Without an FEI event running in the U.S. this past weekend, all eyes were on Strzegom Horse Trials in Poland, which hosted an impressive seven international levels ranging from a junior CIC* to a CCI3*, as well as the fourth leg of the FEI Nations Cup. Here are four things you need to know from Strzegom.
1. Michael Jung has another CCI3* winner
It’s old news by now that Michael wins a major event just about every weekend, but his victory in the CCI3* at Strzegom is particularly notable in that he now has yet another CCI3* winner in his barn — in the horse’s first attempt at the level, naturally.
fischerTakinou, an 8-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding owned by the Jungs and Klaus and Sabine Fischer, added just 3.2 cross country time penalties to his dressage score to win the event on 38.0, about five penalty points ahead of second-placed Halunke FBW, Michael’s reigning European Champion.
Sired by the Selle Francais stallion Jaguar Mail out of the pure Anglo-Arab mare Gita, fischerTakinou isn’t lacking blood. Jaguar Mail — 81% Thoroughbred and 20th on the 2014 WBFSH Eventing Sire Rankings — competed in show jumping for Sweden at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His Thoroughbred sire, Hand in Glove, competed in both Prix St. Georges dressage and Grand Prix show jumping.
So fischerTakinou is bred to be a star (click here to see his full pedigree) and already living up to that potential. The horse was also fourth in the 7-Year-Old World Championships last year at Le Lion d’Angers CCI2*. Michael will probably win a CCI4* on him next year.
2. Ladies triumph in Nations Cup showdown
The all-male Australian team of Chris Burton, Andrew Hoy and Kevin McNab led the FEI Nations Cup standings after dressage but slipped out of the lead by two points following cross country when the all-female British team turned in four quick, clear rounds. The ladies delivered under pressure with very little breathing room in show jumping the next day, with three of their four team members jumping clear rounds.
Izzy Taylor and KBIS Starburst, Sarah Bullimore and Valentino V, and Emily Llewellyn and Greenlawn Sky High left all the poles in the cups to finish second, third and sixth, respectively, and secure the Nations Cup win for Great Britain on a team score of 150.30. Fourth team members Jodie Amos and Figaro van het Broekxhof finished 12th after knocking four rails.
The Australian team finished second in the Nations Cup standings on a team score of 168.70, followed by the Belgian team in third on 1.108.30; Belgium’s Karin Donckers and Fletcha van’t Verahof won the CICO3* on 44.2. Seven countries competed in the Nations Cup at Strzegom — the most of any Nations Cup competition this season — though only Great Britain and Australia completed a team.
Belgium still secured third place in the Nations Cup — and a spot on the prize giving podium — despite not completing a team. A new FEI rule this year requires that at least three teams be entered in order to hold a Nations Cup event after lights entries at some legs in years past made for anti-climactic prize givings, but teams that didn’t complete are still receiving trophies.
We’ve linked to Pippa Cuckson’s excellent editorial on the FEI Eventing Nations Cup several times, but it’s worth a read once again as we take a look at the final team standings from Strzegom. It may be back to the drawing board again for the Nations Cup come 2016, when a leg will come to the U.S. for the first time.
3. Records shattered ahead of Europeans
Strzegom broke many of its own records with this competition, hosting an all-time high of 374 horses representing 19 different countries, plus seven riders from the top 30 FEI Riding Rankings.
Many riders competed at Strzegom to qualify for this fall’s FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, while others were likely scoping out the cross country course ahead of the 2017 Europeans, which will be held at Strzegom for the first time.
Marcin Konarski’s track was reportedly stiffer and more technical this year in light of the Europeans, and it’s likely we’ll continue to see a large field and big names competing at Strzegom as we look ahead to 2017.
4. How not to jump into water
Apokalipsa M made a compelling case for being cast in a Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken sequel with her swan dive into this water complex on the CCI3* course. Both the 12-year-old Polish mare and rider Jerzy Krukowski were uninjured in the spill.
Click here to view the final results from Strzegom. Go Eventing.