4 = 53.9

    4 Phillip Dutton/Mighty Nice (USA) 45.0 + 4.8 + 8 = 57.8

    5 Phillip Dutton/Fernhill Cubalawn (USA) 48.2 + 7.2 + 4 + 59.4

    6 Boyd Martin/Blackfoot Mystery (USA) 52.0 + 3.6 + 4= 59.6

    7 Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 43.2 + 13.2 + 4 = 60.4

    8 Elisa Wallace/Simply Priceless (USA) 49.8 + 6.8 + 4 = 60.6

    9 Buck Davidson/Petite Flower (USA) 46.7 + 7.2 + 8 = 61.9

    10 Sinead Halpin/Manoir de Carneville (USA) 47.6 + 8.8 + 8 = 64.4

     Full results on www.rk3de.org

     FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 Leaderboard (after 3 of 6 events)

    1 Michael Jung (GER) 27 points

    2 Astier Nicolas (FRA) 15

    3 Shane Rose (AUS) 15

    4 Lauren Kieffer (USA) 12

    5 Maya Black (USA) 10

    6 Tim Price (NZL) 10

    7 Clarke Johnstone (NZL) 10

    8 Phillip Dutton (USA) 8

    9 Emily King (GBR) 8

    10 Sonja Johnston (AUS) 8

     See full standings www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics

    FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 calendar

    1 Les 4 Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 22-25 October 2015

    2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 19-22 November 2015

    3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 28 April-1 May 2016

    4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 May 2016

    5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 16-19 June 2016

    6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 1-4 September 2016

  • Working on Rhythm

    Working on Rhythm

    This year I have been working my mare Fergie with a Natural Horsemanship Trainer.   I got Fergie back from a free lease to a rider who was struggling with managing her.  Their solution was to have her put to sleep as they had her tested for EPM.  The tests did reveal that she had the EPM titers but she did not have any clinical signs other then that she had a difficult personality.  This personality quirk was known to me and the rider who leased her, Fergie has a big personality and she can be difficult.  When the lease situation did not pan out I brought her home and had two different veterinarians evaluate her and neither one could see any clinical signs of EPM but I treated her with a round of Marquis to be sure. I gave her about 3 months off to recover from the trauma from her lease situation.  When I went to pick her up she was very stressed our and very thin.  They had her locked in a 12X12 stall with no windows and they where feeding her 2 pounds of concentrates so she was crawling out of her skin.  This was a mistake which I had advised again prior to her departure,  I recommend only feeding grass hay especially if your horse lives in a confined area.  You can add concentrates if you are working your horse so hard that he/she is losing weight but unless this is the case less is more.   So she came home did a series of Marquis and relaxed in her 3 acre pasture. When I started riding her again she had some issues with transitions and basically a bad attitude.  That is when I found a Natural Horsemanship Trainer to help me out.  So now about 8 month after we started I want to share what I have learned from Eric Bravo (EricBravo.Horse)  We started on the ground and I wish I had video taped her from the beginning as her transformation has been fascinating.   Eric started me with working her on the ground and I was flexing, flexing, flexing her, from there we did games on the ground that taught her to move her feet and yield her hip, her shoulders, her body and her head and neck. In this video I am getting ready to take her out on the trail and I am working her on the Digital Horse campus before I take her out.  What I want to share is how nice an rhythmic she is moving.  Once you have a quite rhythmic horse you can add other challenges, like lowering your horses neck, or shoulder-in, or a leg yield.  But everything needs to start with a quite, forward, rhythmic horse.  Remember just one year ago her rider and trainer wanted to have her euthanized because she was so difficult and they felt she was beyond helping. Thanks and keep watching for more of her progress.
      Robin Kelly Developer www.TheDigitalHorse.com  
  • 10 Paints That Will Melt Your Heart

    10 Paints That Will Melt Your Heart

    Check out Habitat for Horses' list of 10 paint horses that are guaranteed to melt your heart!
    1. Kaiya
    kaiya 1a
    Kaiya is a 6 year old paint mare who is curious of everything around her. She passed our obstacle course as if it wasn’t there both on lead and under saddle; not a single thing ruffled her feathers. Learn more about this spirited beauty: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/kaiya/

    2.Titus
    titus-3asmaller
    Titus is a 7 year old Paint gelding with a cute personality and a great sense of curiosity. He stands tied, picks up all four feet, and has accepted a saddle. He also stands perfect to brush and comb as well. Learn more about Titus here: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/titus/

    3. Shelby
    shelby-0-copysmaller
    Still a spunky sweet girl at 20 years old, Shelby is a great ride! She is looking for a soul that matches her own. Learn more about Shelby: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/shelby/

    4. Corbet
     corbett-1smaller
    Corbet came to us neglected and underweight. He has made a wonderful recovery. Be sure to check out his new pics: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/corbet/

    5. Ashton
    Ashton 2
     Ready to ride, Ashton direct or neck reigns, has a good backup, walks/trots/canters from a stand still. He stands for mounting and doesn’t move till you say so. This handsome fella is great for a beginner rider. Learn more about adopting Ashton: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/ashton/

    6. Greta
    Greta 02
    Greta is a beautiful sorrel & white paint with wonderful ground manners. She accepts bridling, brushing, picking up feet, fly spray, saddling, and mounting. She is very trainable. Learn more: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/greta/

    7. Nacori
    Nacori 09
    Nacori is a beautiful horse who is willing to learn. She has passed our obstacle course on lead and under saddle. She is in need of a hand to keep her training on the upward climb and be her forever companion.Learn about Nacori: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/nacori/

    8. Mesquite
    mesquite 09
    Mesquite has a lovely coat and lounges in both directions, stands for feet to be cleaned and tended to. Mesquite will also take a bit and saddle easily. Learn more about Mesquite:

    9. Axel
    Axel 5
    Axel is a great big brown and white pocket pony. He is excellent on the ground – but knows his size! He picks up all 4 feet, walks into stock, and does well with a farrier.  Learn more: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/axel/

    10. Disco
    Disco-3
    Disco is a shy fella who enjoys being out in the herd. He will need someone with patience and kindness to work with him and make him feel safe. Learn more about Disco: http://www.habitatforhorses.org/disco/
    Which Paint melted your heart the most?!
    Habitat for Horses is an equine rescue and sanctuary located in Texas caring for 400 rescued equines on 5 different properties. Learn more!
  • Eventing: Ten teams start the season at Fontainebleau

    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.”
  • Intriguing competition in prospect

    Intriguing competition in prospect

    FEIDressageSwedenIntriguing competition in prospect for 2016 Reem Acra title

    by Louise Parkes

     Excitement is mounting as Dressage stars from across the globe polish up their final preparations for next weeks’ Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

     An intriguing line-up of 18 horse-and-rider combinations from 11 nations will compete in this 31st Final which is always guaranteed to provide sporting entertainment of the highest calibre, and the absence of defending champion, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, makes for a wide-open contest for the coveted title.  An ongoing ownership dispute about Uthopia, the horse with which she finished second at the qualifying leg at London Olympia (GBR) in December and fourth in Amsterdam (NED) in January, means the 30-year-old world no. 2 Dressage rider will not compete, so a brand new Reem Acra champion will be crowned in nine days time. 

     Well-represented

     The host nation will be well-represented at the Final by three members of the team that finished fifth at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER).  

     Double Olympian, Patrik Kittel, brings the evergreen chestnut stallion, Watermill Scandic, who at 17 years of age seems to have found a whole new lease of life as demonstrated by a brilliant runner-up performance at the Stockholm (SWE) leg of the Western European League qualifying series in November and seventh spot in Amsterdam (NED) in January. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven has been to six Olympic Games, and with her London 2012 partner, Don Auriello, has also been in sparkling form with a double of wins in the North American League in recent months to easily earn her spot. 

     At 28 years of age Emilie Nyrerod is the rookie of the Swedish pack but showed immense promise with the gelding, Miata, in Aachen last year and their fourth-place finish at this season’s opening leg of the Western European League in Odense (DEN) got them off to a great start. Only one Swedish rider has ever succeeded in winning the FEI World Cup™ Dressage title throughout its history, and that was Louise Nathhorst with LRF Walk on Top in Gothenburg back in 1998, so another Swedish victory at same venue would be timely.

     Family affair

     For Kittel it’s going to be a real family affair, because his wife, Lyndal Oatley, will be flying the Australian flag alongside Mary Hanna who, at 61, will be the oldest competitor at the Final. Hanna, a four-time Olympian who has also competed at three World Championships, didn’t travel to Las Vegas (USA) for the 2015 Final despite qualifying, but has made the trip this time after another great season with the 15-year-old Umbro with whom she posted five fantastic victories to clinch the Asia/Pacific League series title yet again in convincing fashion. 

     The two US representatives will be Gunter Seidel who finished fourth in the North American League with Zero Gravity and Charlotte Jorst who finished sixth with Kastel’s Nintendo, while Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj earned her spot with Smeyers Molberg when finishing sixth in the Western European League standings. 

    Russia’s Inessa Merkulova (Mister X) and Tatiana Dorofeeva (Kartsevo Upperville) have made the cut by clinching the top two places in the Central European League but all the remaining contenders are from Western Europe. 

     Ones to watch

     Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard will be ones to watch, Kasprzak no doubt hoping for better luck than she enjoyed at last year’s FEI European Championships where she was forced to withdraw after getting a nasty kick from her 17-year-old gelding Donnperignon, while Kirk Thinggaard finished her League outings on a very positive note when lining up sixth with the appealing JoJo AZ in the highly-competitive last qualifier at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) last weekend.

     Germany is the only other country with multiple representation, and with 2015 European team bronze medallist and world no. 5 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB joined by  reigning World and European team gold medallists Fabienne Lutkemeier with D’Agostino, the German challenge looks formidable. 

     But Ireland’s Judy Reynolds is on a career-high after posting back-to-back Irish record scores with Vancouver K in recent weeks while Belgium’s Jorinde Verwimp and Tiamo are also on an upward curve. Meanwhile Poland’s Beata Stremler and Rubicon D pinned Lutkemeier, Kittel and Oatley into the minor placings when finishing fourth at the hard-fought eighth leg of the Western European League at Neumunster (GER) in February so this pair most definitely can’t be discounted, and that just leaves The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud, who may well prove to be the man they all have to beat.

     Brilliant winter season

     The 42-year-old Dutchman finished second on the final Western European League standings after a brilliant winter season which saw him take a double of wins including a confidence-boosting pole position at the last qualifier on home ground in ‘s-Hertogenbosch  just six days ago. So the 2008 Olympic team silver medallist who claimed team gold and individual bronze at the FEI European Championships last summer is heading to Gothenburg with Glock’s Flirt in a winning frame of mind.  

    Charlotte Dujardin, who with the great Valegro claimed the Reem Acra title both at Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and again last year in Las Vegas (USA) is disappointed she can’t defend it this time around, “but I wish everyone the best of luck and I look forward to campaigning again to be at the 2017 Final” she said this week. And she’s very happy that New York fashion designer, Reem Acra, is extending her sponsorship of the series and Final as announced recently.  

     “I’d like to say an enormous thank you to Reem Acra for continuing her support of the FEI World Cup Dressage Series for another three years. As riders, we value the FEI World Cup competitions, and to have such an iconic brand behind us is invaluable”, the British star added, knowing that the crown of indoor Dressage is destined to be worn by a new champion in just over a week’s time. 

     Facts and Figures:

     New York fashion designer, Reem Acra, presents the 31st FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 

     18 athletes from 11 nations will compete.

     The countries that will be represented are: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

     Defending champion, Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin, will not compete.

    The Netherlands holds the record for most wins in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series with 12 in total, and nine of those were recorded by Dutch Freestyle queen, Anky van Grunsven.

     The next most prolific winners are Germany, with eight victories to date.

     The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2016 will begin on Friday 25 March with the Grand Prix which is open to all 18 horse-and-rider combinations.

     All participants who finish the Grand Prix with a score of at least 60% will continue to the Grand Prix Freestyle which will decide the destination of the 2016 title on Sunday 27 March.

  • Why should I train my own fitness off of my horse?

    Why should I train my own fitness off of my horse?

    Training Considerations for Horse-Riders Horse riding is a skill. Nothing will take away from the skill which you learn from being on top of a horse, and that, of course should be any horse riders number one priority. There are however a number of things riders can do, from the ground which will transfer towards ridden performance. Here are some of the reasons below! training considerations Psycho-emotional stress: High levels of anxiety (positive or negative) will cause high heart rates. Horse riding is mentally concentrative and riders will be exposed to this type of stress. It has been proven that the fitter you are the better you cope with emotional strain and high heart rates. Off-Set Injury: If you have read the long term participant development document, or just by observation you will know riders have longevity in athletic career. It is an early start late specialization sport. Age 3-60+, that’s a long time to develop and accumulate injury. A stronger, healthier body will off-set these injuries. Horse Riding bears minimal loading. It is advisable for riders to include some loading, running, jumping and lifting weights. There are reports in research that riders having strong muscles and weak bones. Not a great combination…..snap, crackle, pop!  Skill and co-ordination If you are fitter, you will ward of those nasty fatigue metabolites that make you feel a bit woozy and light headed. No one can make good decisions under the effects of fatigue. The fitter you are, the less fatigue you accumulate. The less fatigue, the better your skill and decision making, kind of important when your sitting on the back of half a tonne of animal with its own free will! You are an athlete too! Its vitally important riders work on themselves. It’s hard to become straighter, more symmetrical and stronger when you are working on the horse at the same time. It’s fairer to your horse to work on yourself without compromising the aids to them. Staleness  We already mentioned that you ride for a long time in your life; sometimes it gets a bit repetitive. Burnout and drop out are common as riders enter the ‘training to compete’ stage in their riding career.  Training off the horse can add another dimension to your equestrian athleticism. Coping with physiological demands Ill bore you with my PhD findings some other time. The breakdown is that horse riding IN COMPETITION is hard, regardless of discipline but a light seat and jumping requires more physiological effort. Heart rate is high, blood lactate is at threshold levels etc etc Truth be told, many (not all) riders train for longer durations on multiple horses but at less intense work rates than what they do in competition. To be competition fit, you need to expose your body to those levels above which you expect in competition. Off horse training can achieve this without overdoing it for your horse. So, lots of reasons to get your butt in the gym, or start exercising at home.  I would love for you to follow me on Facebook: [ig_social_profile facebook="https://www.facebook.com/eventfitbyjennidouglas/"]  I have plenty of options to help you Jenni.
    EventFit-PartialLogo

    Jenni Douglas

    Visiting Associate Principal Lecturer | HE Equine

    Hartpury College | Gloucester | GL19 3BE

       
  • *How to Qualify to Ride a Freestyle*

    *How to Qualify to Ride a Freestyle*

    Young Rider Paige BanksSpoiler alert - This has nothing to do with riding a freestyle, and I am unashamedly clever in reeling you, my dedicated and serious dressage friend, into reading this. I know that my blogs probably have a lot less meat-and-potatoes in them lately, but I promise that will all change as we get into show season. But for now, I want to introduce you to my dear daughter, Paige (She always talks about wanting to be famous and has sent several photos to Young Rider magazine to no avail, so this is her spotlight, and "now is her chance". As she likes to explain to her Breyer model horses when she is playing and doesn't think I'm listening. Paige has been riding from the time she was in the womb (like most trainers with children will calmly and proudly announce). She has also spent her most formative years with horses in her backyard. I think, for the first few years of her life, Paige assumed all little girls had a black stallion called "JJ" living in a barn in their back yard. Therefore, all horses were "JJs" until we could prove otherwise. Fast forward through ​​sitting through many of my countless hours spent teaching other people, and riding other horses, and watching me do the things in the barn she wasn't old enough or big enough to do. I find her at eight years old to now possess more knowledge about horsemanship than most women my age, even though she is still not tall enough to put the bridle on her pony (small horse), Splash. I am not a super competitive person, so the fact that she has not developed the drive to compete and show doesn't bother me in the slightest. If I was a super competitive person, I am sure I would be an incredible show Mom. But I vowed to allow Paige the chance to grow up the way I did with my pony as my best friend (I didn't even have the option to show). Today Paige is a little girl that offers to mix mash for a sick horse, and I find her apple cores left in her lunchbox to take home to give to "somebody" it makes me proud that her love is for the horses themselves. As her mom, I enjoy that she can clean a stall better than she can clean her room and that she seeks the joy horses give us when we accomplish our goals with their help. She does, however, have one competitive goal: my fault, I am sure, for dragging her into the living room and squeezing her so tightly as I watch Totilas and Blu Hors Matine, Valegro and Youtube videos of my friends ride their Kurs on our big screen tv. Also my fault for squealing in the car when I hear music on the radio that matches the trot for a particular horse, or that sounds like it might be great for Tempis; Completely my fault for encouraging her to stick her iPod in her pocket while she rides. So after she had ridden her very first test (Intro A), on her very first pony at her very first show off the lead-line, I should not have been surprised when she asked when we could do a musical freestyle. It was, after all, entirely my fault. Here's mom (NOT trainer mom, just Mom) who loves music, rides horses, has too many horses of her own to ride most of the time. Mom who has stories of jumping and falling off and doing pirouettes but has never done a freestyle (for many reasons/excuses) is shocked that the only goal her daughter has ever expressed was to ride a freestyle. A Freestyle is something I have never done, a fact that my daughter is very well aware of, and after just one test under her belt, she had it all figured out. I took advantage of the situation and told her that she needed to get a 65% (shhh don't tell - and she's not allowed to go on the internet yet so let's keep this between us for now). I didn't put any further restrictions on that (a mistake I will not again repeat), and she prepared for her next test. She is six at this point. And at six, she has a pretty good idea of what a 65% is, as she is a bright little girl with blue eyes and blonde hair and rosy cheeks, who also has a pretty good idea how to get a 65%. 7D0C868C04354A5EB52FD5CD2A728D8E-1I don't think our poor judge for the day had even finished scoring that test before Paige was picking up her reins and trotting that brave, kind little horse around the ring, waiting for the bell. After it rang, Paige came down the centerline with the most intense look of determination, I almost thought something was wrong. The circles at E and B were still not perfectly round, but they were there, and Splash got a kick and pull, and he went in his corners whether he wanted to or not. Her hands ​​were in the right place, she was sitting up, and suddenly the fiercest competitor you will ever see ride Intro B had finished her test and was exiting the arena. I don't exactly remember what the score was, and it wasn't a recognized competition: Frankly, I don't want to remember because I don't want to be lying when I tell her she earned her 65% that day. Partly because Mom has been too busy and partly because 1st and 2nd grade proved to be a little tougher on our schedule than we imagined, Paige hasn't done a freestyle in competition yet. But last year she did ride at a recognized competition and made some mistakes that made her humbly determined to do better next time (and, I am sincerely hoping, to LISTEN TO MOMMY when she says TURN LEFT AT C). And trust me, there is a new freestyle born in this girl's heart every day. The Pony/Horse/Saint Splash moved to our property, and the old quarter horse she learned to ride on is officially retired. Splash the new pony was generously given to Paige, instead of leasing him from the farm where I work. Splash will now live out his years at our house, in our backyard, roaming the woods and freestyling all over the place. In the two short months, he has been here, Paige has learned the value of; never trotting home, of why it's so fun to ride with a halter, of why you close the gate to the arena behind you, and how to ride with traffic in our modest, smaller sized arena. She has also learned how to catch a naughty pony from the field, and how the smallest amount of praise goes a long way with a smart horse. I'm excited to see all the wonderful lessons this summer is going to bring. With that iPod in her pocket, I've been watching Paige canter around the ring in the snow and the rain and forming her plan for greatness. Maybe some of my hesitation is not laziness; maybe it's been the fact that she so perfectly represents what we all do inside, whether we are six or eight years old, or thirty-seven, or seventy: we are all riding around with a song in our heart, doing our very own freestyle. We are putting music to the feeling that we love so much, with our very best friend. To ask that to be judged and competitive, just for me takes the perfect joy out of it.8EDE2545B09040F897D037B7E6981EE4-1 This month, Paige will be riding her very first Intro C (with canter! yikes!!!). If she does well, we will develop a freestyle for Paige to practice, and show where they will kindly let Paige perform her Intro Level Freestyle. I know, it's going to be like watching paint dry (Splash takes nearly 45 seconds just to complete a diagonal in a free walk) and perhaps I will offer to the show management to anonymously provide a light snack for the judge while she endures it. We are not trying to encourage Intro Level freestyles, of course, because that would just be very silly. (Or would it?) I promise we will practice, and that we will try to make the circles as round and test-worthy as Splash can do. I also promise that we will keep this freestyle short and meaningful. I also promise that we will not use any music from the movie "Frozen." Furthermore, I promise to try to either not show any other horses that day, or make sure I can schedule all the other riders before Paige performs her masterpiece. Because when Paige finally gets a chance to do her freestyle, I had better not be wearing any mascara: When you wipe that stuff off it makes a terrible mess on your white gloves.
      Dressage Hard workContributed by Eliza Banks Eliza Puttkamer-Banks (Trinity Dressage) is a dressage trainer, competitor and instructor with a diverse discipline and breed background. Originally from the Midwest, Eliza married her husband Stephen and moved to England, and then returned to the USA to New Jersey, where they have settled and are parents to a horse crazy 7 year-old daughter, Paige. With experience as a trainer both in America and the UK, Eliza has started and developed horses from backing to FEI level work. As a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist, L Program Participant, USEF HOY Regional Champion, National Top 5, and recipient of rider awards from training through fourth level. Eliza has not only competed horses at FEI, but has been proud to bring many horses past A for their first experience in the dressage ring. For all the horses and riders in her program, regardless of discipline or breed, the correct and classically-based principles of the dressage training pyramid remain the heart and soul of every day’s ride, with a sympathetic application that builds a strong relationship of trust.  To learn more about Eliza visit her website
  • Jäiser, Kaiser, Engelberty and Jacobs take 2016 titles at dramatic FEI World Cup

    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. 

  • Cindy Sydnor Symposium

    Cindy Sydnor Symposium

    HuntCapCindy Sydnor Symposium    Submitted by Melissa Boyer of Judge our Judges                   Over 60 eager spectators gathered at Hamilton Stables in Wentzville Mo, graciously offered up by the owner, Anne Hamilton, and chatted while waiting for Cindy Sydnor to begin her symposium: The Development and Maintenance of Gaits in the Dressage Horse, hosted by St.Louis Area Dressage Society (SLADS). The crowd quieted as Cindy Sydnor, Grand-Prix instructor, “R” judge, and USDF examiner for the Instructor Certification Program entered the arena and checked her microphone. It was no accident that the first thing she said was that everyone’s horse should be “a pleasure to ride.” This was her way of letting the audience know that she was not here to force difficult demands onto the horses, but to teach dressage enthusiasts to distinguish gaits that were correct from gaits that were lacking, and to help them understand how to promote articulation, coordination, and strength in their own horses’ gaits. “Whatever the gaits are when you receive the horse, you should maintain or improve them, and not cause harm to them.” We looked at 8 horses on the first day of the two-day clinic and 7 on the second. From young horses with little training, to 5-year-old FEI hopefuls, to mature Grand-Prix horses, Cindy discussed the history of the horse with the rider and commented on his conformation and muscling before watching him go. “It is important to evaluate the big picture,” she told us. As we watched each horse in its working gaits, Cindy trained our eyes to first study the horse’s hind end, to ask ourselves if both hind legs were tracking up equally with equal suspension, and then to look at the stifle for flexion. Hanne Hartelius on AnitaCindy—being very familiar with the objective of the training scale--clarified a term that she believed often went misunderstood. “The relaxation we are looking for in the training scale is an athletic relaxation,” she said, “a contraction followed by relaxation.” A constant contraction would then be tension. After the hind end, we were to evaluate how far the front legs tracked up and to see if the horse was using all of its leg joints—shoulder, elbow, and knee. We wanted to see freedom in the shoulder, with the point of shoulder joint opening and closing, allowing the front legs to move up and forward. Cindy gave the spectators hope in telling them that every horse would show a better range of motion if properly ridden, with the rider shifting weight to the horse’s back end, freeing up the front legs to have more expression. Cindy suggested promoting joint movement in our horses by encouraging them to “push from behind” with bending exercises, cavelettis, collection followed by extension, and leg yielding. She considered the piaffe a useful exercise in teaching the horse to engage, but not passage because the horse could simply kick his hind legs out behind him. “The anti-thesis of engagement is when the hind legs are out behind the horse,” she reminded us. One of the first horse’s we looked at showed muscling under her neck and a hollow dip in front of the saddle. Cindy explained that muscling on the underside of the neck was a clue that the horse probably went above the bit. When we watched the four-year-old Oldenburg go, we saw that she had a pure trot with some suspension, but that she raised her head every five strides or so and repeatedly lost her balance. The mare also wasn’t willing to stretch when the rider asked. We had already learned, by Cindy asking the history of the horse, that the mare had only been under saddle for 8 months and that the rider had recently changed the bridle to one that produced more poll pressure. Cindy told the audience to expect a young horse building up muscles for the first time, or an older horse rebuilding muscle, to go through a period in which he feels heavier in the hand. She considers this a good sign that the horse is using more power, and that the rider has to learn to shift more of the horse’s weight to his hind end using half-halts, while the horse needs to learn to balance himself with the added energy. “Too much lightness is nothingness,” Cindy stated. “If you feel nothing in your hand then there is no push, or it is being lost somewhere before it reaches your hand.” Lisa von Gontard on RosellaCindy warned against using a more extreme bridle to soften the horse’s mouth because it causes the horse to focus only on his head. This mare had a rigid idea of where her head should be and let this mindset compromise her balance. She raised her head every so often because she was balancing her body around her head. Cindy took us into the horse’s mind and told us that this horse believes she is doing right in keeping her head and neck stiff, but that her attention needed to be on her hind legs. “We want to work the horse from back to front, not front to back.” Cindy told the rider. “Make her believe that you want an elastic connection.” She started the process of convincing the mare that her head and neck should be pliable by asking the rider to work her in a longer frame. Then Cindy asked the rider to try some leg yielding from the quarter line to the wall. This exercise was used to get the mare thinking about her hind end and the placement of her hind legs. “When crossing over, the horse experiences a stronger leg—with engagement and activity,” Cindy said as she demonstrated, crossing her legs over with an exaggerated shifting of her weight from one leg to the other. Cindy showed excellent suspension in this movement. The mare, however, had not done a lot of leg yielding and wasn’t crossing her hind legs over, so Cindy had the rider bring her horse to her, where she helped on the ground to teach the mare turn on the forehand. “Turn on the forehand is a key leg yielding exercise. It wakes up new ideas to the horse, like awareness of the hind end,” Cindy said. She held the inside rein and assisted in crossing the horse’s hind legs. She patted the horse and let the rider give the mare a walk break on loose reins. Cindy turned to the audience. “People don’t make the mental connection to the horse’s hind end enough either.” She later asked riders to pick up the trot and to tell her when the inside hind leg was on the ground by saying, “now…now…now.” She offered a hint. For the rest of the article click here: https://www.judgeourjudges.com/mission/blog/3100/cindy-sydnor-clinic-the-anti-thesis-to-engagement-is-when-the-horses-hind-legs-are-out-behind-him joj_PNG
  • 14 Horses saved from Barn Fire.

    14 Horses saved from Barn Fire.

    Sixteen year old Macon Martin saves his family's 14 Clydesdales from a barn fire.  Quick thinking Macon burst into the burning barn on a ATV to  break through locked doors and free the horses from the blaze.  The fire was started by a lightening strike and the flames trapped the horses inside.
  • Don’t Kid Yourself…It Takes Money

    Don’t Kid Yourself…It Takes Money

      Don’t Kid Yourself…It Takes Money If you have ever imagined yourself atop a Grand-Prix horse, looking sharp in your top hat, and sporting your bronze, silver, and gold medals on your proud chest, only to be shook free of your vision and left with a sinking feeling of frustration and disappointment, you may have questioned why. Though you can vividly picture your dreams, you don’t really believe they are a possibility for you in your current situation.  You recognize that desire alone will not earn you a gold medal. What is it that you are lacking? You have talent, some time, determination, love for the sport, money—huh? MoneyMoney: the missing ingredient. You need money deposited into your “aspirations fund” to realize your dream. Plenty of people (with plenty of money) have tried to dispel this belief, but you know the truth. With enough money you could train with the best trainers, perform flawless pirouettes on schoolmasters in Germany, and ride in a saddle that sits you all own its own, allowing the allusion that you have endured years of lunge-line lessons. Some have money, some have none, some know people they can squeeze some from. So you are no longer satisfied with the excuse—by a well intentioned, but confused loved one--that money does not exist, thus, your “ambitions” fund can only remain uncluttered by dollar bills. But time has passed, and you see new golf clubs collecting dust in the garage, a Nintendo and BeggingPlaystation cluttering the coffee table, and a cat that has obviously not been missing any meals. You can have hope in knowing that the error is simply a misappropriation of funds. You can and must succeed at convincing your significant other, parents, well-to-do friends, or long-time acquaintances, clinging their checkbooks to their chests--thwarting your efforts to obtain your goals-- to throw a little green into the riding fund? The first technique I want to explore is one I’m sure you have attempted at some point in your life, or have at least endured others executing the technique on you. Begging has withstood the test of time, as an innate tool rather than a learned behavior. Used unwisely, it only annoys people, but used properly, it can change your life. So maybe you have sworn off begging, deciding that it is less effective than it had been in the past--mostly because you’ve matured, and the prospect of your sadness no longer saddens the world around you. You are right to have recognized this truth but misunderstand the nature of begging. Begging can only reveal its powers when used in conjunction with extreme infantile behavior, creativity and persistence that knows no boundaries. Plan your begging session when all victims are nearby. You will need privacy for the initial phase of your plan. Yes, the bathroom will suffice if that is your only refuge. Now, close your eyes and picture a terrible scene: your husband leaving thousands of dirty socks all throughout the house, your children making faces at the dinner table while agreeing loudly that Grandma’s meatloaf taste much better than yours, or, worse yet, your bay gelding snagging his tail on a slivered piece of wood and losing five or six of his precious hairs. Allow these tears of grief to well up. Once fat tears have reached your cheekbones, it is time. Short cuts are not recommended! Do not attempt creating tears by overfilling your bottom eyelids with eye drops or water. Quickly, yet somberly, approach your money-hoarding victims. Sniff as loudly and as often as you need to catch the eye of your victim. Do not wait for him to speak—now is not the time for guessing games, you have an agenda. Immediately let indistinguishable Beggingjumble pour from your mouth, allowing for a few key phrases to stand out: “they all have awesome horses… sniff, sniff…and I try so hard…but my horse just doesn’t have the ability to collect himself like they do (now is NOT the time to mention that acquiring a well-trained and talented horse will not mean the sale of the older, patient bay who has given so much). If you still have tears left—think of those beautiful hairs stolen by the jagged, cruel wood-- go for it all, adding: “My used boots don’t fit properly and bind the nerves in my calves, causing my heels to come up…the torture I endure from my trainer! All because you said my cheap boots were ‘good enough.’ Good enough? Like my meatloaf?” Begging, however, is obvious and does not work on everyone, especially if you have already used this tactic on a past venture you thought would bring you happiness—like cooking lessons. In that case, move on to bargaining. If you’re a married woman, offer your husband double the normal “snuggle sessions.” If you’re a man, offer your wife foot massages-- no strings attached. If it’s your parents who need convincing, promise not to hang out with kids who have rods pierced through their eyebrows or tongues and to attain exemplary grades, maybe even an academic scholarship. If you’re an adult and trying to squeeze money out of Mom and Dad, pledge to never send them to a nursing home despite how often they may call you by their deceased Poodle’s name. Also, talk to your parents with a financial advisor about the tax benefits of gifting their money to you while they are still living. Manure Be willing to make sacrifices. Offer to relinquish bubble baths and shaving your legs to make time for cleaning tack and digging manure out of your paddock boots. Clip coupons, and actually bring them with you to the store.  Offer to cut your family’s hair—don’t worry, they know better than to take you up on this one. Refuse to watch infomercials! Agree to make hearty meals at home, saving money on eating out-- meatloaf is yummy! Bargaining is versatile in that it is two-folded technique, easily shifted into blackmailing. An example of how this works would be: Bargaining: If I get a new dressage saddle, I will give you a back massage every night. Blackmailing: If you don’t buy me a new saddle, I’ll never massage your hairy back again! You can alternate between the two as needed. Proving on paper that you can somehow make up the difference in the loss of funds is not a lie, but a return to the past when you actually believed this was a possibility. Explain how you can pick up a shift at work or braid manes to cover the added expenses. Don’t forget to mention how much you will save by shopping on double coupon day at the grocery store.  Meatloaf is a cheap meal! If your efforts are still unsuccessful, suggest a win-win situation. There are plenty of vacations offering riding instructions and golf. Send for a brochure on the golf packages; be sure to hint a few days before it arrives that you think you both need a vacation. Then, low and behold, the perfect vacation idea turns up in your mailbox. What a coincidence! You will both IMG_0055benefit as well if you can encourage the “tight wad” to get involved in a sport he enjoys. You may want to start taking mental notes of how he nods his heads with a glazed over look when you share stories about your beloved animal and try to mimic the way your horse quivers his lip when you rub his neck; you will need to imitate this fake interest when they start rambling on about the strength required in the wrist to perform a good slap shot. The boring jargon you’ll have to sit through will be well worth it when they become more understanding of the lure a sport can inflict on a person. They’ll be happier and less concerned about you having too much fun. Of course, this advice has been directed to those fortunate enough to have someone to lean on. I understand that some of you have resolved to only depending on yourselves for financial support. Good for you! You refuse to resort to manipulation, how respectable. But unless you wish to become titled: “The Most Respected Training Level Rider,” you too need a plan. It is possible to attain your goals and retain your dignity by simply conversing with riders who have overestimated their endurance level and unwisely purchased two or three horses. If your riding abilities match the temperament and level of their horses, opportunities will arise for you to ride NICE horses for a small price, or even free. Your conscience can rest easy in that you are providing a service in return for your pleasure. Now, as for the rest of you, who recognize that guilt is of no use to your cause, but your attempts at coercing continue to be disregarded by cantankerous individuals who refuse to listen to the obvious logic you’ve painstakingly presented to them, it’s time for the big guns! Yep, you need to take up knitting. Done properly, your consent to change hobbies will not only inflict guilt on the dream killers, but humiliate them as well. Humbly admit that is too expensive to pursue dressage, and he will be too grateful for your compliance to refuse wearing the socks you’ve knitted for him with horse heads that bobble back-and-forth with each step they take.  Feel free to grow your new ability until you can knit hats with floppy horse ears. If your tightwad allows this to continue to the point where you have perfected your knitting skills, knit him a pair of shorts with a long flowing tail on the back. If you can convince him to wear a button telling strangers to: Ask me why I am wearing this ridiculous outfit, it would be helpful, but certainly not necessary. Could it be any more obvious, really?
      HuntCapMelissa Boyer is practically a professional at being an adult amateur, I started riding horses as a young adult, and still am 20+ years later. She has recently started a website Judge Our Judges where information is shared and gathered to help us make the most out of our competition and get the results we hope for in our scores. Judgejoj_PNGourJudges welcomes you to our community and wishes you the best.
  • *Hand-walking as an Art Form*

    *Hand-walking as an Art Form*

    *Hand-walking as an Art Form*

    It's been a rough February so far. I always think that February is the most challenging month for those of us that don't fly away down to Florida to escape the cold. February brings a sense of 'light at the end of the tunnel' for both horse and rider and both, i think, tend to get a little frustrated when it doesn't just give it up and get warmer already. Which is why I think February is the worst month. Winter's not over. Spring isn't here. But we are all sick to death of it and the layers are getting annoying. . .

    As a result, I think the horses tend to be more annoyed even than we are. Which, perhaps is the biggest reason why it's been a tough month. The cold caught up to me and I'm sick and I had a few "interesting" rides that left me wrenched here and twisted there and I will admit, I'm a little sore. One of my own horses seems to have decided that she would prefer a few weeks of hand-walking to commencing test practice, and a frustrating series of little niggling things have left us whining at each other as we go around, and around, and around the ring. On foot. No wings. No happy clink clink of metal, just 1-2-3-4 and 1-2-1-2 walking. Yet, the prize lists are coming in, sales on quic braid and white breeches are cropping up, and there are even a few schooling shows to get horses out to. I have other horses to prepare, but the one I'm walking I wanted to be riding.

    Yesterday I decided, while having the chance to log a few miles on my fitbit early in the nicely thawed and freshly dragged outdoor arena, that hand-walking can be an art form. I drew beautifully straight short diagonals. My 10m circles were exquisite, and the centerline I walked was, I hope a great guide for the riders that came after. I realized what a different perspective it is from the ground than high atop my largest horse, who was plodding next to me. As I made pass after pass, I realized that the path of horse hoof-prints were crooked in exactly the same place as the human ones. Her overtrack was bigger when I was looking ahead at something. Our movements mirrored each other, even on the ground, as they did together under saddle. My mistakes were her mistakes, but on foot I had both of our footprints as proof. I saw how we both didn't walk exactly straight next to the judge's booth, and how two thirds of the way down the long diagonal i lost focus and we drifted a little into the inside. Nothing that doesn't also happen when we are riding together, with one set of prints.

    When I finished our scheduled art class in the sand, and I turned back to see our finished product, it was beautiful. Her prints, next to mine, each errant footstep recorded.

    I know that I would've rather been riding and making one set of hoof-prints, but it felt good to walk next to one of my best friends, to think about how she might see the ring as we rode our tests. I'll be adding a little of what I've learned these days spent hand-walking into our next rides.

  • Werth and Weihegold make it two-in-a-row at Neumünster

    Werth and Weihegold make it two-in-a-row at Neumünster

    REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 - Round 8, Neumünster Neumünster (GER), 21 February 2016 Werth and Weihegold make it two-in-a-row at Neumünster by Louise Parkes Germany’s Isabell Werth steered the 11-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, to their second successive victory together at the penultimate leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League on home ground in Neumünster (GER) today. Last time out in Amsterdam (NED) at the end of January the pair posted a great score of 83.450, and today they passed the 84 percent mark for another sparkling performance which has lifted Werth to the top of the League leaderboard by a considerable margin. Runner-up was Jessica von Bredow-Werndl with Unee BB who scored 80.900, three percentage points less than their second-place score at the Dutch fixture last month. However this German duo were big favourites with the Neumünster crowd who had a significant influence on the sport all weekend. The proximity of the spectators to the field of play contributed to the intense atmosphere in the ring, and proved too much for some. In yesterday’s Grand Prix, Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak decided to retire when her 16-year-old horse Hoennerups Driver simply couldn’t cope with the excitement. Even Werth admitted that she felt the tension. “I couldn’t have expected such a good result in this electric atmosphere!” said the multiple Olympian and two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion who now has her sights firmly fixed on the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next month. Set the target League leader, Patrik Kittel from Sweden, set the early target in today’s Freestyle when scoring 74.350 with the 10-year-old Delauney, and this was followed by 74.275 from Australia’s Kristy Oakley. Kristy is a cousin of Kittel’s wife, Lyndal Oatley who was also in action today, finishing eleventh with Sandro Boy. Kristy’s father, Rainer Nist, was a German Young Rider champion and her grandfather, Robert Oatley, won the world-famous Admiral's Cup yacht race in 2003, so the cousins come from a family filled with sporting genes. The host nation contenders began to flex their not-inconsiderable muscle when Fabienne Lutkemeier went out in front when eleventh to go of the 15 starters. Her mark of 75.575 would only prove good enough for fifth place in the final analysis however, and her dominance was short-lived when von Bredow-Werndl followed her into the ring. The 30-year-old athlete, who finished third at the 2015 Reem Acra Final in Las Vegas (USA), wasn’t entirely satisfied with her leading mark of 80.900. “Unee was a little shy and introverted today, so he was not so expressive” von Bredow-Werndl said afterwards. Poland’s Beata Stremier and Rubicon D then put an impressive 76.325 on the board before Werth blew the competition apart with her score of 84.600. And when 2012 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage champions, The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival, were awarded 78.775 then she nudged Stremier down to fourth spot and Werth was the confirmed winner once again. Confident of victory Asked afterwards if she felt confident of victory going into today’s class, Werth replied, "I was hoping for a good score, but you never know until the end. My horse is in good shape but I was not expecting this electric atmosphere so I’m completely happy that she dealt with it. There was one mistake, but were were more with the music today, the whole thing had more shape to it and it was more experience for my mare. We are getting more confident with each other and with the music, and that was the whole thing basically. I’m very happy” she explained. Second-placed von Bredow-Werndl said she couldn’t believe the reception she got from the spectators. “They were amazing, I live at other end of Germany, I’m from Bavaria so these are not people I know but I think they must love my horse!” she said. Talking about today’s performance she pointed out, “I felt in Amsterdam that Unee was in very, very good shape, athletic with lots of power, very supple and with me all the way. I’ve been having so much fun working with him and he has improved a lot over the last few weeks but it was not as good as Amsterdam today or yesterday, because the crowd is so close to the arena. “Usually he loves that but this is a very special atmosphere here”, she continued. “There was no noise, but there is a lot of electricity so he didn’t show himself in the same way. I wanted him to be more self-confident and convinced. I wanted us to be at least as good as we were in Amsterdam, so I am a bit disappointed because of the bigger difference in points between Isabell and me. In Amsterdam there was only one point, today it was three percent, but I know what we can improve on that” she added. Looking forward to the final She is looking forward to the Final in Gothenburg now. “There are just four weeks left and that’s perfect. We will have one week of holiday (for Unee) and then start to train again” von Bredow-Werndl explained. Her next trip will be to Doha (QAT) with Zaire - “she’s also in the top 30 of the world rankings and she is my next superstar!” said the rider who also has the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in her line of sight. “I will probably do Hagen (GER) as my first outdoor competition in April and the we will do the two official qualifiers for Rio, at Balve and Aachen” she explained. Asked if she felt confident of selection to represent her country in Brazil next August she replied, “you never know in Germany because we have so many strong combinations. All I can do is focus on my own performances and do my very best!”. Werth also has her plans in place for the coming months, and is looking forward to the return of the mare, Bella Rose, who helped to clinch team gold for Germany at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normanday (FRA) in 2014, and who she hopes to bring to Rio. In work already “Bella Rose is in work already and I will bring her out later in season. We are really focused, but it is step by step and fingers crossed” she said, referring to the horse’s return to the top level of the sport after a long injury break. “It will be a really slow build up for her, I don’t want to put pressure on her by bringing her out in a Freestyle, I want her to come back and relax. She has so much temperament, it would be crazy to bring her to an indoor and it was never the plan to put her in the World Cup anyway. She feels more free and relaxed outside, so that’s the plan”, Werth explained. With Weihegold growing ever-more confident and Don Johnson also in flying form she may be spoiled for choice this summer. But first she will bid for another FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in Sweden next month. It is 24 years since she first claimed the trophy with Fabienne at Gothenburg in 1992, and nine years since she stood top of the podium in Las Vegas after victory with Warum Nicht. Asked today if she thinks she could make it a hat-trick in a few weeks’ time she replied, “I’m so long in the sport that I know that the next show is a new day and a new situation. We will try our best, yes I am in a good situation, but nothing more. I will go to Dortmund in two weeks and then to den Bosch (s’Hertogenbosch, NED) with Don (Johnson) and then the Final. We will see.....” she concluded. For further information on the eighth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League in Neumünster (GER) visit http://reitturnier-neumuenster.de or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, andreaskerstan@comtainment.de, +49 4307827973. The ninth and last qualifying round of the 2016 Western European League series will take place at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) on Saturday 12 March 2016. For details of the Dutch fixture visit www.indoorbrabant.com or contact Press Officer Denise van der Net, info@denisevandernet.nl, +31 6270 31674. Result: 1, Weihegold (Isabell Werth) GER 84.600; 2, Unee BB (Jessica von Bredow-Werndl) GER 80.900; 3, Jerich Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) NED 78.775; 4, Rubicon D (Beata Stremler) POL 76.325; 5, D’Agostino FRH (Fabienne Lutkemeier) 75.575; 6, Delaunay (Patrik Kittel) 74.350; 7, Du Soleil (Kristy Oatley) AUS 74.275; 8, Sieger Hit (Juliane Brunkhorst) GER 73.650; 9, Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke-Susmelj) SUI 73.600; 10, Axis TSF (Terhi Stegars) FIN 72.975; 11, Sandro Boy (Lyndal Oatley) AUS 72.450; 12, Vancouver K (Judy Reynolds) IRL 72.175; 13, Jojo AZ (Angnete Kirk-Thinggaard) DEN 72.075; 14, Dzeko (Katarzyna Milczarek) POL 67.675; 15, Don Gregorius (Inna Logutenkova) UKR 66.250. Facts and Figures: The Holstenhallen in Neumünster, Germany was the venue for the second-last qualifying leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League series today. The host nation’s Isabell Werth secured her second victory in a row with the exciting 11-year-old mare Weihegold when scoring 84.000 percent. A total of 28 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the preliminary Grand Prix yesterday, and the top-15 went through to today’s points-gaining Freestyle. Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak retired during the Grand Prix when her horse, the 12-year-old Hoennerups Driver, was overwhelmed by the intense atmosphere in the arena. Competitors from 10 nations - Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine - competed in today's Freestyle. The Ground Jury consisted of: At E, Dr Dietrich Plewa; At H, Dr Evi Eisenhardt; At C, Ghislain Fouarge; At M, Yuri Romanov: At B, Susanne Baarup. The winning score for Werth and Weihegold was 84.600. The German rider has now ousted Sweden’s Patrik Kittel from the top of the Western European League leaderboard while fellow-German, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl who was runner-up with Unee BB today, lies second ahead of Kittel in third going into the final qualifier. The last qualifying round will take place at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) on Saturday 12 March 2016. The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final 2016 will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) from 23-28 March 2016. Quotes: Isabell Werth GER (1st): when asked which horse she intends taking to the Reem Acra 2016 Final - “the plan is Don Johnson, he was great in the Europeans and deserves to go to Gothenburg.” Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (2nd): Talking about today’s performance with Unee BB: “Although this wasn’t as convincing as our performance in Amsterdam it was still very good, and I love this Freestyle!” Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League Standings after round 8 in Neumünster (GER): 1. Isabell Werth GER - 77 2. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER - 66 3. Patrik Kittel SWE - 65 4. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED - 61 5. Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI - 52 6. Fabienne Lutkemeier GER - 50 7. Edward Gal NED - 49 8. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven SWE - 45 9. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard DEN - 44 10. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP - 40 11. Inna Logutenkova UKR - 39 12. Judy Reynolds IRL - 38 13. Goncalo Carvalho POR - 37 14. Valentina Truppa ITA - 34 15. Diederik van Silfhout NED - 33
  • Liza and Ginger Snap

    Liza and Ginger Snap

    Liza got her first pony (today her name is Ginger Snap although this may change by tomorrow) this January 2016 she is a Welsh Mountain Pony standing 11 hh. Liza is a first grader and a wonderful student. We decided to work together and teach you how to learn with your new horse or pony.
  • If there is one name in the American equestrian story that everyone knows, it is George Morris.

    If there is one name in the American equestrian story that everyone knows, it is George Morris.

    UNRELENTING-REV-SUB-300The Real Story: Horses, Bright Lights, and My Pursuit of ExcellenceGeorge H. Morris with Karen Robertson Terry

    If there is one name in the American equestrian story that everyone knows, it is George Morris.   Carouser, competitor, taskmaster, dreamer, teacher, visionary. George Morris has been ever-present on the rarified stage of the international riding elite for most of the seventy years he’s been in the saddle. He has represented the United States as an athlete and a coach and, at one time or another, instructed many of the world’s best horsemen and women. His carefully chosen, perfectly enunciated words are notoriously powerful. They can raise you up or cut you to the quick. His approval can be a rainmaker; his derision can end a career. But as much as people know and respect the public face of George Morris, he has lived, in other ways, a remarkably private life, keeping his own personal struggles—with insecurity, ambition, and love—behind closed doors. It is only now that he has chosen, in his own words, to share the totality of his life—the very public and the incredibly private—with the world. Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is proud to announce the autobiography of George H. Morris: UNRELENTING: The Real Story - - Horses, Bright Lights, and My Pursuit of Excellence Click here to pre-order 
  • Ashton and Job

    Ashton and Job

    Posted

    KINGMAN — Prompted in part by several recent traffic crashes with burros, the Mohave County supervisors will discuss ways to reduce the burro population in the Black Mountains.
     District 5 Sup. Steve Moss is asking staff to contact the Bureau of Land Management to reduce the burro population to 817. One option is to seek legislation to allow state agencies to issue hunting permits to bring the population under control. Another option is to file a lawsuit against BLM.
    Moss said hunting permits would be an extreme solution and not something he wants but he is bringing the issue before the board to get BLM’s attention. BLM could sterilize the male burros or remove some of the burros to other areas. “Doing nothing is not an option,” Moss said. “Someone is going to die if nothing is done.” Three burros were killed Dec. 27 in two separate incidents on the Bullhead Parkway. Both drivers were unhurt but their cars were heavily damaged. Another burro had to be euthanized after it collided with a car in February 2015, also on the Parkway. A herd of about nine burros have recently been seen on the Parkway grazing on the side of the road and in the center median. Under the BLM’s management plan in 1981, the local burro populations was set at about 400. In 1996, the Black Mountain Ecosystem plan set the population at 817. According to Arizona Game and Fish, the burro population is now between 1,746 and 1,827 in the Black Mountains Herd Management Area. Moss said the BLM’s adoption program is not sufficient to keep the burro population under control. State and local agencies cannot manage the burro population despite their duty to protect public safety, Moss said. Moss added that burros are not indigenous in Arizona, coming from North Africa to assist miners in the 19tth century. The burros have an impact on native wildlife such as bighorn sheep, quail and mule deer by eating vegetation as well as damaging the desert habitat. According to the BLM, the agency rounds up wild horses and burros to adopt to people who can provide long-term care. Without natural predators, burro herd sizes can double in four years. The area has one of the largest burro populations in the nation. Since 1973, BLM has adopted out more than 207,000 wild horses and burros. Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter Director Sandy Bahr said that public safety should always be addressed but the state does not have the authority to issue hunting permits for burros. Because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the supervisors will hold the board meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St. in Kingman. Article reposted from Mohave Daily News   
    The purpose of Habitat for Horses Inc. is a) To promote and secure the safety, well being and health of horses. b) To encourage education concerning the physical and mental health of horses. c) To utilize horses in the growth and mental health of humans, either adult or children, through education, demonstration and connection. d) To study, promote, and enhance the proper training of horses through positive training techniques. e) To provide a home for those horses who are no longer able to be productive. f) To return to health, if possible, those owned horses that are deemed sick or injured. If you are interested in the  adopting the donkey or horse in the video please visit http://www.habitatforhorses.org/  and inquire about Ashton and Job.
  • Peer Pressure

    Peer Pressure

    About 12 months ago I gave into peer (and Barret) pressure and started bedding Velvet's stall with shavings. I really didn't want to have to invest the time and money needed to maintain a bedded stall, as Velvet has access to outside as well. Bedding was a luxury not a necessity. I am so thankful that I did give in. Most days, twice a day, Barret has helped me pick that stall. Some days we have worked side by side saying very little, some days I have been a short tempered, pushy mum, trying to hurry the task along. And then there have been other days, when I have heard words of wisdom only a child can come up with or I learnt of a dream Barret has for her future or she has told me of a fear that she has never mentioned to me before. Today I was lucky, I got to meet a new super hero! Now every time I buy shavings, I don't think of it as investing in bedding but as investing in Barret and my relationship. I'm pretty sure we will have stalled horses and ponies for a long time to come.
  • Raising the Bar Without Lowering the Standard

    Raising the Bar Without Lowering the Standard

    Raising the Bar Without Lowering the Standard January 19, 2016 Eliza Puttkamer-Banks

    I can remember very clearly my first time witnessing a bona-fide jumper schooling a fence: Not a kid throwing a horse at a scary airy vertical hanging in the middle of a ring, but a real, honest-to-goodness jumper being schooled to the height of his ability, watching his eyes and ears ping between the standards and his knees lift like they were attached by rubber bands to the clouds.  I remember getting goosebumps when the instructor called to the girl standing near the standards "raise it three."  And i watched and wondered if it was too much, if it was too high. . . after the horse had cooled down and I walked into that ring to help dismantle the jump to teach a lesson of up-downs over trotting poles and crossrails, I remember very clearly standing by the standards and seeing them to be as high as I was. . . and looking at the pins, clearly stuck into the holes as high as my eyebrows.  Amazing. I was inspired to instill such faith, and have such knowlege to bring that horse over the bar as it rose slowly up all those holes below.

    I went on to teach the children, and realized that we all want to hear "raise it three," but those words are spoken relative to the standards we ride between, and the wisdom behind those words is the foundation of trust we ride upon.

    Fast forward nearly two decades and several thousand miles and I'm soon finding myself to be the voice that calls to raise the bar.  But how high? What standards? 

     

    There are at least three types of students, in my experience, when it comes to those standards, but certainly three specific ones worth mentioning here:  There are the ones that just want to remember they jumped to the top of the standard.  They don't care how high the standard was, they just want to hear that the bar was raised.  There are also the riders that don't care if the rail is raised at all: they are content to know they can, and they live within their limitations, fears, family, reality, whatever.  There are also the riders that see the big picture, and want to see it through, but through either experience, or time, they realize that it must come one hole at a time. The standards are never changed, and sometimes they are even raised so that the top hole seems so far away it is out of reach: These are the riders that say little, do much, and try hard.

     

    The ones that only want to hear you tell them they can jump a few holes higher, well, those riders are driven to compete.  They sometimes lack the knowlege and education to understand that in order to raise the bar, you will have to lower the standard.  In the world that I was taught horsemanship in, that is pretty much just a lie.  This type of student has evolved to feel that they have the right to compete, and the right to exercise at a level higher than the skills they've acquired, simply because they've been doing (in their mind) it long enough, have paid enough or have paid enough for a horse that's capable even if they're not, or they surround themselves with people who don't know enough to tell them otherwise.  In this case, the only way they will listen to a real, knowlegeable instructor, is if he or she swaps out the standards for a shorter set.  Because if the bar must be raised a hole, then the standards must be made lower.  There is no patience, it simply black and white: scores are emphasized, points are accumulated and tallied.

     

    The second type is one that cares neither whether the bar is raised or lowered.  He or she is there to simply ride.  Their riding is a pursuit driven by the love for their horse, and their busy life shapes their day-to-day involvement.  The instructor is sensitive to this, and associates the same set of standards, and the bar can be raised or lowered each day, and the rider is happy to develop his or her skill with that set of standards.  There's a certain of amount of reality that limits real progression, but because the rider is honest with herself about this, both horse and rider progress appropriately within the accepted limitations. The big picture is always right there in the arena, each day.  Goals are set short term, and there is patience. Showing is attempted only if the stars are aligned.

     

    The third type of rider sees the bigger picture.  The desire for acheivement is tempered by patience.  When the bar is raised each time, the standard does not change.  There are falls, there are setbacks, but the same set of standards greets horse and rider every time they walk into the arena. Shows and tests are strategic, and used as guages and a stone to hone their skills- and nerve - against.  They are humble enough to start out at the bottom, yet they strive to get to the top - if their horse is able, if they are able to commit the time, and if they acheive the necessary prerequisites to allow their progress.  Each hole is a medal, worn proudly, quietly,humbly earned, but still re-earned with each ride. They are content with a day's work punching a pin into a newly drilled hole just halfway up the standard, because of what it represents. The patience represents each step up, and each step up leads only to the next onset of patience and learning.

    I know, especially recently, that my standards are high.  And I promise you, just like most other riders I know and admire, I have demons that whisper to me while I ride - and to help you, I merely repeat what they say when I teach...I try to help you to find easy that which I find hard.  Competition is not a RIGHT, it is EARNED and sometimes, whether due to ability, financial limitations, or simply time, it is only aspired to.  Even for me.  But it is never taken for granted.  I work very hard to prepare, progress, and prevent disappointment by keeping my standards high.  Competitive Dressage is all about the standards in the ring, at the show, on the day.  NOT simply what you can present on your best day at home.   Of course, the standard of judging is ideally to be the same adherence to the ideal, but we all know that a 7 for your well known steady eddie sweetheart at the local show at the lesson barn down the road may not meet the expectation for a 7 at the CBLMs or the next Regional Championships, much less represent yourself as prepared to meet the standard presented there.  The only "good enough" in dressage is for the level you currently show at, while you are still not good enough for the level you want to move up to. Each level, whether it be schooling show versus rated, championship versus CDI, barn fun show versus White Fences . . .you must be able to meet the standard.   And while each rider and horse is an individual, and has their own struggles and challenges, the standards stay the same.  By being honest with yourself, by reacting positively (and like a grownup) to criticism from your instructor, you give yourself the chance to do the homework you need to do to give yourself a chance to raise it up a hole without lying to yourself.   When you move up a level, you will know you are prepared to fulfill the criteria, not just to gather homework and comments for us to structure lessons around.  By doing so, when you come down the final centerline to X, you may be just as proud to reach the third hole up as the third hole down when you get your scoresheet back.  Most of all, you will know, because those same standards were in the ring all along, I will have done my best and "raised it three" to help get you there that day.

    Dressage Hard workELIZA BANKS

    Clinician - Competitive Experience - Consultant - Currently Competiting - Instructor - Trainer

  • Adele’s ‘Hello’ Equestrian Parody

    Adele’s ‘Hello’ Equestrian Parody

    Adele's 'Hello' Equestrian Parody

    The lyrics were written and performed by Kelly Jewell and the Video was directed and edited by Tony Hobden Hello...Its me I’ve been chasing you for 40 minutes Just to get you in To go into ….Your stable That I pay a fortune every month for When you prefer to crap outside Hello...Are you listening Your temporary deafness drives me mad when it's time to get you in Your field Companion...is in I need to wash your legs and clean your sheath and then pick out your feet There's always this mud between us.....or a million flies Hello from the other side of the field Ive called a thousand times To bring you in out of...the pissing down rain But each time I call you...you piss off again Hello from the warm and dry At least I can say that I’ve tried with treats and carrots...time after time Bit it don’t matter, even though the mud’s up to my thigh Hello....Its time To leave this stinking field and come inside and stop this foolish game I hope...I can ride Or at least go sideways down the road and then spin and gallop home Its no secret...that you're a git to ride and you spook when nothing's there Now hello from the other side Of the stable door your legs have dried And I said I’m sorry...for spoiling your fun but this sponge is for noses...and this one's for your bum Hello from the underside I must have brushed 1000 times I tell you, your tail...is just as bad as your mane But it don’t matter, clearly...you'll do it again...and again Instrumental Hello sand is in my eye We tried to jump but then you shied U look like you’re sorry...that I fell on my face But that ain’t helping..no...I need a neck brace Hello from the driver’s side I’m off home now that I’ve hurt my pride But there's no lasting damage..so I'll come back at 5 To repeat this madness...that makes me feel so alive
      More about Kelly My first question do are you a horse woman and a rider?  I am not 100% sure of the difference here 🙂 I currently train ex-racehorses from the ground and under saddle for their new roles in life   Is that your fabulous horse in the video? what is his name and is breed? Both the horses in the video are in fact mine. The chestnut gelding is a 10yr old Thoroughbred ex-racehorse who we call Dave. The other is my home-bred warm-blood x Cleveland bay grey mare who was born with one eye and is called Special   What type of riding do you do? Various – principally I retrain the thoroughbreds mostly on the flat and concentrate on building solid foundations so that their new owners have the ride-ability to specialize in pretty much what ever disciplines they chose. Personally I have competed in eventing, show jumping and dressage at an affiliated level and now enjoy utilizing classical principles in modern equitation   How did you come up with this idea to do an Adele Parody?  and has Adele seen it or contacted you yet? I came home from the yard on New Years Eve and my 9yr old step son was recording a parody he had written – I listened and had a light-bulb moment...the lyrics just came easily   Who helped you with the video and the choreography and the lyrics. The lyrics were my own work, the audio recording was done by my very talented record producer fiance, Tony Hobden. We made a great team for the video...the choreography was all spontaneous – we just wanted to have fun with it   Are you a singer/musician? I sing but I am not a singer ha ha! It is usually only reserved for the shower or in the car   What is your day job? Currently I retrain racehorses at Racers to Riders, as mentioned I rehabilitate ex-racehorses and help them into new homes. I am about to launch a new business in medical and veterinary Thermography. I have a huge interest in injury prevention in sports horses and the camera I have just purchased from a company in Florida will allow me to image micro lesions/fractures caused by training and hopefully help trainers to adapt training schedules to prevent future breakdown. We can also identify neurological and lymphatic imbalances within the body, for example, the scope of this technology for the equine industry is huge as it is for we humans. The website, www.thermology.uk is currently being built and I fly to Florida at the end of my month to collect camera. We will be launching in February - It is a very exciting time   Are you surprised that the video went viral? STUNNED!!   How many views have you had so far? 631,000   Why did you make the video? We didn't go out on New Years Eve so recorded a song and on New Years Day I thought it would be a cool idea to make a video to make friends and family smile   What are your friends and family saying? I have had a massive amount of support by way of Facebook messages, texts, emails – the response has been nothing but positive   Is there an official Kelly Jewell fan page for us to book mark for future videos? No I'm not wired that way – we will continue to upload videos onto my you-tube channel which will cover horse training, Thermography and the crazy stuff that we do

     

  • HESTER PIPS DUJARDIN IN BATTLE OF THE BRITISH OLYMPIANS IN LONDON

    HESTER PIPS DUJARDIN IN BATTLE OF THE BRITISH OLYMPIANS IN LONDON

    HESTER PIPS DUJARDIN IN BATTLE OF THE BRITISH OLYMPIANS IN LONDON by Louise Parkes Carl Hester pipped his super-star protégé, fellow-Olympian and world no. 1 rider Charlotte Dujardin for victory in tonight’s spell-binding sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Olympia in London (GBR). Riding Nip Tuck, the 11-year-old gelding with which he helped clinch team silver at this summer’s FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, the 48-year-old rider delivered a performance that simply demonstrated why he has long been a legend in this sport. Winner of the third leg of the series in Stockholm, Sweden last month, Hans Peter Minderhoud from The Netherlands lined up third with Glock’s Flirt while, on a great night for the home-country contenders, Lara Griffith claimed fourth spot with Rubin Al Asad. Ground Jury President, Great Britain’s Stephen Clarke, put tonight’s competition into perspective when he said, “it was fantastic, the whole level was really high with all the riders going for it. Hans Peter and Charlotte both did great tests, but then Carl came in with a degree of difficulty that was just amazing. He spent the first five minutes on the centre line! It was a test with a great degree of difficulty that worked, and that’s why he won.” Influence Hester’s influence on tonight’s competition even extended to the rider who held pole position until after the halfway stage. Trainer and rider, 32-year-old Hayley Watson-Greaves, is coached by the man who joined Dujardin on the British gold medal winning side at the London 2012 Olympic Games. And she sparkled when second to go with the fabulous black gelding Rubins Nite, taking all the risks to post a mark of 75.075. It was fellow-countrywoman Griffith who demoted her from the top of the order, showing rhythm and relaxation as her 13-year-old gelding strutted his stuff to a rousing Scottish-themed musical score. Posting 78.025 for a test the judges described as “close to perfection technically”, this 27-year-old rider was always going to finish well in the frame, but Dujardin created a whole new parameter when next into the arena with Uthopia. The 14-year-old stallion has not shown for the last two years and Dujardin has only competed him “seven or eight times” during her sensational career which has principally been dominated by her extraordinary partnership with the amazing gelding Valegro. But she stormed to victory in yesterday’s Grand Prix, pinning Hester and Nip Tuck into runner-up spot ahead of Minderhoud and Glock’s Flirt, and a repeat performance seemed very much on the cards this evening. Calling card The pair produced breathtaking extended trot and fabulous tempi changes, and although their final few movements didn’t come together they stamped 82.550 on their calling card, leaving it up to the rest to chase that. Minderhoud followed with a great effort that earned 80.975, but, second last to go, it was clear that Hester wasn’t riding for runner-up spot this time out. “I just chucked everything at it to see what I could do! I know the degree of difficulty is being stepped up so I took every movement that was difficult and just rode it one day, wrote it down and then did it again the next day. With this horse I have no choice, if I want to be in the top lot I have to do something that showcases that” he said after posting the winning mark of 83.750. Stephen Clarke said at the post-competition press conference, “this man (Hester) just keeps opening all sorts of chapters! It was certainly a very exciting test and the music also worked beautifully. It wasn’t just that it was a difficult test, but that he managed to make it look easy. Pirouettes on centre line, both of the them were really really good, he kept adding to the degree of difficulty and it really worked,” he added. Never say never Hester said that Nip Tuck has taught him to “never say never!” He had a long history of runner-up placings at Olympia since he first competed at the hugely popular Christmas fixture back in 2003, so this result was particularly satisfying. “I’m very proud of Nip Tuck, I’ve had him since he was a year old and he’s still only 11. He’s over 18 hands high, not a traditional dressage horse, not really made to do dressage, but in his head he is a gold medallist and that’s why his body gets better and better”, he explained. Dujardin, who affectionately calls Hester “grandad”, said she didn’t mind having to settle for second place tonight. “If there’s one person to be beaten by it’s granddad, he inspires me every day”, she said. “Watching him made me have goose-pimples. He said he was going to nail his floorplan tonight and he did such a cracking job, he made it look effortless. I’m so thrilled for him because he’s always wanted to win here and he’s done it at last!” said the rider who, with her no. 1 horse Valegro, holds every record and every title in the sport. Today’s third placing has now promoted Hans Peter Minderhoud to the top of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Western European League table. I’m very lucky that I have three fantastic horses”, the Dutchman said tonight. “I did two qualifiers with Glock’s Romanov and two with Flirt, and I will do two next year with Johnson and then decide which one to ride in the Final” he explained. “Yesterday it was quite close in the Grand Prix, I knew it would be hard to beat one of the Brit superstars, but they are great friends and I’m very happy for them!” he insisted. Winning horse Hester meanwhile mused about how much better he can do with tonight’s winning horse. “I missed my canter passage, I didn’t nail the transition and the walk isn’t relaxed. The halt was very difficult at end because he’s so used to everyone clapping, so there are still more points I can work on but I need to keep competing in this sort of atmosphere” he said. For the moment however Nip Tuck won’t be under any pressure. “He will have until the new year off, he’s very energetic and keeps himself very fit and is quite happy living out in field. So he will do that until January.” He hopes that Uthopia, whose previous achievements include European team gold in Rotterdam (NED) in 2011 and Olympic team gold at London 2012 will be a reserve horse for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “Charlotte will hopefully qualify him in Amsterdam” Hester said tonight. So there is every incentive to look forward to the next leg of the Reem Acra series at the Dutch fixture at the end of January.  

     The next leg will take place in Amsterdam (NED) on 29/30 January 2016. For information on the Dutch fixture visit http://www.jumpingamsterdam.nl/  

    1. Result: 
    2. Nip Tuck (Carl Hester) GBR 83.750;
    3. Uthopia (Charlotte Dujardin) GBR 82.550;
    4. Glock’s Flirt (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 80.975;
    5. Rubin Al Asad (Lara Griffith) GBR 78.025;
    6. Paridon Magi (Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven) SWE 77.700;
    7. Jojo Az (Agnete Kirk Thinggaard) DEN 76.950;
    8. Rubins Nite (Hayley Watson-Greaves) GBR 75.075;
    9. Annarico (Fanny Verliefden) BEL 74.125;
    10. Vancouver K (Judy Reynolds) IRL 73.525;
    11. Batuta (Goncalo Carvalho) POR 73.225;
    12. Santurio de Massa (Daniel Pinto) POR 73.200;
    13. Bonzanjo (Diederik van Silfhout) NED 73.100;
    14. Don Gregorius (Inna Logutenkova) UKR 72.775;
    15. Tiamo (Jorinde Verwimp) BEL 72.725;
    16. Wie-Atlantico de Ymas (Anders Dahl) DEN 72.375.

    Detailed result here 

     Facts and Figures:

     The London International Horse Show at Olympia presented the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League tonight.

    15 riders from 8 nations - Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Ukraine - competed.

    British horse-and-rider combinations filled the top two places, Carl Hester and Nip Tuck pipping Charlotte Dujardin and Uthopia.

    Dujardin is ranked world no. 1 with her Valegro, the horse with which she claimed double-gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA), and with which she was crowned Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion in both 2014 and 2015.

    Hester’s winning score with the 11-year-old gelding was 83.750.

    The Ground Jury panel of judges consisted of: At E, Andrew Gardner (GBR); At C, Stephen Clarke (GBR); At B, Isabelle Judet (FRA); At H, Susanne Baarup (DEN); At M, Thomas Lang (AUT).

    3 remaining rounds in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European league - at Amsterdam (NED) in January, at Neumuenster (GER) in February and at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March 2016.

    The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 to 28 March. 

       

    Quotes:

     Carl Hester GBR (1st), talking about his winning horse, Nip Tuck: “A year ago he found it difficult to go round the edge let alone do the test. You have to have a special temp to be a winner, relaxed but with the energy to be a super star with pirouettes and passage.”

     Charlotte Dujardin GBR (2nd) talking about the horse she rode tonight, Uthopia: He hadn’t competed for nearly two years so last night I surprised myself (when winning the Grand Prix). It’s a great honour to ride a horse like Uthopia, to take him on after Carl. He felt a little tired tonight but he tried really hard. He hadn’t done that freestyle since Windsor two years ago, but he felt fantastic!”

    Carl Hester GBR (1st) when asked about growing a beard to support the charity Decembeard:  “I think I’m hormonally challenged, it took three weeks to get something growing on my chin!

    The bowel cancer charity asked me would I (grow a beard) and I said I can’t, I’m a dressage rider and I’m supposed to look chiselled and clean! But I gave in. I tried to trim it up for today but I look like a Dalmatian at the moment!”

     Ground Jury President Stephen Clarke (GBR): “I have to say I think one of the best things for the sport this evening was that out of just half an ear could hear Imke (Bartels) and the commentary. She was so positive and honest and clear, it really made such a difference to the public, helped them understand and it’s one of the best things for the sport I have seen in a long time.”

     Carl Hester GBR (1st): Lara (Griffith) and Hayley (Watson-Greaves) were incredible tonight. The confidence of Hayley was great. We need to have future teams and Lara is such an elegant beautiful rider. It’s great to see her supported by the Bechtolsheimers who started me off. I’m ver confident and happy to see new riders here, this is the best show in the world and with Reem Acra as the sponsor, we’re just thrilled to be here.”

     Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) 3rd: “It was quite noisy when I went in (to the arena) as Charlotte had just come out, but my horse was really going for it and had a great feeling. I was very happy, he’s a great horse, he’s really trying for me in the ring and gives me a super nice feeling. He’s not as pretty as my stallions but much easier!”

     Carl Hester GBR (1st), talking about his future plans:  I’m taking Charlotte (Dujardin) to Amsterdam to get two qualifiers under her belt for the Final, but that’s me done for the season. I’ll appear in April after this big show. I’ve got to think about Rio for next year, so I will start the outdoor shows in April.”

     Audio links:

     Carl Hester GBR - 1st: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Olympia_Carl_hester_freestyle.mp3

     Charlotte Dujardin GBR - 2nd: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Olympia_charlotte_dujardin_freestyle.mp3

     Hans Peter Minderhoud NED - 3rd: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Olympia_hans_Peter_minderhoud_freestyle.mp3

     Lara Griffith GBR - 4th: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Olympia_Lara_Griffith.mp3

     Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League Standings after round 6 at Olympia, London (GBR):

     1.        Hans Peter Minderhoud NED                -    58

    2.        Patrik Kittel SWE                        -    54

    3.        Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI                -    52

    4.        Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER            -    47

    5.        Agnete Kirk Thinggaard DEN                -    40

    5.        Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP                    -    40

    7.        Inna Logutenkova UKR                    -    39

    8.        Fabienne Lutkemeier GER                -    38

    9.        Edward Gal NED                        -    37

    9.        Goncales Carvalho POR                    -    37

    9.        Isabell Werth GER                        -    37

    12.        Valentina Truppa ITA                    -    34

    13.        Judy Reynolds IRL                        -    33

    14.        Jennie Larsson SWE                    -    27

    15.        Lyndal Oatley AUS                        -    26 

  • Burghley International CCI**** Horse Trials 2015 Cross Country phase

    Burghley International CCI**** Horse Trials 2015 Cross Country phase

    Footage from the Land Rover Burghley International CCI**** Horse Trials 2015 Cross Country phase on Saturday 5th September 2015. Featuring many famous faces including Michael Jung, William Fox-Pitt, Sir Mark Todd, Oliver Townend, Paul Tapner, Nicola Wilson, Sam Griffiths, and many more tackling the cross country phase at the world famous horse trials.
  • Starting the serpentine with the 20 Meter Circle

    Starting the serpentine with the 20 Meter Circle

    Starting the serpentine with the 20 Meter Circle Starting the Serpentine with the20 Meter Dressage CircleWhy Using the 20 meter circle to start the serpentine is an excellent next step to practice changing your horses bend.  When you start this exercise stay on the 20 meter circle unit you have your horse moving forward with rhythm and impulsion. Once you have your horse flexing on the 20 meter circle at the walk and the trot introduce the change in bend at X.  Once you are riding in the new direction stay on the new circle until you have your horse moving forward with rhythm and impulsion. Use the 20 meter circle to improve lateral flexion on your horse and learn how to change your bend when you change direction. When you ride on a 20 meter circle you teach your horse to soften to the inside aids and you learn how to ride your horse from the inside leg to the outside rein. Think Things to remember when riding a circle is that a circle is circular so you are the same distance from the center at every step on the circle.  Look at the spatial relationship of the circles in the Small and Standard Dressage Arena. While riding the circle your horse should be bent throughout there entire body following the curve of the circle. So the inside of your horse’s body on the track is shorter then outside of your horse’s body on the track of the circle. Notice Circles will reveal stiffness in both the horse and the rider and if you are uneven with your reins the track of the circle is difficult to follow.  When riding the circle your horse’s inside hind foot should track up into your horse’s inside front foot and your horse’s outside hind foot should track up into your horse’s outside front foot. And the riders shoulders and hips should match the horses bend. Plan Start riding the first 20 meter circle at the walk and plan your course. Remember that the bend is constant all the way around the circle.  Think of a circle as having 4 points and ride from point to point on a curved line. Aids Tracking right the right rein or inside rein asks for the bend.  The left rein or outside rein maintains contact and keeps the horse straight on the circle. The riders right leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The left leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horses hind end and keep it on the curved track. Tracking Left the left rein or inside rein asks for the bend.  The right rein or outside rein maintains contact and keeps the horse straight on the circle. The riders left leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The right leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horses hind end and keep it on the curved track.
  • Moving around the arena with the 20 Meter Circle

    Moving around the arena with the 20 Meter Circle

    Moving around the arena with the 20 Meter Circle 20 Meter Dressage CircleWhy Adding on to the circle exercise  look at the illustration on the spatial relationship of the circle in different areas of the arena.  Try riding the 20 meter circle in all the areas illustrated.  Start at the walk then try the trot and canter if you are comfortable at each of these gaits. To improve your circles you can add cones or blocks in the corners to help direct you along the path to the circle.  From the corner or side of the arena take three average sized steps and drop your cone (illustrated here in blue)  You do not need to place all the cones at the same time.  The illustration is just a visual guide to where the cones are places.  Once you have the cones places remember you ride on the inside of the cones to ride a circle and the outside of the cones to ride the corner. Use the 20 meter circle to improve lateral flexion on your horse and learn how to change your bend when you change direction. When you ride on a 20 meter circle you teach your horse to soften to the inside aids and you learn how to ride your horse from the inside leg to the outside rein. Think Things to remember when riding a circle is that a circle is circular so you are the same distance from the center at every step on the circle.  Look at the spatial relationship of the circles in the Small and Standard Dressage Arena. While riding the circle your horse should be bent throughout there entire body following the curve of the circle. So the inside of your horse’s body on the track is shorter then outside of your horse’s body on the track of the circle. Notice Circles will reveal stiffness in both the horse and the rider and if you are uneven with your reins the track of the circle is difficult to follow.  When riding the circle your horse’s inside hind foot should track up into your horse’s inside front foot and your horse’s outside hind foot should track up into your horse’s outside front foot. And the riders shoulders and hips should match the horses bend. Plan Start riding the first 20 meter circle at the walk and plan your course. Remember that the bend is constant all the way around the circle.  Think of a circle as having 4 points and ride from point to point on a curved line. Aids Tracking right the right rein or inside rein asks for the bend.  The left rein or outside rein maintains contact and keeps the horse straight on the circle. The riders right leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The left leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horses hind end and keep it on the curved track. Tracking Left the left rein or inside rein asks for the bend.  The right rein or outside rein maintains contact and keeps the horse straight on the circle. The riders left leg or inside leg stays on the girth encouraging the horse to move forward and to bend through its body to the inside of the circle. The right leg or outside leg is held slightly behind the girth to control your horses hind end and keep it on the curved track.
  • JOHNNY GIVES ISABELL THE PERFECT REEM ACRA CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    JOHNNY GIVES ISABELL THE PERFECT REEM ACRA CHRISTMAS PRESENT

    WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 - Round 2, LyonREEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 - Round 5, Salzburg Salzburg (AUT), 6 December 2015 JOHNNY GIVES ISABELL THE PERFECT REEM ACRA CHRISTMAS PRESENT by Louise Parkes Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH produced one of the finest performances of their career together to win today’s fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria. From a distinguished field of starters that included many of the sport’s top stars, they emerged for a convincing victory ahead of The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice while the only other German contender, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, lined up third with Unee BB. “I’m feeling really, really happy, Johnny was fantastic today and I’m very proud!”, Werth said after claiming the maximum 20 points and moving into equal-seventh spot on the league leaderboard alongside Gal and Portugal’s Goncales Carvalho. Raised the bar The start-list from nine nations included Palestine’s Christian Zimmermann and Cinco de Mayo who got the competition underway with a score of 68.875. But, sixth to go, Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Romanov raised the bar considerably when posting 75.875 which would eventually be good enough for seventh place. It was a pleasing test from the Dutch duo, as the 15-year-old stallion is not long back in work after more than a year of an injury-break and looks set to return to top form. It was Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke-Susmelj who led the way before the interval however when scoring 77.225. And she stayed out in front until von Bredow-Werndl set off with Unee BB who was first to break the 80 percent barrier. The German horse-and-rider partnership who finished third at last season’s Reem Acra Final in Las Vegas, USA threw down a score of 80.075 which was always going to be competitive. Italy’s Valentina Truppa and Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno were also highly impressive when posting 79.400 which would earn fourth spot at the end of the day. There is something very different about this pair since they have returned to action following a very nasty accident suffered by the Italian rider earlier this summer. Everything looks lighter and more relaxed, and the 14-year-old horse is showing much more expression, and this is being reflected in higher marks this season as they continue to sparkle. Chasing It was Gal’s score of 80.900 that Werth was chasing when she entered the arena as last rider to go, the Dutchman producing powerful trot extensions and great elevation in passage and trot half-pass from the 13-year-old stallion with which he won the opening leg of the current Reem Acra series in Odense, Denmark in October. But from the moment Werth set off she had winner written all over her, the often-naughty Don Johnson completely under her spell and responding to every instruction with enthusiasm and accuracy as he racked up a massive score of 84.125. High artistic marks were the order of the day, with the Ground Jury recognising the harmony between this pair who have sometimes missed out on the big moments because Johnny was in cheeky mood and just wouldn’t concentrate. It seems those days are over now, and at last the 46-year-old rider is being repaid for her patience. She said today that she has now enjoyed three great performances with this horse, at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) this summer, at the third leg of the new Reem Acra series in Stuttgart (GER) where they finished second behind Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado, and then again today. She puts it all down to maturity in the horse in which she never lost faith. More serious “He has a bit more experience with age so he has become more serious. He has settled down and he are I are growing together now - we know each other really, really well” said the 46-year-old athlete whose extraordinary list of career accomplishments includes double-gold at the Atlanta and Beijing Olympic Games, five gold medals from the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and eight from FEI European Championships. She said the horse she calls “Johnny” has matured in both body and mind. “He’s in great shape and he’s much easier to ride now because he has become one horse. A year ago it was difficult for him to carry his whole body in balance, but now he’s really one complete horse and the picture is totally different to how he was two years ago” she added. “I said it felt really good two weeks ago in Stuttgart and now we have done three great Freestyles in a row which is just fantastic. I’m especially happy because Johnny has often been in the shadow of my other horses but now he’s standing in his own light! He has a very strong personality and he’s really special. He is always positive, and yes he has been a bit naughty but he can always make me laugh. It has been a case of trying to balance his big character with his body so that he could do his best work. He’s right there now, and he feels settled, so for me this feels just great!” Don Johnson FRH can now look forward to an eight-week holiday before Werth brings him back out for an run or two ahead of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2016 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next March. With 37 points on the board she’s now confident she’s going to get there and she’s already looking forward to it. But today she was just feeling happy and grateful - “Johnny’s given me the very best Christmas present!” Werth said this afternoon. The next leg will take place at Olympia, London (GBR) on Wednesday 16 December. Result: 1, Don Johnson FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 84.125; 2, Glock’s Voice (Edward Gal) NED 80.900; 3, Unee BB (Jessica von Bredow-Werndl) GER 80.075; 4, Fixdesign Eremo del Castagno (Valentina Truppa) ITA 79.400; 5, Blind Date (Victoria Max-Theurer) AUT 78.350; 6, Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke-Susmelj) SUI 77.225; 7, Glock’s Romanov (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 75.825; 8, Batuta (Goncalo Carvalho) POR 74.775; 9, Fabienne (Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein) DEN 72.575; 10. Beckham (Marina Mattsson) SWE 72.150; 11, For Compliment (Birgit Wientzek Plage) SUI 71.575; 12, Rodriguez (Astrid Neumayer) AUT 71.175; 13, Languedoc (Kristian von Krusenstierna) SWE 71.000; 14, Cinco de Mayo (Christian Zimmermann) PLE 68.875; 15, Randon (Leonardo Tiozzo) ITA 64.250. Detailed result here Facts and Figures: The Mevisto Amadeus Indoor Horse Show in Salzburg presented the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League today. Salzburg was making its debut as a venue for the Reem Acra series. The winning rider was two-time FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion Isabell Werth from Germany riding the 14-year-old Don Johnson FRH. The German partnership’s score of 84.125 gave them more than three marks of an advantage over runners-up Edward Gal and Glock’s Voice from The Netherlands. The Ground Jury for today’s Freestyle competition was: At E, Katrina Wuest (GER); At H, Francis Verbeek von Rooy (NED); At C, Thomas Lang (AUT); At M, Stephen Clarke (GBR) and at B, Hans Christian Matthiesen (DEN). 15 horse-and-rider combinations from 9 nations - Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Palestine, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland - competed. There are four remaining qualifying rounds in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League, at Olympia in London (GBR) on 16 December, Amsterdam (NED) on 30 January 2016, Neumunster (GER) 21 February and at s’Hertogenbosch (NED) on 12 March. The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Final will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 to 28 March 2016. Quotes: Isabell Werth GER (1st): “There has been a great atmosphere here in Salzburg and I would love to come back here again next year. The facilities at the show were fantastic and it allowed the horses and the riders to be completely relaxed so we could put on our best performance.” Josef Goller, Salzburg OC: “We’ve had a great show and a great competition and we very much hope we will get the Reem Acra FEI World Cup back here in Salzburg again next year!” Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (3rd), talking at the post-competition press conference and referring to winner Isabell Werth and second-place Edward Gal: “I’m trying to get better so I can beat the other two next to me! I was fortunate enough to train with Isabell for five years and I really admire her. I’ve been working on my warm-up routine recently, I can’t quite replicate what I can do in the warm-up when I go in the arena, but I know it will come!” Isabell Werth GER (1st), when asked what was the difference between finishing first and fourth today: “In the end it’s just tiny margins, but everything was perfect at this show so Johnny was great and for me the scores with him are just getting better and better!” Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League Standings after round 5 in Salzburg (AUT): 1. Patrik Kittel SWE - 54 2. Marcela Krinke-Susmelj SUI - 52 3. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER - 47 4. Hans Peter Minderhoud NED - 41 5. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP - 40 6. Fabienne Lutkemeier GER - 38 7. Edward Gal NED - 37 7. Goncales Carvalho POR - 37 7. Isabell Werth GER - 37 10. Inna Logutenkova UKR - 34 10. Valentina Truppa ITA - 34 12. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard DEN - 28 13. Jenny Larsson SWE - 27 14. Lyndal Oatley AUS - 26 15. Judy Reynolds IRL - 24 16. Alexandre Ayache FRA - 20 16. Ellen Shulten-Baumer GER - 20 16. Emilie Nyrerod SWE - 20 19. Charlotte Haid Bondergaard SWE - 19 19. Mads Hendeliowitz SWE - 19
  • Olympian Shane Rose heats up the action at Adelaide

    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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P9K-3R83l0 Cross Country Course Animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydp6hTNJpvI Andrew Hoy - Course Walk (ATCO Stag Corner, 22 a, b, c): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjueW72O4FM Sam Griffiths - Course Walk (Corners 18, 19a, b): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i3LT7g9048 Shane Rose - Course Walk (Fence 6 a, b, c): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI9sVjOUf-E 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
  • Olympic line-up at Adelaide International 3 Day Event

    Olympic line-up at Adelaide International 3 Day Event

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 18 November 2015 FEI Classics™: Olympic line-up at Adelaide International 3 Day Event by Anna Sharpley Rio 2016 Olympic selection will be firmly on the minds of Australia's top Eventing athletes, when the second leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 series - which unites the world’s top six four-star Eventing competitions - opens tomorrow (19 November) at the Adelaide International 3 Day Event. The Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games course designer Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR) has signed on at Adelaide for the next three years, and as advisor to Equestrian Australia's Eventing High Performance programme he will be ensuring the cross country is a good test for those aspiring to fly to Rio. Leading the 34-strong field are four Australian Olympic medallists - Stuart Tinney, Shane Rose, Sonja Johnson and Megan Jones.
     FEI Classics™, which unites the world’s top six four-star Eventing competitions, heads to Adelaide for the Australian International 3 Day Event where the spectacular Cross Country course weaves in and out of the city and its famous Park Lands. (FEI/Julie Wilson) FEI Classics™, which unites the world’s top six four-star Eventing competitions, heads to Adelaide for the Australian International 3 Day Event where the spectacular Cross Country course weaves in and out of the city and its famous Park Lands. (FEI/Julie Wilson)
      Four-star quest British athlete Alice Dunsdon has also flown Fernhill Present to Adelaide in her quest to compete in all six FEI Classics™. "After I completed Luhmühlen with Hilly, my third four-star, I wondered if anyone had done all six with the same horse, and if not why not,” said Dunsdon. “Wouldn’t it be great if we were the first to do it! Adelaide will be four-star number five, with Badminton a history-making sixth next year.” New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone, team bronze medallist at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010, has also made the trip across the Tasman, and New South Wales-based rider and trainer, Christine Bates, who has narrowly missed out on FEI World Equestrian Games™ and Olympic selection, has a very good horse in the 2015 Saddleworld Melbourne International CCI3* 2015 winner, Adelaide Hill, and is a strong favourite in Adelaide. Given that anything can happen in Eventing, the other hopefuls are all previous winners. Sydney Olympic team gold medallist Stuart Tinney has resisted the call of the Northern Hemisphere, but has nonetheless regularly received team call-ups. He has three rides this year in Pluto Mio, who finished 11th at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, Annapurna who was second in the Adelaide International 3 Day Event CCI2* in 2013, and War Hawk, second in the 2015 Melbourne CCI3*. After a gap year, Shane Rose is back with the Jumping-bred pair, CP Qualified by Quiet Capitol and Virgil by Vivant. No longer the bridesmaid "I'm sick of being a bridesmaid at Adelaide", said the Western Australian sheep farmer and Beijing 2008 team silver medallist Sonja Johnson. She is riding her athletic former racehorse, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison that just missed a 2014 Games call-up due to a minor injury. Local girl Megan Jones has retired her Beijing team silver medal partner, the charismatic Kirby Park Irish Jester, and will ride Kirby Park Allofasudden by Rustic Amber that has been very lightly campaigned since taking second place last year. Katja Weimann of Victoria is also determined to make an impression on the Olympic selectors with her home-bred, BP Flamboyant, second in the Melbourne CCI3*. Western Australian Jessica Manson, who won the FEI Classics™ at Adelaide last year, and Victorian rider and coach Will Enzinger, who broke his leg just before Adelaide in 2013 and handed Chris Burton his winning ride, are back this year with two rides, Wenlock Aquifer and Britannia MVNZ, completing a stellar Adelaide line-up. Adelaide - distinctive city park venue The London 2012 Olympic Games equestrian venue was spectacular in Greenwich Park, and Adelaide, with its inner city parkland location, sets a similarly striking scene - it is like starting the cross country at Hyde Park Corner. The Australian International 3 Day Event followed on the back of the Gawler competition, which began in 1954. Gawler was the site of the FEI World Eventing Championships 1986 and many of its stalwart supporters stayed on to establish the world's only urban three-day event. Gill Rolton, double Olympic gold medallist in Atlanta, initiated the movement behind the first Adelaide event in 1997. The event went four-star in 1999 and in 2011 entered the FEI Classics™ series. Since the very beginning, Rolton has been making it happen. The event has grown and grown, and is now an established part of Adelaide's and Australia's pre-Christmas Eventing activities. The party atmosphere is very obvious, with the event offering something for everyone in or outside the horse world. This year, the headline for the event is "Three phases, two hearts, one passion" with the emphasis on passion. And it has taken a lot of passion to bring international Eventing to the masses in the glorious late Spring in the Adelaide Park Lands. FEI Classics™ in Adelaide live on FEI TV Watch daily live Adelaide action (20-22 November) on www.fei.org 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 FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 calendar 1 Les 4 Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 22-25 October 2015 2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 19-22 November 2015 3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 28 April-1 May 2016 4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 May 2016 5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 16-19 June 2016 6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 1-4 September 2016
  • 5th Gear…..

    5th Gear…..

    Sooooooo.......today Barret discovered 5th gear on Velvet..........and I discovered that I had a hysterical mother scream buried deep down inside me. Barret and I were on the home stretch of a ride (I had walked and she rode Velvet) when a friends dog, Dally, came to greet us. Barret and Velvet have been playing chase with Dally all week, so they quickly trotted ahead in pursuit of pooch. Very quickly the trot became a long trot (or as long as it can get for Velvet), became a canter, became a GALLOP! Velvet had never galloped under saddle, so she was all over the shop, putting a leg in every county at first. I'm yelling (OK maybe I was screaming) at Barret to get her stopped, to pull her head around, to STOP HER! Well, she would stop her and Velvet would take off after Dally again. I'm having kittens, roaring loud enough that I created an echo on our open Texas prairie. Finally, Barret gets Velvet sorted and trots back to me. She looks at me and askes "Well, have you finished having your hissy fit yet? If you have, you can stop screaming and stop having a temper tantrum now." Slack jawed, I realized that she had been in control the entire time. I was the one in a panic, not her.
  • Too young to compete?

    Too young to compete?

    imageLast week a friend sent us a link to a Trail Challenge that was being run only an hour away from us. They offered lots of classes, including a youth class. I asked Barret if she would like to take Velvet and I bet you can guess the answer. That's right, I got an enthusiastic "YES PLEASE!" As I went through the entry form, I could find classes for over 8 years old, in hand classes for ponies under 38", in hand costume classes and lead-line classes, but nothing that Barret could ride Velvet in. Thinking I was missing something and had blond moment, I contacted the organizers. They responded very promptly and in a very business like manner, however, I was truly surprised and disappointed by what they had to say. "Although she is able to ride "independently" at 4 at home, insurance ( and likely some of the neigh-Sayers) won't be able to make her be "independent" at this event." Hmmmmmmm, I was a good mum and didn't come back with a knee jerk reaction, I told them that we were disappointed but perhaps in another 4 years they may feel that her skill level was suitable for their event. This whole thing really got me thinking  in 3 years of showing Barret has never been penalized because of her age or because of the size of Velvet. Every event and class that they have shown in they have been encouraged, supported and sometimes even adapted to by organizers, competitors and bystanders. We have had lighter logs brought in for drags, gate hooks lowered, fellow competitors giving them extra room for lineups when their steering wasn't too good. People of all ages stepped in to help dust her bum off and help her back on after falls, on-lookers encouragement screamed from the arena fences by both strangers and friends. We have had people wait patiently behind her while she fills in her entry form, concession workers help her make purchases on her own and even had people donate their volunteer hours so that I didn't have to leave her unattended at shows. At every event we have ever been to, every effort has been made to make sure Barret and Velvet succeeded in competing, not winning, but competing. So many people have put themselves out so that a little person could have a go and feel confident in a big persons world. So rather than spend any more time being disappointed at being unable to attend one competition, we will keep going where Barret is supported, encouraged and where she can show other little kids that they can do it too!
  • Introductory Level Dressage Test C

    Introductory Level Dressage Test C

    Introductory Level Dressage Test C

    This is a classroom that illustrates how to ride the USDF Introductory Level Dressage Test C PURPOSE: To introduce the rider and/or horse to the sport of dressage. To show understanding of riding the horse forward with a steady tempo into an elastic contact with independent, steady hands and a correctly balanced seat. To show proper geometry of figures in the arena with correct bend (corners and circles). This animation is brought to you by www.TheDigitalHorse.com. We offer step by step animated classrooms of all the USEF Dressage Tests. We also provide downloadable diagrams in the PDF format for hard-copy, desktop, tablet and mobile apps. Please visit our site for more tests, exercises and blogs.
  • Día de los Inocentes

    Día de los Inocentes

    Origins

    DayoftheDaygroupThe Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico developed from ancient traditions among its pre-Columbian cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years.[9] The festival that developed into the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess[10] known as the "Lady of the Dead", corresponding to the modern La Calavera Catrina.
    By the late 20th century in most regions of Mexico, the practices had developed to honor dead children and infants on November 1, and to honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels"); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead"). [11]

    Beliefs

    Frances Ann Day summarizes the three-day celebration, the Day of the Dead:
    On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children's altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.
    — Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature[12]
    People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.[11]
    Mexican cempasúchitl(marigold) is the traditional flower used to honor the dead
    Flowers, including Mexican marigolds, used in the celebration of the Day of the Dead
    Plans for the day are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the three-day period families usually clean and decorate graves;[10] most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (altars), which often include orange Mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) called cempasúchil (originally named cempoaxochitl, Nāhuatl for "twenty flowers"). In modern Mexico the marigold is sometimes called Flor de Muerto (Flower of Dead). These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children (los angelitos, or "the little angels"), and bottles of tequila, mezcal or pulque or jars of atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased's favorite candies on the grave. Ofrendas are also put in homes, usually with foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto ("bread of dead"), and sugar skulls and beverages such as atole. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased.[10] Some people believe the spirits of the dead eat the "spiritual essence" of the ofrendas food, so though the celebrators eat the food after the festivities, they believe it lacks nutritional value. Pillows and blankets are left out so the deceased can rest after their long journey. In some parts of Mexico such as the towns of Mixquic, Pátzcuaro and Janitzio, people spend all night beside the graves of their relatives. In many places people have picnics at the grave site, as well.
    Some families build altars or small shrines in their homes;[10] these sometimes feature a Christian cross, statues or pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pictures of deceased relatives and other persons, scores of candles, and an ofrenda. Traditionally, families spend some time around the altar, praying and telling anecdotes about the deceased. In some locations celebrants wear shells on their clothing, so when they dance, the noise will wake up the dead; some will also dress up as the deceased. Public schools at all levels build altars with ofrendas, usually omitting the religious symbols. Government offices usually have at least a small altar, as this holiday is seen as important to the Mexican heritage. Those with a distinctive talent for writing sometimes create short poems, called calaveras (skulls), mocking epitaphs of friends, describing interesting habits and attitudes or funny anecdotes. This custom originated in the 18th or 19th century, after a newspaper published a poem narrating a dream of a cemetery in the future, "and all of us were dead", proceeding to read the tombstones. Newspapers dedicate calaveras to public figures, with cartoons of skeletons in the style of the famous calaveras of José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican illustrator. Theatrical presentations of Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorrilla (1817–1893) are also traditional on this day.
    José Guadalupe Posada created a famous print of a figure he called La Calavera Catrina ("The Elegant Skull") as a parody of a Mexican upper-class female. Posada's striking image of a costumed female with a skeleton face has become associated with the Day of the Dead, and Catrina figures often are a prominent part of modern Day of the Dead observances. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (in Spanish calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for skeleton), and foods such as sugar or chocolate skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. Sugar skulls as gifts can be given to both the living and the dead. Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread made in various shapes from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits, often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.
    The traditions and activities that take place in celebration of the Day of the Dead are not universal, often varying from town to town. For example, in the town of Pátzcuaro on the Lago de Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, the tradition is very different if the deceased is a child rather than an adult. On November 1 of the year after a child's death, the godparents set a table in the parents' home with sweets, fruits, pan de muerto, a cross, a rosary (used to ask the Virgin Mary to pray for them) and candles. This is meant to celebrate the child's life, in respect and appreciation for the parents. There is also dancing with colorful costumes, often with skull-shaped masks and devil masks in the plaza or garden of the town. At midnight on November 2, the people light candles and ride winged boats called mariposas (butterflies) to Janitzio, an island in the middle of the lake where there is a cemetery, to honor and celebrate the lives of the dead there. In contrast, the town of Ocotepec, north of Cuernavaca in the State of Morelos, opens its doors to visitors in exchange for veladoras (small wax candles) to show respect for the recently deceased. In return the visitors receive tamales and atole. This is only done by the owners of the house where someone in the household has died in the previous year. Many people of the surrounding areas arrive early to eat for free and enjoy the elaborate altars set up to receive the visitors from Mictlán.
    In some parts of the country (especially the cities, where in recent years other customs have been displaced) children in costumes roam the streets, knocking on people's doors for a calaverita, a small gift of candies or money; they also ask passersby for it. This relatively recent custom is similar to that of Halloween's trick-or-treating. Some people believe possessing Day of the Dead items can bring good luck. Many people get tattoos or have dolls of the dead to carry with them. They also clean their houses and prepare the favorite dishes of their deceased loved ones to place upon their altar or ofrenda.

    Observances outside Mexico

    Europe

    In Christian Europe, Roman Catholic customs absorbed pagan traditions, and All Saints Day and All Souls Day became the autumnal celebration of the dead. Over many centuries, rites were moved from cultivated fields to cemeteries. In many countries with a Roman Catholic heritage All Saints Day and All Souls Day have evolved traditions in which people take the day off work, go to cemeteries with candles and flowers, and give presents to children, usually sweets and toys.[13] In Portugal and Spain ofrendas ("offerings") are made on this day. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed. In Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, people bring flowers (typically chrysanthemums in France) to the graves of dead relatives and say prayers over the dead. As part of a promotion by the Mexican embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, some local citizens join in a Mexican-style Day of the Dead. A theatre group produces an events featuring masks, candles, and sugar skulls.[14]

    Latin America

    Dia de los ñatitas ("Day of the Skulls") is a festival celebrated in La Paz, Bolivia, on May 5. In pre-Columbian times indigenous Andeans had a tradition of sharing a day with the bones of their ancestors on the third year after burial. Today families keep only the skulls for such rituals. Traditionally, the skulls of family members are kept at home to watch over the family and protect them during the year. On November 9, the family crowns the skulls with fresh flowers, sometimes also dressing them in various garments, and making offerings of cigarettes, coca leaves, alcohol, and various other items in thanks for the year's protection. The skulls are also sometimes taken to the central cemetery in La Paz for a special Mass and blessing.[15][16][17] The Brazilian public holiday of Finados (Day of the Dead) is celebrated on November 2. Similar to other Day of the Dead celebrations, people go to cemeteries and churches with flowers and candles, and offer prayers. The celebration is intended as a positive honoring of the dead. Memorializing the dead draws from indigenous, African and European Catholic origins. In Ecuador the Day of the Dead is observed to some extent by all parts of society, though it is especially important to the indigenous Kichwa peoples, who make up an estimated quarter of the population. Indigena families gather together in the community cemetery with offerings of food for a day-long remembrance of their ancestors and lost loved ones. Ceremonial foods include colada morada, a spiced fruit porridge that derives its deep purple color from the Andean blackberry and purple maize. This is typically consumed with guagua de pan, a bread shaped like a swaddled infant, though variations include many pigs—the latter being traditional to the city of Loja. The bread, which is wheat flour-based today, but was made with masa in the pre-Columbian era, can be made savory with cheese inside or sweet with a filling of guava paste. These traditions have permeated into mainstream society, as well, where food establishments add both colada moradaand gaugua de pan to their menus for the season. Many non-indigenous Ecuadorians partake in visiting the graves of the deceased, cleaning and bringing flowers, or preparing the traditional foods, too.[18] Guatemalan celebrations of the Day of the Dead are highlighted by the construction and flying of giant kites[19] in addition to the traditional visits to grave sites of ancestors. A big event also is the consumption of fiambre, which is made only for this day during the year.

    Oceania

    Mexican-style Day of the Dead celebrations occur in major cities in Australia, Fiji, and Indonesia. Additionally, prominent celebrations are held in Wellington, New Zealand, complete with altars celebrating the deceased with flowers and gifts.[20]

    The Philippines

    While ancestor veneration is an ancient part of Filipino culture, the modern observance is believed to have been imported from Mexico when the islands (as part of the Spanish East Indies) were governed from Mexico City as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.[citation needed] During the holiday (observed on the 1st day of November), Filipinos customarily visit family tombs and other graves, which they then repair and clean. Entire families spend a night or two at their loved ones' tombs, passing time with card games, eating, drinking, singing and dancing—activities that would be considered improper in some cultures. Prayers such as the rosary are often said for the deceased, who are normally offered candles, flowers, food and even liquor. Some Catholic Chinese Filipino families additionally offer joss sticks to the dead, and observe customs otherwise associated with the Hungry Ghost Festival.

    United States

    In many American communities with Mexican residents Day of the Dead celebrations are very similar to those held in Mexico. In some of these communities, such as in Texas,[21] and Arizona,[22] the celebrations tend to be mostly traditional. For example, the All Souls Procession has been an annual Tucson, Arizonaevent since 1990. The event combines elements of traditional Day of the Dead celebrations with those of pagan harvest festivals. People wearing masks carry signs honoring the dead and an urn in which people can place slips of paper with prayers on them to be burned.[23] Likewise, Old Town San Diego, California annually hosts a very traditional two-day celebration culminating in a candlelight procession to the historic El Campo Santo Cemetery.[24] Santa Ana, California is said to hold the "largest event in Southern California" honoring Día de los muertos, called the annual Noche de Altares, which began in 2002.[25] The celebration of the Day of the Dead in Santa Ana has grown to two large events with the creation of an event held at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center for the first time on November 1, 2015.[26] In other communities interactions between Mexican traditions and American culture are resulting in celebrations in which Mexican traditions are being extended to make artistic or sometimes political statements. For example, in Los Angeles, California, the Self Help Graphics & Art Mexican-American cultural center presents an annual Day of the Dead celebration that includes both traditional and political elements, such as altars to honor the victims of the Iraq War highlighting the high casualty rate among Latino soldiers. An updated, intercultural version of the Day of the Dead is also evolving at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[27]There, in a mixture of Mexican traditions and Hollywood hip, conventional altars are set up side-by-side with altars to Jayne Mansfield and Johnny Ramone. Colorful native dancers and music intermix with performance artists, while sly pranksters play on traditional themes. Similar traditional and intercultural updating of Mexican celebrations are held in San Francisco. For example, the Galería de la Raza, SomArts Cultural Center, Mission Cultural Center, de Young Museum and altars at Garfield Square by the Marigold Project.[28] Oakland is home to Corazon Del Pueblo in the Fruitvale district. Corazon Del Pueblo has a shop offering handcrafted Mexican gifts and a museum devoted to Day of the Dead artifacts. Also, the Fruitvale district in Oakland serves as the hub of the Dia de Los Muertos annual festival which occurs the last weekend of October. Here, a mix of several Mexican traditions come together with traditional Aztec dancers, regional Mexican music, and other Mexican artisans to celebrate the day.[29] In Missoula, Montana skeletal celebrants on stilts, novelty bicycles, and skis parade through town.[30] The festival also occurs annually at historic Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston's Jamaica Plainneighborhood. Sponsored by Forest Hills Educational Trust and the folkloric performance group La Piñata, the Day of the Dead festivities celebrate the cycle of life and death. People bring offerings of flowers, photos, mementos, and food for their departed loved ones, which they place at an elaborately and colorfully decorated altar. A program of traditional music and dance also accompanies the community event. The Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the University of Texas at El Paso and Second Life, have created a Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum and accompanying multimedia e-book: Día de los Muertos: Day of the Dead. The project's website contains some of the text and images which explain the origins of some of the customary core practices surrounding the Day of the Dead, such as the background beliefs and the offrenda (the special altar commemorating one's deceased loved one).[31] The Made For iTunes multimedia e-book version provides additional content, such as further details; additional photogalleries; pop-up profiles of influential Latino artists and cultural figures over the decades; and video clips[32] of interviews with artists who make Dia de los Muertos-themed artwork, explanations and performances of Aztec and other traditional dances, an animation short that explains the customs to children, virtual poetry readings in English and Spanish.[33][34]

    Similar traditions

    Many other cultures around the world have similar traditions of a day set aside to visit the graves of deceased family members. Often included in these traditions are celebrations, food and beverages, in addition to prayers and remembrances of the departed. In some African cultures, visits to ancestors' graves, the leaving of food and gifts, and the asking of protection from them serve as important parts of traditional rituals, such as one ritual that is held just before the start of the hunting season.[35] The Qingming Festival (simplified Chinese: 清明节; traditional Chinese: 清明節; pinyin: qīng míng jié) is a traditional Chinese festival usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Along with Double Ninth Festival on the 9th day of the 9th month in the Chinese calendar, it is a time to tend to the graves of departed ones. In addition, in the Chinese tradition, the seventh month in the Chinese calendar is called the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits come out from the underworld to visit earth. The Bon Festival (O-bon (お盆?), or only Bon (?)), is a Japanese Buddhist holiday held in August to honor the spirits of departed ancestors. It is derived in part from the Chinese observance of the Ghost Month, and was affixed to the solar calendar along with other traditional Japanese holidays. In Korea, Chuseok (추석, 秋夕; also called Hangawi) is a major traditional holiday. People go where the spirits of their ancestors are enshrined, and perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning; they visit the tombs of immediate ancestors to trim plants, clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. During the Nepali holiday of Gai Jatra ("Cow Pilgrimage"), every family who has lost a member during the previous year creates a tai out of bamboo branches, cloth, and paper decorations, in which are placed portraits of the deceased. As a cow traditionally leads the spirits of the dead into the afterlife, an actual or symbolic cow is used depending on local custom. The festival is also a time to dress up in costume reminiscent of the western Halloween, with popular subjects including political commentary and satire.[36] Article From Wikipedia
  • Spain’s Ferrer-Salat steals Reem Acra limelight in Lyon

    Spain’s Ferrer-Salat steals Reem Acra limelight in Lyon

    WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 - Round 2, Lyon REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 - Round 2, Lyon Lyon (FRA), 30 October 2015  

    Spain’s Ferrer-Salat steals Reem Acra Dressage limelight in Lyon

    by Louise Parkes Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado registered a convincing victory at the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Lyon, France this afternoon. Riding the crest of the wave that saw them take Freestyle bronze at the FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany two months ago, Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado registered a convincing victory at the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Lyon, France this afternoon. They sent a warning shot across the bows of their rivals when topping yesterday’s Grand Prix with a personal-best mark of 79.250, and today all five members of the Ground Jury were in complete agreement when awarding them the winning Freestyle score of 82.875. However the spectators held their breath after a spectacular performance from Patrik Kittel who was last to go in today’s thrilling contest. If there had been extra marks on offer for pure excitement, then the Swedish rider would definitely have had it in the bag because, with the willing assistance of his lovely mare Deja, he threw down a test that was nothing short of funky. The crowd couldn’t resist moving to the sound of his Stevie Wonder-themed musical score, but his final mark of 81.175 left him in second spot ahead of Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino in third. Switzerland’s Marcel Krinke Susmelj lined up fourth with Smeyers Molberg, Ireland’s Judy Reynolds finished fifth with Vancouver K and the sole French representative, Pierre Volla, claimed sixth spot with his young mare Badinda Altena. High standard of competition There was a high standard throughout the entire competition today. As Judge at C, Isabelle Judet from France, commented afterwards, “on paper you had one group at the very top who were clearly at a high level, but even the performances of those in the second group were of a very good standard - it was a great competition to judge”, she said. The Ground Jury, which also included The Netherlands’ Ghislain Fouarge, Belgium’s Jacques van Daele, Luxembourg’s Christof Umbach and Germany’s Katrina Wuest, had the 72.125 earned by Denmark’s Rikke Svane and the eye-catching black stallion Finckenstein TSF as their leading score at the halfway stage. However, much to the delight of the home crowd, Pierre Volla and his charming chestnut mare, one of three hugely promising nine-year-olds competing in today’s class, bounced well into the lead with a mark of 74.150 when first into the arena after the break. But Krinke Susmelj raised the target all the way up to 78 percent when Smeyers Molberg got into the swing, and Reynolds and Vancouver K slotted in behind the Swiss pair on a mark of 77.425 for temporary runner-up spot when next into the ring. It might not have been the winning score today, but there were big smiles all round in the Irish camp, as this is a new Irish Freestyle record, Reynolds also setting the previous one at Hagen, Germany in April. [caption id="attachment_9964" align="alignright" width="500"]Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado registered a convincing victory at the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Lyon, France this afternoon. (FEI/Pierre Costabadie) PRIX FFE GENERALI  Beatriz FERRER SALAT - DELGADO  Pic Pierre Costabadie Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado registered a convincing victory at the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League at Lyon, France this afternoon. (FEI/Pierre Costabadie)
    PRIX FFE GENERALI
    Beatriz FERRER SALAT - DELGADO
    Pic Pierre Costabadie[/caption] Raised the bar With three left to go, Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier and D’Agostino raised the bar even higher, the big chestnut’s powerful and expressive movement complemented by great lightness as they marched out in front for a mark of 79.850. But the team gold medallists from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) and the FEI European Championships 2013 in Herning, Denmark, were immediately relegated by the foot-perfect performance from Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. This pair are a picture of symmetry, and as they easily worked through their floorplan in complete harmony with their music, it was clear a new lead would be established. Putting 82.875 on the board, it was now up to Kittel to dethrone the Spanish partnership when last to go. And the crowd watched with amazement as he gave it his very best shot, his 11-year-old mare, Deja, seemingly dancing with delight as the excitement built to a crescendo. The arena erupted when they drew to a halt, but the scoreboard showed 81.175 for second place. However Kittel now stands at the top of the Western European League leaderboard at this early stage of the series when adding today’s 17 points to the maximum 20 he picked up when winning the Central European League qualifier at Kaposvar in Hungary two weeks ago. First competition since Europeans “This was only our first competition since the Europeans, so I’m very happy!” said winning rider Ferrer-Salat tonight. It has been quite a year for the 49-year-old who, during her highly-successful career with her former ride, Beauvalais, finished third at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in s’Hertogenbosch (NED) in 2002, claimed individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games on home turf in Jerez (ESP), and won individual bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (GRE). Her partnership with Delgado has been beset by injury problems for the horse over the last eight years, but somehow she kept faith with to the 14-year-old gelding and that faith has being repaid handsomely over the last nine months. The pair re-emerged onto the international stage in March and had just two competitions under their belt before taking that bronze medal in Aachen in August where she also helped her country qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Together they present a beautifully balanced, forward-going picture. She said this evening, “with him it is always very harmonious, there is an understanding between us, I know how he is feeling and he knows me very well also.” Asked to compare Delgado to Beauvalais she said, “Delgado is better in piaffe, but they are both special because they give me everything they can. What they have in common is that they are both very good in their heads and they have big hearts, always wanting to go forward, always wanting to be with me and that’s a very wonderful feeling for any rider”, she said. Ferrer-Salat plans to compete at the next leg of the Reem Acra series in Stuttgart, Germany in three weeks’ time. Kittel meanwhile recognised that this had been an afternoon of great sport, and complimented the Lyon organisers on opening the doors to the public free-of-charge this afternoon. “The more of the general public we have in the audience the better if we want our sport to progress. The crowd were great, they really enjoyed the competition and supported us all, and the horses were fine in the prize-giving even though the spectators were really noisy. It was a lot of fun!” he said. Result:
    1. Delgado (Beatriz Ferrer-Salat) ESP 82.875;
    2. Deja (Patrik Kittel) SWE 81.175;
    3.  D’Agostino (Fabienne Lutkemeier) GER 79.850;
    4. Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke Susmelj) SUI 78.000;
    5.  Vancouver K (Judy Reynolds) IRL 77.425;
    6.  Badinda Altena (Pierre Volla) FRA 74.150;
    7. Batuta (Goncalo Carvalho) POR 74.125;
    8.  Finckenstein TSF (Rikke Svane) DEN 72.125;
    9. Spirit of the Age OLD (Bernadette Brune) GER 72.075;
    10.  Dandy de la Roche CMF (Antonella Joannou) SUI 71.300;
    11.  Raffaelo v. Bene (Anna-Mengia Aerne) SUI 71.075;
    12.  Beckham (Marina Mattsson) SWE 69.600;
    13.  Santurion de Massa (Daniel Pinto) POR 68.625;
    14. Sal (Silvia Rizzo) ITA 64.975;
    15.  Sunny Boy (Juan Antonio Jiminez) ESP 64.775.
      Facts and Figures:
    • Lyon in France staged the second leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League today.
    • 15 horse-and-rider partnerships competed in the Grand Prix Freestyle won by Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Saslt and Delgado with a score of 82.875..
    • The Spanish pair also topped yesterday’s Grand Prix at the French fixture with a personal best score of 79.260.
    • Runner-up today was Sweden’s Patrik Kittel with Deja.
    • The sole competitor for the host nation was Pierre Volla riding the nine-year-old mare Badinda Altena
    • 9 nations were represented - Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    • The panel of judges was: At E, Ghislain Fouarge (NED); At H, Jacques van Daele (BEL); At C, Isabelle Judet (FRA); At M, Christof Umbach (LUX); At B, Katrina Wuest (GER).
    • The next leg of the series take place in Stuttgart, Germany on Saturday 21 November 2015.
    Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 leaderboard: standings after Round 2 of the Western European League at Lyon (FRA): 1. Patrik Kittel SWE - 37 2. Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI - 33 3. Inna Logutenkova UKR - 30 4. Judy Reynolds IRL - 24 5. Alexandre Ayache FRA - 20 5. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP - 20 5. Edward Gal NED - 20 5. Ellen Schulten-Baumer GER - 20 9. Charlotte Haid Bondergaard SWE - 19 9. Goncales Carvalho POR - 19 9. Jenny Larsson SWE - 19 12. Anna Kasprzak DEN - 17 12. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER- 17 12. Matthias Bouten GER - 17 Quotes: Fabienne Lutkemeier GER (3rd): “It was such a great atmosphere here and I’m really happy with D’Agostino. I had one mistake in the flying changes but in general I’m very happy!” Pierre Volla FRA (6th) - “being in front of the home crowd and in my first World Cup for me and horse there was a bit of pressure on me, so I was happy to qualify for today and happy with the performance.” Patrik Kittel SWE (2nd) - “This is the first time I have finished in the top 3 in Lyon and it is a great honour. The organisers here are lovely people, they take great care of us and that’s why we always want to come back year after year - Lyon is one of the best shows on the circuit!” Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP (1st): “We will go to Stuttgart (in November), but after that I don’t know. Maybe we will do another World Cup show, but from Spain, the trip to Gothenburg is a very long way for the Final. We will wait and see.” Sylvie Robert, Director GL Events - “We had great sport and a great crowd today. We opened the doors to the public today for Dressage in the afternoon and they really enjoyed it. It’s good to help people discover the discipline. And it was great to have Pierre do so well - hopefully we will have more French riders competing here next year.”  
  • Using your eyes

    Using your eyes

    Riding Exercises using your eyesWhen you use your eyes to follow your path your body follows.   This works on your dressage test, jumping stadium or cross country, it also works when you doing arena exercises and riding on the trail.  You can test this right at this moment by looking up and noticing what happens to your body, it follows your head.  The average human head weighs between 8 and 12 pounds, this is enough weight for your horse to feel when it changes direction. Often times when I watch riders the keep their eyes and heads facing rigidly forward this creates a stiff rider and a stiff horse. When you allow your eyes to look ahead and find your path your head follows, then your shoulders and your waist and you hips, this creates bend in the direction you are heading. The other effect of looking where you are going is you can make a plan.  So when you are nearing a corner you know to sit up and half halt to ensure you are riding at the right pace and you are bent in the right direction before attempting to ride into the corner. Riding Exercises using your eyesLook at the illustration coming down center-line.  I put a person standing at C.  If you have a helper have them stand at C and hold up their hand.  Then have them change the number of fingers they are holding up.  You as the rider watch your ground person and call out the number of fingers you see.  This is a great exercise to help you determine where you are looking and help you to look up where you are going.
  • French joy as Astier Nicolas wins first CCI4*

    French joy as Astier Nicolas wins first CCI4*

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE

    Lausanne (SUI), 25 October, 2015

     FEI Classics™: French joy as Astier Nicolas wins first CCI4*

    by Kate Green

     Astier Nicolas (FRA) had an excited French crowd on the edges of their seats as he scored his first ever CCI4* win in fantastic style at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau (FRA), opening leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016.

    With the hopes of his home country resting on his shoulders and Pau’s Jumping course proving as influential as ever, Nicolas, who was third after Cross Country, rode a skillful clear round on Piaf de B’neville in the Jumping arena.

     This put serious pressure on 19-year-old Emily King (GBR) and Olympic, world and European number one Michael Jung (GER), who was down to one horse after withdrawing the overnight leader Halunke FBW at the final Horse Inspection, and, to Nicolas’s evident disbelief, they each had a fence down.

     King dropped from second to fourth on Brookleigh, but it was a brave effort at her first CCI4*, and Jung, who has made very few mistakes this year, slipped from first to second on fischerRocana, losing the win by just 0.9 penalty, after the mare hit the third fence.

     Tim Price (NZL) and the Dutch-bred Wesko, a reliable horse in the final phase, having started his career in a Jumping yard, rose from fourth to third with an immaculate clear round.

     Astier Nicolas is the first French rider to win the CCI4* at Pau since Nicolas Touzaint in 2007 and, to make it even more special, the city of Pau is his home, although he is a familiar face on the British circuit, having been based there for a while.

     “I wasn’t at all nervous because I had two riders in front of me and didn’t think I would win,” said Nicolas. “It’s very special to win my first CCI4* in France.”

     The French crowd had even more to cheer about when two of the seven clear rounds came from Karim Florent Laghouag (FRA), who rose from eighth to fifth place on the lovely black stallion Entebbe de Hus and from 14th to seventh on Punch de l’Esques.

     The young German rider Claas Hermann Romeike, watched anxiously by his Olympic gold medalist father, Hinrich, also kept a cool head, jumping clear on Cato 60 to rise seven places to sixth at only his second CCI4*.

     Tim Lips (NED) slipped five places to 11th when Bayro incurred 12 Jumping faults and Andreas Dibowski (GER) was lucky to only drop two places to 12th when FRH Butts Avedon had four fences down. Paul Tapner (AUS) also departed from the top 10, falling from seventh to 17 with an unfortunate six rails down on Indian Mill.

    As well as the sad departure of Halunke FBW from the Horse Inspection, Bill Levett (AUS) also withdrew Shannondale Titan, 10th after Cross country. Thirty-three horses completed the competition.

     The FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 season has started in style with a thrilling contest. Next, the action moves to the southern hemisphere for the Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) on 19-22 November.

     About the Les 4 Etoiles de Pau winner

     Astier Nicolas (FRA), 26, is the youngest CCI4* winner this year. He represented France at Pony, Junior and Young Rider level and won an individual silver medal in the Young Rider Europeans at Waregem (BEL) in 2009. His previous best CCI4* result was sixth at Pau in 2012 on Jhakti du Janlie.

     Riding Piaf de B’neville, he won the u25 CCI3* at Bramham (GBR) in 2012 and was a member of France’s senior bronze medal team at the 2013 FEI European Eventing Championship in Malmö (SWE).

     The combination finished runner up at Saumur CCI3* this year. He was also recently second in the young horse CIC3* at Blenheim and ninth at Boekelo CCI3* (NED) on Spes Addit’Or.

    Nicolas is from Pau in France but has been based for some years in Gloucestershire in Great Britain, where he came to study for a degree in equine management at the West of England University at Hartpury College.

    Piaf de B’neville is a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Cap de B’neville.

     Final results

    [caption id="attachment_9948" align="alignright" width="300"]Michael Jung of Germany riding Fischerrocana FST taking part in the Cross Country phase of the CCI Four Star Etoiles De Pau International Horse Trials on Sat 24th October 2015 Pic Trevor Holt Michael Jung of Germany riding Fischerrocana FST taking part in the Cross Country phase of the CCI Four Star Etoiles De Pau International Horse Trials on Sat 24th October 2015
    Pic Trevor Holt[/caption]
    1. Astier Nicolas/Piaf de B’neville (FRA) 38.5 + 0 + 0 = 38.5
    2. Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 35.4 + 0 + 4 = 39.4
    3. Tim Price/Wesko (NZL) 40.0 + 0 + 0 = 40.0
    4. Emily King/Brookleigh (GBR) 38.3 + 0 + 4 = 42.3
    5. Karim Florent Laghouag/Entebbe de Hus (FRA) 40.6 + 2 + 0 = 42.6
    6. Claas Hermann Romeike/Cato 60 (GER) 44.1 + 3.2 + 0 = 47.3
    7. Karim Florent Laghouag/Punch de l’Esques (FRA) 49.3 + 0 + 0 = 49.3
    8. Sarah Bullimore/Valentino V (GBR) 45.8 + 0 + 4 = 49.8
    9. Clare Abbot/Euro Prince (IRL) 49.1 + 1.6 + 0 = 50.7
    10. Sir Mark Todd/NZB Campino (NZL) 43.3 + 0 + 8 = 51.3

    Full results: www.event-pau.fr.

     

    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

    See full leaderboard here: http://bit.ly/1PP9nNx

     FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 calendar

    1. Les 4 Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 22-25 October 2015
    2. Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 19-22 November 2015
    3. Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 28 April-1 May 2016
    4. Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 May 2016
    5. Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 16-19 June 2016
    6. Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 1-4 September 2016

     

    See FEI Classics™ hub: www.fei.org/fei/events/fei-classics

  • FEI Classics™: Michael Jung strikes out in front at Pau

    FEI Classics™: Michael Jung strikes out in front at Pau

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 23 October, 2015 FEI Classics™: Michael Jung strikes out in front at Pau by Kate Green Michael Jung (GER) has made a great start in the CCI4* at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau, first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, and is in first and second places after Dressage, with his two horses split by just one penalty. Pau is one of very few major events that the Olympic champion has yet to win, but he looks to have two excellent chances: he heads the field of 49 on his 2013 European champion, Halunke FBW, an 11-year-old black gelding by Heraldik, and is second on the mare fischerRocana, winner of Kentucky in April. Both horses, which Jung had brought with him on his “French tour” - he won the six-year-old CIC1* at Le Lion d’Angers (FRA) last weekend - were among the quartet to score below 40. In contrast to Jung’s mighty record, 19-year-old Emily King (GBR), a member of Britain’s gold medal-winning Young Rider team this year, is competing at her first CCI4*. The teenager has made quite an impression already and currently holds third place in this stellar field with the brilliant mark of 38.3 on the German-bred Brookleigh, a 13-year-old gelding previously ridden by Clayton Fredericks (AUS). The pair were recently second behind Sir Mark Todd (NZL) and NZB Campino at Ballindenisk CIC3* (IRL). “I’ve been to Pau lots of times with Mum [Mary King, the 2011 FEI Classics™ winner] and have dreamed of riding here,” said King. “It’s such a lovely, friendly event and I feel very lucky to be here.” She added: “The Cross Country is quite different to some of the major tracks in England. It’s nice and bold and challenging, but also more twisting and technical. I’m excited about it!” The home side have plenty to cheer about with Astier Nicolas (FRA) in fourth place on the 12-year-old Piaf de B’neville with the good score of 38.5 and Karim Florent Laghouag (FRA) in sixth place on the 10-year-old black stallion Entebbe de Hus with a mark of 40.6. The accomplished New Zealand combination of Tim Price and Wesko, Luhmühlen winners in 2014 and Kentucky runners-up behind Jung this year, are fifth on 40.0 penalties. Price’s wife Jonelle is 19th on Faerie Dianimo on 47.7. Six nations are represented in the top 10: Tim Lips (NED) is seventh on Concrex Bayro, Paul Tapner is the highest-placed Australian in eighth on Indian Mill and Jennie Brannigan is best of the American riders in ninth on Cambalda. “Indian Mill is in the best form ever, so I’m confident,” said Tapner. “I will be disappointed if he doesn’t finish the Cross Country within the optimum time. I think there’s quite a few potential problem fences out there, but there is no one fence that I’m stressed about.” Mark Todd (NZL), currently well in touch in 14th place on NZB Campino with a good mark of 43.3, predicts that the water complexes will be influential. “The course looks good with a lot of forward distances,” he said. “The last water complex could be quite a big effort. There’s a big drop in and a bounce out of it. And I think the two corners in the preceding water are big. There’s lots of places where riders could be caught out.” First on course tomorrow is Britain’s Sarah Bullimore with Valentino V at 14.00 local time. Results after Dressage
    •  Michael Jung/Halunke FBW (GER) 34.5 penalties
    •  Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER) 35.4
    •  Emily King/Brookleigh (GBR) 38.3
    •  Astier Nicolas/Piaf d’B’neville (FRA) 38.5
    •  Tim Price/Wesko (NZL) 38.5
    •  Karim Florent Laghouag/Entebbe de Hus (FRA)
    •  Tim Lips/Concrex Bayro (NED) 40.9
    •  Indian Mill/Paul Tapner (AUS) 42.3
    •  Jennie Brannigan/Cambalda (USA) 42.6 Bill Levett/Shannondale Titan (AUS) 42.9
  • THE VELKA PARDUBICKA

    THE VELKA PARDUBICKA

    Prague is one of Europe’s most fashionable cities, an historic baroque monument to Bohemia’s past, equally comparable to Florence, Venice and Rome for the majesty of its noble buildings, squares and cobbled streets. As a true test of stamina, equine ability and horsemanship THE VELKA PARDUBICKA, run over 4m2½f and 31 varying obstacles over a mix of grass and light plough, ranks of equal importance in steeplechasing's role of honor to our own Grand National and The Maryland Hunt Cup. Orphee Des Blins, a 12 -year-old ridden by Jan Faltejsek, became the first mare to win the Czech Republic's famous race for the third consecutive year. She was followed home by Al Jaz in second place with Klaus in third. Text From: Horse Racing Abroad
  • Can Jung conquer Pau as well?

    Can Jung conquer Pau as well?

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE FEI Classics™: Can Jung conquer Pau as well? by Kate Green Michael Jung (GER) is in the French Pyrenees to see if he can add the CCI4* at Les 4 Etoiles de Pau, first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 - which unites the world’s top six four-star Eventing competitions - to his trophy cupboard. Jung, the reigning Olympic and European champion and runner-up to Ingrid Klimke (GER) in last year’s series, has won at Kentucky (USA) and Burghley (GBR) this year, and is a previous victor at Luhmühlen (GER), as well as being a Badminton (GBR) runner-up. His best result at France’s premier event so far is a third place in 2012, but German riders have a good record here, winning four out of eight times since the CCI4* began in 2007. He is bringing the brilliant mare fischerRocana, his Kentucky winner and the horse on which he had a rare Cross Country mistake - an early fall in the water at Burghley last month. His other mount, Halunke FBW, the 2013 European champion, has been saved especially for Pau as it is thought Pierre Michelet’s (FRA) flat racecourse track will suit the 11-year-old German Württemberger gelding. Sir Mark Todd had won his first CCI4* - Badminton in 1980 - before Jung was even born. New Zealand’s double Olympic champion has been in fine form this season and has an obvious chance to win at Pau on the 13-year-old German-bred NZB Campino, winner of two CIC3*s this year. Todd’s compatriots have plenty of CCI4* form between them, especially former world and Olympic champion Blyth Tait, who has followed his old team mate out of retirement. Tait, who has never competed at Pau before, rides Bear Necessity V. Eventing’s ‘power couple’, Tim and Jonelle Price (NZL), are also sure to make an impact. Tim has his Kentucky runner-up Wesko and has picked up a new ride on Julie Tew’s (GBR) Lord of the Owls, while Jonelle will be seeking her first CCI4* win. She has a great chance on the talented little grey mare Faerie Dianimo, fourth here in 2014 and second at Luhmühlen this year. There hasn’t been a French winner since Nicolas Touzaint in 2007, so expectations will be high for the in-form Astier Nicolas, who rides Piaf de B’neville and the well-named Quickly du Buguet, plus former world champion Jean Teulere with the experienced Matelot du Grand Val. Other competitors to watch include the 2010 winner Andreas Dibowski (GER), who rides FRH Butts Avedon, and Lucy Wiegersma (GBR), who will soon celebrate her marriage to Irish team rider Padraig McCarthy - she rides Mr Chunky. Germany’s Claas Hermann Romeike (Cato 60), the son of 2008 Olympic champion Hinrich Romeike, and Britain’s Emily King (Brookleigh), daughter of the 2011 FEI Classics champion, Mary King, also make their débuts at Pau. Ten nations will be represented and around 50 horses are expected to start in what promises to be a thrilling competition. FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 calendar
    1. Les 4 Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 22-25 October 2015
    2. Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 19-22 November 2015
    3. Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 28 April-1 May 2016
    4. Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 May 2016
    5. Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 16-19 June 2016
    6. Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 1-4 September 2016
  • FEI WORLD BREEDING EVENTING CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR YOUNG HORSES 2015

    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.
  • Judge Our Judges

    Judge Our Judges

    Melissa BoyerRecently a dressage friend of mine, Jill, and I got to catch up after years of not seeing one another as we both attended a large dressage show. Jill had not ridden dressage in over 8 years, but had left the game as a competitive Prix St George rider with her aged steed that has been since retired.

    We claimed our seats on the bleachers with her in front of me and began watching a Grand Prix test. Within the first 10 seconds, Jill had turned around and looked at me with a horrified look on her face. 10 seconds later she turned around, again with this horrified look on her face. “Has dressage changed she asked?”  a bit loudly for a test going on.

     I wasn’t sure what she was referring to but did notice that the horse was behind the vertical and near Rollkur was taking place. Before the test was done Jill turned around once again, this time pointing, “he is bent at the wrong vertebrae!” she said.

    Jill was right, this horse was improperly bent at his neck according to all the trainers her and I had learned from-- including every clinic we could trailer to in her years of dressage glory. The horse’s legs were not tracking up and hocks were not bending.

    Another friend of ours responded to Jill, “Well, have you heard of Rollkur?” expecting that she had. But Jill had not heard of Rollkur and didn’t know that a trend had started a while back in which well renowned riders were warming up and competing their horses in Rollkur.

    We explained to her that Rollkur was a type of hyper-flexion that riders use to dominate the horse and that there was a huge debate about it and that it is a form of abuse, harmful to the horse.

    Jill asked who was complaining about this Rollkur and what the judges were doing about it.

    Mmmmh….time to think. Why did it take outsiders of dressage and the spectators of the sport to put a stop to this? Shouldn’t a judge have given the very first rider seen riding this way in a test a “0” for abuse of the horse? Shouldn’t a ring steward contact a TD if she sees this going on in the warm-up? Are the elite riders untouchable in our sport?

    Judges have the responsibility to keep our sport true and classical. Any official at a show as well as the judges have a responsibility to watch out for the management of the horse and mistreatment.

    I would love to hear from judges as to what they do when they see Rollkur and how they determine what is “behind the vertical” and what is Rollkur, but my experience at shows gathering information from rider’s tests is no “0’s” and lots of Rollkur!

    Judge Our Judges

    Judges and competitors go here to post your opinion: https://www.facebook.com/JudgeourJudges

     To Learn more about Rollkur and support stopping the trend here:

    http://no-rollkur.com/short-history-of-rollkur-and-ldr/

  • Introduction to The Digital Horse Dressage Tests

    Introduction to The Digital Horse Dressage Tests

    [vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][ig_divider][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/2"][ig_buttons buttonlabel="Purchase Downloadable Tests" target="_blank" button_style="softly-rounded-w-shadow-button" buttonsize="button-large" buttoncolor="custom" checkicon="no_icon" icon="icon-earth" animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" buttonlink="http://sites.fastspring.com/thedigitalhorse/product/dressagetests " custombuttoncolor="#1e73be"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/2"][ig_buttons buttonlabel="Become a member" target="_blank" button_style="softly-rounded-w-shadow-button" buttonsize="button-large" buttoncolor="custom" checkicon="no_icon" icon="icon-earth" animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in" buttonlink="http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/membership-account/membership-levels/" custombuttoncolor="#dd3333"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Dressage Exercise ~The Shallow Loop

    Dressage Exercise ~The Shallow Loop

    ShallowloopTwoShallowloopOneThe Shallow loop is an exercise that teaches your horse to bend in both directions while laying the groundwork for lateral exercises. Begin at the walk and start with a 10-meter shallow loop. When you start with the deeper shallow loop, you make the exercise easier.  Easier to teach your horse, and easier for you to learn.  Slowing down and taking a longer path gives you the rider more time to organize your thoughts and your aids.  It also helps you stay in the moment, allowing you to plan and, think.  Be thoughtful about where to look, how to apply your leg and hand aids, and where your shoulders and seat are over the back of your horse. This exercise includes two changes of bend. The changes in bend should happen at the quarter-lines as you are moving towards then away from the center-line before you ask your horse for a change in bend give your horse notice with a half-halt.  As you are riding, take note how your horse responds when you break the question down into manageable parts. If you or your horse are struggling practice the same loop in both directions at the walk, stay at the walk until you are confident and comfortable and master this task. Only when you have mastered the exercise at a walk,  should you try it at the trot.  When you change what you are doing you escalate the difficulty of the exercise, so don't try at speed or change the loop unless you are ready.  When you change your gait or make the loop shallower,  the changes in bend come up quickly.  So take your time and make sure you are ready. When you ride your horse through this exercise, do not push yourself, or your horse past your fitness levels do not ask for more than you can reasonably accomplish. When you slow the exercise, down and you stop before you are exhausted you are making it doable, and exercises when done properly are building a foundation for future success and solid training. When you feel like you have mastered the exercise at a walk, and you try the trot and if everything falls apart step back. Simply go back to the walk re-establish the successful connection with your horse then try the trot work again or stop for the day at the walk. Then introduce the trot work the next time you ride. It is always a good idea when you reach the point when you are getting tired start looking for a good place to end, go back to the barn and groom and hug your horse.
    [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/shallowloop.png' width='492' height='568' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false']  
  • REEM ACRA FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE 2015/2016 – Preview

    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.
  • Raising A Good Loser and Humble Winner

    Raising A Good Loser and Humble Winner

    The best things that happen at shows tend to be outside the show arena. Barret started showing in lead line classes before two years old. She has won a ribbon almost every time that she and Velvet have walked into the show pen or crossed the time line. I always figured that they were winning with the cute factor and when she went off the lead line and started showing with the big kids, that would change. I thought that she would go a long time before she won a blue again. We even had a talk about it, so that she would understand and not be shell shocked at walking out empty handed. Now Barret and Velvet have been out and shown on their own a couple of times, they have held their own. I am pleased, but I’m also a little baffled and quite concerned. Are they still pulling the cute card? Are they not competing in tough enough company? Is it healthy for her to keep winning? Will she learn the hard lessons that a good competitor and sportsman needs to learn? I don’t ever want to take away the shine of success, but I don’t want her having wins she has not earned. Losing builds character pushes us to keep improving and reminds us to be nice people. I might sound like a bad horse show mum, but I want Barret to loose, I want her to struggle, I don’t want winning to come too easy. On Saturday, Barret was disappointed when she got second place, and we had a talk about being a good sport and competing for fun. Two minutes later she was presented with Youth Champion, and we then had to have a talk about being a humble winner, about friendship, sportsmanship and horsemanship. Thankfully, horses have a habit of keeping us humble, and I am sure, in time she will learn that adage “One day you’re a rooster, The next day you’re a feather duster….”
  • Dressage Riding Exercises

    Dressage Riding Exercises

    Dressage Training Figure EightThe figure eight is ridden in the walk, trot or canter. This illustration shows the figure eight trotting but I recommend that you begin this exercise at the walk and gain an understanding of the spatial relationship of the figure within the boundaries of your arena. Start by using your eyes, pick a point one-quarter of a turn in front of where you are on the circle and look at that point and ride towards it. As you are moving forward remember this is dynamic, you are moving so your eyes stay up and forward always looking ahead to the next point. As you master the size and shape of the circle begin to develop your gait. Seek soft contact with a forward hand and energetic forward movement. With all gaits you want your horse to keep moving forward without your constant encouragement. You want your horse to stay in the gait you have requested not moving faster or slower as you work on the exercises. You can stay on the circle of one half of the figure eight until you have a nice soft forward movement from your horse. When you are ready to try the second circle in the new direction make a plan and warn your horse with a half-halt. Think about this for a minute. Until this point you have been moving forward on a single track around a circle. Now you are going to introduce something new so warn your horse. Use your half-halt somewhere well before the change of bend and direction to allow your horse to mentally prepare for something to change. You might consider using 2 half-halts, one at the C or A point that is your first wake up call then a second one about half way to X. This way if the first half-halt fails and your horse just ignores you, you have a second chance and the opportunity to continue on the same circle, seeking improved response the next time you pass the C or A point. Now you have your horse listening to the half-halt, moving forward and you are looking, start to change your bend. As you come through the corner your first goal is to get your horse straight across X. Once your horse is straight you can change your bend to the new direction. Remember it is much easier (physically and mentally) for your horse to change the bend if you let him/her have a couple of straight steps through X. Variations on this exercise include slowing it down and make sure you are properly schooling your horse. You can try using the first half-halt at A or C then the second half-halt as a downward transition. Change your bend as you are walking through X then re-establish your working trot on the new circle after you have established the new direction and change of bend. Also The Figure 8 can be done anywhere in the arena. Some variations include starting your circles at A or C. You can also try smaller circles, 15 meter or 10 meter. Always do your work quietly and comprehensively. If you get into trouble slow down and master the exercise at a slower gait. It is okay to do all your work at the walk, the speed of your horse does not matter. What matters is that you do your work well. Don't get mad or exhausted. 15 minutes of good work is worth 1000 hours of incorrect, flustered work. When you are done go back to the barn and groom or take your horse on a nice walk and remember to have fun.
      [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/figureeights.swf' width='480' height='414' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false']
  • How do you ride the correct line of a circle?

    How do you ride the correct line of a circle?

    Correct Line of a Circle
      Riding the correct line of a circle The goal of this illustration is to help you understand what it means to  get your horse straight on the circle.  Looking at the illustration or the animation guess which example it correct. The answer is Example C  You want to ride your horse off the inside line  

To ride a circle a circle like this you need to look ahead of your horse and follow the path of the circle with your eyes. Most riders use the path on the inside of the line of the circle shown in (example A) making the horse crooked. This line encourages the horse’s natural tendency to move with the forehand to the outside of the circle. It also encourages the rider to place their hands and weight to the outside resulting in the rider dragging the horses shoulders to the outside of the circle line or creating too much bend in the neck. (Example B) Is closer to the goal illustrating the horse’s spine following the path of the circle. But the most efficient way to follow the line is to keep the circle line on the inside of your horse (example C). To achieve this goal to ride with the circle line to the inside of your horse (example C) you need to use your eyes to look for the inside line at all times. Using your eyes aids in moving your hands slightly to the inside of the circle while your weight stays balanced in the middle of the your horse.
      [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/CircleLines.swf' width='696' height='231' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false']
     
  • Dressage Exercise Leg Yield with Half Circles.

    Dressage Exercise Leg Yield with Half Circles.

    [caption id="attachment_8658" align="alignright" width="303"] Example Two[/caption] Leg Yield to Center-line then Half Circle to the wall. This exercises if building on yesterdays The Leg Yield to Quarter-line with a Half Circle.  You can try this exercise  at the walk, and trot.  Start at the walk  so you can learn the exercise and teach it to your horse.  In this exercise you are asking for more lateral (sideways) movement. If you get stuck ride forward and circle and try again.  Your primary goal is to increase your lateral movement in increments. This is the first example in a series of four. Step One:  Get your horse stepping out and in front of your leg.  He should be traveling forward with a nice even pace not slowing down or speeding up, without  you nagging him along with your leg or pulling with your hands.  If he won't go forward willingly make a correction.  If he tries to slow down again ask with a soft aid to send him forward. If the soft aid does not work then make another correction repeat this until you get a nice forward horse that listens to  soft aids and does not need to be nagged to keep moving forward. When you approach the corner to start your first Leg Yield come across the short side of the arena, half halt before the turn, then ride forward straight to H. Then start pushing your horse over one step at a time into the Leg Yield.  The Leg Yield is a movement where you ask your horse to move forward and sideways at the same time. In example two you are asking for more lateral movement, the goal is to leg yield to the center-line giving yourself enough distance to get to X where you can ride forward into a half circle back to the arena wall. What happens at H is, you change your bend and start to leg yield.  Two things have happened; One your aids are opposite your new outside rein is your right hand and your new inside rein is your left hand,  the same follows with your legs. Now your horse is bent in the new direction. Next you leg yield your horse laterally.  As you begin the  leg yielding across the arena to the center-line you are bending in the new direction and moving away from your new inside leg laterally (or sideways AND forward).  When you have completed your leg yield you need to ride forward into the half circle. This circle should be easy as your horse is already bent in the new direction, when you start the circle you stop moving laterally and ride forward back to the arena track. Hands: When you are tracking to the left as you see in example two before the leg yield.  Have contact on your right hand, the outside rein, this rein is used to keep your horse straight and control your horses speed or pace. You also have contact on your left hand, the inside rein, this rein should be softer and more active to encourage your horse to flex to the inside of the arena through the corners and circles in this direction. Legs: When you are tracking  to the left as you see in example two before the leg yield.  Hold your right leg lightly on your horses side. You use this leg to create impulsion and to keep your horse straight.  If your horse is forward and straight then this leg remains neutral. Your left leg or inside leg is more active and used to encourage your horse to bend to the inside of the arena through the corners and circles in this direction. Step Two:  Once you are back on the wall revisit  in both directions and ride it as often as you need to to gain confidence. Follow all the directions above with your aids changed for the new direction. [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/legyieldtohaflcircleexampletwo.swf' width='487' height='550' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false'] For access to all our animated exercises and the USEF dressage tests for (USDF) Dressage and (USEA) Eventing become a member click here.
  • Dressage Exercise Leg Yield with Half Circles.

    Dressage Exercise Leg Yield with Half Circles.

    [caption id="attachment_8656" align="alignright" width="302"]one Example One[/caption] Leg Yield to Quarter-line then Half Circle to the wall. The Leg Yield with a Half Circle.  You can try this exercise  at the walk, and trot.  Start at the walk  so you can learn the exercise and teach it to your horse. This is the first example in a series of four. Step One:  Get your horse stepping out and in front of your leg.  He should be traveling forward with a nice even pace not slowing down or speeding up, without  you nagging him along with your leg or pulling with your hands.  If he won't go forward willingly make a correction.  If he tries to slow down again ask with a soft aid to send him forward. If the soft aid does not work then make another correction repeat this until you get a nice forward horse that listens to  soft aids and does not need to be nagged to keep moving forward. When you approach the corner to start your first Leg Yield come across the short side of the arena, half halt before the turn, then ride forward straight to M. Then start pushing your horse over one step at a time into the Leg Yield.  The Leg Yield is a movement where you ask your horse to move forward and sideways at the same time. In example one you start small, the goal is to leg yield to the first quarter line giving yourself enough distance to get to B where you can ride forward into a half circle back to the arena wall. What happens at M is, you change your bend and start to leg yield.  Two things have happened; One your aids are opposite your new outside rein is your left hand and your new inside rein is your right hand,  the same follows with your legs. Now your horse is bent in the new direction. Next you leg yield your horse laterally.  As you begin the  leg yielding across the arena to the first quarter-line you are bending in the new direction and moving away from your new inside leg laterally (or sideways AND forward).  When you have completed your leg yield you need to ride forward into the half circle. This circle should be easy as your horse is already bent in the new direction, when you start the circle you stop moving laterally and ride forward back to the arena track. Hands: When you are tracking to the right as you see in example one before the leg yield.  Have contact on your left hand, the outside rein, this rein is used to keep your horse straight and control your horses speed or pace. You also have contact on your right hand, the inside rein, this rein should be softer and more active to encourage your horse to flex to the inside of the arena through the corners and circles in this direction. Legs: When you are tracking  to the right as you see in example one before the leg yield.  Hold your left leg lightly on your horses side. You use this leg to create impulsion and to keep your horse straight.  If your horse is forward and straight then this leg remains neutral. Your right leg or inside leg is more active and used to encourage your horse to bend to the inside of the arena through the corners and circles in this direction. Step Two:  Once you are back on the wall revisit  in both directions and ride it as often as you need to to gain confidence. Follow all the directions above with your aids changed for the new direction. [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/membersonly/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/legyieldtohaflcircleexampleonefla.swf' width='478' height='550' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false'] For access to all our animated exercises and the USEF dressage tests for (USDF) Dressage and (USEA) Eventing become a member click here.  
  • Compare Training Pyramids and Charts

    Compare Training Pyramids and Charts

    Dressage Scale or Pyramid of TrainingTraining Pyramids and Charts and USDF, Western Dressage, , German Training Scale, Cowboy Dressage The United States Dressage Association Dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement and promotion of dressage, USDF is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization with more than 30 different educational programs, 125 affiliate local or regional clubs and more than 2000 annual awards for excellence in competition.

    German National Equestrian Federation I am not quite sure where I first saw the German Training Scale.  I am guessing on from the German National Equestrian Federation's Published material.  The link above is all in German and I do not speak German and had to rely on Google Translate, so I hope this is correct. ( Wer Deutsch spricht Bitte korrigieren Sie mich , wenn ich das falsch .)

    Cowboy Dressage By blending both disciplines and taking the best from both, the rider becomes more educated, patient, and understanding, allowing for the partnership between horse and rider to bloom... that partnership being the goal of all good horsemen and horsewomen. Western Dressage Association of America Our mission is to build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage. We honor the horse, We valuse the partnership between horse and rider. We celebrate the legacy of the American West.
  • Dressage Exercises: Beginning trot poles on a 20m circle.

    Dressage Exercises: Beginning trot poles on a 20m circle.

    Beginning trot poles on a 20m circle.

    20MtrotpoleIf you  have never worked through trot poles, then walk through 20 meter circle over the pole until you are confident. Set your goal to keep your horse going forward over the pole. Once you are comfortable with the single pole you have two options.
    1. Continue at the walk and add another pole (step 2)
    2. Try trotting with the single pole
    The addition of poles does not have to happen all in one day. Depending on your and your horses experience, add poles accordingly. Take as much time as you need to get four poles in place. This exercise can be done at the work trot and the canter.  At pony club camp we call it the circle of death. 🙂 HA!  it is a wonderful exercise to keep your horse focused and balanced. As you are riding try to keep your upper body tall and centered over your hips and keep your hands, and arms supple following your horse's mouth. Avoid pulling or gripping with your hands or legs. If your horse speeds up through the ground poles then make your adjustment on the circle where there are no poles, and enforce the half-halt and as you approach the poles. If your horse is running away with you and speeding through the circles back everything off and go back to the walk. When you are balanced in and in control, ride the circles in both directions changing rein through the center of the circle or turn out in a big rollback. When you are working on this exercise focus on rhythm and balance eventually your horse should step directly over the pole like it is not there. Don't allow  your horse to speed up when he sees the pole, if you need to make a small circle in the opposite direction and stay on that circle until you have regained your rhythm and pace then circle back to the pole. Give yourself and your horse frequent breathers and quit while you are ahead. You are much better off working through any exercise accurately then excessively.  
    [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/20Mtrotpoleanimated.swf' width='794' height='1189' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false']
  • What did you do with your horse this weekend?

    What did you do with your horse this weekend?

    Eric Bravo warming upIMG_0455Please share and post your own photos! I love dressage and jumping and I love to try new things with my horses.  This weekend I had a chance to ride with Natural Horsemanship Trainer Eric Bravo in the La Plata mountains in southern Colorado.  I asked Eric to help me get started back on my Irish Draught mare Cailleach Balyharra. She had been off for 2 years and I had lost my confidence riding this 17 hh mare.  Eric wanted to go ride up in the mountains and get her going forward so we loaded up Callie and my Irish Sport Horse mare Fergie and took off for the Colorado trails. Eric Bravo warming upEric started Callie on thIMG_0645e ground and then brought her back to the trailer, to catch her breath, and fool around with confidence building.  20 minutes later I found myself doing the tree pose on a 17 hh horse on the saddle horn. (yes that is me, smiling full of joy and confidence on top of Callie)  Albeit I could not hold the pose for long but I got there but with the help and encouragement of a good coach I did it! We rode all day and had a picnic in the mountains and I think that the horses enjoyed this fall break from arena work.  I encourage you to take your horse out and try new things and I think you will find your confidence will grow alongside your smile. I would love to see horsing around your photos from this weekendIMG_0671Eric Bravo warming up.
  • Luis Orterga Swimming with Horses

    Luis Orterga Swimming with Horses

    [vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][ig_special_heading heading_type="2" heading_style="default" heading_align="textalignleft" padding_bottom_heading="30" animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"]Luis Ortega Swimming with Horses[/ig_special_heading][vc_column_text animation_loading="no" animation_loading_effects="fade_in"] Luis Ortega specializes his activities to educate difficult horses, using swimming in the open sea to win the confidence and the respect of the horse. Currently he breeds sport-horses, using water technique to train high level horses. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
  • Teaching Atypical Students

    Teaching Atypical Students

    [caption id="attachment_13" align="alignleft" width="300"]The rider on the Appaloosa is an experienced rider. He is working on improving his seat and feel at the canter. He was high on the Autism Spectrum as a child. Now 22, he is an Eagle Scout, holds a part time job at another therapeutic riding program and many of the symptoms are now barely noticeable. He has been riding for a number of years and it's credited with much of his progress. He is absolutely thrilled about really learning to canter. His whole face lights up. I'm including a picture of him jumping, just because. This is from last week. His mom was thrilled. She responded she never thought she would see the day. The rider on the Appaloosa is an experienced rider. He is working on improving his seat and feel at the canter. He was high on the Autism Spectrum as a child. Now 22, he is an Eagle Scout, holds a part time job at another therapeutic riding program and many of the symptoms are now barely noticeable. He has been riding for a number of years and it's credited with much of his progress. He is absolutely thrilled about really learning to canter. His whole face lights up. I'm including a picture of him jumping, just because. This is from last week. His mom was thrilled. She responded she never thought she would see the day.[/caption] Teaching Atypical Students If you've been riding for any amount of time, you've no doubt had someone mention the need to improve your seat.  Maybe, it has been explained in abstract and nearly unintelligible  ways which leave you even more puzzled than you were before the conversation.  Maybe, it was discussed in such detail that it was nearly impossible to comprehend.  Most likely, the majority of us fell somewhere in between.  The most fortunate of us were put on a lunge line or at least had someone running along beside at some point in our riding careers. Now imagine you or a family member were on the Autism Rating Scale, had ADHD, ADD, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, a learning disability, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, PTSD, Prader Willi Syndrome, scoliosis, limb amputations, a combination there of, or any other number of challenges which result in poor core strength, poor fine and gross motor skills, difficulty with sequencing, difficulty with focus, difficulty with verbal comprehension, a true fear of all manner of stimulation or any other number of challenges.  Based on their own experience and peer reviewed studies, your physician knows therapeutic riding could be an effective part of the overall therapy plan.  These students are often referred to as atypical students. Months later, it's time for our atypical students to work on the trot.  (There may be just a leader; a leader and a side walker; or, a leader with two side walkers.)  Depending on your discipline, you, a typical student, may have started with the posting/rising trot or the sitting trot.  For my purposes here, I'm going to assume it was the posting/rising trot.
    I’ve worked with typical students who had difficulty getting the hang of the posting/rising trot.  Now, imagine you had some of the challenges listed above.  As therapeutic riding instructors, we are responsible for teaching our students how to ride by maximizing and developing their capabilities.  This is not unlike the responsibility of instructors of typical students.  We are not actual therapists.  Our students make tremendous progress toward improving their core strength, fine and gross motor skills, balance, speech, coordination, confidence, sequencing and all other sorts of benefits.  I think most of us, even as typical students, have experienced these same benefits. As a result of their physical, emotional and/or mental challenges, most of our students find the rising/posting trot to be exceptionally difficult. At the same time, their riding can’t progress if they can’t trot and without developing that ever elusive seat.  So, we actually tend to start with the sitting trot.  All of our saddles are fitted with grab straps.  We teach our students to grasp and pull up on the grab strap to help hold them in the saddle and to begin to develop the feel of the horse at the trot. In a completely unexpected way, many of our atypical students develop a feel and seat for the sitting trot more quickly than the average typical student.  It isn’t because we are so good.  We aren’t special.  We’re just average instructors who have to regularly develop creative methods to help our atypical students to progress their skills as riders.  That means they will make leaps and bounds past the typical student in some facets of riding.  In the end, we will have to go back and fill in the holes created by skipping the rising/posting trot.  Filling in holes is a whole other discussion for another time.
    [caption id="attachment_12" align="alignright" width="660"]The child on the paint has been riding since he was three. He started coming here about a year and a half ago. Unlike many programs, our riders assist with grooming their horse. The confidence he learned from grooming a horse for the first time turned into him dressing himself the next day. He is having a ball with learning to trot. The child on the paint has been riding since he was three. He started coming here about a year and a half ago. Unlike many programs, our riders assist with grooming their horse. The confidence he learned from grooming a horse for the first time turned into him dressing himself the next day. He is having a ball with learning to trot.[/caption] The point is to progress our riding, all of us have to learn how to trot at some point.  Whether we are a typical or an atypical student, it is up to our instructor to develop a long-term lesson plan to teach us all facets of riding the trot we are physically able to perform.  Hopefully, this will be done in such a way as to develop the student’s seat.  At our program, we put a high emphasis on developing the seat.  Most of our students struggle with core strength, gross and fine motor strength.  Developing their seat is an important tool we use to improve all of these areas. No matter what kind of student you are, make sure you have an instructor who is teaching you how to develop and use a good seat.  The sitting trot is just one example of its value toward improving our abilities as riders.  The intangibles are listed above. The bottom line is all of us, whether we are a typical or an atypical student, need to develop a good seat.  It’s value is priceless.
    heatherburdette3   Heather Burdette Clinician - Competitive Experience - Instructor - Trainer To learn more about Heather and her program please visit her profile page.
  • Hero Alert

    Hero Alert

    SunnyHero Alert Teen-aged girl saves an abused starved horse and walks it 9 miles home Kelsey Allage was up early driving to a swap meet when she and her mom when off their regular route.  In the early morning light they found a young horse standing on the side of the road starving and abused.  They committed to saving this little mare and drove back to pick her up in a trailer but she refused to get in and fell sideways into a ditch. This did not deter Kelsey she helped the mare to her feet and walked her 9 miles home.  Sunny2
  • Leg Yield and Turn On The Forehand

    Leg Yield and Turn On The Forehand

    LegYieldTurnontheForehand2This exercise combines the leg yield and the turn on the forehand. When you work on exercises at the walk, everything is slowed down so you can focus on your body and how effective your aids are. You also give your horse time to learn the exercise. The most common problem in riders is when they give up or change their aids when they don’t get the expected result immediately. Remember it takes time to figure out your body and, for your horse to figure out his. You need to stick with the correct aids and trust that, with some patience and practice, you will get the result you are expecting. To begin this exercise ride an active walk. Use your corners practice your half-halts to re-balance your horse and to regain his attention. Once your horse is moving forward and listening try your first leg yield. Encourage your horse to move forward and sideways away from your leg. If you get stuck, ride your horse forward in a straight line. Then work on your corner and try the exercise again. Stay with the leg yield until you are successful then add the turn on the forehand. If you decide to try the turn on the forehand, make a plan. Start with your leg yield then walk a few steps forward into an active straight halt. Once your horse halts, move your inside leg slightly behind the girth and apply pressure gently asking for a step by step movement away from your leg. Remember if your horse ignores your leg you can give him a sharper aid but you must always return to the soft aid. Keep your inside rein active (gently squeezing your fingers) to help your horse stay slightly flexed to the inside. Hold your outside rein steady to control the degree of bend in his neck and to prevent stepping forward. Your goal is to have your horse’s hind legs move in a circle around his fore-legs. Remember If you get stuck, ride forward and try again.    
    [topswf swf='http://www.thedigitalhorse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Turnontheforehand.swf' width='301' height='550' quality='best' wmode='transparent' scale='default' flashvars='' allowfullscreen='false']
  • Vilmos Lázár takes individual title and leads Hungary to team gold

    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
  • Carl Hester talks about his GPS Test

    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.
  • Classic V’s Natural Horsemanship – My Rethink

    Classic V’s Natural Horsemanship – My Rethink

    [caption id="attachment_172" align="alignleft" width="225"]Natural Horsemanship, we have been going aboout it all wrong! Natural Horsemanship, we have been going aboout it all wrong![/caption]   Those of you that know me, know that I typically follow a fairly classic approach to horsemanship and horse husbandry. That being said, I am very open minded and believe a good horseman is a good horseman, regardless of their chosen discipline. I appreciate a good horse whether it is a Eventer, a Reiner, a vaulting horse, a mounted shooting horse or a trail riding mount. A well trained mount is a delight to watch. Having a 4 year old involved with horses has really made me look at things in a different way. Today, she made me really wonder at the beauty and simplicity of natural horsemanship. Maybe we have all been missing the mark........
  • The Queen crowns Michael Jung and Germany as European Champions

    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. [caption id="attachment_9519" align="alignleft" width="1100"]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[/caption] 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  
  • Germany is singing in the rain after Cross Country

    Germany is singing in the rain after Cross Country

    FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE

    Lausanne (SUI), 12 September 2015

    Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Germany is singing in the rain after Cross Country   

    By Kate Green

     

    The German team is ruling supreme with a massive nine-fence lead over Great Britain following Cross Country day at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle (GBR) where relentless rain made conditions testing but also produced some brilliant, brave riding.

     

    Michael Jung (GER)The standout performance was that of defending individual champion Michael Jung (GER), who flew around inside the optimum time with consummate ease on the eight-year-old Fischer Takinou, the youngest horse in the field, and now has two fences in hand to win a third consecutive European title. Jung is accustomed to success, but he was visibly overwhelmed at the talent and courage of his newest star, and had just one word at the finish, “perfect!” Afterwards he added, “I knew fischerTakinou was a very fast horse and easy to handle at fences, but he ran like a steeplechaser. It was a brilliant feeling.”

     His team mate Sandra Auffarth, the Dressage leader, is now in individual silver medal position after clocking up 11.2 time penalties on Opgun Louvo. She was held on course in the chilly rain while a fence was repaired, but she has such a trusting partnership with her 13-year-old chestnut gelding that they could pick up the threads of their smooth round seamlessly.

     Ingrid Klimke (GER) is sixth on Horseware Hale Bob with 8.8 time penalties, while team pathfinder Dirk Schrade (GER) is lying eighth with 5.2 penalties on Hop And Skip.

     Britain, the host nation, has five riders in the top 10, but unfortunately only two of them are team members: team rookie Kitty King, lying fifth on Persimmon, and former dual European champion Pippa Funnell, who is in 10th place on the youngster Sandman 7.

     “I’m so relieved because I was feeling the pressure this morning,” said King. “Persimmon was feisty and I had to work to make him listen to me, but he was always looking for the flags and was so genuine. It was a good fun track to ride and it’s great to feel that I haven’t let anyone down.”

    Funnell was emotional after her round: “I’ve never been so nervous at a championship. I didn’t want toIzzy Taylor (GBR) such a lovely young horse but at the same time I knew I couldn’t go round quietly because I was riding for the team. The horse was classy; I’d love to think I could take him to the Rio Olympics.”

     Nicola Wilson, who has produced numerous clear rounds for the British team over the years, had a shock runout with One Two Many at the double of corners sited in the arena (fence 16) and anchorman William Fox-Pitt unexpectedly retired Bay My Hero. The 12-year-old gelding was clearly not enjoying the wet ground and ran out, for the first time in his career, at the brush arrowhead at fence 17.

     The stylish Izzy Taylor, competing as an individual for Britain, was one of only three riders to achieve the optimum time of 10 minutes 13 seconds and is now in individual bronze position on the good mare KBIS Briarlands Matilda. Gemma Tattersall (GBR) was the first to beat the clock with a dazzling round on Arctic Soul and is now seventh, two places ahead of Laura Collett on Grand Manoeuvre.

     

    Dressage runner-up Holly Woodhead (GBR) saw her medal chances evaporate when DHI Lupison ran out at the fourth fence, and Francis Whittington (GBR), seventh, retired Easy Target.

     The French team’s quest for Olympic qualification is a step closer after three clear rounds and they are now in bronze position with Thibaut Vallette close to an individual medal in fourth place on Qing du Briot ENE HN.

    The pressure was on when their second rider, Karim Florent Laghouag, fell with Entebbe de Hus at the influential downhill combination, the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties (fences 21-22), where the middle element – the Haggis – was later removed due to the wet ground.

     Team anchorman Thomas Carlile (FRA), currently 24th on Sirocco du Gers, said: “We really had to finish for the sake of our Olympic qualification. It was not for me to play an individual role, the team was the priority, and my horse has played a huge part in this, he was very generous.”

    Sandra Auffarth (GER) The Netherlands, who also lost their second rider, Alice Naber-Lozeman (ACSI Peter Parker), with a fall at fence 20, are in fourth place. Sweden is fifth but will need their three remaining riders to pass the horse inspection to gain their Olympic qualification, as their pathfinders Johan Lundin and Johnny Cash fell at fence 18.

    The Spanish team is sixth after a highly creditable Cross Country performance, and are the only nation other than Germany to have four clear rounds.

     The Irish team had unbelievably bad luck, with falls for Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello) at fence 22, the Tatties; Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe) at the corner at 16; and Austin O’Connor in the water at 19. Only Michael Ryan (Ballylynch Adventure) managed to get home clear and is now in 14th.

     There were 35 clear rounds and 45 completions. Irish individual Sam Watson, currently 13th on Horseware Lukeswell, summed up a memorable day of competition: “I love it when the weather is like this because the good riders come to the fore,” he said. “You just have to deal with whatever comes out of the heavens!”

    Audio links

    Michael Jung (GER)

    Chris Bartle (GBR), German Team Trainer, on Michael Jung and Team Germany, English:

    Sandra Auffarth (GER)

    Izzy Taylor (GBR)

     Kitty King (GBR)

    Pippa Funnell (GBR)

    Thomas Carlile (FRA)

    Individual Results after Cross Country

    1 Michael Jung/fischerTakinou (GER)* 33.5 + 0 = 33.5

    2 Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER)* 31.4 + 11.2 = 42.6

    3 Izzy Taylor/KBIS Briarlands Matilda (GBR) 44.0 + 0 = 44.0

    4 Thibaut Vallette/Qing du Briot ENE HN (FRA)* 36.8 + 8.4 = 45.2

    5 Kitty King/Persimmon (GBR)* 36.9 + 8.4 = 45.3

    6 Ingrid Klimke/Horseware Hale Bob (GER)* 37.8 + 8.8 = 46.6

    7 Gemma Tattersall/Arctic Soul (GBR) 47.3 + 0 = 47.3

    8 Dirk Schrade/Hop And Skip (GER)* 43.1 + 5.2 = 48.3

    9 Laura Collett/Grand Manoeuvre (GBR) 37.8 + 10.8 = 48.6

    10 Pippa Funnell/Sandman 7 (GBR)* 41.0 + 9.6 = 50.6

    *denotes team rider

     Team Results after Cross Country

    1 Germany 122.7;

    2 Great Britain 169.3;

    3 France 179.7;

    4 Netherlands 209.3;

    5 Sweden 247.8;

    6 Spain 253.8

  • Germany takes control after Dressage at Blair Castle

    Germany takes control after Dressage at Blair Castle

    FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 10 September 2015 Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Germany takes control after Dressage By Kate Green Germany is on track to win a fifth successive team gold medal after their third and fourth team riders, world champion Sandra Auffarth and Ingrid Klimke, rode superb Dressage tests at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle (GBR) today. Sandra Auffarth (GER)However, their team manager Hans Melzer is taking nothing for granted. “These riders are professionals and pressure is a good thing,” he said. “We have learned a lot from Fontainebleau [the 2009 FEI European Championship] when, having just won the Olympics in Hong Kong, we had a team disaster. So we will be concentrating hard and watching other teams, and also the weather, in case we need to change our plans about certain fences. But our horses are all well and we’re excited.” World champion Sandra Auffarth, now in the lead on Opgun Louvo with 31.4 penalties, just 0.3 ahead of British individual Holly Woodhead, added: “Tomorrow is another day and I am focussed on that now, but I must admit that I am hopeful of doing well. I think this course will suit my horse.” Ingrid Klimke (GER)Klimke is currently in eighth place individually on Horseware Hale Bob with a score of 37.8. “I was a bit worried because the wind was blowing and ‘Bobby’ might be thinking he was going across country, but he did a wonderful job and was supple and obedient,” Klimke said of her Badminton runner-up. “He has a rather ‘thoroughbred’ canter, which isn’t so great for Dressage, but he was very ‘through’ in his transitions and let me show how responsive he is to my aids. The Cross Country will be perfect for him because he is well balanced and full of energy. Our trainer Chris Bartle always reminds us that it’s not a Dressage competition!” Great Britain, whose last European team gold medal was in Fontainebleau (FRA), are currently in second place, 10 penalties behind Germany. Unusually, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) is the team discard score after a Dressage test that will have left the world number two slightly disappointed. He scored 43.0 on Bay My Hero, but any hopes of breaking the 40-penalty barrier were dashed with average marks for trot work and paces. Instead, it was former dual European champion Pippa Funnell (GBR) who produced the counting score, 41.0, on the inexperienced nine-year-old Sandman 7. “I think the horse was a little nervous with all the people and the atmosphere and I know he could have done better but, for this stage of his career, I am very pleased with him,” she said of the gelding by Sandro Boy that she bought from Germany as a six-year-old. Niklas Lindback (SWE)“It’s a huge honour to be in the team. I was a little surprised, but I’m thrilled to be with William [Fox-Pitt] and Nicola [Wilson] again, and Kitty [King] has been going so well. What is exciting is the strength and depth we’ve got. Every one of the 12 British riders here could get a medal.” The cost of one Cross Country mistake covers the top four teams after Dressage. France and Sweden, the bronze and silver team medallists in Malmö (SWE), are now in third and fourth positions and looking good in their quest to secure qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio next year. Niklas Lindbäck (SWE), a team silver medallist in 2013, is best of the Swedish team in 10th place with a score of 38.1 on the 12-year-old bay mare Cendrillon. “I tried to do my best to help the team,” he said. “My horse did some amazing trot work but was a little bit tense in the canter. We struggled to keep it together but she was doing her best for me. “We still have a long way to go as a team but if we do our usual Cross Country performance we should get there [to Rio]. However, we’re not thinking about that too much; we’re competing for medals!”
  • Youngsters to the fore as Holly Woodhead takes Dressage lead

    Youngsters to the fore as Holly Woodhead takes Dressage lead

    FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 10 September 2015 Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Youngsters to the fore as Holly Woodhead takes Dressage lead By Kate Green Holly Woodhead (GBR) and DHI Lupison perform an outstanding test to take the lead with 31.7 penalties after the first day of Dressage at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in ScotlandYouth proved no barrier at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle (GBR) when 21-year-old Holly Woodhead (GBR) and DHI Lupison took the lead after the first day of Dressage with the outstanding score of 31.7 penalties. And Michael Jung (GER), the defending champion, produced a masterful display on the youngest horse in the field, the eight-year-old Fischer Takinou, and is in second place on 33.5. The first two British team riders, Kitty King, who is lying fifth on Persimmon, and Nicola Wilson, in third place on One Two Many, both scored under 40 and have put the host nation in the lead at this early stage of the competition. Woodhead, an individual silver medallist at the 2014 Young Rider European Championship, has only ridden at three-star level a handful of times, but a win in the national under-25 championships and her ability to score highly in the Dressage arena prompted the selectors to give her valuable experience at senior level. “My team mates told me to try to stay focused and to enjoy myself,” said Woodhead, who produced a beautifully soft test on the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Lupicor. Jung explained that he had chosen to ride Fisher Takinou instead of his 2013 champion Halunke because he felt the chestnut Anglo-Arab, which he spotted as a six-year-old at Le Lion d’Angers (FRA), would cope better with the hills. “He is a wonderful horse,” said Jung. “He listens to you and is very relaxed.” If Jung were to win gold again this weekend, he would equal British rider Ginny Elliot’s record, set in the 1980s, of three successive European titles on three different horses. Nicola Wilson said the mood in the British camp was one of elation as two more individual riders, Laura Collett (Grand Manoeuvre), and Sarah Bullimore (Lilly Corinne), a late substitute for Dani Evans, have both scored personal bests and are in sixth and seventh places. France have had an excellent day as well because their first rider, Thibaut Vallette, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the French army, scored 36.8 to lie fourth on Qing du Briot ENE HN, and Karim Florent Laghouag (Entebbe de Hus) is in eighth place on 38.7 to put the team into second place at this stage with Olympic qualification as the main goal. “My horse has super paces but he can be a bit shy in the arena, so I was pleased that he felt able to show off here,” said 41-year-old Vallette, who is competing at his first championships. “I’m very proud to be on the team. I don’t mind going first, as I like to concentrate on myself at a competition rather than be distracted by watching other people.” Dirk Schrade (GER) and the 16-year-old Hop And Skip, holders of European and world team gold medals, did their usual reliable job for the German team, which is in third place, and scored 43.1 to lie 11th individually. As Schrade explained, their real job is on Saturday morning when the aim will be to give the team a confidence-boosting start on the Cross Country. “Dressage is not our best phase, but now we can both enjoy ourselves!” he said. Sweden is currently in fourth place, ahead of Ireland, whose first rider, Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello) was quickly re-routed from Burghley after Aoife Clark’s horse Vaguely North had to be withdrawn. “It’s been a rollercoaster week, but team spirits are great,” said Murphy. Irish team rookie Padraig McCarthy has made a great start to his first championship and is in 15th place on a score of 46.6 with Simon Porloe, the horse formerly ridden on the British team by his fiancée Lucy Wiegersma in 2013. Michael Jung (GER)“I’m pinching myself, it’s like a dream,” admitted McCarthy, who only started Eventing at novice level last year. He originally competed in Jumping, but gave up riding in 2003 to concentrate on his career in economics until meeting Wiegersma in 2011. “It’s been quite a steep learning curve and Nick Turner [team manager] has taken quite a gamble giving me a shot,” said McCarthy, “but we have had some consistent form Cross Country and in the FEI Nations Cup™ this year.” The competition is building up excitingly, and there is great expectation for the teams’ third and fourth riders who perform their Dressage tests tomorrow. The first rider, British individual Izzy Taylor, is in the arena at 10.20 and the first team rider, the Netherlands’ Merel Blom, rides her test at 11.08. Follow all the action with live results on www.blair2015.com and coverage on FEI TV www.feitv.org. Individual Results after first day of Dressage 1 Holly Woodhead/DHI Lupison (GBR) 31.7 penalties 2 Michael Jung/fischerTakinou (GER)* 33.5 3 Nicola Wilson/One Two Many (GBR)* 34.6 4 Thibaut Vallette/Qing du Briot ENE HN (FRA)* 36.8 5 Kitty King/Persimmon (GBR)* 36.9 6 Laura Collett/Grand Manoeuvre (GBR) 37.8 7 Sarah Bullimore/Lilly Corinne (GBR) 38.2 8 Karim Florent Laghouag/Entebbe de Hus (FRA)* 38.7 9 Anna Nilsson/Luron (SWE)* 39.7 10 Patrizia Attinger/Raumalpha (SUI)* 42.4 *denotes team rider Team Results after two riders 1 Great Britain, 71.5; 2 France 75.5; 3 Germany 76.6; 4 Sweden 91.4; 5 Ireland 96.6; 6 Italy 99.0; 7 Switzerland 100.4; 8 Netherlands 104.7; 9 Russia 107.3; 10 Spain 115.8 (NB: only one Belgian rider completed Dressage today)
  • Final countdown begins with 66 through first horse inspection

    Final countdown begins with 66 through first horse inspection

    FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 9 September 2015 Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Final countdown begins with 66 through first horse inspection By Kate Green There were plenty of lively horses at the first horse inspection for the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle (GBR) as riders have clearly taken seriously the advice that they should get their horses fit for this spectacular venue in the Scottish Highlands. The Ground Jury of President Sue Baxter (GBR), Andrew Bennie (NZL) and Sándor Fulop (HUN), all smartly clad in Scottish tartan, passed all the horses except one, Igor Atrokhov’s Russian team horse Indigo Pyreneen. A total of 66 combinations will go forward to the Dressage phase which starts at 10.00 tomorrow with a Guinea Pig test by Scottish rider Olivia Wilmot on Zebedee de Foja. The Netherlands, reigning world bronze medallists, have been drawn first to go of the 11 teams: Theo van de Vendel riding Zindane will be first into the Dressage arena at 10.20. Ireland, fielding Joseph Murphy (Sportsfield Othello) as pathfinder, is second, followed by Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, reigning champions Germany, Russia, France, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. William Fox-Pitt (GBR), again the anchorman for the British team, had to hang on tight to Bay My Hero as the Irish Sport Horse showed his wellbeing by prancing and bucking down the trot-up strip. Fox-Pitt, 46, is competing in his 10th European Championship. His tally of 10 medals, which includes six team golds, equals the record set by Lucinda Green (GBR), a back-to-back champion in 1975 and 1977. Tomorrow will be a big day for Kitty King (GBR); riding Persimmon, she will make her team debut in the pathfinding slot for the British team, who are anxious to uphold honour on home ground. Nicola Wilson (One Two Many) and former dual European champion Pippa Funnell (Sandman 7) take the second and third team slots. The hugely experienced combination of Dirk Schrade (GER) and Hop And Skip will go first for Germany, followed by Michael Jung on the eight-year-old Anglo Arab FischerTakinou, world champions Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo and, finally, Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob. It is a first visit to Blair Castle for Jung, who comes fresh from his brilliant Burghley CCI4* win on Sunday. “This is a wonderful place and a beautiful course,” said the defending champion, who will be performing his Dressage test tomorrow afternoon. “When you look down [on the showground] from the top of the hill, it all looks so small! My horse is feeling very happy and relaxed and I’m looking forward to starting.”
  • Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Fifteen nations head for the Highlands

    Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Fifteen nations head for the Highlands

    FEI European Championships Bliar CastleFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 7 September 2015 Longines FEI European Eventing Championships: Fifteen nations head for the Highlands By Kate Green Riders from 15 nations - 11 with full teams – are making their way north to the first ever Longines FEI European Eventing Championships to be held in Scotland, at the fairytale venue of Blair Castle (GBR), historic seat of the Dukes of Atholl. There they are assured of a traditional Scottish welcome at the beautiful white castle in the Highlands and a big, bold Cross Country course designed by the 1991 European champion, Ian Stark (GBR). The scene is set for a thrilling competition. The German team, who have now arrived with their team trainer Christopher Bartle at his Yorkshire base, are clear favourites. They may not have won a European team title in Britain since 1959, but they have captured every team title going since 2011 and are the defending champions. “We are going with a lot of confidence,” said Ingrid Klimke (GER), a team gold medallist and individual silver medallist at Malmö (SWE) in 2013. “Everyone says that it’s beautiful there – and very hilly! We have all been very careful to get our horses as fit as possible.” Klimke, who will ride her Badminton runner-up Horseware Hale Bob, continued: “It is quite something that we have come so far as a team [reigning Olympic and World champions], but it is also even harder to stay there! You only have to look at some of the surprising results at Burghley to see that anything can happen.” Her team mates will include Michael Jung, the defending European and also reigning Olympic champion, who comes fresh from his Burghley win and will be riding FischerTakinou at Blair, and the world champions Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo. Great Britain have not been beaten on home soil in a Europeans since 1962, and they will not be giving up without a fight. As host nation, they can run 12 riders, which gives chances to field both very experienced riders and those having their first taste of a senior championship. This will be a 19th senior championship for William Fox-Pitt, who already has six European team golds to his name, plus three individual medals. He is likely to be team anchor, on his 2014 Kentucky (USA) winner Bay My Hero, and will be backed up by Nicola Wilson, who is well known for her brilliant pathfinding on Opposition Buzz. She will be riding the classy One Two Many at Blair. Pippa Funnell (GBR), back-to-back European champion in 1999-2001, also has great team experience and is sure to be at her most competitive on her exciting young horse Sandman 7, winner of the Chatsworth CIC3* and seventh at Bramham CCI3* (GBR) this year. In addition to the medals contest, a number of nations will be seeking qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio next year. Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, the gold, silver and bronze team medallists at last year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA), are already qualified, as are Ireland. However, France, who have yet to win a European team title, and Sweden, silver medallists in 2013, are among the countries that will be bidding for the two remaining places on the Rio 2016 start list still available to the European countries. The 11 nations fielding full teams are Belgium, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland, with Austria, Denmark, Finland and Poland sending individuals. Blair Castle has played host to international horse trials since 1989, including Junior and Young Rider European Championships, but relatively few European Championship contenders will have ridden there before. They need to have prepared themselves for steep hills, and fences shaped like Scottish features such as haggises, bothies, stags’ antlers and lochans. “I have tried to create a Cross Country course that reflects the heritage of Scotland and provides a true test of horsemanship,” said Course Designer Ian Stark, for whom it is a first championship track. “I have used the hills as sympathetically as possible. Riders who attack the course but who ride intelligently and conserve their horses’ energy for the later combinations should enjoy a thrilling ride.”
  • The Carthusian Horse, Horse of Kings

    The Carthusian Horse, Horse of Kings

    Andalusian horse

    The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (Pura Raza Española), is a horse breed from the Iberian Peninsula, where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years. The Andalusian has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a war horse, and was prized by the nobility. The breed was used as a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government, and kings across Europe rode and owned Spanish horses. During the 19th century, warfare, disease and crossbreeding reduced herd numbers dramatically, and despite some recovery in the late 19th century, the trend continued into the early 20th century. Exports of Andalusians from Spain were restricted until the 1960s, but the breed has since spread throughout the world, despite their low population. In 2010, there were more than 185,000 registered Andalusians worldwide. Strongly built, and compact yet elegant, Andalusians have long, thick manes and tails. Their most common coat color is gray, although they can be found in many other colors. They are known for their intelligence, sensitivity and docility. A sub-strain within the breed known as the Carthusian, is considered by breeders to be the purest strain of Andalusian, though there is no genetic evidence for this claim. The strain is still considered separate from the main breed however, and is preferred by breeders because buyers pay more for horses of Carthusian bloodlines. There are several competing registries keeping records of horses designated as Andalusian or PRE, but they differ on their definition of the Andalusian and PRE, the purity of various strains of the breed, and the legalities of stud book ownership. At least one lawsuit is in progress as of 2011, to determine the ownership of the Spanish PRE stud book. The Andalusian is closely related to the Lusitano of Portugal, and has been used to develop many other breeds, especially in Europe and the Americas. Breeds with Andalusian ancestry include many of the warmbloods in Europe as well as western hemisphere breeds such as the Azteca. Over its centuries of development, the Andalusian breed has been selected for athleticism and stamina. The horses were originally used for classical dressage, driving, bullfighting, and as stock horses. Modern Andalusians are used for many equestrian activities, including dressage, show jumping and driving. The breed is also used extensively in movies, especially historical pictures and fantasy epics.

    Characteristics

    A "cobra" of Andalusians, that is, a group of mares shown by a single handler
    Andalusians stallions and geldings average 15.1 12 hands (61.5 inches, 156 cm) at the withers and 512 kilograms (1,129 lb) in weight; mares average 15 12 hands (60.5 inches, 154 cm) and 412 kilograms (908 lb).[1] The Spanish government has set the minimum height for registration in Spain at 15.0 hands (60 inches, 152 cm) for males and 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm) for mares - this standard is followed by the Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Caballo de Pura Raza Española or ANCCE) and the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia. The Spanish legislation also requires that in order for animals to be approved as either "qualified" or "élite" breeding stock, stallions must stand at least 15.1 hands (61 inches, 155 cm) and mares at least 15 14 hands (60.25 inches, 153 cm).[2][3] Andalusian horses are elegant and strongly built. Members of the breed have heads of medium length, with a straight or slightly convex profile.[4] Ultra convex and concave profiles are discouraged in the breed, and are penalized in breed shows.[5] Necks are long and broad, running to well-defined withers and a massive chest. They have a short back and broad, strong hindquarters with a well-rounded croup. The breed tends to have clean legs, with no propensity for blemishes or injuries, and energetic gaits. The mane and tail are thick and long, but the legs do not have excess feathering. Andalusians tend to be docile, while remaining intelligent and sensitive. When treated with respect they are quick to learn, responsive, and cooperative.[4][6] There are two additional characteristics unique to the Carthusian strain, believed to trace back to the strain's foundation stallion Esclavo. The first is warts under the tail, a trait which Esclavo passed to his offspring, and a trait which some breeders felt was necessary to prove that a horse was a member of the Esclavo bloodline. The second characteristic is the occasional presence of "horns", which are frontal bosses, possibly inherited from Asian ancestors. The physical descriptions of the bosses vary, ranging from calcium-like deposits at the temple to small horn-like protuberances near or behind the ear. However, these "horns" are not considered proof of Esclavo descent, unlike the tail warts.[7] In the past, most coat colors were found, including spotted patterns.[4] Today most Andalusians are gray or bay; in the US, around 80 percent of all Andalusians are gray. Of the remaining horses, approximately 15 percent are bay and 5 percent are black, dun or palomino or chestnut.[8] Other colors, such as buckskin, pearl, and cremello, are rare, but are recognized as allowed colors by registries for the breed.[9][10] In the early history of the breed, certain white markings and whorls were considered to be indicators of character and good or bad luck.[11] Horses with white socks on their feet were considered to have good or bad luck, depending on the leg or legs marked. A horse with no white markings at all was considered to be ill-tempered and vice-ridden, while certain facial markings were considered representative of honesty, loyalty and endurance.[12] Similarly, hair whorls in various places were considered to show good or bad luck, with the most unlucky being in places where the horse could not see them – for example the temples, cheek, shoulder or heart. Two whorls near the root of the tail were considered a sign of courage and good luck.[13] The movement of Andalusian horses is extended, elevated, cadenced and harmonious, with a balance of roundness and forward movement. Poor elevation, irregular tempo, and excessive winging (sideways movement of the legs from the knee down) are discouraged by breed registry standards. Andalusians are known for their agility and their ability to learn difficult moves quickly, such as advanced collection and turns on the haunches.[5] A 2001 study compared the kinematic characteristics of Andalusian, Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses while moving at the trot. Andalusians were found to overtrack less (the degree to which the hind foot lands ahead of the front hoof print) but also exhibit greater flexing of both fore and hind joints, movement consistent with the more elevated way of going typically found in this breed. The authors of the study theorized that these characteristics of the breed's trot may contribute to their success as a riding and dressage horse.[14] A 2008 study found that Andalusians experience ischaemic (reduced blood flow) diseases of the small intestine at a rate significantly higher than other breeds; and stallions had higher numbers of inguinal hernias, with risk for occurrence 30 times greater than other breeds. At the same time, they also showed a lower incidence of large intestinal obstruction. In the course of the study, Andalusians also showed the highest risk of laminitis as a medical complication related to the intestinal issues.[15]

    History

    Early development

    ... the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be. He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.
    —William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, 1667[4]
    The Andalusian horse is descended from the Iberian horses of Spain and Portugal, and derives its name from its place of origin, the Spanish region of Andalusia.[16] Cave paintings show that horses have been present on the Iberian Peninsula as far back as 20,000 to 30,000 BCE. Although Portuguese historian Ruy d'Andrade hypothesized that the ancient Sorraia breed was an ancestor of the Southern Iberian breeds, including the Andalusian,[17] genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA show that the Sorraia is part of a genetic cluster that is largely separated from most Iberian breeds.[18][19][20][21] Throughout history, the Iberian breeds have been influenced by many different peoples and cultures who occupied Spain, including the Celts, the Carthaginians, the Romans, various Germanic tribes and the Moors. The Iberian horse was identified as a talented war horse as early as 450 BCE.[4] Mitochondrial DNA studies of the modern Andalusian horse of the Iberian peninsula and Barb horse of North Africa present convincing evidence that both breeds crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and were used for breeding with each other, influencing one another's bloodlines.[18] Thus, the Andalusian may have been the first European "warmblood", a mixture of heavy European and lighter Oriental horses.[22] Some of the earliest written pedigrees in recorded European history were kept by Carthusian monks,[23] beginning in the 13th century. Because they could read and write, and were thus able to maintain careful records, monastics were given the responsibility for horse breeding by certain members of the nobility, particularly in Spain.[24] Andalusian stud farms for breeding were formed in the late 15th century in Carthusian monasteries in Jerez, Seville and Cazalla.[6] The Carthusians bred powerful, weight-bearing horses in Andalusia for the Crown of Castile, using the finest Spanish Jennets as foundation bloodstock.[25] These horses were a blend of Jennet and warmblood breeding, taller and more powerfully built than the original Jennet.[26] By the 15th century, the Andalusian had become a distinct breed, and was being used to influence the development of other breeds. They were also noted for their use as cavalry horses.[4] Even though in the 16th and 17th centuries Spanish horses had not reached the final form of the modern Andalusian,[26] by 1667 William Cavendish, the Duke of Newcastle, called the Spanish horse of Andalusia the "princes" of the horse world, and reported that they were "unnervingly intelligent".[27] The Iberian horse became known as the "royal horse of Europe" and was seen at many royal courts and riding academies, including those in Austria, Italy, France and Germany.[4] By the 16th century, during the reigns of Charles V (1500–1558) and Phillip II (1556–1581), Spanish horses were considered the finest in the world.[28] Even in Spain, quality horses were owned mainly by the wealthy.[22] During the 16th century, inflation and an increased demand for harness and cavalry horses drove the price of horses extremely high. The always expensive Andalusian became even more so, and it was often impossible to find a member of the breed to purchase at any price.[29]

    Dissemination

    A 1743 engraving of a "Spanish horse"

    Spanish horses also were spread widely as a tool of diplomacy by the government of Spain, which granted both horses and export rights to favored citizens and to other royalty.[30] As early as the 15th century, the Spanish horse was widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean, and was known in northern European countries, despite being less common and more expensive there.[22] As time went on, kings from across Europe, including every French monarch from Francis I to Louis XVI, had equestrian portraits created showing themselves riding Spanish-type horses.[30] The kings of France, including Louis XIII and Louis XIV, especially preferred the Spanish horse; the head groom to Henri IV, Salomon de la Broue, said in 1600, "Comparing the best horses, I give the Spanish horse first place for its perfection, because it is the most beautiful, noble, graceful and courageous".[31] War horses from Spain and Portugal began to be introduced to England in the 12th century, and importation continued through the 15th century. In the 16th century, Henry VIII received gifts of Spanish horses from Charles V, Ferdinand II of Aragon and the Duke of Savoy and others when he wed Katherine of Aragon. He also purchased additional war and riding horses through agents in Spain.[32] By 1576, Spanish horses made up one third of British royal studs at Malmesbury and Tutbury.[33] The Spanish horse peaked in popularity in Great Britain during the 17th century, when horses were freely imported from Spain and exchanged as gifts between royal families. With the introduction of the Thoroughbred, interest in the Spanish horse faded after the mid-18th century, although they remained popular through the early 19th century.[34] The Conquistadors of the 16th century rode Spanish horses, particularly animals from Andalusia, and the modern Andalusian descended from similar bloodstock.[16] By 1500, Spanish horses were established in studs on Santo Domingo, and Spanish horses made their way into the ancestry of many breeds founded in North and South America. Many Spanish explorers from the 16th century on brought Spanish horses with them for use as war horses and later as breeding stock.[35] By 1642, the Spanish horse had spread to Moldovia, to the stables of Transylvanian prince George Rakoczi.[36]

    19th century to present

    An Andalusian performing dressage at the 2007 World Cup Finals
    Despite their ancient history, all living Andalusians trace to a small number of horses bred by religious orders in the 18th and 19th centuries. An influx of heavy horse blood beginning in the 16th century, resulted in the dilution of many of the bloodlines; only those protected by selective breeding remained intact to become the modern Andalusian.[37] During the 19th century, the Andalusian breed was threatened because many horses were stolen or requisitioned in wartime, including the War of the Oranges, the Peninsular War and the three Carlist Wars. Napoleon's invading army also stole many horses. One herd of Andalusians was hidden from the invaders however, and subsequently used to renew the breed.[6][38] In 1822, breeders began to add Norman blood into Spanish bloodlines, as well as further infusions of Arabian blood. This was partially because increasing mechanization and changing needs within the military called for horses with more speed in cavalry charges as well as horses with more bulk for pulling gun carriages.[38] In 1832, an epidemic seriously affected Spain's horse population, from which only one small herd survived in a stud at the monastery in Cartuja.[6] During the 19th and early 20th centuries, European breeders, especially the Germans, changed from an emphasis on Andalusian and Neapolitan horses (an emphasis that had been in place since the decline of chivalry), to an emphasis on the breeding of Thoroughbreds and warmbloods, further depleting the stock of Andalusians.[39] Despite this change in focus, Andalusian breeding slowly recovered, and in 1869, the Seville Horse Fair (originally begun by the Romans), played host to between ten and twelve thousand Spanish horses.[40] In the early 20th century, Spanish horse breeding began to focus on other breeds, particularly draft breeds, Arabians, Thoroughbreds and crosses between these breeds, as well as crosses between these breeds and the Andalusian. The purebred Andalusian was not viewed favorably by breeders or the military, and their numbers decreased significantly.[38] Andalusians only began to be exported from Spain in 1962.[6] The first Andalusians were imported into Australia in 1971, and in 1973 the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia was formed for the registration of these Andalusians and their offspring. Strict quarantine guidelines prohibited the importation of new Andalusian blood to Australia for many years, but since 1999, regulations have been relaxed and more than half a dozen new horses have been imported.[41] Bloodines in the United States also rely on imported stock, and all American Andalusians can be traced directly to the stud books in Portugal and Spain. There are around 8,500 animals in the United States, where the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) registers around 700 new purebred foals every year. These numbers indicate that the Andalusian is a relatively rare breed in the United States.[42] In 2003, there were 75,389 horses registered in the stud book, and they constituted almost 66 percent of the horses in Spain. Breed numbers have been increasing during the 21st century.[43] At the end of 2010, a total of 185,926 Pura Raza Española horses were recorded in the database of the Spanish Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, y Medio Rural y Marino. Of these, 28,801 or about 15% were in other countries of the world; of those in Spain, 65,371 or about 42% were in Andalusia.[44]

    Strains and sub-types

    The Carthusian Andalusian or Cartujano is generally considered the purest Andalusian strain, and has one of the oldest recorded pedigree lines in the world.[7] The pure sub-type is rare, as only around 12 percent of the Andalusian horses registered between the founding of the stud book in the 19th century and 1998 were considered Carthusians. They made up only 3.6 percent of the overall breeding stock, but 14.2 percent of the stallions used for breeding. In the past, Carthusians were given preference in breeding, leading to a large proportion of the Andalusian population claiming ancestry from a small number of horses and possibly limiting the breed's genetic variability. A 2005 study compared the genetic distance between Carthusian and non-Carthusian horses. They calculated a Fixation index (FST) based on genealogical information and concluded that the distinction between the two is not supported by genetic evidence. However, there are slight physical differences; Carthusians have more "oriental" or concave head shapes and are more often gray in color, while non-Carthusians tend toward convex profiles and more often exhibit other coat colors such as bay.[37] The Carthusian line was established in the early 18th century when two Spanish brothers, Andrés and Diego Zamora, purchased a stallion named El Soldado and bred him to two mares.[7] The mares were descended from mares purchased by the Spanish king and placed at Aranjuez, one of the oldest horse breeding farms in Spain.[45] One of the offspring of El Soldado, a dark gray colt named Esclavo, became the foundation sire of the Carthusian line. One group of mares sired by Esclavo in about 1736 were given to a group of Carthusian monks to settle a debt. Other animals of these bloodlines were absorbed into the main Andalusian breed; the stock given to the monks was bred into a special line, known as Zamoranos. Throughout the following centuries, the Zamoranos bloodlines were guarded by the Carthusian monks, to the point of defying royal orders to introduce outside blood from the Neapolitan horse and central European breeds.[7] They did, however, introduce Arabian and Barb blood to improve the strain.[46] The original stock of Carthusians was greatly depleted during the Peninsular Wars, and the strain might have become extinct if not for the efforts of the Zapata family.[47] Today, the Carthusian strain is raised in state-owned stud farms around Jerez de la Frontera, Badajoz and Cordoba,[7][45] and also by several private families. Carthusian horses continue to be in demand in Spain, and buyers pay high prices for members of the strain.[47]

    Influence on other breeds

    Spain's worldwide military activities between the 14th and 17th centuries called for large numbers of horses, more than could be supplied by native Spanish mares. Spanish custom also called for mounted troops to ride stallions, never mares or geldings. Due to these factors, Spanish stallions were crossed with local mares in many countries, adding Spanish bloodlines wherever they went, especially to other European breeds.[30] Because of the influence of the later Habsburg families, who ruled in both Spain and other nations of Europe, the Andalusian was crossbred with horses of Central Europe and the Low Countries and thus was closely related to many breeds that developed, including the Neapolitan horse, Groningen, Lipizzaner and Kladruber.[48] Spanish horses have been used extensively in classical dressage in Germany since the 16th century. They thus influenced many German breeds, including the Hanoverian, Holstein, East Friesian and Oldenburg.[49] Dutch breeds such as the Friesian and Gelderland also contain significant Spanish blood, as do Danish breeds such as the Fredericksborg and Knabstrupper.[34] Andalusians were a significant influence on the creation of the Alter Real, a strain of the Lusitano,[50] and the Azteca, a Mexican breed created by crossing the Andalusian with American Quarter Horse and Criollo bloodlines.[51] The Spanish jennet ancestors of the Andalusian also developed the Colonial Spanish Horse in America, which became the foundation bloodstock for many North and South American breeds.[16] The Andalusian has also been used to create breeds more recently, with breed associations for both the Warlander (an Andalusian/Friesian cross) and the Spanish-Norman (an Andalusian/Percheron cross) being established in the 1990s.[52][53]

    Naming and registration

    Until modern times, horse breeds throughout Europe were known primarily by the name of the region where they were bred.[54] Thus the original term "Andalusian" simply described the horses of distinct quality that came from Andalusia in Spain.[16] Similarly, the Lusitano, a Portuguese horse very similar to the Andalusian, takes its name from Lusitania,[54] an ancient Roman name for Portugal. The Andalusian horse has been known historically as the Iberian Saddle Horse, Iberian War Horse, Spanish Horse, Portuguese, Peninsular, Extremeno, Villanos, Zapata, Zamaranos, Castilian,[6] and Jennet.[55] The Portuguese name refers to what is now the Lusitano, while the Peninsular, Iberian Saddle Horse and Iberian War Horse names refer to horses from the Iberian Peninsula as a whole. The Extremeno name refers to Spanish horses from the Extremadura province of Spain and the Zapata or Zapatero name to horses that come from the Zapata family stud. The Villano name has occasionally been applied to modern Andalusians, but originally referred to heavy, crossbred horses from the mountains north of Jaen.[56] The Carthusian horse, also known as the Carthusian-Andalusian and the Cartujano, is a sub-type of the Andalusian, rather than a distinct breed in itself.[7] A common nickname for the Andalusian is the "Horse of Kings".[57] Some sources state that the Andalusian and the Lusitano are genetically the same, differing only in the country of origin of individual horses.[58] In many areas today, the breeding, showing, and registration of the Andalusian and Lusitano are controlled by the same registries. One example of this is the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA), claimed to have the largest membership of any Andalusian registering organization.[4] Other organizations, such as The Association of Purebred Spanish Horse Breeders of Spain (Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Caballo de Pura Raza Española or ANCCE), use the term "Pura Raza Española" or PRE to describe the true Spanish horse, and claim sole authority to officially register and issue documentation for PRE Horses, both in Spain and anywhere else in the world. In most of the world the terms "Andalusian" and "PRE" are considered one and the same breed,[4] but the public position of the ANCCE is that terms such as "Andalusian" and "Iberian horse" refer only to crossbreds, which the ANCCE considers to be horses that lack quality and purity, without official documentation or registration from official Spanish Stud Book.[10] In Australasia, the Australasia Andalusian Association registers Andalusians (which the registry considers an interchangeable term for PRE), Australian Andalusians, and partbred Andalusians. They share responsibility for the Purebred Iberian Horse (an Andalusian/Lusitano cross) with the Lusitano Association of Australasia.[59] In the Australian registry, there are various levels of crossbred horses. A first cross Andalusian is a crossbreed that is 50 percent Andalusian, while a second cross Andalusian is the result of crossing a purebred Andalusian with a first cross – resulting in a horse of 75 percent Andalusian blood. A third cross, also known by the registry as an Australian Andalusian, is when a second cross individual is mated with a foundation Andalusian mare. This sequence is known as a "breeding up" program by the registry.[60]

    Pure Spanish Horse

    The name Pura Raza Española (PRE), translated as "Pure Spanish Horse," is the term used by the ANCCE, a private organization, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain. The ANCCE uses neither the term "Andalusian" nor "Iberian horse", and only registers horses that have certain recognized bloodlines. In addition, all breeding stock must undergo an evaluation process. The ANCCE was founded in 1972. Spain's Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the ANCCE as the representing entity for PRE breeders and owners across the globe, as well as the administrator of the breed stud book.[10] ANCCE functions as the international parent association for all breeders worldwide who record their horses as PRE. For example, the United States PRE association is affiliated with ANCCE, follows ANCCE rules, and has a wholly separate governance system from the IALHA.[61] A second group, the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE Mundial, has begun another PRE registry as an alternative to the ANCCE. This new registry claims that all of their registered horses trace back to the original stud book maintained by the Cria Caballar, which was a branch of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, for 100 years. Thus, the PRE Mundial registry asserts that their registry is the most authentic, purest PRE registry functioning today.[62] As of August 2011, there is a lawsuit in progress to determine the legal holder of the PRE stud book.[63] The Unión de Criadores de Caballos Españoles (UCCE or Union of Spanish Horse Breeders) has brought a case to the highest European Union courts in Brussels, charging that the Ministry of Spain's transfer of the original PRE Libro de Origen (the official stud book) from the Cria Caballar to ANCCE was illegal. In early 2009, the courts decided on behalf of UCCE, explaining that the Cria Caballar formed the Libro de Origin. Because it was formed by a government entity, it is against European Union law for the stud book to be transferred to a private entity, a law that was broken by the transfer of the book to ANCCE, which is a non-governmental organization. The court found that by giving ANCCE sole control of the stud book, Spain's Ministry of Defense was acting in a discriminatory manner. The court held that Spain must give permission to maintain a breed stud book (called a Libro Genealógico) to any international association or Spanish national association which requests it. Based on the Brussels court decision, an application has been made by the Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse to maintain the United States stud book for the PRE.[64] As of March 2011, Spain has not revoked ANCCE's right to be the sole holder of the PRE stud book, and has instead reaffirmed the organization's status.[65]

    Uses

    The Andalusian breed has over the centuries been consistently selected for athleticism. In the 17th century, referring to multi-kilometer races, Cavendish said, "They were so much faster than all other horses known at that time that none was ever seen to come close to them, even in the many remarkable races that were run."[66] In 1831, horses at five years old were expected to be able to gallop, without changing pace, four or five leagues, about 12 to 15 miles (19 to 24 km). By 1925, the Portuguese military expected horses to "cover 40 km over uneven terrain at a minimum speed of 10 km/h, and to gallop a flat course of 8 km at a mimimum speed of 800 metres per minute carrying a weight of at least 70 kg", and the Spanish military had similar standards.[66] From the very beginning of their history, Andalusians have been used for both riding and driving. Among the first horses used for classical dressage, they are still making a mark in international competition in dressage today. At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, two Andalusians were on the bronze-medal winning Spanish dressage team, a team that went on to take the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics.[67] Today, the breed is increasingly being selectively bred for increased aptitude in classical dressage.[43] Historically, however, they were also used as stock horses, especially suited to working with Iberian bulls, known for their aggressive temperaments. They were, and still are, known for their use in mounted bull fighting.[67] Mares were traditionally used for la trilla, the Spanish process of threshing grain practiced until the 1960s. Mares, some pregnant or with foals at their side, spent full days trotting over the grain. As well as being a traditional farming practice, it also served as a test of endurance, hardiness and willingness for the maternal Andalusian lines.[68] Andalusians today are used for show jumping, western pleasure and many other classes at horse shows.[4] The current Traveler, the mascot of the University of Southern California, is an Andalusian.[69][70] The dramatic appearance of the Andalusian horse, with its arched neck, muscular build and energetic gaits, has made it a popular breed to use in film, particularly in historical and fantasy epics. Andalusians have been present in films ranging from Gladiator to Interview with a Vampire, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life to Braveheart. The horses have also been seen in such fantasy epics as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, King Arthur, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.[71] In 2006, a rearing Andalusian stallion, ridden by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate, was recreated as the largest bronze equine in the world. Measuring 36 feet (11 m) high, the statue currently stands in El Paso, Texas.[72]
  • Pushing Boundries

    Pushing Boundries

    Tonight while working Velvet, Barret took a pretty fair tumble. They were trying something completely new and very challenging when Velvet fell. Barret rolled off, got up, cried for a little and was ready to hop back on in no time. Velvet landed on her side and basicly did the same thing as Barret. They are both none the worse for wear, but it did start me thinking. [caption id="attachment_160" align="alignleft" width="300"]Doing the see-saw on foot first. Doing the see-saw on foot first.[/caption] Barret is naturally a pretty timid child, I would not consider her a risk taker or an adrenaline junkie, so when she wants to push some boundaries, I tend to encourage her. I never tell her not to do something because she might get hurt or tell her "be careful, you will fall". Now I might tell her "look where you are putting your feet or you will miss the ladder." or "If you jump off such and such, what do you think might happen?", but I really try to never put the thought that she can't do something in her head. I would rather she find out what she can do, rather than me tell her what she can't do. [caption id="attachment_159" align="alignright" width="300"]The best playground a girl could ask for! The best playground a girl could ask for![/caption] Something else I took away from tonight is the value of Barret being on a little pony. If it had been a 15HH horse that fell with her, we might be looking at a totally different outcome. Barret would have fallen from a much greater hight and would have had many times the weight on her, upon impact. There would have had to be some injury, rather than a few tears and a little sand in her jeans. [caption id="attachment_158" align="alignleft" width="300"]Almost to the tipping point! Almost to the tipping point![/caption] Scared as I was when they fell, I am so glad she pushed herself. She was proud as punch to get home and tell Daddy all the things she did and when she did tell him she fell, she didn't dwell on it and she focused on the things she and Velvet has successfully achieved. Isn't that what we all need to do in life?
  • The Best of the Best

    The Best of the Best

    Watch Micheal Jung ride the cross country course at Land Rover Burghley 2015. Here is the background on the event from Wikipedia The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is an annual three-day event held at Burghley House near Stamford, Lincolnshire, England, currently in early September. The Land Rover Freelander Burghley Horse Trial is classified by the FEI as one of the six leading three-day events in the world (the others being the Badminton Horse Trials, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day, the Australian International Three Day Event, the Luhmühlen Horse Trials and the Étoiles de Pau). It has competition at CCI**** (four star) level. The prize for first place is currently £50,000. Prize money is given down to 20th place. Burghley is also one of the three events in the Grand Slam of Eventing. Run in conjunction with the event since 1990 is the Burghley Young Event Horse final, which judges 4 and 5 year old horses on their potential as future Olympic mounts.

    History

    Horse trials have been held at Burghley House since 1961 when its owner the 6th Marquess of Exeter, an Olympic gold medalist in athletics and IOC member, heard that a three-day event at Harewood House could no longer be held. Since then no other international horse trials site has staged as many championships, a record ten in all including the first World Championship in 1966. It is the longest continuous running international event. Up to 2006 there have been six course designers: Bill Thomson, M.R.C.V.S. 1961 – 1983, Lt-Col. Henry Nicoll, D.S.O., O.B.E., 1975, Philip Herbert 1984 – 1988, Captain Mark Phillips, C.V.O., 1989 – 1996 and 1998 – 2000, Mike Tucker 1997 and 2001, Wolfgang Feld 2002 – 2004 and Capt. Mark Phillips, C.V.O., 2005 -.

    Past winners

    William Fox-Pitt, here clearing the Cottesmore Leap, has won Burghley six times to date, surpassing Mark Todd and Ginny Leng with five wins each at Burghley.
    Winners of the 2010 Burghley Horse Trials, Caroline Powell and Lenamore, at the Dairy Farm during the Cross Country phase.
    Oliver Townend and Carousel Quest, the winning combination at Burghley Horse Trials 2009, at the Discovery Valley during the cross country phase.
    Here is a history of Burghley house that you will see glimpses of in the background from Wikipedia Burghley House (/ˈbɜrli/[1]) is a grand 16th-century country house near to Stamford, Lincolnshire, England, a leading example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. Its park was laid out by Capability Brown.[2] The house is now within the boundary of the Peterborough unitary authority of the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire and was part of the Soke of Peterborough, an historic area that was traditionally associated with Northamptonshire. It lies 0.9 miles (1.4 km) south of Stamford and 10 miles (16 km) northwest of the city of Peterborough.

    History

    Lord Burghley was the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign.
    Burghley was built for Sir William Cecil, later 1st Baron Burghley, who was Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1558 and 1587 and modelled on the privy lodgings of Richmond Palace.[3][4][5] It was subsequently the residence of his descendants, the earls and, since 1801, marquesses of Exeter. Since 1961 it has been owned by a charitable trust established by the family.[5][6] Lady Victoria Leatham, antiques expert and television personality, followed her father, Olympic gold-medal winning hurdler and runner, IAAF President and MP David Cecil, the 6th marquess by running the house from 1982 to 2007. The Olympic corridor commemorates her father.[7] Her daughter Miranda Rock is now the most active live-in trustee.[6][8] However, the Marquessate passed in 1988 to Victoria's uncle William Martin Cecil and then to his son William Michael Anthony Cecil, both Canadian ranchers on land originally bought by the Fifth Marquess, who have not resided there.[9] The house is one of the main examples of stonemasonry and proportion in sixteenth-century English Elizabethan architecture, reflecting the prominence of its founder and the lucrative wool trade of the Cecil estates. It has a suite of rooms remodelled in the baroque style, with carvings by Grinling Gibbons.[3] The main part of the house has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas.[5][10][11][12] In the seventeenth century, the open loggias around the ground floor were enclosed. Although the house was built in the floor plan shape of the letter E in honour of Queen Elizabeth, it is now missing its north-west wing. During the period of the 9th earl's ownership, and under the guidance of Capability Brown, the south front was raised to alter the roof line, and the north-west wing was demolished to allow better views of the new parkland.[3][5][10][12] The so called "Hell Staircase" has substantial ceiling paintings by Antonio Verrio from 1697 and walls by Thomas Stothard who completed the work about a century later.

    Paintings

    In the Pagoda Room there are portraits of the Cecil family, Elizabeth I, her father Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell. Many delicately painted walls and ceilings of the house were done by Antonio Verrio.[13] The Billiard Room displays six oval portraits of members of the Order of Little Bedlam, the 5th Earl’s drinking club.[14]

    Lost village

    The medieval settlement of Burghley, mentioned in Domesday, was abandoned by 1450. Failure to locate its site leads to the supposition that it lay below Burghley House.[15]

    Parkland

    Burghley House from Jones's Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (1829).
    Part of the Grounds, lake and boathouse
    The avenues in the park were all laid out by Capability Brown,[16] paying due respect to pre-existing plantings, some of which were from the 16th century or earlier.[17] Brown also created the park's man-made lake in 1775–80. He discovered a seam of waterproof "blue" clay in the grounds, and was able to enlarge the original 9-acre (36,000 m²) pond to the existing 26-acre (105,000 m²) lake. Its clever design gives the impression of a meandering river. Brown also designed the Lion Bridge at a cost of 1,000 guineas (£1,050[nb 1][18]) in 1778. Originally, Coade-stone lions were used as ornamentation. After these weathered, the existing stone examples were made by local mason Herbert Gilbert in 1844. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert also planted two trees to commemorate their visit.[19] As well as the annual Burghley Horse Trials,[20] the park plays host to the "Burghley Run" for Stamford School and an annual meet for the Cambridge University Draghounds.[21] Recent developments have included starting a sculpture garden around the old ice house and, in 2007, a "garden of surprises" was created using traditional ideas of water traps, shell grottos and a mirror maze, but in a 21st-century style.[22] The Burghley House trust has commissioned contemporary artwork in the grounds from leading artists.[23]

    Today

    The house is a Grade I listed building, with separately Grade I listed north courtyard and gate.[24] The site is open to the public.[3] A number of restoration projects are under way. The Lincolnshire county boundary crosses the park between the town of Stamford and the house. Burghley is located in the ancient Soke of Peterborough, once a part of Northamptonshire but now for ceremonial purposes in Cambridgeshire; for planning and other municipal functions the house is in the Peterborough unitary authority.[25]

    Filming

    The courtyard of Burghley House, as drawn by Joseph Nash in the 19th century, but with figures in Elizabethan costume
    Burghley House has been featured in several films. Its virtually unaltered Elizabethan façades and a variety of historic interiors make it an ideal location for historical and period movies. Films and television programmes made at Burghley include:
  • Land Rover Burghley 2015 Groom’s View

    Land Rover Burghley 2015 Groom’s View

    Getting a horse ready to jump around a four star cross country course is no easy feat. Get the inside track from William Fox-Pitt’s right hand lady AND even a sneak peek into what happens in the stables at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
  • Michael Jung makes history at Burghley and Ingrid Klimke wins series

    Michael Jung makes history at Burghley and Ingrid Klimke wins series

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 6 September 2015 FEI Classics™: Michael Jung makes history at Burghley and Ingrid Klimke wins series   By Kate Green A huge crowd rose to their feet in appreciation as Michael Jung (GER) and his wonderful horse La Biosthetique Sam jumped the perfect clear round to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), sixth and final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015. Jung, who will be defending his European title next weekend, is the first German rider to win a British CCI4*, and he received a great reception from the crowd, who recognised a phenomenal horseman in action and had been surrounding him all weekend asking for ‘selfies’ and autographs. “To come to Burghley is amazing, to ride the Cross Country was wonderful and to win here at an event which is such a great tradition in the sport is just fantastic. This will be one of the highlights of my life,” said Jung. “I really enjoyed it here and hope I will have horses for it next year.” This is the 21st international event he has won with the 16-year-old Sam, which he describes as “being like a good friend - every time he gives me 100%.” Jung also finished second in the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 behind his compatriot Ingrid Klimke, who was at Burghley to receive her cheque for $US 40,000 in the main arena. Jung was under huge pressure coming into the arena as Tim Price (NZL) had conjured a beautiful clear round from the improving Ringwood Sky Boy to finish runner-up behind the German for the second time this year, following Kentucky (USA) in April. “Sky Boy has been improving and I hoped that would show itself on the flat,” explained Tim. “He has always been a good Cross Country horse but to be still here today, in second place, is wonderful. He is not a natural showjumper but he is learning to try hard at the right moment.” The talented Christopher Burton (AUS), who has never previously completed Burghley, had a perfect day with two clear rounds to finish third and fourth on TS Jamaimo and Haruzac. “I haven’t had a very good run here before - I came here as a young rider from Australia in 2004 and fell off at the third fence, so just to see the finish flags was a pretty good feeling,” he said. Jonelle Price (NZL) slipped from third to fifth when Classic Moet hit the first part of the treble, but clear rounds elevated Sir Mark Todd to sixth on Leonidas ll, Cedric Lyard (FRA) to seventh on Cadeau du Roi, Kristina Cook (Star Witness) to eighth and best British rider, and Sam Griffiths (AUS) and Paulank Brockagh to ninth. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) had a fence down on Fernhill Pimms but still rose three places to 10th. However, for the first time since the inception of the FEI Classics™ in 2008 he missed out on a cash prize. The Badminton winner finished on the same score, 24 points, as Tim Price, but the New Zealander took precedent in fourth place on the final leaderboard as, according to the rules, he had gained his points at fewer competitions. How the FEI Classics™ was won Ingrid Klimke (GER) is the first German rider to win the FEI Classics™ since the series began in 2008. She won Pau in 2014 (Horseware Hale Bob) and Luhmühlen (GER) this year on FRH Escada JS, and finished second (on Horseware Hale Bob) at Badminton. Michael Jung (GER), second, won Kentucky on FischerRocana FST, and was third at Luhmühlen and first at Burghley on La Biosthetique Sam. Jonelle Price was fourth at Pau and second at Luhmühlen (Faerie Dianimo) and fifth at Burghley (Classic Moet). Her husband Tim was second at Kentucky (Wesko) and second at Burghley (Ringwood Sky Boy). “I didn’t plan this or expect to win it,” said a delighted Klimke after receiving her cheque. “Now it seems that Germans are able to win CCI4*s! Chris Bartle [our trainer] makes us go all over the world and that gives us confidence. It’s great to win extra money like this, which will go straight back into my horses and therefore into the sport.” About the FEI Classics™ winner Ingrid Klimke (GER), 47, is enjoying her most successful season in a long and distinguished international career. The daughter of the late Dr Reiner Klimke, one of the most medalled Dressage riders in history, Klimke’s “day job” is producing Dressage horses but she has been a key member of the German Eventing squad since 1999. With her first top horse, Sleep Late, she represented Germany at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, won European team and individual bronze medals in 2005 and world team gold in 2006, and set a German record when second at Badminton in 2006. With FRH Butts Abraxxas, she won Olympic team gold in 2008 and 2012, plus European team gold in 2011, and was fourth at Burghley in 2013. Riding FRH Escada JS, she won European team gold and individual silver medals in 2013 and world team gold in 2014. Klimke, who is based in Münster, Germany, is married to Andreas and has two daughters, Greta and Philippa. She is in great demand as a trainer and has written books on riding. About the Burghley winner Michael Jung (GER), 33, was the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and the first to win four 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 and, in 2013, they were second at Badminton CCI4*. Jung won a second European title, at Malmö (SWE) in 2013 on Halunke, and last year finished second at Luhmühlen and won world team gold and individual silver medals on FisherRocana FST. He lives at Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment. Final Results 1 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER) 39.2 + 0.8 + 0 = 40.0 2 Tim Price/Ringwood Sky Boy (NZL) 38.7 + 2.8 + 0 = 41.5 3 Christopher Burton/TS Jamaimo (AUS) 45.0 + 0 + 0 = 45.0 4 Christopher Burton/Haruzac (AUS) 41.2 + 6.4 + 0 = 47.6 5 Jonelle Price/Classic Moet (NZL) 44.9 + 0 + 4 = 48.9 6 Sir Mark Todd/Leonidas ll (NZL) 41.7 + 8.8 + 0 = 50.5 7 Cedric Lyard/Cadeau du Roi (FRA) 39.6 + 11.2 + 0 = 50.8 8 Kristina Cook/Star Witness (GBR) 47.4 + 5.2 + 0 = 52.6 9 Sam Griffiths/Paulank Brockagh (AUS) 42.5 + 15.2 + 0 = 57.7 10 William Fox-Pitt/Fernhill Pimms (GBR) 34.2 + 20.4 + 4 = 58.6 Use hashtags #FEIClassics and #Eventing FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 Final Leaderboard 1 Ingrid Klimke (GER) 42 points USD 40,000 (FEI Classics™ Series champion) 2 Michael Jung (GER) 40 USD 30,000 (2nd) 3 Jonelle Price (NZL) 26 USD 20,000 (3rd) 4 Tim Price (NZL) 24 USD 10,000 (4th) 5 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 24 6 Mark Todd (NZL) 19 7 Jessica Manson (AUS) 15 8 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12 9 Megan Jones (AUS) 12 10 Jock Paget (NZL) 10   FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 calendar 1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 23-26 October 2014 2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 13-16 November 2014 3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 23-26 April 2015 4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 7-10 May 2015 5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 18-21 June 2015 6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 3-6 September 2015
  • Fox-Pitt raises the stakes with joint Dressage lead at Burghley

    Fox-Pitt raises the stakes with joint Dressage lead at Burghley

    FEI ClassicsFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 4 September 2015 FEI Classics™: Fox-Pitt raises the stakes with joint Dressage lead at Burghley By Kate Green The world’s two leading event riders are sharing the top spot after Dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), sixth and final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015. William Fox-Pitt, a record six-time winner here, has raised the stakes with a brilliant performance on CCI4* first-timer Fernhill Pimms which equaled the Olympic champion Michael Jung’s (GER) score of 34.2 on FisherRocana FST yesterday. Their only mistake in an attractive test was a fluffed first flying change which scored fours. “I’m delighted with Pimms; that’s the first time he’s done that test in an arena – there’s four flying changes and that’s a big step up,” said the world number two. “He’s a lovely horse to ride on the flat; he loves showing off.” Fox-Pitt took on the ride on Fernhill Pimms, an 11-year-old by Ard VDL Douglas, in 2013. The horse was produced in Ireland by Portuguese rider Duarte Seabra for Carol Gee, who owns him with Catherine Witt. Fox-Pitt won the prestigious young horse CIC3* at Blenheim (GBR) in 2013 on the bay gelding and finished fifth at Bramham CCI3* (GBR) this year. In contrast, Sam Griffiths (AUS), who is lying third on Happy Times with a score of 36.8, has the security of knowing he is on one of the most experienced horses in the sport, let alone at Burghley. The 16-year-old by Heraldik, also the damsire of Michael Jung’s La Biosthetique Sam, has been placed five times at Burghley. “He’s always very consistent on the flat, but he really pulled out the stops today,” said Griffiths, who is also equal 14th on his 2013 Badminton winner Paulank Brockagh. Griffiths’ compatriot Andrew Hoy has now slipped a couple of places to fourth on Rutherglen, with just a 0.9 penalty ahead of another hugely experienced combination, Oliver Townend (GBR) and the 16-year-old Armada. They brought the afternoon to an exciting conclusion when scoring 38.7. “I’ll be a stone lighter this time tomorrow,” Townend joked, a reference to his being the only rider to have three horses. “The first one [Dromgurrihy Blue, currently lying 24th] is an unknown quantity at this level and distance; the second [Samuel Thomas ll, equal 53rd] is only a baby but I love riding him; and everyone knows Armada.” Tim Price (NZL), riding the Irish Sport Horse gelding Ringwood Sky Boy, is in sixth place; he will be aiming for a first placing at his fourth attempt at Burghley. Michael Jung (GER) on his second horse, La Biosthetique Sam, is sharing seventh place with another German first-timer at Burghley, 20-year-old Niklas Bschorer on Tom Tom Go 3, on the healthy score of 38.7. Frenchman Cedric Lyard is ninth on Cadeau du Roi ahead of British first-timer Rosalind Canter (Allstar B), 10th, who is hanging on to her spot ahead of a cluster of experienced antipodeans including five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd, equal 12th on Leonidas ll. Riders are viewing Capt Mark Phillips’s Cross Country course, which runs in a reverse direction to usual, with plenty of respect and a bit of trepidation. “It’s tough out there,” commented Sam Griffiths. “You need a power jumper with some blood. This is a course that will find out any weaknesses.” Fox-Pitt, who plans to take all the straight routes, added: “Mark has been very brave. Everyone will have their work cut out because we’re all starting from a blank sheet with the different direction. The first three fences are the only nice ones! I think Pimms is ready for it. I just want him to rise to the challenge and go well.” Oliver Townend will be first out onto the course at 11am tomorrow on Dromgurrihy Blue; follow the action on www.burghley-horse.co.uk and www.burghley.tv and, in Britain, on BBC Red Button. Results after Dressage 1= William Fox-Pitt/Fernhill Pimms (GBR) 34.2 1= Michael Jung/FisherRocana FST (GER) 34.2 3 Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 36.8 4 Andrew Hoy/Rutherglen (AUS) 37.8 5 Oliver Townend/Armada (GBR) 38.7 6 Tim Price/Ringwood Sky Boy (NZL) 38.7 7= Niklas Bschorer/Tom Tom Go 3 (GER) 39.2 7= Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER) 39.2 9 Cedric Lyard/Cadeau du Roi (FRA) 39.6 10 Rosalind Canter/Allstar B (GBR) 40.2 FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 Leaderboard (after 5 out of 6 events) 1 Ingrid Klimke (GER) 42 points 2 Michael Jung (GER) 25 3 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 23 4 Jonelle Price (NZL) 20 5 Jessica Manson (AUS) 15 6 Mark Todd (NZL) 14 7 Tim Price (NZL) 12 8 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12 9 Megan Jones (AUS) 12 10 Jock Paget (NZL) 10  
  • How to improve your sitting trot

    How to improve your sitting trot

    Evention TV offers some tips for improving your sitting trot. Exercises
    • Start slow and build up to a more energetic trot
    • Ride without stirrups. Safety first make sure you create a safe environment when trying this exercise. Dom recommends having your horse on a lunge line and in an enclosed area before dropping your stirrups
    • Ride without reins and without stirrups.  Again safety first make sure you are in a safe environment before you try this exercise.
  • Velvet’s Future

    Velvet’s Future

    Velvet's Future As you have heard, Barret has has a new pony coming. Waiting their turn.Button coming home around Thanksgiving. He is a pony that we purchased in 2011, even though he was to big and forward moving for Barret at the time, he had the makings of a nice pony and the price was right. He has been on lease with a family who's little boy has ridden, loved and spoilt him for us since then. Button is a 10 year old (I think), Shetland type gelding. He is around 10 h.h., sorrel with a flaxen mane and tail and a lovely eye. He really doesn't like adults but loves kids. He had a few issues when he came to us but between the work we put in and the time Rhett has spent with him over the past 3 years he should be a lot of fun for Barret. I know that many of you are reading this, in a mild panic. "BUT WHAT ABOUT VELVET?", I hear you screaming from here! Velvet is part of our family. I have trusted her with my baby, she has taught Barret so much and she has truly wormed her way into our hearts. Velvet is only 6 years old and still has so much to give, we don't want her to sit and waste away in the pasture but the idea of leasing her didn't settle well with Bru, Barret or I. They say never say never, so if some time in the future the perfect family came along, we might consider it, but we are not ready for that at this time. Many people suggested driving her, but that is one job that she doesn't like. I know that we could make her into a harness pony, but I feel that at this point, I am not willing to push her there. Again, never say never, with further training, who knows. After lots of sleepless nights, many family conversations and lots of soul searching on my behalf, we have finally formulated a plan. We will keep Velvet, Barret can do some trick training with her and we will also look into further training and having her certified as a therapy horse. I think it would be a great opportunity for Barret to become involved in the community, to learn the value of volunteer work and it would be a lot of fun. I think are lots of nursing homes, schools, hospitals and care facilities that could use a little dose of Barret N Velvet.
  • Barn Cats

    Barn Cats

    Green-eyed striped tigers, Bright orange marmalade On rooftops and on rafters Is where they promenade. Sitting on your tack box, Hiding in the hay, Little balls of fluff, Tumbling in play. Sleeping in a sunbeam, Nestled in the straw,Washing to perfection, Each tiny paw. Batting at a cobweb, Winding up up to spring, Fierce jungle playthings, Always practicing. Padding along behind you, Purring at your feet, Contended colorful Caicos, Hoping for a treat. Peaking around the corner, crunched behind a door, Keeping things in order ...for... "Horses are to fragile We are much more agile, Horse stand and eat all day, while we chase the mice away." Poem by ~Mary Benson~ Blue Mountain Rider ©    
  • Olympic champion Jung makes Burghley debut

    Olympic champion Jung makes Burghley debut

    FEI Classics FEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 31 August 2015 FEI Classics™: Olympic champion Jung makes Burghley debut By Kate Green Michael Jung (GER) has won most of the glittering prizes on offer in the sport of Eventing, but the reigning Olympic and European Champion has yet to take on the special challenges of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), sixth and final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2014/2015. Spectators will be treated to the sight of this master horseman tackling the big, bold Cross Country track in the beautiful grounds of Elizabethan Burghley House on his two top horses. Jung is bringing the mare fisherRocana FST, a world team gold and individual silver medallist last year, and old favourite La Biosthetique Sam, his Olympic, world and European champion. The two horses finished first and second at Kentucky (USA) in April, the third leg in the FEI Classics™ series. Ingrid Klimke (GER), who has established a clear lead in the FEI Classics™, is not entered for Burghley as she is focusing on next week’s Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle (GBR), but Jung, who is currently second in the rankings, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Jonelle Price (NZL), third and fourth respectively, will be jostling for the five money prizes. The three are currently ranked first, second and third in the world. Fox-Pitt (GBR), a record six-time winner at Burghley, is expected to save his top horse, Bay My Hero, for the British team at Blair Castle the following weekend, but he has an able mount in the form of the relatively inexperienced Fernhill Pimms. Price, also, has only one ride, the experienced Irish Sport Horse The Deputy. Sir Mark Todd (NZL), currently just outside the money prizes in sixth place in the FEI Classics™, has already won Burghley five times. The great Kiwi horseman has been enjoying a stellar season and must have an excellent chance here on Leonidas ll, fourth at Badminton in May. An impressive New Zealand entry is completed by Jock Paget on Shady Grey, 10th in the FEI Classics™, and Tim Price, seventh, on Ringwood Sky Boy, but, for the first time for more than 25 years, the nation’s line up will not include Andrew Nicholson. The five-time winner and defending champion, who has won the last three runnings of Burghley on Avebury, is currently recovering from the neck injury sustained in a heavy fall at Gatcombe last month. For an even longer Burghley record, one has to return to 1979, when a young Australian, Andrew Hoy, won on the little stock horse, Davey. It took him 25 years to win again, in 2004 on Moonfleet, and for the 2015 edition he pins his hopes on Rutherglen. The field also includes two more former British winners, Pippa Funnell and Oliver Townend, who could have three rides apiece. Interestingly, for both riders, their best chances may lie with spectacular, long-striding chestnut geldings, Redesigned (Funnell) and Armada (Townend), but neither horse is the easiest in the Jumping phase. Around 80 horses from eight nations are expected to start at what promises to be as thrilling a Burghley as ever. The full startlist and live results are on www.burghley-horse.co.uk.   FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 Leaderboard (after 5 out of 6 events) 1 Ingrid Klimke (GER) 42 points 2 Michael Jung (GER) 25 3 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 23 4 Jonelle Price (NZL) 20 5 Jessica Manson (AUS) 15 6 Mark Todd (NZL) 14 7 Tim Price (NZL) 12 8 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12 9 Megan Jones (AUS) 12 10 Jock Paget (NZL) 10 FEI Classics™ 2014/2015 calendar 1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 23-26 October 2014 2 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 13-16 November 2014 3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 23-26 April 2015 4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 7-10 May 2015 5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL (GER) - 18-21 June 2015 6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 3-6 September 2015
  • Thank you Totilas

    Thank you Totilas

    "As already known from various sources, the examination last weekend showed that Totilas has an edema in the bone. This is being treated in the best possible way by a superb team of veterinarians. Resulting form this new injury we collectively came to the decision against the active sport. Totilas will not come back into the competitive dressage sport in the future. "His injury is going to heal on his home yard Schafhof, given all the time it needs. This will also give him a gentle transition into his athletic retirement." Re-posted from Totilas Facebook page
      Totilas (Foaled May 23, 2000), also known from 2006 to 2011 as Moorlands Totilas, and nicknamed "Toto", is a Dutch Warmblood stallion standing 17.1 hands (69 inches, 175 cm) high[1] who was considered to be one of the most outstanding competitive dressage horses in the world, the first horse to score above 90 in dressage competition,[2] and the former holder of the world record for the highest dressage score in Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage. Going into the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), Moorlands Totilas and his rider, Edward Gal, had amassed multiple world-record scores in international competition, leading one American journalist to call them "rock stars in the horse world".[3]

    Show career

    Totilas was bred by Jan K. Schuil and Anna Schuil-Visser in Broeksterwâld (Broeksterwoude) in the Netherlands. They gave him his basic training. Upon entering major competition at age five, he was ridden by Jiska van den Akker and exhibited at the 2005 World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Verden, Germany. There he distinguished himself as the best horse from the Netherlands, and placed fourth in the final ranking of five-year-old dressage horses.[4][5] Also in 2005, his owners contacted Edward Gal and asked him to ride and compete Totilas.[6] In 2006, after Gal began working with the horse, his sponsors Cees (also spelled Kees) and Tosca Visser purchased Totilas in the name of their investment company, Moorland BV.[1][6][7] After this purchase the horse competed under the name "Moorlands Totilas". Totilas was ridden throughout most of his international Grand Prix career by Gal, under the flag of the Netherlands. Gal first began working with Toto in 2006 and the pair started to compete in 2008. Gal and the team of people who worked with the horse understood that Toto was "something special" after their first Grand Prix (GP) competition,[3] with Gal later stating, "He has an incredible amount of talent; it’s simply a pleasure to ride him."[1] In July 2009, Gal and Toto broke Anky van Grunsven's world record score in Grand Prix Freestyle[8] with an 89.50% mark at Hickstead, England, and shortly thereafter followed it up breaking their own record with a score of 90.75% at the 2009 FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships.[9] In December 2009, at the fourth leg of the 2009–10 FEI World Cup Dressage series at Olympia in London, they extended their record in GP Freestyle to 92.30%, more than 10 points above the second-place finisher.[9] They won that season's FEI World Cup final with a win in GP Freestyle at home in the Netherlands, winning by more than 7 points with a score better than their first world record.[10] The pair also have a world-record score in the Grand Prix Special discipline to their credit, having recorded 86.460% at Aachen in July 2010.[8][11] The horse is not free of controversy, particularly due to his training using the highly controversial "LDR" (Low, deep and round) hyperflextion training technique also known as Rollkur, which faces claims of causing physical harm to the horse,[12] and is considered "mental abuse" by the FEI.[13] Critics claim his extravagant paces are anything but natural, but rather a product of harmful training. Thus, the critics accuse Totilas' trainers of artificially inflating dressage scores and corrupting the fundamentals of the sport. One German equestrian magazine compared his performances to those in a circus.[14][15] While the head of the World Cup judging panel at the Olympia competition in London dismissed such criticism, saying, “People should be big enough to recognise brilliance when they see it."[15] While some give primary credit to the skill of Edward Gal as the primary reason the horse has reached such a high level at a very young age for a dressage horse,[3] and at least one writer has wondered if Toto's success is because he is a Gemini,[14] Anne Gribbons, dressage technical adviser for the United States Equestrian Federation, assesses the horse as having simply taken the sport to a new level: "He is capable of such power and balance while he's in motion that it is almost beyond what most other horses can do."[3] The pair were triple gold medalists at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games,[11][16] becoming the first horse-rider partnership ever to sweep the three available dressage gold medals at a single FEI World Games.[11] Totilas was retired in 2015 August, after results came back from a recent MRI, showing the horse has bone inflammation in his left hind hoof. The Netherlands’ Edward Gal rode Totilas to gold medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.) before the stallion was sold to Schockemöhle and Linsenhof in late 2010. Totilas has since been plagued by injuries, missing out on the 2012 London Olympic Games and 2014 World Games (France).

    Breeding status and sale

    Moorlands Totilas was approved for breeding by the KWPN in 2009,[17] and stood at stud in 2010 for a stud fee of €5,500,[2][6] or about $7,000 (US), considered a very high fee for a warmblood stallion.[7] A total of 175 mares were approved for the stallion, including US Olympic medal-winner Brentina.[2] His first year at stud generated fees of nearly €1.4 million.[2][18] In September 2010, an embryo by Totilas sold for €32,000.[6] His first foal, a seal brown-colored filly named Moorlands Guinevere, was foaled January 23, 2011 in Utrecht, Netherlands.[19] In October 2010, it was announced that sport horse breeder Paul Schockemöhle had purchased Moorlands Totilas.[6] The sale price was not disclosed,[20] but rumors have circulated that the price was in the range of €9.5 million[2] to as high as €15 million.[18] At the World Equestrian Games, Edward Gal strongly denied that the horse was for sale, but his owners stated that after his wins at the WEG, "we could no longer ignore the interest in the stallion."[6] Though the official press release stated the Gal "understood" the Vissers' decision,[6] other news sources quoted him as stating, ""I'm absolutely devastated...It's like I'm struck by lightning."[18] The news sent considerable shockwaves thought the dressage community, with the Dutch national dressage team expressing intense disappointment that their Olympic hopes had been shattered with the horse being sold to an individual from the nation that is their closest rival, Germany. Dutch team trainer Sjef Janssen described the sale as "a huge blood-letting" for the team,[21] expressing concerns that the horse will perform for Germany in the 2012 Olympics."[18] The online community was also set abuzz, and the Eurodressage web site crashed due to an overload of visitors.[18] Comment included heated criticism of Anky van Grunsven from Gal's business partner Nicole Werner for posting the news via Twitter prior to the official news release, and a resulting public exchange between the two camps on Facebook.[22] The Vissers have stated that they will continue to make promising and talented horses available to Gal.[23]

    German ownership

    In March 2011, Schockemöhle changed the horse's show name with the FEI to "Totilas".[24] Schockemöhle and promoter Michael Mronz market the horse under the new name.[25][26] Schockemöhle and co-owner Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff selected Matthias Alexander Rath, a 26-year-old German rider and stepson of Linsenhoff, to be the new rider of Totilas. In November, 2010, Totilas and Rath had a public appearance in Mühlen, Germany, at Schockemöhle's stallion station. In full show gear, the 26-year old Rath sat on Totilas for the sixth time and rode to the music of Era's Ameno. After this brief session and a photo opportunity for the press, Paul Schockemöhle, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Klaus Martin Rath, Matthias Rath and Sönke Lauterbach (secretary general of the German Equestrian Federation) made public statements. Linsenhoff stated "This horse is important for our breeding and for our sport. I’m proud that our son has been asked. We hope they will come to a harmony."[27] However, while the stated goal was for the pair to compete with the German team for the European Dressage Championships held in Rotterdam in August 2011,[19] they failed to medal in that competition individually, though their scores assisted the Germans to win a silver team medal.[28] The general public opinion was that the pair had not yet achieved the level of performance that Totilas had when ridden by Edward Gal.[29] Totilas also suffered an injury during the winter.[28] However, Rath and Totilas were pointed to compete in the 2012 Olympics and placed in the top three at the 2012 German Championships. However, shortly after, Rath developed a serious case of mononucleosis which caused him to withdraw from competition at CHIO Aachen in June and ultimately from the German Olympic team.[30] While initially there was talk that Rath could compete in spite of missing Aachen, the possibility gave rise to charges of favoritism as two members of the German dressage committee, Klaus Roeser and Ullrich Kasselmann, have close business ties to Schockemöhle.[28][31] However, a downturn in Rath's health and orders of his doctors to not compete settled the matter. Rath expressed hope the pair would both be sound and healthy enough to compete in the 2016 Olympics, though by that time Totilas will be 16 years old.[30] Following the withdrawal of the pair, they moved to the Netherlands to work with Sjef Janssen, coach of the Dutch team and of gold medalist Anky van Grunsven, presumably to obtain experience the training techniques that Totilas was familiar with while in the care of Gal.[32] Allegations of abuse arose soon after the pair's 2011 performance in Rotterdam. A public showing where Totilas stuck out his tongue while performing, viewed as a sign of stress, caused public concern.[28] Further controversy arose in October 2012, when the German branch of PETA filed a legal complaint against Rath, Schockemöhle and Lisenhoff, alleging that Totilas was being abused due to the use of rollkur in his training and management that kept him confined in a box stall, isolated from other horses. PETA alleges the horse's treatment violates the free-movement requirements of the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection. However, prosecutors have yet to determine if PETA's allegations are sufficient to allege an actual violation of German law.[33] As the bulk of the complaint focuses on the issue of Rollkur training, which PETA is attempting to ban in Germany (though it is already prohibited by the German Equestrian Federation), the charge is viewed within the dressage community as a means by which to bring the issue to public attention via a high-profile case.[12]

    Pedigree

    Moorlands Totilas is sired by a Trakehner stallion, Gribaldi that was approved by KWPN, the Dutch Warmblood registry, and noted for elegance and refinement.[17] Gribaldi had also been shown at the Grand Prix level by Edward Gal.[14] Toto's dam, Lominka, a KWPN approved Dutch Warmblood, comes from bloodlines that have produced both show jumping and dressage horses, many of whom were noted for good temperament.[14][17] [17][34]

    References

      Pedigree of Moorlands Totilas Re-posted from Wikipedia Moorland Totilas
  • Double-gold and individual silver for dominant British at Strzegom

    Double-gold and individual silver for dominant British at Strzegom

    FEIFEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders 2015 Strzegom (POL), 30 August 2015 Double-gold and individual silver for dominant British at Strzegom by Louise Parkes Great Britain enjoyed a great weekend at the FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders 2015 at Strzegom in Poland when claiming the team title along with individual gold and silver. And it was 2014 team silver medallist, Christoph Wahler from Germany, who clinched individual bronze. A total of 56 horse-and-rider combinations lined out, and 10 nations were represented in the team event in which Germany finished in silver medal spot ahead of the defending champions from Ireland in bronze. It was a gutsy performance from the Germans and Irish who went into today’s final jumping test with only three riders remaining after yesterday’s cross-country test. Dressage rankings British individual, Sophie Beaty, led the dressage rankings on a score of 36.30 with Stanly after the first day, but team-member, Will Furlong, overtook her when posting 32.70 with Livingstone on Friday. Constance Lucie Copestake and Aprobanta were awarded a mark of 40.40 by Ground Jury members Christina Klingspor (SWE), James Rooney (IRL) and Slawomir Pietrzak (POL), and this put the French rider into third ahead of Germany’s Flora Reemtsma IIkarosz) in fourth, Britain’s Emily King (Loxley) in fifth and Germany’s Julia Funtman (Contina) and Christoph Wahler (Green Mount Flight) in sixth and seventh places respectively. Copestake would disappear from the reckoning on cross-country day however, when Funtmann’s 9.6 time penalties saw her plummet to 17th spot. Cross-country track A total of 21 of the 56 starters collected fence penalties and eight were eliminated over the 26-fence cross-country track set by Polish course designer, Marcin Konarski. There were two retirements, including German team member Pauline Knorr (Abke’s Boy) who decided to call it a day after a refusal at fence nine and another at the third element of fence 21. And Copestake was the third of the French team to be eliminated, her day coming to an early end with a fall at fence six. France had been looking really competitive when sitting in bronze medal spot, and just 20 penalties behind the British leaders, after dressage. But Stephanie Landois’ Klan de Cheylac fell at fence 11, and then Capucine Bourgeois’ Obelix de Mail fell at fence 20, so French team chances were already dashed before Copestake parted company with Aprobanta. A total of 17 completed inside the time, and 10 had just one refusal on course. The individual leaderboard showed the British taking an even firmer hold at the end of the day, with Furlong and Beaty still holding the top two places and Emily King now lying fourth behind Germany’s Reemtsma who added nothing to her scoreline. Dramatically improved Beaty’s score didn’t count toward the team however, but King’s rise to fourth was backed up by the fact that Ella Hitchman and Rocky Rockstar dramatically improved from 12th to sixth place after their foot-perfect tour of the track while Isabella Innes Ker and Carolyn rose from overnight 20th all the way up to 13th when doing likewise. The British now had just over 10 points of a lead over Germany in the team rankings, while the departure of the French allowed the Irish to move into third spot despite cross-country elimination for Harold Megahey and Chuckelberry who were members of the 2014 gold-medal-winning side. Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua), Susannah Berry (Carsonstown Athena) and Tony Kennedy (Westeria Lane) all kept a clean sheet on cross-country day, and once they had the bit between their teeth they were determined they would not let go. But they were being stalked by the Swedes going into the final jumping phase so there was plenty of tension as the third-phase action began. Unbeatable final tally Clears for Furlong, Hitchman and Innes Ker meant the British could discount the 12 final-phase faults collected by King for an unbeatable final tally of 128.10. And although Reemtsma picked up eight faults, both Wahler and Lisa-Marie Forster (Columbo) completed on their dressage marks to hold firmly onto silver for Team Germany. Also reduced to a three-rider side, the Irish were boosted by a clear from Daniels, and despite four faults for Berry and 10 for Kennedy, they finished more than 16 penalty points ahead of the Swedes who added 24 to their scoreline. At the end of the day the individual scoreboard showed three of the British team, as well as individual competitor Beaty, in the top eight while Germany completed with three team-members in the top 10. Ireland’s Cathal Daniels, who started out in 17th spot, finished sixth behind Italy’s Matteo Arrighi who also completed on his dressage score with Quieto du Pin, while Britain’s Hitchman missed out on the individual podium by just three points. It was another excellent result for bronze medallist Christoph Wahler who finished fifth individually at last year’s Young Rider Championships in Portugal and who won the CIC2* at Rockingham in May with Sammy Deluxe. And for 20-year-old Sophie Beaty today’s individual silver medal is a long way from her 33rd Championship placing twelve months ago with Stanly who finished fourth at Houghton Hall (GBR) in May and ninth at Barbury Castle (GBR) just last month. Will Furlong, individual bronze medallist at the Junior European championships in Jardy (FRA) two years ago, has meanwhile lived up to the promise he showed when winning the CCIY2* at Houghton Hall last year before coming back to fill runner-up spot at the same venue this season. Results: FEI European Young Riders Team Eventing Championship 2015: GOLD - Great Britain 128.10: Livingstone (Will Furlong) 34.70, Rocky Rockstar (Ella Hitchman) 45.20, Carolyn (Isabella Innes Ker) 48.20, Loxley (Emily King) 54.00; SILVER - Germany 140.40: (Green Mount Flight (Christoph Wahler) 42.50, Ikarosz (Flora Reemtsma) 48.60, Columbo 38 (Lisa-Marie Forster) 49.30, Abke’s Boy (Pauline Knorr) 1,000 ; BRONZE - Ireland 164.80: Rioghan Rua (Cathal Daniels) 47.50, Carsonstown Athena (Susannah Berry) 54.20, Westeria Lane (Tony Kennedy) 63.10, Chuckelberry (Harold Megahey) 1,000. FEI European Young Riders Individual Eventing Championship 2015: GOLD - Livingstone (Will Furlong) GBR 34.70; SILVER - Stanly (Sophie Beaty) GBR 39.10; BRONZE - Green Mount Flight (Christoph Wahler) GER 42.50.
  • Dutch snatch gold in final-round team thriller

    Dutch snatch gold in final-round team thriller

    FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships GermanyFEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Jumping Day 3

    Aachen (GER), 21 August 2015

    Dutch snatch gold in final-round team thriller

    by Louise Parkes

     Jur Vrieling, Gerco Schroder, Maikel van der Vleuten and Jeroen Dubbeldam with Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens celebrate team gold 

    The reigning world and Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ champions from The Netherlands clinched team gold at the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER) today. Lying second as the day began, they produced another of their trademark foot-perfect performances to put the result beyond doubt when the leading French squad faded to fifth. And it was the host nation who slotted into silver medal spot ahead of the surprising Swiss who moved up four places to take the bronze.

    The result of today’s competition also decided the last three Western European qualifying spots for the 2016 Olympic Games. Switzerland, Great Britain and Spain finished best of the non-qualified eligible nations and are on their way to Rio.

     It was a rip-roaring thriller from start to finish, with course designer Frank Rothenberger presenting a massive track that produced spectacular jumping and the best of great sport. 

     None of the 13 individuals who opened today’s action managed to leave all the poles in place, but they showed that the imposing fences were very jumpable. And once the team action got underway it turned into a ding-dong battle between the major contenders, with the Swiss making an incredible come-back thanks to two clear rounds. Only 10 fault-free results were registered, and when the Dutch added just a single time fault to their tally they were already looking good before last-line rider, Gerco Schröder, took his turn.

    [caption id="attachment_9418" align="alignright" width="600"]Staut Kevin, (FRA), Reveur de Hurtebise HDC Team completion and 2nd individual qualifier FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015 Staut Kevin, (FRA), Reveur de Hurtebise HDC
    Team completion and 2nd individual qualifier
    FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015[/caption]

     Hugely influential

     The black wavy planks at fence four was one of the bogeys of the track, and the massive triple combination that followed was also hugely influential, with the opening triple bar enticing horses down to a tall vertical and often leaving them very deep at the final oxer element. And the difficult four or five-stride distance between the big 1.80m-wide oxer at fence eight and the following planks claimed a large number of victims. 

     Many horses showed better form than they had all week, however, and the fifth-placed Swiss began their climb to the medal podium with an opening clear from Romain Duguet and his mare, Quorida de Treho. Ukraine lay ahead of them as the competition began and Cassio Rivetti’s clear with Vivant got them off to a great start. That pattern continued with a fault-free run for British openers Ben Maher and Diva, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with the fabulous grey, Fibonacci, and Dutch double world champion Jeroen Dubbeldam with SFN Zenith NOP. 

    When Penelope Leprevost’s Flora de Mariposa hit the bogey wavy planks the French began to look a little vulnerable. And the British couldn’t improve their situation with single errors from Jessica Mendoza (Spirit T) and Joe Clee (Utamaro D’Ecaussines). Germany held firm with another clear from Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet Z), but the Dutch stayed out in front when Maikel van der Vleuten and the always-reliable VDL Groep Verdi cruised home once again without incident. 

     The French meanwhile were in rapid decline, paying a high price for Simon Delestre’s (Ryan des Hayettes) mistake at the final element of the triple combination and the double-error from Jerome Hurel (Quartz Rouge) at the wavy planks and the second element of the double of water ditches, one fence from home.

     Wide open

     By the time Jur Vrieling entered the ring, the door was wide open for the Dutch if the third-line rider could produce a clear round. But he winced when he saw a single time penalty on the board after an otherwise perfect tour of the track, because if Ludger Beerbaum’s four-faulter with Chiara could be discounted by a clear from Daniel Deusser then the Germans had the advantage and all the pressure would be on the final Dutch duo of Gerco Schröder and Glock’s Cognac Champblanc. 

     You could hear a pin drop when Deusser entered the Soers arena, but there was a huge groan when Cornet D’Amour left the oxer at eight on the floor. The home side would now finish on a final score of 12.40, while the Dutch were already home and hosed with their total of 8.82, Gerco Schröder’s eight-fault effort having no effect on the end result.

     The Swiss meanwhile came with a late run. Duguet’s opening clear was followed by nine faults from Martin Fuchs (Clooney) and four from Janika Sprunger (Bonne Chance CW), but it was the clear from Paul Estermann and Castlefield Eclipse that would secure the bronze on a final total of 18.23. 

     Magic formula

    Magic touch

    Dutch Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, who has led his country to great glory in recent years, was asked this evening if he has a magic formula for success. “There is no magic formula, in our small country we just work really well together and it only takes half a minute to call riders and get them in position for nations cups or championships. It’s a great honour for me to work with four of those amazing riders, with their amazing horses and the amazing people behind our team. And we have four more riders banging on the door at home. I’m a happy coach! To perform like this in Aachen, well we hope you will make more Championships in Aachen!” he said.

     Double world champion Jeroen Dubbeldam, talked about the way the competition unfolded today and the pressure of being first to go for his side. “All four rounds were important, all four were in a difficult place in every round and had the pressure, my job was to go clear and keep up the spirit, to give the inspiration to keep going. It was a really tough course today. There were already three or four clears before I came in and that put pressure on me. I felt a lot of pressure, but my horse gave me an amazing feeling and the confidence for a clear round, and that gave the spirit to the rest of the team”, he said.

     Tried hard

     Asked how he felt about his team’s silver medal finish, German Chef d’Equipe Otto Becker said, “at first I was a little disappointed, but we tried hard and the team did great, all four horses and all four riders, there was not one bad round. It was a big fight and we tried very hard. I agree with Rob (Ehrens), there should be more championships in Aachen, but without the Dutch!”, he added with a laugh.

     “Last year in Caen (Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy) and in Herning (FEI European Championships 2013) the competition was really close, but it couldn’t have been closer than in these last few days”, Ludger Beerbaum said. “There were emotional ups and downs. To be careful of your fences every moment and not get distracted by other things. It’s hard when you don’t make it, all four of us over three days had really good rounds, but we must accept the situation, there are days like this, and congratulations to the Dutch!”, said one of the world’s most popular and respected horsemen.

     The individual scoreboard underwent a major shake-up today, with Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya shooting up from fifth to the gold medal spot ahead of Ukraine’s Brazilian-born Cassio Rivetti in silver and the reigning world champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam, in bronze. Switzerland’s Romain Duguet lies fourth while Frenchwoman Penelope Leprevost has dropped from first to fifth ahead of Sunday’s individual medal-decider in which riders carry their faults from the previous three days of competition.

     

    For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit www.aachen2015.de.

      Full results of FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here

     Facts and Figures:

    •  The reigning world and Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ champions from The Netherlands claimed team gold at the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany today.
    • The host nation lined up in silver ahead of Switzerland in bronze.
    • Teams from 10 nations competed along with 13 individuals.
    • The three Olympic qualifying spots on offer went to the bronze medallists from Switzerland, the defending European champions from Great Britain who finished fourth and Spain who lined up in sixth place.
    • The overnight leaders from France finished fifth.
    • 10 horse-and-rider combinations jumped clear in today’s competition.
    • This was the fourth Dutch victory in the history of the FEI European jumping Championships. The Netherlands previously came out on top in 1977 (Vienna AUT), 1991 (La Baule FRA), and 2007 (Mannheim GER). 
    •  
    [caption id="attachment_9419" align="alignright" width="1024"]Deusser Daniel, (GER), Cornet D Amour Team completion and 2nd individual qualifier FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015 © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans Deusser Daniel, (GER), Cornet D Amour
    Team completion and 2nd individual qualifier
    FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015
    © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans
    20/08/15[/caption] Quotes:
    • Martin Fuchs SUI: “We went not so good the first day but the horses were jumping well. Our Chef, Andy Kistler, and our rider Paul (Estermann) had words of motivation. The big thing was that Steve (Oympic champion Steve Guerdat) was here to help us. It was sad he couldn’t compete with us and we wanted to fight hard so he can defend his title in Rio. He said on Wednesday that we had to be riding like it was the final and that we should do the same today.”
    •  Jeroen Dubbeldam NED, talking about moving up to third place ahead of Sunday’s individual final: “I have to let this sink in tonight, and tomorrow I will ride the horse and see that everything feels well. My horse feels really great, really fresh but it’s going to be a tough final with a lot of good horses and a lot of good riders. I’m feeling strong, but we will see what happens.”
    •  Andy Kistler, Swiss Chef d’Equipe: “There was so much pressure to qualify for the Olympics and for Steve and for the other Swiss riders who helped us get here. I was so, so happy with the Olympic qualification that I went away. And then Martin came and said we could get into the medals - we got two unbelievable gifts today!”

     

    Audio:

    Jeroen Dubbeldam   (NED ), Team Gold,  Audio

     Christian Ahlmann  (Germany),  Audio

     Janika Sprunger (Sui),  Audio

     Joe Clee  (GB) Audio

     Denis Lynch  (IRE) Audio

     Sergio Alvarez Moya  (ESP),   Audio

  • Belgium’s Brasseur at his best in Driving cones at Aachen 2015

    Belgium’s Brasseur at his best in Driving cones at Aachen 2015

    FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships GermanyFEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Driving (Cones phase)

    Aachen (GER), 21 August 2015                              

    Belgium’s Brasseur at his best in Driving cones at Aachen 2015

    By Cindy Timmer

    The fully packed Driving stadium in Aachen hosted the second phase of the FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand this afternoon.

    Tensions rose in tandem with the temperatures today during the exciting cones phase, with double world champion Felix Marie Brasseur from Belgium first of the 36 competitors to drive a double clear round, much to the pleasure of the enthusiastic spectators and Brasseur’s team members.

    The next driver into the arena, Hungary’s József Dobrovitz, equalled this amazing performance, passing the finish line penalty free and placing second behind the slightly faster Brasseur. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) finished third with just 0,42 time penalties.

    Selective course

    German level 4 Course Designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf had laid out a nice, but selective course for the drivers. In the end, eight drivers drove the course within the time allowed and only Brasseur and Dobrovitz managed a clear round. “I am very pleased,” said Asendorf. “One part of the course was still a bit too tight in my opinion, but if I had changed that we would have had to change the time allowed as well. The time allowed was doable, but Felix really showed how to drive a double clear.”

    Last competition

    The FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand will be the last international competition for the Belgian legend Felix-Marie Brasseur, who finished fourth today. “Unfortunately, I do not have the necessary sponsors to continue the sport at this level, but my horses were super today, and they showed the same quality as during the dressage. I gave everything I had today. I wanted to start off clean and half way through the course I noticed that I was in time, so I continued like I did.”

    First competition

    József Dobrovitz proved to be a true horseman, driving his team of KWPN and Lipizzaner horses together for the first time as a four-in-hand. “For the leader horses it is actually their first competition in the four-in-hand. They have been driven in a pair before, but never in a team. I have practiced a lot with these horses at home and this has paid off today!” he said.

    “At obstacle eight I thought I had a ball down. Luckily this was not the case, and after that I became ever more eager and concentrated. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s marathon. I will try to win around three seconds in each obstacle. I will really go for it!”

    Dobrovitz is now second in the overall standings, nine penalty points behind IJsbrand Chardon, who has created a comfortable lead.

    One point for podium

    The top four in the team results has remained unchanged, but thanks to the strong performances of IJsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, the defending European champion, the Netherlands are over 20 penalty points ahead of second-placed Hungary.

    Belgium is still third, but Germany is less than one point behind a podium place. Both Michael Brauchle and Georg von Stein performed extremely well in the cones, and with three excellent marathon drivers in the team Germany will for sure ‘attack’ in this final phase of the European Championships, which will start at 11.05 tomorrow (22 August).

    Driving individual results - Cones phase:

    1. Felix Marie Brasseur (BEL) 0
    2. József Dobrovitz (HUN) 0
    3. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 0,42
    4. Michael Brauchle (GER) 3,00
    5. Koos de Ronde (NED) 3,07
    6.  

    Driving individual standings - after Dressage and Cones:

    1. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 38,23
    2. József Dobrovitz (HUN) 47,90
    3. Koos de Ronde (NED) 48,20
    4. Felix Marie Brasseur (BEL) 48,79
    5. Juan Antonio Real Garcia (ESP) 50,07

    Driving team standings - after Dressage and Cones:

    1. The Netherlands 81,18
    2. Hungary 102,45
    3. Belgium 106,69
    4. Germany 107,57
    5. Switzerland 127,27

     

  • FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 – Jumping Day 2

    FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 – Jumping Day 2

    FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships Germany FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Jumping Day 2 Aachen (GER), 20 August 2015 French and Dutch loosen German grip on 2015 team title by Louise Parkes [caption id="attachment_9407" align="alignleft" width="557"]Leprevost Penelope, (FRA), Flora de Mariposa Team and 1th individual qualifier  FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015 © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans 19/08/15 Leprevost Penelope, (FRA), Flora de Mariposa
    Team and 1th individual qualifier
    FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015
    © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans
    19/08/15[/caption] Team France jumped into the lead in the first round of the team final at the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany this afternoon. On a day when clear rounds were hard to get, overnight individual leader Penelope Leprevost produced yet another foot-perfect performance when first in for the French side. And when team-mates Simon Delestre and Kevin Staut did likewise, her side stood firm on the score they carried through from yesterday’s opening speed competition to move up from second spot to the top of the leaderboard. The Dutch demonstrated exactly why they are the reigning world champions when also posting three fault-free runs to move up from overnight fifth to silver medal spot. And now that they are in a position of strength they look really threatening. Meanwhile the first-day leaders from Germany slipped to third, their decline halted however by two brilliant runs from Ludger Beerbaum and Daniel Deusser. With only the top ten teams eligible for tomorrow’s second round medal-decider, today’s competition was a fierce one, and the British dropped one place to fourth ahead of Ukraine in fifth spot. The Swiss really rose to the occasion, rocketing up from 13th to sixth when they were the only others to add nothing to their scoreline. Spain, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden have also made the cut. Emotions have been high all week, with Olympic qualification also hanging in the balance. As it stands this evening the last three places on offer to European teams are in the hands of the British, Swiss and Spanish. But the Danes and the Irish are hot on their heels and it’s still all to play for in tomorrow’s closing stages. Another great track Frank Rothenberger presented another great track today, testing riders of all levels. Israeli individual, Danielle Goldstein, was first to find the key with her mare Carisma when going sixth of the 10 individuals who got the class underway. And when the next clear was posted by Romain Duguet with Quorida de Treho, the Swiss began their upward curve. These championships have turned up some interesting new partnerships including Romania’s Andy Candin and his very sweet grey gelding Caruso who competes without a noseband and seems to really want to please his rider. And Russia’s Maria Madenova and Natalia Belova were eyecatchers with their two lovely horses, Kleiner Onkel and Upset des Cinq Chenes. The triple combination at fence five claimed plenty of victims, while the bending line from the vertical at nine to the oxer at 10 and the following vertical at eleven needed to be carefully handled. However two of the most influential obstacles on the course were the penultimate vertical, jumped off a roll-back, and the final double of massive oxers. The latter produced more than a few moments of drama, including a fall for Portugal’s Luis Sabino Goncalves when his gelding Filou Imperio Egipcio, who had been going beautifully until then, suddenly threw in a stop at the second element. A few horses seemed to miscalculate the two-stride distance here, but the most spectacular of all was Ben Maher’s mare Diva who picked up after one stride and landed in the middle of the second element. It wasn’t the perfect start to the British day, but both horse and rider left the arena unscathed and with another otherwise clean sheet. A 12-fault result from Jessica Mendoza and Spirit T put Maher’s team-mates under pressure, but then Joe Clee, lying individually third after a spectacular first day with Utamaro D’Ecaussines, produced another fabulous run. There was no room for error as last-line rider Michael Whitaker he set off with the stallion Cassionato, and his reaction when retrieving the situation with an amazing ride epitomised the spirit and passion that has been rippling through the competition arena this week. Talking after leaving the arena he said, “I’ve got a lot of confidence now in my horse, I didn’t know what to expect, he’s never been in this ring, and he’s never been under that kind of pressure so I didn’t know how he would react and he actually rose to the occasion”, he said proudly. And then Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, another much-respected older statesmen of the sport, came up and shook his hand. “ Great job” he said, “I hope you make it through to the Olympics”, and Michael Whitaker burst into tears. The 55-year-old veteran admitted that he had been feeling the pressure - “if I’d come out and messed it up that was it actually, we wouldn’t be going to the Olympics but now we’re still fighting tomorrow - even for a medal” he explained. Storming up the leaderboard Meanwhile the Dutch were storming up the leaderboard with clears from Dubbeldam and his world championships winning ride SFN Zenith, Jur Vrieling with VDL Zirocco Blue and Gerco Schroder with Glock’s Cognac Champblanc. But the host nation lost their grip with single mistakes from their first two riders, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Fibonacci) and Christian Ahlmann (Taloubet). Ludger Beerbaum was amazing yesterday with Chiara, and today he rode another stunning round with Chiara. “We need another good round, otherwise we are going down the ladder” he said after coming out of the ring. But Daniel Deusser’s clear with Cornet d’Amour ensured Team Germany is still very much in contention going into tomorrow’s final team test. The individual scoreboard hasn’t changed at the top end, with Leprevost still in pole position ahead of Beerbaum in second and Britain’s Clee in third. “My mare was just a dream today- he was so easy to ride, scopey, careful, everything was perfect for me!”, the Frenchwoman said. But she knows that there is still plenty more to do before the medals are awarded. “Yes we are in the lead now, but we have one more difficult day tomorrow....” she pointed out. For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit www.aachen2015.de. Full results of FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here Facts and Figures:
    • 92 horse-and-rider combinations started in today’s second competition of the FEI European Jumping Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany today.
    • 10 of the 92 were competing as individuals.
    • Teams competed in reverse order of merit.
    • Only three teams, France, Netherlands and Switzerland, produced three clear rounds today.
    • France heads the team standings going into tomorrow’s final round of the team competition with Netherlands in second and Germany in third.
    • On the individual leaderboard Penelope Leprevost FRA, Ludger Beerbaum GER and Joe Clee GBR have remained in the top three places but Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet has moved up to fourth ahead of Spain’s Sergio Alvarez
    • Moya in fifth and Ukraine’s Cassio Rivetti in sixth.
    Quotes:
    • Michael Whitaker GBR: (Talking about today’s course) “you couldn’t get it wrong, you had to ride every fence, think about the lines, even the last fence, the problems it caused. You had to get it all right. Joe was brilliant and Ben was brilliant - what the mare (Maher’s Diva) did was absolutely nothing to do with Ben. She just took it in her own hands to take off and Ben did unbelievable to stay on! He deserves a medal actually!”
    • Ludger Beerbaum GER: “today is the team competition, and that’s what counts. I’m really pleased with her (Chiara) performance, it was harmonious, a really nice easy-going round.”
    • Jessica Sprunger SUI- “We knew it was like our final day today, otherwise the championship was over for us, so we did the best we could. We made three clear rounds and now we have to see how it is at the end of the day. After yesterday everyone was disappointed because the horses are in good shape, but yesterday not even one pair could bring a top result home. So it was difficult after yesterday, but we tried to put that aside and just focus on jumping clear, whatever it would take, we were fighting. I was very nervous - normally I’m nervous walking the course or before I go in, but today I was very nervous riding. We have fought our way back, and we won’t give up until the end!”
    • Jeroen Dubbeldam NED: “I didn’t have to do too much today because my horse did everything for me. Normally in a triple combination on two strides he comes out too fast, but he didn’t. The only thing I have to do now is not get too easy for tomorrow, I have to keep sharp”.
    Audio:
    • [caption id="attachment_9406" align="alignright" width="600"] Clee Joe, (GBR), Utamaro D Ecaussines Clee Joe, (GBR), Utamaro D Ecaussines Team and 1th individual qualifier FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015 © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans 19/08/15 Clee Joe, (GBR), Utamaro D Ecaussines
      Clee Joe, (GBR), Utamaro D Ecaussines
      Team and 1th individual qualifier
      FEI European Championships - Aachen 2015
      © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans
      19/08/15[/caption] Penelope Leprovost France Audio
    • Ludger Beerbaum Germany Audio
    • Joe Clee GBR Audio
    • Michael Whitaker Audio
    • Denis Lynch Ireland Audio
    • Jannika Sprunger Switzerland Audio
    • Jereon Dubbeldam The Netherlands Audio
  • Charlotte Dujardin / Valegro, 2015 Grand Prix Freestyle Aachen

    Charlotte Dujardin / Valegro, 2015 Grand Prix Freestyle Aachen

    Published on Aug 17, 2015

    FEI European Championship 2015, Aachen August 16, 2015 Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle

    (1) Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), Valegro - KWPN, 89.054 (2) Kristina Bröring-Sprehe (GER), Desperados FRH - HANN, 88.804 (3) Beatriz Ferrer - Salat (ESP), Delgado - WESTF, 82.714
  • Top 3 Dressage Freestyle – Aachen – FEI European Championships 2015

    Top 3 Dressage Freestyle – Aachen – FEI European Championships 2015

    Here are the top 3 dressage performances from the FEI European Championships in Aachen with Beatriz Ferrer Salat (ESP) with her horse Delgado, Kristina Bröring-Sprehe with Desperados (GER) Chralotte Dujardin (GBR) with Valegro. The FEI European Championships take place from the 11/08/2015 - 23/08/2015 in Aachen, Germany.
  • Dutch dominate Driving at Aachen 2015

    Dutch dominate Driving at Aachen 2015

    FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Driving (Dressage phase)FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships Germany Aachen (GER), 20 August 2015 Dutch dominate Driving at Aachen 2015 By Cindy Timmer The Dutch four-in-hand drivers have dominated the dressage phase at the FEI European Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand in Aachen, which got underway yesterday with all 180 horses and 36 competitors. The four-time world champion IJsbrand Chardon (NED) won this first phase of the Championships, ahead of his compatriot and defending European champion Theo Timmerman. Spain’s Juan Antonio Real Garcia broke the “Orange domination” by finishing in third place, followed by the third Dutch team member Koos de Ronde in fourth. With three Dutch drivers now in the top four, The Netherlands has taken an early lead, with Hungary and Belgium lying second and third respectively in the team standings. Winning test IJsbrand Chardon was second to go this morning and the 26-time Dutch Champion put down the winning test, despite a small mistake in the second walk when his right leader horse trotted. “I am very pleased with my performance, apart from the walk. The horses formed a nice team together and my wheeler horses were very good today. If the walk had gone well as well, this would have been my best test of the season,” said Chardon. New wheeler horses Defending European individual and team champion Theo Timmerman is competing with two new horses in the wheel of his team this season. The start to the season has not been easy, but today in the sunny and beautiful Deutsche Bank Stadion, it all worked out for him. “Our goal this season was to prepare for the FEI World Championships 2016 in Breda. If things had not worked out, that would have been our own choice. We decided not to start in Riesenbeck earlier this month, and we drove a national competition instead to build the four-in-hand even more. It went very well there and also in the training session with our national coach Harry de Ruyter, who kept faith in us. It is super that it worked out well today!” explained Timmerman. Spain excels Juan Antonio Real Garcia, the first starter today and finishing third, is trained by triple world champion Boyd Exell (AUS). A multiple four-in-hand champion, Real Garcia is competing with two horses from Exell’s four-in-hand gold medal winning team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014. “I am very pleased with my test, despite two small mistakes. One of my leaders had a break in the walk and during the one-handed circle, which was a pity,” said Real Garcia. Close scores Hungarian drivers Zoltán Lázár and József Dobrovitz set the same score in the dressage today, finishing fifth and putting Team Hungary in second place. The most experienced Belgian driver Felix-Marie Brasseur and his young compatriot Edouard Simonet finished in 7th and 8th respectively, and with very close scores of 48.79 and 48.90. Michael Brauchle, whose best phase is normally the marathon, put down the best German performance in the dressage phase. Brauchle finished ninth, followed by his team mates Georg von Stein and Christoph Sandmann. Friday cones The FEI European Driving Championships 2015 will enter the second phase tomorrow (21 August), with the cones competition. As with Saturday’s final marathon stage, tomorrow’s cones phase will see athletes start in reverse order of results. Driving individual results - dressage phase:
    1. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 38.81
    2. Theo Timmerman (NED) 39.88
    3. Juan Antonio Real Garcia (ESP) 44.07
    Driving team results - dressage phase:
    1. The Netherlands 77.69
    2. Hungary 95.80
    3. Belgium 97.69
  • Massive herd of horses gallop on the grassland of Xinjiang.

    Massive herd of horses gallop on the grassland of Xinjiang.

    This is soooo cool from CCTVNews  an  Aerial video: Massive herd of horses gallop on the grassland of Xinjiang. “I have never seen such a thrilling scene!” a tourist shouted as he watched a massive number of horses galloping on the grassland at the opening of the 2015 Tianma International Tourism Festival in Yili, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. A CCTV reporter recorded this beautiful scene with an aerial camera, so check the video to feel the thrill.
  • Double-gold for Germany; Belgium, France, Ireland and Sweden also top the podium

    Double-gold for Germany; Belgium, France, Ireland and Sweden also top the podium

    FEIFEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2015 Double-gold for Germany; Belgium, France, Ireland and Sweden also top the podium By Louise Parkes Riders from five different nations claimed gold at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2015 which drew to a close at Wiener Neustadt in Austria yesterday. Germany scooped both the Junior and Children’s team titles while Belgium topped the Young Riders team event. Sweden’s Ebba Larsson was crowned individual Young Rider champion, Camille Conde Ferreira took Junior Individual gold for France and Ireland’s Jennifer Kuehnle stood on the top step of the podium in the Children’s individual Championship. Young Riders The Belgians were untouchable for the Young Riders team title when Jonas Vervoort and his 10-year-old gelding Delight 50 were the only ones to fault in either round, making a single mistake each time out for the discard. Michael van den Bosch (Atilja), Boy-Adrian van Gelderen (B Cool) and Pieter Clemens (Quality ll) all jumped clear. Clemens, who was on the silver medal winning team at the FEI Junior European Jumping Championships at Ebreichsdorf in Austria three years ago, is a cousin of the Philippaerts twins, Nicola and Olivier, who compete in the Belgian senior squad. The generational theme was prominent once again at this year’s fixture, with many of the young competitors following in the footsteps of close, and extended, family. Germany, Ireland and Great Britain, all lying second with eight faults on the board, were left to battle it out in a third-round jump-off for silver and bronze. And the medals were decided by the clock in the end, when all three nations stayed clear. Germany’s Kaya Luthi (Pret a Tour), Niklas Krieg (Carella), Guido Klatte (Qinghai) and Maurice Tebbel (Chacco’s Son) posted the fastest combined time of 110.83 to take the silver while the Ireland’s Eoin McMahon (Prophan), Michael G Duffy (Felix), Jonathan Gordon (Fellini) and Michael Duffy (Miss Untouchable) were two seconds adrift when clinching bronze. The British were also foot-perfect, but missed the podium by almost three seconds. Silver medallists Krieg and Tebbel were members of Germany’s gold medal winning Young Riders’ side last year. A total of 14 nations fielded teams and 78 riders from 22 countries battled it out for the individual medals. The Belgians had to settle for the minor placings in the individual championship in which Sweden’s Ebba Larsson and the KWPN gelding, Waterford, reigned supreme. Larsson, who will turn 20 next weekend, finished 11th in the first qualifier won by fellow-Swede Elina Petersson (Canasta Z), and then sixth in the second individual competition which also decided the team medals. She was the only one to jump double-clear on the Swedish team that finished eighth, and when she produced yet another double-clear yesterday with her 12-year-old horse which is by Coolcorran Cool Diamond, the stallion ridden to great success by Irish Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine, then she finished well ahead of Germany’s Kaya Luthi who took silver medal spot with Pret a Tour for the second year in a row and Guido Klatte who claimed bronze with Qinghai. Juniors The Germans had it all their own way in the Junior team championship however, winning outright with an eight-fault scoreline after the first two rounds. They shared the lead with the defending champions from Britain and Irish at the halfway stage on zero, but were obliged to add eight faults when Christoph Maack (Dyleen), Philip Houston (Kannella) and Leonie Kreig (Champerlo) all returned four-fault results second time out. Theresa Ripke’s double-clear with Calmado meant they could drop one of the single errors however, so with gold already in their grasp they watched from the sidelines as the Irish and British, each carrying 12 faults, battled it out for the other two sets of medals. And the Irish rallied brilliantly, Philip Carey who picked up 20 faults over the first two rounds staying clear this time out with Belle Rock while Susan Fitzpatrick (Cavalino) and Anna Carway (Ajaccio) were also fault-free. Fourth-line rider, Cormac Hanley (Caracter), didn’t need to return to the ring and Carway was the only competitor to produce three clear rounds in the team event. Pathfinder, Faye Adams (Zozo CL), made no mistake against the clock for Great Britain, but single errors from Harry Charles (Vivaldi du Dom), 16-year-old son of London 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Peter Charles, and from 2014 Children’s individual champion Robert Murphy (Del Fuego) added eight more to the British tally to leave them on 20 and with no reason for anchor rider and 2014 team gold medallist Millie Allen (Balou Star) to run, because the podium placings were already settled. It was Camille Conde Ferreira, a member of the fifth-placed French side, who claimed the individual Junior title with Pirole de la Chatre. The 16-year-old, who won team gold and individual bronze in the Children’s Championship at Vejar de la Frontera, Spain in 2013, finished ninth on the opening day when Switzerland’s Emilie Paillot came out on top with Caja. Conde Ferreira then jumped double-clear in the team competition and yesterday won through despite a pole down in the closing stages. And British team members scooped both of the other two medals, Harry Charles snatching the silver ahead of Millie Allen in bronze. Children Riders carried their results from the first individual qualifier into the Children’s team event in which Germany won through once again ahead of Britain in silver and Poland in bronze. Britain, Italy and France shared the lead when starting the team competition on a zero score, and the French looked really strong when adding nothing more to their scoreline at the end of the first round. Round two was limited to the top 10 of the 21 competing nations, and it was here that the French lost their grip when putting eight faults on the board. Carrying just a single time fault, the Germans were lying in wait. Beeke Carstensen (Venetzia) - a member of the 2014 bronze medal winning German side - Hannes Ahlmann (Sunsalve) and Calvin Bockmann (Carvella Z) all went clear in the second round when Roth Britt’s four faults with Casablanca 84 was the drop-score and they finished on an unassailable single penalty point to take the gold. The British snatched silver when India Bussey (Westwinds Ego), Hallie Lunn (Brookwood Supersonic), Oliver Fletcher (Little Business) and Lottie Tutt (Babylon) completed with four faults and that left Poland and Italy to jump-off for bronze. The Italians had collected one time-fault in the opening round of the team competition and then added four more, so they were on level pegging with the Polish side who stayed clear in both rounds of the team competition but had to carry five faults from first individual qualifier. And it was a clear-cut result, Dalia Lehmann (Quitoki), Wiktoria Glowacka (Aronia), Filip Lewicki (Codetia VDL) and Aleksandra Boklo (Dragon) collecting just four faults in the jump-off score while the Italians collected 12 to miss the podium. Ireland’s Jennifer Kuehnle and Chaitanya 2 went into a four-way jump-off against Germany’s Carstensen, Bockmann and Piet Menke (Cesha Old) for the individual title. And the 13-year-old Irish girl showed the rest a clean pair of heels when posting a time of 34.07 seconds that pinned Bockmann into silver and Menke into bronze. Carstensen was unfortunately eliminated. Both of the top two riders are multi-talented, also competing in the discipline of Eventing, and 14-year-old Bockmann has every reason to celebrate his summer as his Jumping silver medal comes just two weeks after he earned individual gold at the FEI European Eventings Championships 2015 in Malmo, Sweden. Results FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2015: Young Rider Team Championship:
    • GOLD - Belgium 0 faults: Delight 50 (Jonas Vervoort) 4/4, Atilja (Michael van den Bosch) 0/0, Be Cool (Boy-Adrian van Gelderen) 0/0, Quality ll (Pieter Clemens) 0/0;
    • SILVER - Germany 8 faults/J-Off 0/110.83: Pret a Tout (Kaya Luthi) 0/4/4, Carella 5 (Niklas Krieg) 0/4/0, Qinghai (Guido Klatte) 0/4/0, Chacco’s Son (Maurice Tebbel) 0/0/0;
    • BRONZE - Ireland 8 faults/J-Off 0/112.99: Prophan (Eoin McMahon) 4/16/0, Felix (Michael G Duffy) 0/8/0, Miss Untouchable (Michael Duffy) 0/0/0, Felini (Jonathan Gordon) 0/0/4.
    Young Rider Individual Championship:
    • GOLD - Waterford (Ebba Larsson) SWE 2.60;
    • SILVER - Pret a Tout (Kaya Luthi) GER 6.10;
    • BRONZE - Qinghai (Guido Klatte) GER 7.57.
    Junior Team Championship:
    • GOLD - Germany 8 faults: Dyleen (Christoph Maack) 0/4, Calmado (Theresa Ripke) 0/0, Kannella (Philip Houston (Kannella) 4/4, Champerlo (Leonie Krieg) 0/4;
    • SILVER - Ireland 12 faults/J-Off 0/115.02; Belle Rock (Philip Carey) 4/16/0, Cavalino (Susan Fitzpatrick) 0/4/0, Ajaccio (Anna Carway) 0/0/0, Caracter (Cormac Hanley) 0/8/DNS;
    • BRONZE - Great Britain 20 faults/J-Off 8/115.14; Zozo CL (Faye Adams) 0/4/0, Vivaldi du Dom (Harry Charles) 0/4/4, Del Fuego (Robert Murphy) 4/8/4, Balou Star (Millie Allen) 0/4/DNS.
    Junior Individual Championship:
    • GOLD - Pirole de la Chatre (Camille Conde Ferreira) FRA 6.94;
    • SILVER - Vivaldi du Dom (Harry Charles) GBR 7.50;
    • BRONZE - Balou Star (Millie Allen) GBR 9.67.
    Children’s Team Championship:
    • GOLD - Germany 1 fault: Venetzia (Beeke Carstensen) 0/0/0, Sunsalve (Hannes Ahlmann) 1,0/0, Casablanca 84 (Britt Roth) 15,0/4, Carvella Z (Calvin Bockmann) 0/0/0;
    • SILVER - Great Britain 4 faults: Westwinds Ego (India Bussey) 0/8/0, Brookwood Supersonic (Hallie Lunn) 0/4/0, Little Business (Oliver Fletcher) 1,0,0, Babylon (Lottie tutt) 0/0/4:
    • BRONZE - Poland 5 faults/J-Off 4/105.35: Quitoki (Dalia Lehmann) 0/0/0, Aronia (Wiktoria Glowacka) 1/08, Codetia VDL (Filip Lewicki) 4/4/0, Dragon (Aleksandra Bolko) 6/0/0.
    Children’s Individual Championship:
    • GOLD - Chaitanya 2 (Jennifer Kuehnle) IRL 0/0/0 34.07:
    • SILVER - Carvella Z (Calvin Bockmann) 0/0/0 35.34:
    • BRONZE - Cesha Old (Piet Menke) GER 0/0/0 37.08.
  • Rich Fellers and Flexible win Longines FEI World Cup

    Rich Fellers and Flexible win Longines FEI World Cup

    FEI World Cup LonginesFEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 17 August 2015 ™ Jumping North American League at Thunderbird By Esther Hahn Longtime partners, and perennial crowd favorites, Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible yesterday topped a field of 25 to claim the victory of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League class at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia. Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted a record-breaking number of spectators to the beautiful, green show grounds, where the sport’s top athletes attempted to clear the first round of 13 obstacles with 16 jumping attempts. A variety of rails dropped throughout the 1.60-meter track, indicating a well designed course. And multiple riders accrued faults at the triple combination that followed the sliced turns from the jump-eight oxer. The questions asked by course designer Alan Wade (IRL) proved difficult for the inexperienced and the experienced pairs alike. Just a few months after appearing at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas, Vinton Karrasch (USA) and Coral Reef Follow Me II were eliminated after two refusals. Two additional horse-and-rider teams did not finish the round. Sixteen pairs unsuccessfully attempted clears before the first clear round came from America’s Will Simpson and The Dude. Following a record-breaking HITS Thermal winter circuit earlier in the year, the 2008 Olympian efficiently maneuvered the sprawling course without a single fault. “When you’re riding The Dude, anything can happen,” Simpson said about the nine-year-old gelding. A few rounds later, 2012 Olympian Fellers and his 19-year-old chestnut stallion added a second clear round to make for a jump off. Canada’s Ben Asselin, aboard Plume de la Roque, was the third and final clear as the 24th in the order of go. Winning experience “We’re probably the most experienced pair in the world, if you add our two ages together,” Fellers, 55, commented, as he and Flexible exited the arena after their first round. “He’s just a dream. He keeps getting smarter and better.” Fellers drew on this experience in the jump off, shaving just over a second off of Simpson’s clear round. Asselin attempted to improve on Fellers’ score, but a pulled rail in the seven-obstacle course forced him to settle for third place. “I have so much experience with that horse that there’s not too many things that I see anymore that we haven’t seen before,” Fellers explained. “I really thought it was a difficult course when I walked it, but I rode just like I walked it, and he rode just like I wanted him to ride.” But Fellers knew he would have to push hard to beat Simpson. He and Flexible entered the ring for the jump off after only jumping one, small vertical as a warm up. The first round had taken a lot out of the horse, and Fellers wanted to allow for Flexible’s breathing to return to normal before asking for another big effort. “I watched Will (ride the jump off), and I’ve seen him ride for years,” Fellers said. “I think he’s a phenomenal and fast jump off rider, perhaps the fastest in the world. I watched him win and win at Thermal this year. He laid down a brilliant round, and the horse jumped super all the way around and was quite fast. I knew I couldn’t take it easy.” So in his plan of attack, he shaved tighter turns, almost hitting his knee on a ditch jump in the ring. He also opted to take out a stride in his approach to the double combination. “It went great,” he said. “It was one of those rounds that everything came up sweet, so there wasn’t a lot of stress on Flexible, which is one of my goals at this state in his career. He’s never been better. I know that doesn’t make any sense with his age - that he could be as good as he ever was - but he feels as good as ever.” Simple planning Regardless of winning the first West Coast event for the North American League, Fellers’ goals for Flexible aren’t set on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg (SWE), just yet. “He’s never sharp coming out of the winter, and I think it might have something to do with his testosterone and that he’s a stallion,” Fellers explained. “I know the Finals are in March so that makes it a little more unlikely (in terms of timing).” Flexible is scheduled to remain at Thunderbird for another week to compete in an upcoming three-star class on Sunday. Then he’ll return home to Oregon for a couple of weeks to rest before traveling to the Spruce Meadows Masters and to the next North American League event on the West Coast at the Sacramento International Horse Show. “At this stage, he’s feeling great, super sound and loving the sport and craving competitions,” Fellers explained. “As long as that’s the same, I’ll keep carefully picking and choosing where he competes. I’m into ‘simple.’ That’s how I evaluate everything (for Flexible).” Results 1. Flexible (Richard Fellers), USA, 0 faults/40.51 seconds (JO); 2. The Dude (Will Simpson), USA, 0 faults/41.71 (JO); 3. Plume de la Roque (Ben Asselin), CAN, 4 faults/43.01 (JO); 4. Agrostar (Ashlee Bond), USA, 4 faults/79.90; 5. S F Ariantha (Andres Rodriguez), VEN, 4 faults/82.56; 6. Tembla (Karl Cook), USA, 4 faults/83.29; 7. New York (Jack Towell), USA, 4 faults/84.11; 8. Calero (Allyssa Hecht), USA, 4 faults/84.76. Facts & Figures The course designer was Alan Wade (IRL). Every year, he designs at least three to four FEI World Cup™ qualifier events. He is confirmed to design the courses at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League classes at the American Gold Cup and at the Sacramento International in September. Three riders, out of a starting field of 25, jumped clear in the first round to advance into the jump off. In the first round, there were six horse-and-rider pairs with four faults, two pairs with five faults, two pairs with eight faults, three pairs with nine faults, a pair with ten faults, a pair with 12 faults, a pair with 13 faults, a pair with 22 faults and two pairs with 24 faults. Three pairs were eliminated. Hannah von Heidegger (USA) was the youngest competitor, having just turned 18 in May. She finished in ninth place aboard Geledimar with four faults. Rich Fellers and Flexible have a combined age of 74. Quotes Alan Wade (IRE): “I’m sure most of the four faulters, if they had a second chance, they would jump clear.” “I prefer grass for footing. When you have proper footing, it takes a lot of pressure off me as a course designer. I liked that the footing (at Thunderbird) was the same from start to finish.” Jane Tidball (CAN): “Our partnerships with Longines and with Asmar Equestrian, as a presenting sponsor, are raising the level of show jumping in North America. We’ve never seen show jumping this great here in Langley, B.C.” Ben Asselin (CAN): “I was on a relatively new mount today, Plume de la Roque, and we wanted to use this competition as a builder for the rest of her career. We had a great result today, and I think that that momentum is just going to carry on to the future to bigger things.” Advice for aspiring riders in university: “The best advice that I ever got was perseverance. These guys have been doing it for a very long time. I was even talking to Will Simpson earlier in the week, and he said it takes a long time to get to the top and to stay at the top, it’s a game of perseverance. People lose a lot more than they win.” Will Simpson (USA): “It’s great to be in a jump off when there’s only three, but that was the problem with these two guys. I’ve been watching Ben ride all week. He’s been working hard, he’s got an unbelievable, quality ride going, and it’s great to see a young guy work hard like that. I knew he was going to be tough. And this guy right here, (Fellers), I’m sick of looking at this guy. (Laughs.) He’s been hounding me my whole life. I love being in a jump off with him. He’s a great competitor, and I don’t feel bad at all by being beat by a horse-and-rider combination like that. I had a great day. Rich Fellers (USA): “I think (the long-term partnership with Flexible) is similar to any long-term relationship in life - you just have more knowledge, more experience, more details and you can anticipate the outcome better.” Andrea Strain (CAN): “I haven’t done too many of these big tracks, and it was big enough for me. A few of the early riders had some complications, and for sure there was a little bit of doubt in my mind whether I should go. But the amazing thing about my horse that I have, she gives me amazing confidence, and the course was great and it was built well. It was a learning track. I made a couple of mistakes later on, but it was a confidence-building round.” Thunderbird Show Park Thunderbird Show Park is one of North America’s premier equestrian facilities. Situated on 85 acres, it is located just 35 minutes from Vancouver, in beautiful Langley, British Columbia. It is the largest venue of its kind on Canada's West Coast, and it features seven competition arenas with award-winning footing. “The first priority is footing, next is great sponsors, like Longines and Noel Asmar, and the final touch is a welcoming attitude,” said Jane Tidball, co-owner of Thunderbird and the President and Tournament Director. Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for next year’s prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on 23-28 March 2016. The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.
  • Narrow victory for Dujardin in hard-fought Freestyle

    Narrow victory for Dujardin in hard-fought Freestyle

    FEI Aachen 2015 European Championships GermanyFEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Grand Prix Freestyle Aachen (GER), 16 August 2015 Narrow victory for Dujardin in hard-fought Freestyle by Louise Parkes It was double-gold for Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro when the British superstars added the Freestyle title to yesterday’s Grand Prix Special honours at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen (GER) this evening. But today’s medal was particularly hard-won, with Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe only 0.25 percent off Dujardin’s winning score when taking silver with Desperados FRH, while Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat produced another sensation when claiming the bronze with Delgado. Continuing the week-long theme of expecting the unexpected, the day began with the news that Britain’s Fiona Bigwood was withdrawn because her mare, Atterupgaards Orthilia, had a “slight skin reaction causing sensitivity”. And then, just before the competition began, it was announced that Anna Kaskpkrzak had also pulled out. The Danish rider is no shrinking violet and had climbed into the saddle to prepare for her early-afternoon start with Donnperignon. But the pain she has been suffering since she was kicked in the chest by her horse after the horse inspection six days ago was just too intense today. Strong test Newly-crowned European team champion, Patrick van der Meer from the The Netherlands, got the competition underway with a nice test from Uzzo who set the standard at 74.375, and this was followed by the farewell performance of Morgan Barbancon Mestre’s 18-year-old stallion Painted Black who posted 73.375. However it was Karen Tebar from France who led the way into the first competition break. It is rare to see a rider smiling as they enter the arena, especially one as intimidating as the Soers in Aachen, but the 50-year-old who fits her competitive career around managing her own German-based company, looked equally as happy as her 10-year-old gelding Don Luis who, in his first year at international level, took over the lead with a score of 74.964. The target rocketed up to 80.214 when German team bronze medallist, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, took her turn with Unee BB, their performance concluding with a dare-devil extended trot up the centre-line. And then Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven went out in front, the six-time Olympian and her 13-year-old gelding demonstrating their unique partnership based on a mutual understanding that allows them to ebb and flow with the rhythm of their test for a mark of 80.643. A day to savour This was a day to savour, with many young horses suggesting great future potential, including the nine-year-old Batuta ridden by Portugal’s Goncalo Carvalho (72.768) and Carl Hester’s 10-year-old Nip Tuck (79.571) for Great Britain. But it was the 82.482 produced by Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH that was the score to beat as the final four took their turn. Werth is both a natural-born entertainer as well as an edge-of-the-seat competitor, and she had the home crowd right behind her as she swung her way through her musical score that included a newly-introduced excerpt from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” - the late, great Freddie Mercury singing “nothing really matters” - but of course it did. And the crowd went wild when the judges awarded 82.482. Still the excitement was far from over. Only a chosen few knew that Beatriz Ferrer-Salat would shine this week. First, like Frenchwoman Tebar, she would steer her country into an Olympic qualifying spot and then go on to finish just off the podium in yesterday’s Grand Prix Special. As she started into her routine today it was clear the Spanish rider was upping her game even further, her chestnut gelding Delgado presenting a beautifully balanced, forward-going picture as they cruised through seamless transitions and presented a picture of lightness and harmony for a new leading score of 82.714. Quite an achievement for a horse that has struggled with unsoundness since he was a six-year-old and who, at 14 years of age, is only now getting the opportunity to show his true ability. Close to perfection But while that was lovely to watch, the penultimate performance of Bröring-Sprehe and her fabulous black stallion was close to perfection. The 28-year-old rider came to Aachen this week with a weight of expectation on her shoulders, and although she didn’t get the result she wanted in the team competition she was very impressive when taking silver in yesterday’s Grand Prix Special. Today however the horse-and-rider combination were in a different league altogether, lighting up the ring with spectacular passage and piaffe, the tiniest of pirouettes and breath-taking extended trot. The defending champions were chasing a big score of 88.804 as they set off, and it was difficult to know if they would beat that score. Dujardin found the one-tempi changes something of a bug-bear this week and once again they let the pair down this afternoon, but even though her 13-year-old gelding was much less animated than in yesterday’s test, the quality of their work was such that they overtook their German rivals by a narrow 0.25 percent to round up their week with both of the individual titles. Only the ones Talking afterwards, the record-breaking rider said, “it was only the ones (one-tempi changes) that let the performance down. I think he’s got a thing with them now, he’s done it all week. Yesterday in the last one he made a mistake, outside he’s been really good with them. It’s only one movement at the end of the day and it has cost me, but I was really happy with the rest of it. “The toughest part of being here is having to deal with the crowd, you know they are rooting for their nation, and when I walked in there was a huge atmosphere. Then her (Kristina’s) score came up just as I went in, and I had to deal with that as well. And then we had a shot of Isabell (Werth) stuffing her face with something, so as I went to start the crowd were laughing! So there was a lot in my mind to deal with at the very beginning. I think I handled it quite well”, she said. Ferrer-Salat said of her bronze medal finish today, “when we came here I was expecting to qualify the team for Rio and I hoped to get into the Kur, but a medal? Never! I’m very happy for my horse, I’ve had him for years and he’s always been injured, but now we have rehabilitated him. It has taken a long, long time, but it’s been worth it!” At the post-competition press conference, Freestyle silver medallist Bröring-Sprehe said, “Desperados was so fantastic, so good to ride today, he felt great in the atmosphere and we did our best Freestyle ever. Next year I hope”, she added, and then looked across at Dujardin and hesitated, “next year - I want to do even better!” Championships were tough It sounded like a warning to Dujardin who admitted these Championships were tough. “Yeah, I knew it would be coming here. But in the end I’m going home with two golds and a silver medal, so I’m happy!” she replied. Asked about the narrow margin between herself and Bröring-Sprehe she said, “that’s sport and it makes it more and more exciting...it would be really boring if I was winning by miles all the time. So the fact that Kristina is catching me up - everyone, even Edward in the Grand Prix - I think for me here I just had mistakes in my tests. I haven’t had one test which I haven’t had mistakes in, and that’s obviously expensive, but I know when I have a mistake-free test it’s a very good test. He’s (Valegro) going to have a holiday now for three weeks and I’ll work on it and hopefully get my changes back and go to Olympia...get ready for Rio. I’m not giving up easily!" she concluded. For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit www.aachen2015.de. Result Grand Prix Freestyle: Gold: Valegro (Charlotte Dujardin) GBR 88.982; Sllver: Desperados FRH (Kristina Bröring-Sprehe) 88.804; Bronze: Delgado (Beatriz Ferrer-Salat) ESP 82.714. Facts and Figures: 13 horse-and-rider combinations lined out for today’s Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany. There were two withdrawals - Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood whose mare Atterupgaards Orthilia was experiencing “a slight skin reaction causing sensitivity” and Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak who was feeling unwell. She was kicked in the chest by her horse, Donnperignon, during Tuesday’s veterinary inspection and rode in both the team competition and in the Grand Prix Special - she finished 11th in the latter. 8 nations were represented in today's Freestyle final - Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The Netherlands and Germany each had three riders qualified for the final competition. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro claimed the gold for the second time - they also topped the podium at the 2013 FEI European Dressage Championships staged in Herning, Denmark. Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe finished in silver medal spot with Desperados FRH and Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat took the bronze with Delgado. 96,000 spectators attended the Dressage competitions during the week at the Soers Arena while the full tally of spectators for all events to date iss 159,000. Quotes: Kristina Bröring-Sprehe GER: "I’m really happy, Desperados was wonderful today, so easy to ride all the time and the audience at the end - it was perfect!" Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP: "I have the horse (Delgado) since he was six, he has been injured a lot....so I would go to a show, stop him, go to a show, stop him again, but every time he was really good, really good, so I just keep trying. Finally we got it solved, and I started in March in Spain and did a couple of shows in Spain and then my first international outing was at Hagen and then I came here. Our goal was to qualify for the Olympics, which we achieved, finishing fourth and then when I saw I was in the top five I was really surprised, then yesterday I was fourth and today I was third. I got him sound thanks to a chiropractor and a masseur. No medicines, no nothing, just this and that’s the only way until now he has been sound. I had taken this horse to clinics, vets everything but there was no way to get him sound. We did it just naturally, a lot of rehabilitation, very slowly, slowly, slowly and now he’s really, really good. This is a hard week....because it’s a bit hot I have to ride him twice, once in the stadium when it was open, he’s really sound at the moment.” Audio: Charlotte Dujardin Kristina Broring-Sprehe Beatriz Ferrer-Salat Carl Hester
  • Dujardin does a Special double on dramatic day in Aachen

    Dujardin does a Special double on dramatic day in Aachen

    FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 - Grand Prix Special Aachen (GER), 15 August 2015 Dujardin does a Special double on dramatic day in Aachen by Louise Parkes Defending champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and her much-loved superstar gelding Valegro, made it two-in-a-row when clinching Grand Prix Special gold at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER) this afternoon. On a day of huge tension, sizzling excitement and wonderful entertainment in the hallowed Soers arena, the 30-year-old rider managed to lay to rest the memory of her only significant defeat in the incredible career she has enjoyed with the horse she calls Blueberry. All three medals were hard-earned, and the record-breaking British duo set yet another new FEI European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special target score of 87.577, overtaking the 85.699 they set in Herning (DEN) two years ago. There was plenty for the host nation to celebrate too when Kristina Bröring-Sprehe recovered from a much less impressive test in the team event to really show what she is made of to claim silver with Desperados FRH. The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson TN took bronze, but it was bitter-sweet for the Dutchman, as his life-partner and team-mate, Edward Gal, who lifted The Netherlands to team gold on Thursday, was eliminated when last into the arena with Glock’s Undercover. Set the standard Perhaps the bravest performance of the competition was produced by Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak who set the early standard when 12th into the arena with Donnperignon. The 25-year-old was kicked in the chest by her 16-year-old gelding after Tuesday’s horse inspection. “I was in the hospital, nothing was broken but I have a lot of pain”, she said after posting a good mark of 73.473 this afternoon. “In the team comp it was difficult, it hurts to breathe, but today I am really satisfied, we really did our best.” And she was still out in front when Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH set the arena alight an hour later. Werth’s popularity with her knowledgeable home crowd is second to none, but they gasped in disbelief when, instead of going into half-pass right, she asked Don Johnson FRH for walk and he obediently obliged. She corrected her mistake very quickly and then, demonstrating exactly why she has such a legion of fans who admire her sheer determination and consummate skill, the multi-medalled rider just carried on calmly with a big smile on her face. She laughed about it after putting a mark of 75.924 on the board. “What happened? Maybe I’m too old or maybe I’m too blonde, you can choose whatever you want!” she said. “It was really stupid, but remember in Herning three of the medallists went the wrong way, and today I think maybe it was a bit of entertainment for the spectators!” The second session ended with a lovely ride from Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, who raised the bar once again when posting 76.148 with the ever-elegant Don Auriello, but the medallists all came from the final group of 10 in which Carl Hester was first to surpass the Swedish rider’s target. His massive gelding, Nip Tuck, had turned intermittently shy on him during the team test, but today produced a much more confident performance. “He was brilliant”, he said afterwards. “For such a big horse, I have to be able to make quite a lot of adjustments to keep him balanced at the moment, but he absolutely did everything I asked, he let me help. I’m smiling from ear to ear.... he’s gone and nailed it for me today.” Topped the leaderboard His score of 77.003 topped the leaderboard until Bröring-Sprehe set off with Desperados FRH who produced one of the few flawless tests of the competition. Hopes had been pinned on the fabulous black stallion and his 28-year-old rider to retrieve the situation when things didn’t go Germany’s way in the team competition. It didn’t happen then, but the pair were completely in tune today, floating through extended trot and presenting a really attractive picture. When a massive 83.067 went up on the scoreboard the cameras swung to German Chef d’Equipe, Monica Theordorescu, and the tears of joy were clearly visible in her eyes. “They looked so beautiful together, and I’m so very proud”, Theodorescu said afterwards. “I train Kristina at home and she is such a nice and quiet person. I knew what a nice job they could do, and today they were so harmonious, it made me very happy!” the three-time Olympic team gold medallist said. The German’s advantage didn’t last long however, as Dujardin, looking nervous but determined, strode down the centre line and set about the business of wowing the crowd with Valegro’s trademark piaffe, passage and extravagant extended trot. All of the Ground Jury had placed Bröring-Sprehe in pole position a few minutes earlier, and they were in total agreement once again when coming up with a final mark of 87.577 for the British duo, who took over at the head of affairs despite a mistake at the end of the one-tempi changes. Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat has enjoyed a fantastic week, ensuring her country’s berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a brilliant performance in the team event. And once again today she produced a sparkling test from the 14-year-old gelding Delgado who posted 77.395 to temporarily take bronze medal spot. But the penultimate partnership of Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson TN edged them out when scoring 79.034, and now only his Dutch counterpart, Gal, was left to challenge for gold. Feeling ill It had been an uneasy 24 hours in the Dutch camp leading up to today’s competition however, with team gold medallists Gal and Minderhoud both feeling ill. And Gal was clearly having problems with Glock’s Undercover, who was reluctant to even enter the arena to begin his test this afternoon. The Dutchman persevered, but the gelding was so over-excited he piaffed instead of doing his first halt, and the tense test was finally drawn to a premature close when the Judge at C, Andrew Gardner, rang the bell and stepped into the arena to tell Gal that he couldn’t continue because of blood in the horse’s mouth. Bronze medallist, Minderhoud, admitted afterwards that he was feeling weak during his test. “My legs felt a bit like spaghetti” he said, but although he was deeply disappointed for Gal, he was delighted to have picked up his very first individual European medal. Silver medallist, Bröring-Sprehe, said she enjoyed herself much more today. “It was easy to ride”, she said. “On the first day there was a lot of pressure, but today Desperados was very concentrated and I had such a good feeling in passage and piaffe!” A bit laid back Gold medallist Dujardin talked about her determination going into the arena today. “On Thursday (team competition) I was a bit laid back and I was just going in there for a clear round, but because I made mistakes on Thursday I was like right, that’s it, I’m sick of this, and I wanted to go in there and better my performance. I know Valegro can do much better than that. I think the whole thing of last year coming here, it wasn’t really great for me and I worried about the heat for Valegro as well. But today he felt in great form and I thought, I’ve just got to ride it, and I did - I felt I just had a good ride from start to finish.” Her friend, trainer, fellow team-member and mentor, Hester, described his protégé’s success as “another great moment. I’m really happy for Charlotte and I want people to love the horse as we all love him, and it’s great to see him back at his best!” Now all the focus is on whether Valegro can produce a second back-to-back European Championships double by topping tomorrow’s Freestyle, in which he, and Dujardin, are drawn last to go. For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit www.aachen2015.de. Result Grand Prix Special: GOLD - Valegro (Charlotte Dujardin) GBR 87.577; SILVER - Desperados FRH (Kristina Broring-Sprehe) GER 83.067; BRONZE - Glock’s Johnson TN (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 79.034.
    Facts and Figures: The top 30 horse-and-rider combinations following the team competition - less one withdrawal - went through to today’s Grand Prix Special at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany. Germany’s Totilas and Matthias Alexander Rath, lying in sixth place, withdrew yesterday. All four members of the gold-medal-winning Dutch and silver-medal-winning British teams made the cut into today’s Grand Prix Special. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro won the title for the second time in succession with a new European Grand Prix Special record score of 87.577. They previously set the record at the Championships in Herning, Denmark in 2013 with a mark of 85.699. The silver medal went to Germany’s Kristina Broring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH, with The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson taking the bronze. Judges marked 12,600 movements. The Judges Supervisory Panel changed 35 marks = 0.278%. Tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle will bring the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 to a close. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro are also defending the Freestyle title.
    Quotes: Isabell Werth GER: About smiling during her test - “what should I do? It has not been the championships we wanted to have, and in the end maybe now we can have another story for the show!” Did Johnny get confused? “No he was super I’m so proud about the horse, he was much better than me and it was good to show him in a really good way - that was my goal - because I have no chance to be one of the best and that was really the goal to show him and work for his image.” Carl Hester GBR talking about Nip Tuck: “He has the perfect balance of what you want in a dressage horse, he wants to go, he really wants to work, he is a little bit nervous, but he tries his best to be on my side. I have such a great relationship with him.” Charlotte Dujardin GBR: “It’s tough when you’re in front of a German crowd, you know they’re really behind them (the German riders), it’s like us when we were in