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Ingrid Klimke Wins FEI Best Athlete Award at FEI Awards Gala in Moscow

The winners of the FEI Awards 2019, left to right: Ingrid Klimke  (Best Athlete), Uno Yxklinten (Solidarity Award), Madeleine Broek (Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award), Semmieke Rothenberger (Longines FEI Rising Star Award), Zuxian Li and Yaofeng Li (Against All Odds Award).

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow tonight.

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders.

Tonight’s award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.  

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

[Multiple Olympian Klimke takes FEI Best Athlete award in Moscow]

USEA Foundation to Administer the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program

MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program participant Ema Klugman finished 20th in the Ocala Jockey Club CCI2*-L with Bronte Beach and 3rd in CCI4*-L with Bendigo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Big news following a successful weekend for young riders at the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-day Event: the new MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program will now be administered by the USEA Foundation. The program was first introduced at Bromont Three-day Event last June when nine riders under the age of 25 were awarded grants of $3,000 Canadian to assist with the expenses incurred in preparing for and competing in the Bromont CCI. A complete training program was devised to help the riders prepare themselves and their horses for the competition. An additional six riders were invited to participate in the training sessions and were given free entries to the event.

The program was then extended to include the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-day Event, which took place last week in Reddick, Florida. The following riders, who were awarded grants to assist with their preparation and competition expenses, produced some impressive results.

  • Nicole Aden & Truckee Bash – 14th, CCI4*-S
  • Arielle Aharoni & Dutch Times – RF XC, CCI4*-L
  • Charlotte Babbitt & 2 A.M. – 17th, CCI3*-L
  • Isabelle Bosley & Night Quality – 7th, CCI2*-L
  • Elizabeth Henry & Charlotte La Bouff – 22nd, CCI2*-L
  • Ema Klugman – 20th in CCI2*-L with Bronte Beach; 3rd in CCI4*-L with Bendigo
  • Barrett Phillips & Whole Nine Yards – 34th in CCI2*-L
  • Kaelen Speck & Sweet Rebellion – 5th, CCI4*-S
  • Nicholas Staples & WF Drousseau – 53rd, CCI2*-L
  • Samantha Tinney & Glenbrook Cooley – 28th, CCI2*-L

Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Chair of the USEA Foundation, Diane Pitts, said, “We are thrilled to welcome the MARS Bromont Rising program into the USEA Foundation family. Assisting our developing riders through education and opportunity are important goals of the USEA and the USEA Foundation and this program furthers those goals. We look forward to working with the organizers of this program.”

The riders were invited to a two-day training session at Mardanza Farms in Ocala, Florida, with top coaches providing instruction. Sessions include a Centerline Workshop with a review of the FEI dressage tests and hints on how to improve their scores through ringmanship. Sara and Brian Murphy not only lent their expertise in the dressage and show jumping sessions but also generously provided a welcome dinner with special guest Leslie Law as a speaker.

The second day’s session included test rides judged by Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride and an inside view of show jumping course design as presented by Chris Barnard. Max Corcoran followed this up with a detailed lesson on managing competition horses from the ground.

Of critical importance to the futures of these young riders is the ability to attract and retain owners and sponsors. Two of the sport’s most supportive owners, Steve Blauner and Jim Wildasin of the Event Owners Task Force, were on site to help explain this vital aspect of the sport.
Riders put into practice the tips taught in the lecture.

The training sessions wrapped up with a welcome party hosted by Fredericks Equestrian. Cross-country schooling opportunities were made available by Jon Holling.

The MARS Bromont Rising U25 award recipients then headed to the Ocala Jockey Club, where they will be treated to a celebrity course walk with none other than six-time Badminton winner and veteran of numerous Olympic and World Championships teams, Lucinda Green.

Mark Hart, trustee of the USEA Foundation, recognized those who had made the Bromont Rising program possible when he said: “This program was established by Steve Blauner, an event horse owner who saw the need to develop and support the next generation of Team riders. He has enthusiastically shared his vision with other Team horse owners such as Jacqueline Mars who is currently cosponsoring the program with Steve to get it firmly established. For this vision the USEA Foundation and the sport thanks them.”

The USEA Foundation is delighted to be involved with such an admirable and worthwhile program and thanks all those who have made this venture possible.

[USEA FOUNDATION TO ADMINISTER THE MARS BROMONT RISING U25 PROGRAM]

USEF Bans Use of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA) in Competing Horses

The USEF Board of Directors voted to prohibit the use of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA) in horses competing at licensed competitions. The prohibition goes into effect December 1, 2019; however, due to the length of time it takes for MPA to clear a horses’ system, sanctions for positive test results will go into effect June 1, 2020. MPA is now classified as a Category III substance, punishable with a penalty range starting at a three to six month suspension and a fine of $3,000 to $6,000 for a first offense.

Following reports of equine fatalities and anaphylaxis related to MPA use, the USEF’s MPA panel met October 22 and further analyzed MPA usage in competition horses. The panel reviewed a recent petition by veterinarians requesting that the USEF ban MPA – the petition was supported by documentation citing 23 MPA-related fatalities over the past three years, research on MPA’s efficacy, and results from the collection of MPA medication reports.

The panel determined MPA has no therapeutic use in competition horses, because it does not interrupt estrus in mares – its original intended purpose. MPA is not approved by the FDA for equine use and its use has been associated with several cases of anaphylaxis and fatality. With this analysis, the panel unanimously voted to recommend MPA be added to the USEF’s prohibited substances list.

Said USEF president Murray Kessler, “In 2017, we debated the use of this substance and its efficacy, but now, with numerous fatalities associated with the use of MPA, this decision became clear: MPA must be banned. I commend the Panel for confronting a difficult task that involved very strong opinions on both sides of the issue from our membership. The information clearly supports the prohibition of this substance and I am proud of the decision of the Board of Directors. USEF has a responsibility to ensure the welfare of our horses, and the loss of one horse resulting from the use of a non-therapeutic substance such as MPA is one too many.”

FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Project Findings

The FEI has published the full report of the horse monitoring research project conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event in August, won by Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER) with fischerWild Wave. Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

The results of a major research study commissioned by the FEI, aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments, have been published today.

Conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August 2019, and led by the FEI’s climate expert Dr David Marlin, the study monitored the combined effects of long travelling times and distances, time zone disruptions and heat and humidity on competing horses.

Horses were monitored before and during the test event, including how they adapted to the challenging climate in Tokyo. Central to the report is data collected on-course and post-competition, which allowed for detailed analysis of the cross country test.

The study findings show that horses generally coped extremely well with the conditions and remained in good health for the duration of the test event, held at the same time of year as the Games in 2020, despite the fact that conditions were thermally challenging, with Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer (WBGT) Index readings frequently in the region of 32-33°C. (The WBGT index is used to measure heat, humidity, solar radiation and wind factor.)

The report confirms that on cross country day (Aug. 13), the high WBGT Index, steep initial climb and sharp turns on the course produced a significant challenge for competing horses. Heart rates during cross country, and blood lactate, heart rate and rectal temperature after cross country, indicated that horses were working at close to maximal capacity.

A new heart rate monitor that also displays the ECG, plus infra-red thermal imaging to provide a rapid and accurate estimate of horses’ temperature were key pieces of technology used in data collection for the study.

The report highlights that “all possibilities must be explored to mitigate the effects of the likely climatic conditions, including reduction in distance appropriate for the conditions and bringing the cross country start time forward to avoid the highest WBGT conditions that would normally peak between late morning and mid-afternoon”.

Following discussions between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the IOC and the FEI, consensus has been reached on advancing the cross country start time to either 07.30 or 08.00 on Aug. 2, 2020 as part of the heat countermeasures. A final decision on the move, which is fully supported by the findings in the Marlin report published today, will be made by the IOC Executive Board.

“We have worked very closely with TOCOG to put in place the best possible heat countermeasures for both our equine and human athletes for Tokyo 2020, and the findings in this important research study will play a crucial role in guiding final decisions on appropriate facilities and support,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “The report will also be a valuable tool for athletes and National Federations as they prepare their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Heat countermeasures that are already in place for horses include air conditioned stables at both equestrian venues (Bajikoen and Sea Forest), early morning and evening training and competition sessions under floodlights, constant and close monitoring by a world class veterinary team, and multiple cooling facilities including the provision of shade tents, cooling fans, ice and water, and mobile cooling units.

The FEI has been working on optimising equine performance in challenging climates with Dr Marlin since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Dr Marlin has been working with the FEI for the past three years specifically on Tokyo, reviewing historical climate records, analysing data collected at the main venue at Bajikoen (EQP) and at the cross-country course at Sea Forest (SFC), and leading the test event research project.

The findings from the research project have been sent to TOCOG, the IOC, all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with athletes competing in equestrian sport, and all National Federations affiliated to the FEI.

The full report is available here.

[FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Findings]

Record Entries Take Virginia Horse Trials to New Heights

Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

The Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International is thrilled to welcome its highest ever number of entries at the autumn 2019 edition of the event taking place October 31-November 3. Over 580 entries have been received, which includes 53 current entries vying for the USEF CCI2*-L Eventing National Championship.

New for this event is the CCI1*-L, which is the Modified (3’5”) level run under international long format rules. VHT is currently the only event in the country to offer the CCI1*-L, which serves as an introduction to FEI competition at the Modified height. Even with this addition, Modified horse trials entry numbers are approaching 50 horses, an increase of 30% since the spring VHT International.

Happily, Starter numbers have more than doubled, with over 20 entries scheduled in this small but mighty level. VHT hosts three unrecognized starter trials throughout the year. It is a pleasure to see competitors from the unrecognized events also joining us at the recognized events.

“I want to thank everyone for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials,” said VHT Organizer Andy Bowles. “We are honored to have the two-star championships again, and it’s great to see people coming to try the one-star long.

“But just as important as the FEI divisions, we’re seeing horses and riders who enjoy our unrecognized shows at the lower levels stepping up to experience the atmosphere and challenge of a recognized environment. We will do our best to provide them with a positive experience so they continue to pursue recognized competition. In this way, we are thrilled to further the mission of the US Eventing Association to educate horses and riders and promote the sport of eventing.”

Back by popular demand is the Intercollegiate and Alumni Team Challenge. Whether currently in school, recently graduated, or graduated any number of years ago, riders are invited to don their school colors, chant fight songs, and enjoy a healthy dose of school rivalry. Teams may be made up of alumni only, current students only, or a mix of both. As of writing, 13 teams were registered to compete in the team challenge.

In addition to those levels already mentioned, VHT’s fall edition offers both a CCI3*-L and CCI3*-S, as well as a CCI2*-S, which was offered for the first time at the May event. National competitors have a broad choice of Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate. Bowles, Carsten Meyer, and David Taylor will design the tracks on two separate cross-country courses, and Chris Barnard returns as the show jumping designer.

Prize money is once again on the table for the FEI competitors, as well as special awards for Best Conditioned horse and Best Turned Out rider, ribbons through tenth place, and additional gifts and prizes. The top three finishers of every national horse trials division receives discount coupons for future entries.

Given that the competition takes place on Halloween weekend, don’t be surprised to see a few characters working in the show office. We also invite all horse show dogs to don their favorite outfit and strut their stuff in a doggie costume contest prior to the complimentary Saturday night competitor party, where everyone is welcome for supper and socializing.

VHT: WebsiteOmnibusFacebookInstagram

Harry Meade and Superstition Sweep Strzegom CCI4*-L

Harry Meade and Superstition. Photo by Leszek Wójcik.

The winner of the CCI4*-L class, the feature class of the Strzegom October Festival, was Harry Meade with the 10-year-old Superstition.
The Brit took the lead after a clear round in the cross-country. Even one knockdown and a slight tardiness in the showjumping could not threaten his leading position.
Second place went to the four-time Olympic champion – Andrew Hoy (AUS) with Vassily de Lassos. The pair went clear in the cross-country and jumped up from the 10th to second position before the jumping. Maxime Livio (FRA) with Vegas des Boursons finished third.
The leader after dressage – Kylie Roddy (GBR) with Carden Earl Grey – was not as fast in the cross-country and the time penalties decided that she would finish as eighth.
The best Polish rider in the class was Małgorzata Korycka riding Canvalencia, as they finished at the 14th position.
Strzegom October Festival had record-breaking entries this year. Over 440 horses have galloped through the hippodrome in Morawa. During four days, the audiences had the chance to see riders from 28 countries, including, for the first time, Mexico and Turkey. Athletes competed in seven international and three national classes at various difficulty levels.

Andreas Dibowski and Butts Avedon. Photo by Mariusz Chmieliński.

The best rider of the CCI4*-S was Andreas Dibowski with the 16-year-old FRH Butts Avedon. A clear round in the show jumping gave him the lead in the class, despite having picked up time penalties on cross-country. Second place went to Nicolas Wettstein (ECU) with Meyer’s Happy, and third – to Lea Siegl (AUT) with Fighting Line.
The CCI3*-L podium was dominated by Germany. First place, after a clear cross-country, went to Ann-Catrin Bierlein riding Auf Geht’s Fraeulein Hummel. Calvin Böckmann with Altair de la Cense was second, and Nadine Marzahl with Victoria 108 were third.
For the first time in Strzegom, we had a rider from India as the winner of the CCI3*-S class. Fouaad Mirza and Dajara 4 took home the first place, beating Swedish athletes – Sandra Gustafsson with Kaminskij and Aminda Ingulfson with Hot Cup VH.
The CCI2*-L was divided into two sections. The best rider of section A was Jrina Giesswein (SUI) with Chester SP, and the winner of section B was Brandon Schäfer-Gehrau with Florentine. The CCI1*-Intro belonged to Hanna Jensen (GER) with EH Clara.
The CCIP2*-L class for ponies was dominated by German riders. The best of them was Jule Krueger riding Mas Que Dos.
The national one-star class win went to Miroslav Trunda (CZE) with Teqila Ruf. Jule Krueger (GER) with Hulingshofs Winchester was the best in CNC L. The best result of the CNC L18 class was of Julia Kałużyńska (POL) with Kalma. The easiest class of the show – CNC LL – went to Eliška Orctova (CZE) with Kirea.
Click here for results.

MARS Bromont Rising Program Grants Announced for OJC International Three-Day Event

The Ocala Jockey Club Arch. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The organizers of the MARS Bromont Rising Program have just announced the riders who have been selected to participate in a two-day training camp at Mardanza Farms and compete at the nearby Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event this fall.

  • Ema Klugman
  • Charlotte Babbitt
  • Isabelle Bosley
  • Kaelen Speck
  • Arielle Aharoni
  • Barrett Phillips
  • Samantha Tinney
  • Elizabeth Henry
  • Ryan Keefe
  • Nicole Aden

Alternates:

  • Maxine Preston
  • Nicholas Staples

All of the riders will participate in the training camp, which will be taught by Peter Gray, Sara Kozumplik Murphy, Brian Murphy and Max Corcoran. “We are absolutely thrilled with the level of interest in the program,” said Peter Gray, the international dressage judge who runs the program. “The quality of the applicants and their commitment to the sport is inspiring.”

The 10 participants will each receive $3,000 to cover their travel and competition expenses, while the alternates will receive $1,000 each. The opportunity to participate in the training sessions – priceless. “You simply can’t replicate the opportunity that these riders are getting through the MARS Bromont Rising Program,” said Peter.

The MARS Bromont Rising Program, which offers financial aid and training to eventers under the age of 25, debuted at the MARS Equestrian Bromont Three-Day Event in June. It was a huge success, with most of the participants posting personal best dressage scores at Bromont and one of the participants, Brooke Massie, winning the Bromont CCI4*-S in her first time at the level.

A huge shout out to Peter, Sara, Brian and Max. And special thanks to Sara and Brian for hosting the training camp at beautiful Mardanza Farms.

The Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event will take place November 14-17, 2019 in Reddick, Florida.

 

Time to Crown a Champion: Previewing the ERM Series Finale at Lignieres en Berry

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The 2019 Event Rider Masters series finale takes us to the heart of French eventing at Lignieres en Berry, where the door is wide open in the hunt for podium placings. And with over €100,000 on the line, nobody’s coming to play.

Nestled in the Berry province in the Center-Val de Loire region, in France’s most verdant countryside, Lignieres en Berry offers everything you’ve come to expect from the Event Riders Masters: a beautiful setting, a tough and influential cross-country course, and a host of familiar faces to battle it all out.

We’re on the final countdown to the biggest stage of them all. But the first phase of the competition? Making it through #ERMtheCut, in which our field of entrants is whittled down to the final selection. The result? Twenty-five of the biggest stars in the sport of eventing. Twenty-five riders, and 25 horses, who are ready to give everything they’ve got for a chance to get on the most coveted podium of the series. Here’s what to expect.

All three of our previous series champions come forward for the 2019 finale, as do 10 previous leg winners — but there are six riders in particular who stand to take the top honours in this year’s series.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Current series leader Chris Burton will be hoping to romp to a win on Quality Purdey, the fast and feisty mare with whom he made a podium appearance at Arville. But the Fastest Man in the World can’t afford to leave any marks on the table – the home nation’s surprise hero, Gireg Le Coz, is just five points behind him in the series rankings, and with his top horse, Jardy winner Aisprit de la Loge, he’ll be a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

It’s never a two-horse race at the ERM finale, and this year is no different – just a solitary point behind Gireg sits Badminton and Luhmühlen winner Jonelle Price. After two top-ten finishes in ERM legs this season and a close second at Camphire’s CCI4*-L, Grovine de Reve comes forward ready to produce the goods. Can the relatively new partnership overtake the established combinations ahead of them? We recommend never underestimating the Kiwi phenom – though she be but little, she is fierce, indeed.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Sarah Cohen and Treason are mainstays of the Event Rider Masters series , and they nabbed themselves second place on the 2017 podium – but with 63 points to their names this year, they’ll need to put everything on the line to go one better. They’re not the only long-time partnership hoping to make one final leap up the board, either – Alex Bragg and the evergreen Zagreb will be aiming to capitalise on the 50 points they’ve earned so far. A win here could turn the leaderboard as we know it on its head.

And let’s not forget the 2017 series champion: Gemma Tattersall might not be at the top of this year’s rankings, but with a very respectable 44 points under her belt, she and Jalapeno — a new partnership, but second in Bramham’s tough CCI4*-L this summer – could just surprise us.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

It’s not just a battle between the series podium candidates, though, and the series finale will be just as ferociously campaigned by its outliers. Michael Jung and Star Connection FRH took Wiesbaden – but can they take Lignieres, too? Or can 2016 champion Oliver Townend make the most of his brand new partnership with the ultra-talented Alcatraz? Or will World Number One Tim Price take the top prize, riding his Luhmühlen winner Ascona M?

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The Draw

Horse and rider combinations are seeded into three groups based on prior performance and dressage averages. Once they’re through the initial seeding process, our competitors’ numbers are randomly drawn by ERM presenter Nicole Brown who is joined by Emmanuel Legarde of the Lignieres organising team. The draw determines the order in which they’ll enter the ring — will they have the tough task of trying to impress the judges early on? Will they follow an Event Rider Masters champion? Or will they close out the day’s competition, leaving an impression on the scoreboard and the spectators, for better or for worse?

Saturday’s competition gets off to an exciting start with 2016 series champion Oliver Townend heading down the centreline as our pathfinder with new ride Alcatraz at 10.15 a.m. local time/9.15 a.m. BST. At 10.30 a.m., we’ll see our first home-nation rider of the day — and Jardy winners Gireg le Coz and Aisprit de la Loge have plenty to fight for. Gireg sits third on the series leaderboard, just five penalties from the top in his first year contesting the Event Rider Masters. Young rider Phoebe Locke wraps up the first session at 10.53 a.m. with Pica d’Or, at what has been a happy hunting ground for them — they scored a 24.9 at Lignieres CCI2*-S in their first international together last year.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The competition gets ever hotter as we head into the second session of the day, commencing at 11.15 a.m. local/10.15 a.m. BST. The home side brings forward some of its fiercest competitors, with Maxime Livio leading the way aboard Api du Libaire.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Tom Carlile, the two-time winner of the ERM’s Barbury leg, follows at 11.23 a.m. riding Atos Barbotiere, while Arnaud Boiteau concludes the session at 11.53 a.m. with Quoriano ENE HN. And between them all? Indomitable Kiwi Jonelle Price (11.30 a.m.), who sits in fourth place on the series rankings and will look to climb onto the podium with Grovine de Reve this week. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto (11.38 a.m.) has swiftly become one of the most formidable competitors in the world – and with the former Astier Nicolas ride Vinci de la Vigne JRA, he hasn’t been out of the top six in an international this year. Watch them closely.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

The final session of the day, commencing at 12.15 p.m. local/11.15 a.m. BST, is where things really start to get interesting. Michael Jung and Star Connection FRH whet the palate as the first to go – and the previous winners of Wiesbaden and Jardy are expected to throw down the gauntlet with a mid-to-high 20s score. Though they’ll be hot in pursuit of a win in this leg, they can’t quite catch up with the series leaders – but Sarah Cohen and Treason, who follow them into the arena at 12.23 p.m., certainly can. In fifth place on the current rankings, Sarah sits just 10 points behind the leader.

And what a leader he is. You won’t want to miss the Australian sensation Chris Burton (12.45 p.m.), our 2018 Event Rider Masters champion, who leads the way for 2019. Riding Quality Purdey – his fast and ferociously clever dragon of a mare – he’ll be one of the hottest topics at this weekend’s competition. But if there’s one rider who can threaten his grasp on the Lignieres title, it’s fellow Antipodean Tim Price. Coming in strong at 12.53 p.m., the World Number One rides his Luhmühlen CCI5* winner Ascona M – and according to EquiRatings, this is the pair with the best chance of winning here.

Photo courtesy of ERM.

Our last combination of the day is a real crowd favourite – but will Alex Bragg and Zagreb deliver a mark in their usual upper 20s, or will they show off the precision and panache they had when posting their PB of 23.6 to win Jardy last year? In seventh place on the season rankings so far, Alex has a chance to step onto the biggest podium of them all – but he’ll need to risk it all to have it all. Don’t miss their test, at 13.00 p.m. local time/12.00 p.m. BST.

With the best riders in the world heading up a truly global 11-nation field, the competition is guaranteed to sizzle until its final seconds. Join us as we crown the 2019 Event Rider Masters series champion. Once more unto the breach, eventing fans. Are you ready?

ERM Series Finale at Lignieres en Berry: Website, Start Times, Course Walk, Live Scores, Live Stream

Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34

David O’Connor and Custom Made. Photo courtesy of US Equestrian.Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34

Custom Made, a legendary U.S. event horse, was laid to rest on October 2 at the age of 34. Custom Made, the 17.1-hand Irish Sport Horse gelding (Bassompierre x Purple Heather/Ben Purple), was foaled in Ireland in 1985 and was imported to the U.S. in 1995 by owner Joseph Zada of Xandarius, LLC, to be a mount for David O’Connor. In their first year of partnership, “Tailor” and O’Connor won the 1995 Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI3*.

The pair formed a strong partnership and continued to secure top results. In 1996, Custom Made and O’Connor finished third in the Badminton Horse Trials CCI4* and were named to the U.S. Eventing Team for the Atlanta Olympic Games, placing fifth individually. The following year, they won the Badminton Horse Trials CCI4*.

The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games were a career highlight for Custom Made and O’Connor. They clinched the eventing individual gold medal, the first eventing Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in 25 years.

Custom Made continued to find success in the years to come. In 2001, he and O’Connor finished third at the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI3*. Custom Made closed out his career with by winning the 2002 Fair Hill International Three-Day Event CCI3*.

He was formally retired at the 2004 Kentucky Three-Day Event and was inducted into the United States Eventing Hall of Fame in 2009. He lived out this retirement at David and Karen O’Connor’s Stonehall Farm in The Plains, Va., and was the last member of the “Fab Four,” which also included the O’Connors’ top mounts Biko, Giltedge, and Prince Panache.

“Obviously he was the horse of a lifetime, but probably one of the greats of our time that I have ever been around, especially thinking about it in the classic format, which is where he did most of his career,” O’Connor said. “From an athlete’s point of view, he was the most powerful athlete that I have ever ridden. Then after that, it was 10 years of great retirement at Stonehall, originally with all four of those Olympic horses. He was the last one to go. He is gone now but will be with me forever.”

[Eventing Legend Custom Made Passes Away at 34]

US Equestrian Announces 2019 Land Rover Eventing Grant Recipients

US Equestrian has announced the recipients of the 2019 Land Rover/USEF Competition Grants for the remainder of the 2019 season.

The following athletes will receive funding for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ The Netherlands hosted at the Military Boekelo CCIO4*-L in Enschede, the Netherlands from October 10-13:

  • Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, Pa.) and Stella Artois, the Stella Artois Syndicate’s 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Jenni Autry.

  • Matt Flynn (Reddick, Fla.) and Wizzerd, A. Patrick Flynn, Kathleen Flynn, and Merry Go Round Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding

Matt Flynn and Wizzerd. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

  • Tamie Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mai Baum, Alexandra Ahearn, Ellen Ahearn, and Eric Markell’s 13-year-old German Sport Horse gelding

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Jennie and Tamie will represent Team USA along with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver, the Monster Partnership’s eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup. Matt and Wizzerd are named as the traveling team reserves. Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse, her and Sherrie Martin’s 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, are named as first alternates.

The competition also serves as a test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The competition rules are based on the Tokyo 2020 competition format with teams of three plus one reserve. Full FEI Regulations for Equestrian Events at the Olympic Games are available here.

View more information about the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ the Netherlands.

[US Equestrian Announces 2019 Land Rover Eventing Grant Recipients]

Catching Up with Winners of the Inaugural Blue Ridge Mountain H.T.

By all accounts last weekend’s Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. at Tryon International Equestrian Center was a success, with 150 entries from Beginner Novice through Advanced contesting the inaugural event. In addition to the world class venue’s usual amenities — super footing, beautiful stabling, a big-time atmosphere — all the levels were invited to 2018 WEG cross country venue, the White Oak Course, which featured seven tracks designed by Captain Mark Phillips and built by ETB Equine Construction.

Earlier this week we shared a quick results recap; today we follow up with interviews with the winners of the Advanced, Intermediate and Prelim divisions.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

ADVANCED

In the Advanced, Doug Payne piloted Quantum Leap to the win on a final score of 40.6. Allison Springer and Sapphire Blue B, a 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Heritage Fortunus x Lucy Blue) owned by Katie Lichten, finished second on 51.7, while Ema Klugman and Bendigo, a 2002 Trakehner gelding owned by Jeni Klugman, took third on 52.4.

Doug’s ride, Quantum, made his Advanced level debut earlier this year at Pine Top and has since tackled a handful of CCI4*-S events. “He is an eight-year-old and still greenish to the level for sure — he has probably five events under his belt at this point,” Payne said of the 2011 Zweibrucker gelding (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), co-owned with his wife, Jessica Payne and Susan Drillock.

The pair was third after dressage on 28.6, then turned in a fault-free show jumping round and the fastest cross country round of the day. Doug picked up 12 time, but nobody got closer to beating the clock and it was enough to move them into the lead.

Of his cross country strategy, Doug explained, “I wasn’t looking to going crazy fast, but he’s a very efficient and good galloping horse, so he just covers the ground so well. I’m very, very lucky to have such a talented and willing horse to go with. He goes in a rubber snaffle, and you barely have to touch him.”

Doug commended the course design to accommodate multiple courses on one footprint. “Initially I was thinking [the course] might get real busy, but there is enough space here that it’s quite good,” Doug said. “The course was wonderful. I think the footing couldn’t have been any better. It was a good, flowing course, and I think the whole competition has been excellent.”

Allison Springer and Sapphire Blue B. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

After turning in a clear show jumping round with 0.4 time on Saturday night under the lights in Tryon Stadium, Allison and Sapphire Blue B were still leading on their dressage score of 27.7.  They picked up 23.6 time cross country to ultimately finish second.

“He is my student Katie Lichten’s horse,” Springer said. “We call him Steve in the barn — he’s a unicorn. He’s young, and was definitely spooky in there but he jumped great. He’s a talented young horse, and I feel really honored to be able to ride him for Katie.”

INTERMEDIATE

The cross country clock made all the difference in the Intermediate division as well, with Lucienne Elms and her own Mistralou posting the fastest round to move from 8th after dressage into the top spot on 46.4. Second place went to Annie Goodwin and Mettraise, owned by Jeanne Sylvester, on a score of 52.5, while John Michael Durr finishing just behind in third on 52.6 with Becky Brown’s Tilikum.

Lucienne Elms and Mistralou. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

“It was a fantastic course design; Mark Phillips is ever the master,” Lucienne said. “[The course] rode really well, there were plenty of questions, with all combinations rewarding to just keep a forward rhythm, too.”

Although Lucienne just started competing again after sustaining injuries in late 2018, her determination to be competitive hasn’t wavered. “I wanted a strong result,” she said. “Mistralou is not green, so I intended to set out for the time. He is a full-blood horse and always a pleasure to finish on [since] he just keeps galloping, so I was confident I would be competitive providing the time wasn’t easy to attain.”

Lucienne hopes to return Mistralou to 4*-L competition later this year and looks forward to returning to TIEC in 2020: “TIEC really is a world-class venue: the cross country venue has the best ground you could ask for, the show jumping gives great mileage to the horses prepping for an international run, as the main arena really creates an educational atmosphere for both horse and rider requiring the exposure, and the footing for dressage is immaculate with plenty of space to work in.”

Kimberly Steinbuch and PDQ Leigh. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

Kimberly Durr (née Steinbuch) and PDQ Leigh, owned by Jil Walton, led the pack Saturday after scoring a 29.3 to lead the dressage phase and producing a fault-free show jumping round. They dropped to 4th after collected 24.4 time faults cross country. “He’s very new to me — I’ve had him for just over two and a half weeks,” Kimmy admitted. “I’m very excited about him and looking forward to a very good partnership.”

Kimmy shared that the course set by course designer Chris Barnard was her first show jumping round “under the lights,” and only her second show jumping round with PDQ Leigh. “It was a little back-and-forth and a little discussionary, but he knows his job is just to leave all of the rails in the cups,” she said.

Kimmy is not used to riding a horse of PDQ Leigh’s size and said that it could be a challenging dynamic on cross country: “He’s definitely over 17 hands, so it’s very different for me to have a horse his size to try and ride around, but he’s pretty straightforward and he knows his job.”

Kimmy and her husband, John Michael Durr, operate out of Shelby, North Carolina, which allows them to compete at TIEC as often as they wish, she said. “We’re here two to three weeks a month, so we basically live here. We do all the jumpers and hunters here, and then we do eventing on the weekends. It’s nice to be centrally located.”

OPEN PRELIMINARY

John Michael Durr maintained his lead from the first day of competition in the Open Preliminary division to win it all, earning a final score of 29.1 aboard Casofino, owned by Madigan Murphy. Ema Klugman and Jeni Klugman’s Bronte Beach Z came in a close second after finishing with a final score of 30.0, while Doug Payne  and Stephen Blauner’s Baymax finished in third with a final score of 34.40.

John Michael Durr and Casofino. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

“The course rode really well,” John Michael said. “Mark [Phillips] did an amazing job; even though there were a lot of courses it felt like the horses were never confused about where they were going. It was really well done. There were several different tracks, and he nailed it.”

He explained that he has been working on giving Casofino “consistent miles and education” before turning the reins back over to his adult-amateur owner, who is also Durr’s student. “He’s a really exciting young horse. He just needed a little making up to win with his adult amateur,” he said. “This was the first time he had been in a ring like this under the lights. His heart was going a million miles a minute and he saw every kid rolling down the grass, but he focused on the jumps and did his job.”

John Michael Durr and Casofino. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

He concluded, “Every part of what Tryon does makes you feel special — it doesn’t matter whether you’re there for a national horse trials, a B-rated Hunter/Jumper show, or the 5* week. Tryon gives you that championship feeling all the time, so when my students do go to the championships or go to Young Riders or something like that, they don’t fall apart, because they’re used to being in a big atmosphere.”

Congrats to all the event’s winners!

Advanced A: Doug Payne and Quantum Leap (40.6)
Intermediate/Preliminary: Magdalena Valenti and Wish I Am (43.6)
Open Intermediate: Lucienne Elms and Mistralou (46.4)
Open Preliminary: John Michael Durr and Casofino (29.1)
Preliminary Rider: Maddie McElduff and Spring Easy (32.9)
Modified: Erin Kimmer and Jude (32.7)
Open Training: Tiffani Loudon-Meetze and Mini Cooper (29.5)
Preliminary/Training: Alison Smith and Irish Blend (51.2)
Training Rider: Karli Wright and Sorocaima (34.7)
Novice Rider: Karli Wright and Master Eli (18.3)
Open Novice: Jessica Schultz and FGF Peri Whan (23.1)
Beginner Novice Rider: Lynn Welles and Quiet Love (23.7)
Open Beginner Novice: Keileigh McMurray and Rapport (29.8)

For full results from the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials at TIEC, click here.

Waredaca Classic Three-Day ‘Road to the Three-Day Challenge’ Returns for 2019

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

The Waredaca Classic Three Day is fortunate be supported by a group of organizers in Area II who believe firmly in the importance of the Classic Format. Together with the Horse Park of New Jersey (HPNJ) Horse Trials, Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials, Surefire Horse Trials, and Morven Park Horse Trials, Waredaca is pleased to announce the 2019 Road to the Three Day Challenge.

The Waredaca Classic Three Day Event is a formative experience for young riders, amateurs and professionals alike, and back for 2019 as lead clinician will be Eric Smiley, International Eventing Competitor, Coach and FEI Official. Waredaca Classic competitors are treated to three days filled with instruction, insight and inspiration.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

The Road to the Three-Day is paved with preparation, and these five events offer an ideal path to success at the Waredaca Three Day:

Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials – July 26-28
Waredaca Horse Trials – Aug. 17-18
Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials – Sept. 7-8
Surefire Farm Horse Trials – Sept. 28-29
Morven Park Horse Trials – Oct. 4-6

To be eligible for the Challenge*, competitors must complete a minimum of two of the five events in addition to the Three Day. Points will be awarded according to placing with 1st place worth 10 points, 2nd worth eight (8), 3rd place seven (7), 4th place six (6), 5th place five (5) and 6th place four (4). Completion of an event that meets the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) will be awarded three points. Points for the Three Day will be doubled in value.

Winners will be awarded a cooler, generously donated by RideSafe, as well as free entry to all five participating events in 2020. A winner will be named at each of the levels offered at the Classic: Novice, Training and Preliminary.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

Also scheduled for the week before … Lucinda Green doing what Lucinda does best!! On Sunday and Monday of Waredaca Classic Week AND the equally exceptional Max Corcoran will be doing a discussion regarding the Proper Care of the Three Day Horse at the Classic. That will be scheduled either Wednesday evening or Thursday—stay tuned for more details!

*The USEA has Classic Series qualifications for each level offered in the series. Completion of the Road to the Three Day Challenge does not, by default, qualify you for the Classic. Qualification requirements can be found on the Waredaca Classic Three Day website.

Photo courtesy of Waredaca.

That’s a Wrap for 2019 Land Rover Blair Castle International

Sunday saw the finale of international divisions at Land Rover Blair Castle. Here’s a recap of the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI2*-L results.

Emilie Chandler & Gortfadda Diamond. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI4*-L: Emilie Has a Real Diamond

Emilie Chandler won her first ever CCI4*-L event here at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials with Maria Doel’s Gortfadda Diamond, a horse who she believes has real 5* potential.

The pair had the luxury of three fences in hand over runners-up Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance going into the show jumping arena but they required none of this buffer, concluding their Blair campaign with a classy clear round, although like all competitors in this small class, they picked up time faults.

“I’m thrilled he jumped clear,” admitted Emily. “This win is really special as I think an awful lot of him and I’ve not been this close to a big win since finishing second in the U25 Championship at Bramham in 2002.”

Gortfadda Diamond was none the worse for wear after posting the fastest cross-country time on Saturday.

“He felt quite bright in the collecting ring,” said Emily, “and I was almost thinking I should have worked him harder. He’s just an amazing horse – he’s come on so much in the last year and I’m very proud of him.”

Scotland’s Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance added just .8 of a time penalty to their two-phase score to finish second, with Simon Grieve and Mr Fahrenheit III third.

Astier Nicolas and Babylon de Gamma. Photo by Douglas Lamont.

CCI4*-S: French rider Crowned Scottish Open Champion

Speed and accuracy across country handed French Olympic gold medallist Astier Nicolas victory in the CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

Astier and the exciting grey eight-year-old Babylon De Gamma had dropped from second after dressage to fourth with a pole down in Saturday’s showjumping phase. But they were the fastest of the class round Land Rover Blair Castle’s director and cross-country course-designer Alec Lochore’s track, picking up just 5.6 time-faults, and when leader Daisy Berkeley was not quite so fast aboard Ballinteskin Cooper S, the 30-year-old Frenchman climbed to the top of the podium.

It was Astier’s second Land Rover Blair Castle victory in as many visits; he took the CCI4*-L here on Quickly Du Buguet in 2014.

“It feels very exotic to be Scottish Champion!” he said. “Babylon is a top horse – I’ve always said so, and he showed it again today. I didn’t rush him cross-country, but he was always going smoothly; he did it easily and recovered really well afterwards. He showed pure class.”

Sam Ecroyd finished second, 0.4 penalties behind Astier, on Vicki Irlam’s Davinci III, a new ride for him this season.

Equal second after dressage with the eventual winners, Sam and the 13-year-old gelding showjumped clear but were a little steadier across country for 10 time-faults.

“I don’t know him hugely well yet, but he improves every single time I ride him,”said Sam.

Daisy Berkeley was initially awarded 15 penalties for missing a flag at a skinny brush corner coming out of the Malcolm Lochan water complex, but those were taken away on appeal to the ground jury and she finished third on 10-year-old Ballinteskin Cooper S, who is owned by Daisy, her mother Caroline Dick, Roxana White and Mary Scott-Gall.

Local rider Wills Oakden, who is based in Perthshire, took fourth on Debbie Whalley and Liz Magennis’s nine-year-old Oughterard Cooley. A clear showjumping round and eight cross-country time-faults moved him up from ninth after dressage.

Wills, the highest-placed Scottish rider, said: “I’m delighted with him; he’s a cross-country machine, which is what Blair is all about.”

And Northumberland’s Jessica McKie achieved her best result to date with fifth place on her mother Tockie’s Ask The Boss.

Land Rover Blair Castle’s cross-country tracks, which utilise the varied and demanding terrain surrounding the castle, are never to be underestimated, and the CCI4*-S course caused a few problems. William Fox-Pitt, three times a winner here, was unseated in the later stages of the course from Yes I Can, seventh after dressage.

Eleanor Hope & Limestone Romeo. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI3*-L: Eleanor’s Birthday Hopes Come True

Eleanor Hope celebrated her 20th birthday in fine style at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, winning the CCI3*-L class on Limestone Romeo.

Eleanor, a student at Reading University, was 13th after dressage with a mark of 36.1, but added nothing to that score to take her first senior international title.

“I’m very relieved – I didn’t expect it and it’s a very good birthday present,” said Eleanor. “The second and third riders both jumped clear and I knew I couldn’t even have a time-fault.”

Eleanor’s parents, Margaret and Simon, bought eight-year-old Limestone Romeo from the Goresbridge Going For Gold sale as a five-year-old, and Eleanor has produced him through the grades herself.

Victoria Wilson was second, just 0.6 of a penalty behind Eleanor, on Dont You Know. Victoria, 20, finished on her dressage score of 36.7 at her first long-format three-star event.

“I only came here for a qualifying score – I can’t believe it,” said Victoria. “He’s phenomenal – he’s the only horse I have to event, I did my first ever British Eventing competition on him; he’s taken me all this way and I hope we’ve got much further to go.”

Third was Ashley Harrison, who also completed on her dressage score (38) on Zebedee IX. It made up for quite a dramatic week for the 26-year-old: Ashley’s lorry broke down on the way up to Land Rover Blair Castle from her Hampshire home, she dropped her phone in the loo and Zebedee IX lost a shoe yesterday after the cross-country.

“But this makes up for it – it’s a brilliant event and I’ll definitely be back,” she said. “He made the cross-country feel as easy as it could be yesterday.”

Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft’s showjumping clear on Wil Jack B King meant she rose from seventh to fourth, while Emma Hobday and Shadow Copperwood finished fifth.

Hayden Hankey & Cartown Galaxy. Photo by Julia Shearwood.

CCI2*-L: A First Three Day Win for Hayden Hankey

Hayden Hankey scored his first ever international win in the CCI2*-L class at Land Rover Blair Castle. The Cheshire-based 39-year-old was foot-perfect in all three phases on the six-year-old Olympic Lux mare Cartown Galaxy and stayed on his dressage score of 30.6, rising from fourth after dressage to the top spot.

“It really is a great feeling – anyone can win a one-day event, but to win a three-day is very special,” said Hayden, who has made his mark in all aspects of horse sport, from showing to race-riding to eventing and showjumping.

“When you like a horse as much as I like her [Cartown Galaxy, whom he bought last year on a trip to Ireland to judge at Dublin Horse Show], you ride with so much more confidence.”

Scottish rider Morven Pringle, who is based in Moffat, was very emotional about her second place. The 24-year-old was riding Miss Contender, who was owned and ridden by Morven’s best friend Natasha Galpin, who was killed in a fall on the gallops in January.

“Natasha rode Miss Contender here last year,” said Morven, for whom it was a best international result so far. “She was brilliant in every phase – I’m so pleased with how she’s gone.”

The pair also completed on their dressage score, 31.8, to rise up from fifth after dressage in this 70-strong class.

Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer took third place on Viktor 107, while Aimee Penny was fourth on Gary Power’s PSH Deneb.

“She’s an angel – one of my favourites,” said Aimee, who works as first rider at Power Sport Horses in Wales.

Polly Stockton and Sir Alfred II, who led after dressage and cross-country, tipped one showjump and dropped to sixth place behind Hayden Hankey and his second ride, DHI Homana. Hayden was also ninth on Fools In Love.

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteResultsCross Country Course PreviewsTwitterFacebookInstagram

Competition Heats Up on Day Three of Land Rover Blair Castle International

Emilie Chandler and Gortfadda Diamond. Photo courtesy of Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

The action continued on Saturday at Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials in Perthshire, Scotland. Here’s your recap!

A Class Apart: Emilie Chandler Retains Lead in CCI4*-L

Emilie Chandler proved a class apart across country in the CCI4*-L at Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, and has a sizable lead going into the final show jumping phase.

Leicestershire-based Emilie was much the fastest of the class, adding just 3.2 time-faults to her dressage score of 31.8 on Maria Doel’s 10-year-old Gortfadda Diamond. She has 13.1 penalties in hand over second-placed Rosa Onslow and Diamond Sundance.

“I’m thrilled – he gave me a fantastic ride,” said Emilie. “He never really tired and kept galloping for me. I think he’s real class – an out-and-out event horse who’s good in all three phases.

“It was a good cross country course: very fair, and I like the way this year the course made sure they had got their blood up before they went uphill.”

Rosa, 20, recently represented Britain at the Young Rider European Eventing Championships in The Netherlands on 13-year-old Diamond Sundance. This is their first CCI4*-L competition, and they were clear across country with 11.2 time-faults. Simon Grieve and Mr Fahrenheit III are in third place after collecting 13.2 time penalties.

Daisy Berkeley & Ballinteskin Cooper S. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Daisy Rides Her Luck in the CCI4*-S

Daisy Berkeley has held on to her lead in the CCI4*-S after showjumping with a clear round on Ballinteskin Cooper S. The 10-year-old threw Daisy up into the air over fence three and it wasn’t the smoothest round they have jumped together, but they never looked in danger of touching a pole and remain on their dressage score of 30.4.

“I nearly fell off over fence three – both my knees came off the saddle and my hat tipped forward over my eyes,” admitted Daisy, who has won several team medals for Britain at major championships in the past. “But he has so much scope and wasn’t ever going to touch a fence. Now I am going to have to go fast across country tomorrow!”

Sam Ecroyd also showjumped clear on Davinci III and is in second place, just 0.1 of a penalty behind Daisy. Third is Perthshire’s Wills Oakden, whose clear round on Oughterard Cooley means he stays on his dressage mark of 34.2 and climbs up from ninth place after the first phase.

There were just seven showjumping clear rounds in Land Rover Blair Castle’s large, atmospheric arena. France’s Astier Nicolas, who was in joint second place with Sam after dressage, tipped the second part of the double and is now in fourth place with Babylon De Gamma, while Northumberland rider Jessica McKie’s clear on Ask The Boss means she is in fifth place.

The CCI4*-S competitors tackle course-designer Alec Lochore’s cross-country track at 10.30am on Sunday morning, and the showjumping phase of the three long-format international classes follows on from that.

Eleanor Hope & Limestone Romeo. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Hope Springs in the CCI3*-L

Tomorrow (Sunday, 25 August), could be a very big day for Eleanor Hope. It’s her 20th birthday – and she heads the CCI3*-L going into showjumping.

Eleanor, who has travelled up to Land Rover Blair Castle from Aylesbury, was 13th after dressage on eight-year-old Limestone Romeo with 36.1, but a clear cross-country round within the time has propelled her up to first.

“He was point and shoot today,” said Eleanor, a student at Reading University. “His dressage is improving, but he just loves to jump. He’s a good showjumper – I’m not so good. Hopefully he will help me out tomorrow.”

Cross-country speed was significant in this class. Victoria Wilson, now second on Don’t You Know, just 0.6 penalties behind Eleanor, and Ashley Harrison (Zebedee IX), third, shot up from 14th and 15th places after dressage. French duo Astier Nicolas and Lumberton, leaders going into cross-country, had a run-out at the brush corner coming out of the water.

Polly Stockton and Sir Alfred II. Photo by Iain Campbell.

No Margin for Error in the CCI2*-L

Polly Stockton, who already has two international wins at Land Rover Blair Castle to her credit, is in pole position in the CCI2*-L with Sir Alfred II. She shared second position after dressage with Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer (Ronaldo IV) on 30.5; both riders went clear across country with no time-faults, but Polly was closer to the optimum time so officially took the lead.

Josephine, who is also in fifth place on seven-year-old Viktor 107, said: “I bought Ronaldo IV from the Czech Republic as a seven-year-old. He wasn’t at all easy at the beginning but is getting better and better – he’s a real pleasure to ride now.

“I thought it was a technical, tough CCI2*-L track when I walked it, but it was really fun to ride. The questions were clear to the horses.”

This is Josephine’s third visit to Land Rover Blair Castle, and she said: “It is one of the nicest events, and really good preparation for horses for the future.”

Hayden Hankey and the six-year-old mare Cartown Galaxy are just 0.1 penalties behind Polly and Josephine in third place.

“I bought her last summer when I went over to Ireland to judge hunters at Dublin Show,” said Hankey. “She’s one of the best I’ve ridden – straight, fast and brave.”

Rose Macpherson & HHS Canya. Photo by Douglas Lamont.

Equine ‘Allsorts’ Impress on Day Two of the Grassroots Championships

Rose Macpherson and HHS Canya retained their overnight lead in the BE100 Scottish Grassroots Championship after they posted one of only seven clear rounds in this morning’s show jumping phase, which again took  place in Land Rover Blair Castle International’s imposing main arena.

The seven-year-old has the pedigree for the job, being by Shane Breen’s Nations Cup ride Can Ya Makan. However, Rose admitted that the mare can be very sharp and, while genuine, likes to have a good look at anything that she doesn’t feel looks ‘quite right’.

“This was the biggest arena she’s been in and it was certainly a real eyeful for her,” Rose said.

The pair heads into tomorrow’s cross-country phase on a score of 25.3, a full five penalties ahead of closest rivals, Crieff-based Eilidh Macaulay with Rockcon. Reckcon is another mare with impressive show jumping lines – she is by William Funnell’s long time partner Billy Congo and out of Billy Rockaway, herself by Cevin Z.

A clear round from Emma Buchanan and Blaze ensured they retained the third place they had held after dressage on 30.5.

The rest of the leader board was shuffled quite considerably but the competition is far from over. There are just over 10 penalties between the top 15 going into the cross-country and the track will inevitably play a big part in the final standings.

“I think it’s a strong track,” said Rose Macpherson. “There are several technical questions and I think the water will be influential as a lot of the horses at this level just won’t have seen the number of spectators that those fences attract.”

Fourteen year old Cameron Swales from East Lothian and Machno Showtime rose from equal fourth after dressage to the top of the leader board in the BE90 Championship, taking full advantage of those who were above them rolling poles.

The pair goes into cross-country on a combined score of 29.8, the same as second placed Gillian Edward riding Benny Station. However, Cameron and Showtime have the advantage courtesy of a faster show jumping round.

“I’m really pleased with him,” said Gillian after her round. “he found the arena very atmospheric yesterday and backed off a bit today – show jumping isn’t our strongest phase so I couldn’t be happier.”

Dressage leaders Leona Blacklaws and Shannondale Enya dropped to third after they lowered the final fence and now sit just .5 of a penalty ahead of fourth placed Rachael Aiton and Splash Of Fun on 30.5.

Proving that event horses can come from all backgrounds, 5th placed Ruby Red II, ridden by Cumbrian-based Claire Light, is an ex-trekking pony who only began eventing when Claire offered to do some rehab work with her for owner Deborah Hogg after the mare broke a leg.

“I persuaded Deborah to let me do some BE80(T) classes with her,” said Claire, “and she’s amazed us ever since. She gets so excited but we’ll have to go flat out tomorrow to get the time – she’s 100% cob but doesn’t seem to know it!”

The final cross-country phase for the BE90 section starts tomorrow at approximately 12.30, followed by the BE100.

Amy Ogilvie & L.A Diamond. Photo by Alasdair Lamont.

Grassroots Riders Rise to the Challenge

Competitors in the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival at Land Rover Blair Castle International performed their dressage tests in the main arena today, either side of the CCI4* short format riders. Hunter class winner from yesterday, Amy Ogilvie riding L.A Diamond, admitted: “It was pretty scary to be riding alongside William Fox-Pitt – fortunately ‘Erin’ behaved herself.”

West Lothian based Amy only started eventing in May, and this is L.A Diamond’s third ever event, having qualified for the Championships first time out, at Hopetoun.

Leading the BE90 class is 21-year-old Leona Blacklaws from Kincardineshire. Leona recently graduated from Glasgow University and is taking a year out to ride. Her partner is the seven-year-old mare Shannondale Enya.

“I’ve had her for two years, but it took a year to really get up and running and build her confidence,” Leona explained. “She can be spooky but was settled today so I was pleased with her test.

“I’ve done showjumping classes at Blair before but it’s been on my ‘bucket list’ to event here. I loved riding in the main arena!”

Sitting on a dressage score of 26.5, Leona has a narrow lead over second placed Rhyian Skinner who rode Watt The Fox to a mark of 28.0, while Amanda Waugh on Fan Daby Angus is still very much in the mix on 28.5.

Meanwhile the BE100 Championship is headed by last year’s BE100 Champion Rose Macpherson, this year riding HHS Canya. This combination has not been out of the top eight this season, and today posted a score of 25.3. Rose’s nearest rival is Lara Bayley Kerr riding Far N Away on 26.0, with Keeley Gordon (Thunder VII) and Emma Buchanan (Blaze) tied for third place on 26.5.

The Scottish Grassroots Championships showjumping starts tomorrow at 8.30am. They run across country on Sunday.

Rosie Findlater & Ffermyllong Spice Girl. Photo by Iain Campbell.

Young and Old Shine at Blair: Day Two Showing

It was another busy day of showing today with the NPS Scotland Finals and Silver Medal Championships taking place across three arenas. Some familiar faces from yesterday’s classes found themselves in the ribbons again, with prize winners, equine and human, ranging from yearlings to octogenarians. We caught up with a handful of the winners.

It was a Dumfries 1-2 in the Mountain and Moorland Senior Championships with Gillian McMurray’s Highland pony Trailtrow Tearlach adding to yesterday’s prize haul when he was crowned Champion. Richard Telford and Castle Neptune were Reserve Champions.

Both Gillian and Richard featured in several other prize givings throughout the day. Gillian and Trailtrow Tearlach were also crowned Senior and Overall NPS Scotland/Townhead Pet n Pony In Hand Mountain and Moorland Champions. Richard produced the six-year-old Connemara Castle Neptune and the six year old has enjoyed success in his five shows to date under the saddle.

Owned by Winsome Aird and bred by Henry O’Toole, Castle Neptune was only gelded in March:

“I’m so pleased with him,” said Richard. “He kept his balance really well but he still needs to strengthen up. He’ll go to HOYS and then have the winter off.”

He had to settle for the bridesmaids position again in the Mountain and Moorland Open Ridden Final, this time riding the eye-catching Highland gelding Jack The Lad Of Ednam House into Reserve Champion status behind winners Joanna Jack and Margaret Of Meggernie, another combination on Championship winning form yesterday:

“It’s amazing, I’m going to retire now,” joked Jo. “I’m just an amateur really.”

Eastlands Stud owner John Staveley belied his 85 years as he ran around the arenas, taking the NPS/Kilmannan Stud In Hand Silver Medal Rosette Championship with Eastlands Rashiebrae.

At the other end of the age spectrum six year old Rosie Findlater and her eight year old grey mare Ffermyllong Spice Girl, aka Molly, won both the Mountain and Moorland lead rein and overall led rein and first ridden championship.

Molly was Rosie’s Christmas present last year and, amazingly, the eight-year-old was only backed in April, having enjoyed a former career as a companion on a showjumping yard.

Juliet Rogers’ 12hh Exmoor stallion Barhill Danny was victorious in Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony not exceeding 12hh and was then subsequently crowned overall champion under Gail Whetter:

“I bred Danny out of my Riding Club mare,” explained Juliet. “He was her first foal. He’s had some kind of virus for the last four weeks and hasn’t been ridden so this was his first outing for a while and he was very pleased to be out and about.”

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive ScoresCross Country Course PreviewsTwitterFacebookInstagram

Lucy Jackson Takes Millstreet ERM Win + U.S. Contingent Report

Lucy Jackson and Superstition. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Lots of action afoot at Millstreet International Horse Trials! Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Event Rider Masters CCI4*-S

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, creating a ferocious, fast-paced fight for the finish. But there was no stopping the Kiwi, who climbed from outside the podium to take her first-ever Event Rider Masters win.

“I’ve never been on the top spot of a podium, and I can’t tell you how good it feels – it’s absolutely fantastic,” said a celebrating Lucy Jackson, who made her first podium appearance when finishing third at the ERM opening leg at Chatsworth with Superstition this spring.

Lucy’s exceptional 26.4 dressage had put her into equal fourth place overnight and a clear round this morning bumped her up into third – but it was a lightning-fast clear round across the country that allowed her to take the win, aided by the withdrawal of two-phase leader Oliver Townend.

Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Though she didn’t deliver one of the three clear rounds inside the time, Lucy added a tiny two seconds to the 6:05 optimum time, allowing her to take the win by a 0.3 penalty margin.

“It’s huge pressure having a point-to-point rider as an other half,” she said with a laugh. “The whole way around I was thinking, ‘don’t be slow – don’t be slow!’ I’m not known for being fast, but the little horse is a superstar. There’ll be a lot of drinking in the pub this afternoon!”

Sam Watson and Imperial Sky. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

The enormous influence of the tight time allowed Sam Watson and Imperial Sky to take second place for the home nation. They delivered a 27.5 first-phase mark and were one of only two combinations to finish on their dressage score, catapulting them from seventh place to the podium after Sam romped home exactly on the optimum time.

“I’m happy because I didn’t leave anything behind out there, and the horse didn’t either – so I was beaten, I didn’t lose [the win],” he said. “It’s great to be here, on home soil and with an Irish crowd and everything.”

But Sam, who juggles running a busy yard with spearheading equestrian statistics company EquiRatings, was quick to pass the baton to wife Hannah, better known as Sparks. Formerly Pippa Funnell’s competition groom, Sparks now accompanies Sam and his horses around the world, providing top-notch care, impeccable turnout, and an inimitable sunniness to the Watson team effort.

“There’s one person, and she’s about half a mile away right now, looking after the horse – Sparks is amazing. She leaves tonight to go to the European Championships and she doesn’t get to see our kids; she’s on the road for ten days,” he explained, smiling through his tears. “She just loves the horses, and they always come first – except when we’re home, then it’s kids and horses. She’s incredible – so thank you so much to her.”

Alex Bragg and Zagreb. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

Alex Bragg and Zagreb raced away from a tough week as the only other combination to finish on their dressage score to climb from ninth to third. They were only the second combination of the day to make the time, after a masterclass from Chris Burton – ostensibly the fastest man in the world – saw him sail home comfortably within the optimum cross-country time.

“I’m thrilled to bits to be on the podium,” said Alex with a broad smile. “I have a smiley face on today! I keep saying that [Zagreb] is a good horse, and this doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all. He’s so consistent, he has the heart of a lion, and he just keeps on giving – as long as I do my job, this is where he should always be.”

Ireland’s Sarah Ennis slipped from the leading spot after showjumping down to fourth place after she and Horseware Stellor Rebound added 2.8 time penalties across the country. Normally exceptionally fast, the pair added an extra stride in the water complex – and Millstreet’s tough, quick track didn’t allow any room to catch up on the clock. But for Sarah, who piloted the experienced gelding as part of Ireland’s silver medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games last year, it’s a promising return to competition with her long-term partner.

With just one leg left in the Event Rider Masters series, the race for the 2019 title has reached fever pitch. With leader Jonelle Price sitting the Millstreet leg out, second-placed Bill Levett and third-placed Chris Burton were both in the hunt for valuable points – and with Bill finishing fourteenth with Shannondale Titan and Burto finishing eighth with Graf Liberty, they both got them. To be precise, they each picked up enough series points that they both now sit on a tally of 73 – just six points ahead of Jonelle and five ahead of Gireg le Coz, and with no margin for error as we look ahead to Lignieres. The stage has been set for an epic showdown in France.

Click here to view final results, and click here to view the rankings following Leg 5.

The final leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters Series takes us to France’s Ligniére en Berry, where romantic villages and fairytale woodlands abut the stage for our finale showdown. It’ll take guts to find glory – but only one rider can become our 2019 champion. Who will take the top spot – and the big payout? There’s only one way to find out. Stay turned for the 2019 series final on Oct. 5-6.

A Great Day for the U.S. Contingent 

Our sole U.S. combination in the ERM class, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, scored a 29.4 to sit 13th after dressage and turned in a clear show jumping round to move up to 11th, but withdrew before the final cross country phase.

Liz finished two horses in the top 10 in the CCI4*-S division: Cooley Quicksilver was 7th on a final score of 43.1, and Burghley-bound Deniro Z was 10th on 44.4. A busy lady, she was also 20th with Carpe Diem IV  heading into cross country he was her highest placed mount, sitting second, but picked up 24 time faults.

The CCI4*-S was also contested by Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan, who finished 18th on a final score of 50.6. The pair scored a 34.6 in dressage, then turned in a clear show jumping round followed by a cross country performance with 16 time faults. Wishing them the best of luck heading into Burghley!

In the CCI4*-L, Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack are in 5th and Will Faudree and Pfun sit 7th heading into the final show jumping phase tomorrow. Caroline added 0.4 cross country time faults to their dressage score of 37.5; Will and Pfun scored a 38.8 in dressage and a clear cross country round with no time boosted them from 20th right into the top 10 mix.

Willbury Wonderpony caught a ride with Sam Watson. Photo courtesy of Millstreet International Horse Trials.

The Best of the Rest

The Noel C. Duggan Engineering CCI4*L sees British rider Harry Meade lie 1st and 2nd and Irish rider Michael McNally is in 3rd.  The trot up takes place early on Sunday morning.

Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE) made his first trip to Millstreet a winning one by taking the Donagh Hickey Motors CCI 2* L.  Darcy Zander (GBR) took second place while Daniel Alderson (GBR) was 3rd and 6th.

Mrs. Chamberlain collected the prizes on behalf of Oliver as owner and breeder of Dreamliner. Dreamliner’s full brother runs in the 3* tomorrow and his sister completed the guinea pig test earlier in the week when a splint prevented them running in the competition proper.

The Connollys RED MILLS CCI4*-S concluded with another Millstreet win for Izzy Taylor (GBR) on Fonbherna Lancer. Oliver Townend (GBR) was 2nd. Regular Millstreet competitor Bubby Upton (GBR) continued her purple patch here and was 3rd on Fernhill Rockstar.  “Rocky” will retire after the competition today so it was a great end to his glittering career.  A tearful Bubby said that he had done everything she had asked of him and would now enjoy a slightly easier life.

Course designer Mike Etherington-Smith commented, “It has been a great event, the weather turned good just in time at the end of the week.  Competitors rose to the occasion, it has been fantastic to see so many lovely horses and the ERM was a great addition. The course team coped brilliantly with the conditions and it was some team effort to pull the event off.  Well done and thank you as  everyone has had to improvise as we have gone along due to the weather. It has been great to see how the competitors understood the challenges and bore with us when we were making changes.”

We are very sorry to report a horse fatality in on CCI4*-S cross country: Amazing, a 15-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Caroline Harris and ridden by Flora Harris of Great Britain, was euthanized following at catastrophic injury at fence 16C. The pair, which has had several good results at the level, had jumped clear to this point on the course; the rider was uninjured in the incident. We extend our condolences to Flora, Caroline and the horse’s connections. 

This report has been adapted from a press release.

Millstreet ERM CCI4*-S Final Top 10: 

Millstreet CCI4*-L Top 10 After Cross Country:

Millstreet CCI4*-S Final Top 10: 

Millstreet International Horse Trials: WebsiteRide TimesLive ScoresEvent Rider MastersERM Live StreamNon-ERM Live Stream

Twin Rivers Appoints Hugh Lochore as New Cross Country Course Designer

Photo by Marcus Greene Photography.

Twin Rivers Ranch is excited to welcome Hugh Lochore as their new cross country course designer for the Intermediate through CCI4* levels, beginning immediately with their September International event. This will be the first time FEI divisions will be included in the Fall Horse Trials in several years as the organizing committee expanded the program following record entries at their April FEI event.

“We are very excited to welcome Hugh to our team at Twin Rivers. We look forward to having some new eyes on the property to get a fresh crack at the courses,” Twin Rivers organizer Connie Baxter said. “This fall will allow Hugh to get used to the property and the flow of the show, in order to really put forward a new vision for 2020.”

Lochore is excited to bring his experience to Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, CA. Having designed all over the United States, and the world, he has an amazing eye for developing courses which incorporate the natural terrain of a property, creating a positive flow for both horses and riders. Lochore is visiting the venue and is excited to continue to work with Tommy Nenneman and his team of course builders, at Twin Rivers to get a feel for the courses and elements at the venue.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to design courses at Twin Rivers and work with the Baxter family. I have been a fan of this venue for quite a long time, and I look forward to the opportunity of utilizing some of the wonderful elements already present while adding my own touch to the courses at this prominent West Coast venue,” Lochore added.

This fall, competition at the family-owned and operated ranch located in the heart of the Paso Robles wine country will begin Thursday, September 19th with the West Coast Future Event Horse Championship. Jeff and Connie Baxter, owners of Twin Rivers Ranch, have hosted eventing competitions since 2004 and with more record-breaking numbers predicted, they are excited to welcome competitors to the first fall FEI event that Twin Rivers has hosted in several years.

In addition to the exciting competition spectators can enjoy in person, Twin Rivers will also be bringing back the live stream for the FEI divisions after an overwhelmingly positive response at the April event. Sponsorship packages are available with 30-second commercial opportunities on the live stream. For more information contact [email protected] Viewership was extremely high during the April event and Twin Rivers is looking forward to providing the same high-quality coverage in September.

Twin Rivers Ranch appreciates the generosity of the following sponsors: APF, Estrella Equine Hospital, Ice Horse, Professional’s Choice, Riding Warehouse, and Whirlwind Excavating.

For the full schedule and results, as well as to learn more, please visit the Twin Rivers Ranch website.

[Twin Rivers Appoints Hugh Lochore as New Cross Country Course Designer]

 

Daisy Berkeley Blooms in Blair Castle CCI4*-S Dressage

Daisy Berkeley and Ballinteskin Cooper S. Photo by Douglas Lamont courtesy of Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

Daisy Berkeley slipped into the lead late in the afternoon in the CCI4*-S class at Scotland’s Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, and is in first place going into tomorrow’s show jumping phase.

Riding Ballinteskin Cooper S, a 10-year-old owned by Daisy and her mother Caroline Dick, Roxana White and Mary Scott-Gall, Daisy scored 30.4 – just a fraction of a penalty more than the two riders who share second place on 30.5, Astier Nicolas and Sam Ecroyd.

Daisy, who was part of Britain’s bronze medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympics, said: “The only mistake he made in his test was jogging a bit after I got a fly in my eye, and I prefer him a bit sharp because it meant he had a lot more presence.

“He’s an awesome jumper and a lovely mover. I thought coming to Blair would bring him on before he goes to Blenheim for the CCI4*-L, and I love it here. I’ve brought my eight-year-old daughter, Mary, with me, and she says it is the best holiday ever!”

Frenchman Astier Nicolas, a narrow second in this class on the grey eight-year-old Babylon De Gamma and also in the lead in the CCI3*-L aboard Lumberton, set the standard when first to go at 9 a.m. this morning.

“Our test wasn’t perfect – he’s a bit of a weak baby – but soon he’ll be very good,” said Astier, team gold and individual silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics. “He’s very talented, and one of the best horses I’ve ever sat. He’s my biggest hope for the future.”

Both Daisy and Astier complimented the ground conditions at Land Rover Blair Castle, saying that the going underfoot was “beautiful.”

Sam Ecroyd also scored 30.5 on Davinci III, while Polly Stockton and Mister Maccondy are very close behind in fourth on a mark of 30.8.

There are no changes to the leaders of the other three international classes at Land Rover Blair Castle after the second day of dressage. Emilie Chandler sits on top in the CCI4*-L with Gortfadda Diamond with a score of 31.8, ahead of Louisa Lockwood with Diamond Ructions on  33.3.

In the CCI3*-L, Greta Mason with Cooley For Sure and Sarah Holmes with Lowhill Clover hold joint-second place with 32.2 behind Astier Nicolas and Lumberton on 31.5.

And Aberdeenshire’s Emma Murray is still at the head of the CCI2*-L with 28.6 on Wainthropp. Again, two riders share second place in this section: Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer with Ronaldo IV and Britain’s Polly Stockton with Sir Alfred II, both of whom scored 30.5.

Cross country commences shortly after 10 a.m. on Saturday morning with the CCI2*-L, followed by the CCI4*-L and then the CCI3*-L. The showjumping phase of the CCI4*-S takes place tomorrow with cross country on Sunday.

Read our day one dressage report here.

[Daisy blooms at Blair: day two of dressage]

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive ScoresCross Country Course PreviewsTwitterFacebookInstagram

CCI4*-S Dressage Top 10: 

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: Day One at Blair Castle

Emilie Chandler & Gortfadda Diamond. Photo by Douglas Lamont.

Emilie Chandler of Great Britain is in the lead in the CCI4*-L class at Scotland’s Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials after dressage.

Riding Gortfadda Diamond, Emilie scored 31.8, with Louisa Lockwood in second on 33.3 aboard Diamond Ructions.

Of her mount, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Water Valley Cool Diamond x Panda, by Glacial Storm) owned by Maria Doel, she said, “He is a really classy horse who has just stepped up to this level this season. The loudspeaker crackled really loudly during our test, which unsettled us both, but I’m thrilled to be in the lead, even if it wasn’t our best test.”

Blair Castle is a nine-hour drive from Emilie’s Leicestershire home, but she said, “I love Blair, and have been coming here for many years.”

France’s Astier Nicolas, the reigning Olympic individual silver medallist, tops the leaderboard in the CCI3*-L with seven-year-old Lumberton, owned by SARL Ecurie Jean Louis Bouchard.

Astier’s last visit to Land Rover Blair Castle was in 2014, when he won the CCI4*-L on the mare Quickly Du Buguet.

“My owners liked the idea of coming here because it is so beautiful, and the surety of finding good ground in the summer season was another big reason,” explained Astier.

Located in Perthshire, the Horse Trials take place against the stunning backdrop of Blair Castle and the Highlands. Not too shabby a backdrop! Photo by Alistair Lamont.

He bought Lumberton from German rider Kai Steffen-Meier in November 2017.

“Lumberton’s a very cool bloke – very laid-back in all three phases. I’d like to take him to Le Lion d’Angers [for the world young horse championships] and I want to test him round a big and bold track like this beforehand.”

Astier scored 31.5, giving him a small lead over both Greta Mason with Cooley For Sure and Sarah Holmes with Lowhill Clover, both of whom have a mark of 32.2. Sarah has made the long journey up to Blair from the Isle of Wight.

Olympic Gold & Silver medallist Astier Nicolas is reigning supreme at the head of the CCI3*-L at the end of day 1.

The Frenchman rode a stunning test for 31.5 from the ground jury.

Aberdeenshire rider Emma Murray tops the CCI2*-L with a very good score of 28.6 on Wainthropp, owned by her husband Shaun. He took over the ride on this nine-year-old mare after Emma finished 12th on her in this class in 2017, but he broke his collarbone in May and Emma decided to take her through to the end of the season.

“Blair is my favorite event so I thought we’d come here and have a nice time,” said Emma. “She’s good at dressage – we are going to the British Dressage National Championships at Stoneleigh at elementary level in two weeks’ time – but I didn’t expect to be out in front. It would be lovely to stay there!”

Again, two riders share second place in this section: Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer with Ronaldo IV and Britain’s Polly Stockton with Sir Alfred II, both of whom scored 30.5.

International dressage continues tomorrow with the CCI4*-S, which features stars such as William Fox-Pitt, and also the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival commences. Dressage starts at 9 a.m. local time.

Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials: WebsiteScheduleRide TimesLive Scores, Cross Country Course PreviewsTwitter, Facebook, Instagram

CCI4*-L Dressage Results – Top 5: 

CCI3*-L Dressage Results – Top 5: 

CCI2*-L Dressage Results – Top 5: 

Bonus pic … ponies! In addition to the International event classes, Blair Castle hosts the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Festival, British show jumping and pony classes.

FEI Researches Equine Health and Performance at Tokyo 2020 Test Event

A major research study aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments was conducted by the FEI during last week’s Ready Steady Tokyo test event, where Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Grisors JRA finished second overall. Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

With optimising performance in challenging climatic conditions high on the agenda during the numerous Ready Steady Tokyo test events, the FEI had already put in place a major research study aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments.

Long travelling times and distances, time-zone disruptions, and heat and humidity pose specific challenges to horses and of course to human athletes. Monitoring of the combined effects of all these factors was put in place prior to the horses’ departure from their home countries en route to Tokyo and throughout last week’s equestrian test event in the Japanese capital. Data collected will be used to provide the FEI, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (TOCOG) as well as National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with detailed information on equine performance in these conditions.

“High level equestrian competitions are increasingly taking place in parts of the world where the climate poses health challenges for both humans and horses,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said.

“The study plays a crucial role in guiding the TOCOG and other Organising Committees on appropriate facilities and support, and will be used to advise and guide athletes and National Federations on the preparation of their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The study monitored horses before, during and after their journey to Tokyo, with data collected through under-tail temperature monitors and sensors that measure stable and travelling activity, as well as thermal comfort. SaddleClip sensors were used to record gait, speed and distance, and heart rate monitors were used on the horses prior to and during competition. The technology for the data collection was made possible through the FEI’s partnerships with Epona Biotec, Arioneo, Equestic and Polar.

Findings from the study will build on the existing framework for implementing measures to run equestrian sports in hot and humid climates that was developed for the Games in Atlanta 1996 and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Olympic test events prior to Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 also included organised monitoring of competing horses.

To ensure that NOCs and NFs are fully aware of the climatic challenges, the FEI included an information session on climate mitigation protocols aimed at minimising the effects of heat and humidity in the official Observers Programme, which ran concurrently with the test event.

During next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, equestrian sport will be held at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park and Sea Forest venues. Baji Koen, which hosted the Olympic equestrian events at the Tokyo Games in 1964, has been extensively refurbished by the Japan Racing Association, while the cross country venue at Sea Forest that will be shared with rowing and canoe sprint is on reclaimed land and will be turned into a park post-Games.

[FEI Researches Equine Health and Performance at Tokyo 2020 Test Event]

 

Olympic Champion Michael Jung Claims Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event Honors

Germany’s Michael Jung, Olympic eventing champion in London 2012 and Rio 2016, takes the honors with Fischerwild Wave at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event which wrapped today at the Equestrian Park. Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

Germany’s Michael Jung, Olympic champion in London 2012 and again in Rio 2016, has already claimed gold in Tokyo one year out from the 2020 Olympic Games after taking the honors with Fischerwild Wave at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event which wrapped up at the Equestrian Park at Baji Koen today.

The 37-year-old, who has three Olympic gold medals and one silver from two Games appearances with the now retired La Biosthetique Sam FBW, had shadowed the leaders from the outset, even though he was riding the youngest horse on the start list: Fischerwild Wave, a 7-year-old Holsteiner (Water Dance XX x Uquina) owned by Klaus and Sabine Fischer and the Jung family.

Third after dressage behind the home side’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA, the German pair moved up to second after yesterday’s cross country and a superb clear in today’s final jumping test to put the pressure on overnight leaders, Australia’s Andrew Hoy with Bloom Des Hauts Crets.

The mare had jumped impeccably around Derek Di Grazia’s cross country 24 hours earlier, but became increasingly headstrong over the colored poles and, when the middle element of the triple combination hit the sand to drop Hoy down the order to fifth, victory went to the German duo.

In mixed weather conditions that veered from heavy rain to hot sunshine, nine horses were foot-perfect over Santiago Varela’s 11-fence track, with Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima on Vick Du Grisors JRA and dressage leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA among them. The home pair moved up to claim podium spots in silver and bronze, heading no fewer than four Japanese in the top 10.

Photo by FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

All 16 horses that started yesterday’s cross country were passed fit at this morning’s horse inspection, with all of them beautifully turned out and looking exceptionally well.

The German winner was quick to praise the facilities provided at the two venues, Equestrian Park and Sea Forest. “For me it was very interesting to be here and nice to see how everything works, especially the cross country with the horses,” he said. “It felt very good. It’s difficult but still possible and I think it’s really not a problem. For sure you need a very good preparation and you have to be very fit before you arrive here, the horses and the riders as well.

“I think it will be very nice next year if you see everything this year and we have one more year to prepare and to make some little details a bit better. I’m really looking forward to next season.”

Second-placed Ryuzo Kitajima, a member of Japan’s gold medal team at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta (INA), was delighted with the performance of his horse Vick Du Grisors JRA: “It was hard work in the very hot weather, but my horse had a very good reaction in the cross country and in the practice arena he was too fresh today so I’m very happy with a double clear, it’s a fantastic result.”

The overwhelming impression from the 20 National Olympic and Paralympic Committees that were onsite was extremely positive and the general mood was summed up by Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor, who chairs the FEI Eventing Committee.

“The facilities are very impressive and we had the chance to test everything we needed to test, which was the purpose of this week’s test event,” he said. “There are some adjustments to be made but they are minor ones, as the Organizing Committee has thought through all the details and is right on track to make 2020 a really great Olympic Games for equestrian sport.”

Run as a CCI3*, the test event is meant to trial logistics, results, timing and data handling, footing, and transport between the two venues, along with other key factors that are crucial for the smooth running of next year’s Games. Find more details about the Ready Steady Tokyo test event here.

Ready Steady Tokyo test event final placings — top six:

  1. Germany’s Michael Jung and Fischerwild Wave (28.0)
  2. Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Gisors JRA (28.2)
  3. Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA (30.1)
  4. Great Britain’s Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley (30.6)
  5. Australia’s Andrew Hoy and Bloom Des Hauts Crets (31.7)
  6. Japan’s Toshiyuki Tanaka and Swiper JRA (32.3)

[FEI: Olympic champion Jung claims Ready Steady Tokyo test event honours]

 

 

Hat Trick for French Team at Haras du Pin Nations Cup

Photo courtesy of Haras du Pin.

Since the first edition of the FEI Nations Cup at Haras du Pin in 2017, the French squad has won…3 times. At the end of the suspense, the French, deprived of one of their best pairs — Qamilha, the mare of Thaïs Meheust, having been spun at the inspection on Sunday morning — had to stick together to succeed in winning against a highly motivated Italian team. At the top of the overall ranking of the circuit, Italy was keen to strengthen their leadership by winning in the Norman fields.

They met a strong and particularly united French team. Because when Jean Teulère, the first member of the team to start in this last test, went off the course with three poles on the ground, they were really down…and feeling the pressure growing! Because the Italians lined up the good performances, especially Ariana Schivo. “We first wanted to keep our second place and we hoped to go back to the first. It was doable, but very tight. Out team worked quite well, even if some of my team mates had some penalties, it was good,” Ariana explained. She finished on a clear round and a 5th place.

When Clara Loiseau, the second member of the French team to tackle the SJ course, had a pole down, things tightened. There was no other option than a clear round for the last rider to go for the French squad. Being in the lead so far added to suspense.

“When I compete with Punch, I obviously dream of winning but I know that my place is rather 3rd or 3rd. His record speaks for it,” Karim Laghouag said. “It’s a great surprise, especially as the team relies on me for the victory. A team medal is really something special to me. To feel that extra pressure helped me. I’ve had a few four-point show jumping results this year with him which is really rare. I’ve been riding him since he was four, he’s 16 now. I probably needed a bit of pressure to believe in it and do all I could to get that clear round. I’ve realised that I could ride him with more pressure and get a better result,”

On top of pocketing the team prize – the third in a row for France in the FEI Nations Cup, Karim Laghouag also won the series in front of two Brits David Doel and Kirsty Johnson, as Thomas Carlile (again!!) finished 4th. He could have won if Atos hadn’t added disappointing 4 penalty points to his score on the first fence of the course.

CCI3*-S

Gwendolen Fer and Traumprinz. Photo courtesy of Haras du Pin.

She strongly wanted to finish on a positive note after an unexpected fall with her other horse Romantic Love, earlier on. Gwendolen Fer, From Toulouse, manage to overcome pressure from her leading position by foot perfectly clearing the course with Traumprinz. The beautiful trakehner gelding touches the one before the last but it didn’t fall and they reached the line clear.

“Traumprinz got hurt at Bramham (GBR) last year, so it was his come back here,” the rider explains. “Starting with a victory is always morally good. He performs with regularity. He‘s overqualified for the series, but we know that we can trust him on all 3 tests. We’ll see if we ‘re coming back in September for the Grand National class or if we’re choosing to compete at Lignieres,”

Following her, were Thomas Carlile with Cestuy La de l’Esques and Karim Laghouag on Triton Fontaine.

CCI3*-L

Thomas Carlile takes first, second and third in the CCI3*-L. Photo courtesy of Haras du Pin.

One, two and three horses on the podium! Not many riders have ever done such a tremendous performance. On top of riding a large number of horses, nine in the day yesterday competing in different classes, Thomas Carlile totally mastered this long format series. He’s used to international podiums, but wouldn’t have bet on it before the competition.

“I didn’t have it on mind when I arrived. I knew Birmane and Bary Louvo were to fight side to side for the lead as they have already competed at this level. I’m particularly satisfied with Zanzibar Villa Rose Z who is only 7. He started eventing last year. He qualified this year for the Mondial du Lion and I wanted to see him on a long format here. He’s the conformation of a 5 star horse and has a great form. I thought the long format would better suit his gallop. And I was right. The show jumping test is his weakest point, he needs to be collected after the cross country. He has perfectly recovered after the cross country and avoided the difficulties today. He totally deserves his 2nd place,” Tomas said.

On the lead before the SJ phase with Birmane, Thomas couldn’t avoid the 4 penalty points. “I think that Birmane’s rider‘s been less efficient today than Bary’s one,” Thomas adds laughing. “She’s slightly better than the other two but I cut the curve to number 8. I paid it full. She’s had a few slight muscles problems in spring and it’s her 2nd competition since. She has to find her reflex back. Even if she’s a great show mare, she‘s sometimes overconfident. I wanted to give her an easy course to run for her confidence and strengthen her with the distance,”

It was thus all the podium places for Thomas with in order Bary louvo, Zanzibar Villa Rose Z and Birmane, leaving fourth place to Kiwi Andrew Nicholson with Spanish horse Argentino BK, and Belgian Senne Vervaecke finished fifth with Jeno.

Click here for results.

 

Beezie Madden Wins Jumping Individual Bronze Medal at Pan American Games

From left to right: silver medalist José María Larocca of Argentina, gold medalist Marlon Modolo Zanotelli of Brazil, and bronze medalist Beezie Madden of the USA. Photo by Taylor Pence/US Equestrian.

Adding another bronze medal to the tally for the USA at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games on Friday was two-time Olympic team gold medalist Beezie Madden riding Breitling LS. Held in Lima, Peru, the final day of jumping at the Pan American Games featured the individual final held over two rounds, and Madden won an exciting four-way jump-off for the bronze medal. With Eve Jobs and Lucy Deslauriers also contesting the individual final, the U.S. Jumping Team saw all three riders finish in the top 10.

The top 35 riders in the individual standings competed on Friday for the first round over a challenging course set by course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. All riders started on a clean slate of zero faults, with their previous three rounds during the week only counting for qualification and determining their order of go. Following round one, the top 20 returned for the second round.

Marlon Modolo Zanotelli of Brazil won individual gold, making it a second gold for his nation after they were the victors in Team competition on Wednesday. Photo by Marcello Zambrana / Lima 2019.

After two rounds, four riders were tied on four faults apiece, necessitating a jump-off for the bronze medal. First in the ring for the tie-breaker were Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion. They had incurred four faults in the opening round of the day and were clear in the second round.

“I think he was maybe a little more attentive in second round,” said Madden of her horse. “I didn’t really adjust for the fact that his energy level was a little more down when he first started. I needed to wake him up a little bit more for the second round.”

In the jump-off, the pair made easy work of the shortened course, cruising home clear and setting the time to beat at 42.47 seconds.

“It was suspenseful,” said Madden of the competition’s conclusion. “I was a little at a disadvantage to have a rail down in the first round, but when only four went clear, I figured we had a decent chance of jumping off for a medal in the best-case scenario. When that came about, I was excited we had a chance for a medal. It was a little tough going first, but it was really winner take all. I figured I would lay it all out there, jump clear as fast as I could, and hope others made mistakes trying to catch me. Credit goes to my horse. He’s a naturally quick horse and I’ve done quite a few jump-offs with him. I felt it was good to have that experience going into that pressure round.”

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

The Lima 2019 Pan American Games marked the 10th major games appearance for Madden and the 55-year-old athlete proved she is still at the top of her game. This bronze medal is the fifth individual medal (two silvers and three bronzes) that Madden has won in her career and her 13th total medal (individual and team) in major games championships. While championship competition has gotten easier the tenth time around, Madden said it’s “still exciting and what we do this for.”

“It feels very nice!” said Madden of adding two more medals to her collection. “Eve [Jobs] asked how many medals I had after our team medal [this week]. Today she said, ‘Now you have a baker’s dozen!’”

“It’s huge,” she continued. “It’s always great for your team when you come through with something you had as a goal for the year. Our staff works really hard to help me and to make that happen for me, my husband John, and our owner Abigail Wexner. It’s always our goal to represent our country and try to win some medals. It’s not an easy task, so when it comes out the way you wanted, it’s always a great feeling.”

With her podium finish at the Pan American Games, Madden automatically qualifies for grand prix events around the world for the next four years.

Following Madden in the jump-off, Canadian Nicole Walker and Falco van Spieveld had four faults for fourth place.

Team USA’s Eve Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles finished in 5th place overall. Photo by Marcello Zambrana / Lima 2019.

Next in for the jump-off was Eve Jobs (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) and her own Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, who were clear in the first individual round and had four faults in the second round. They totaled eight faults in the jump-off in 46.06 seconds to finish in fifth place in the individual final.

“The first round I was really happy with. I thought she jumped amazing, and I was really happy with how I rode,” Jobs, 21, recounted. “The second round I made a made a mistake, but she jumped great in all the rounds I had today, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

“It’s an honor to represent my country,” said Jobs of her first major games experience. “We had a great team partnership, and we bonded really well. It’s my first time at a team championship and that comes with pressure in itself. Getting to jump here and jump for my country with my teammates, I’ve learned so much by going through this process.”

Team USA’s Eve Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles. Photo by Marcello Zambrana / Lima 2019.

When Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) and Armani SL Z had a refusal and retired as the last to go in the jump-off, the bronze medal went to Madden.

Lucy Deslauriers (New York, N.Y.) and Hester, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Lisa Deslauriers, recorded four faults in each of the individual rounds, which gave them eight total faults for ninth place.

“I personally didn’t think I got my best rhythm the first few jumps, and it took me a little bit to get the pace I wanted and the type of ride that would have been ideal,” Deslauriers, 20, said of her final round.

“I’m lucky to come out of a first championship experience in the top 10,” she added. “I was really lucky to be alongside Beezie as a teammate and a leader and have her show us the ropes. Getting to compete with my dad (Mario Deslauriers, who rode for Canada) also at a championship was a lot of fun.”

Madden commented on the team experience, “I think it was a really fun week with Eve, Lucy, and Alex [Granato]. It was a fun group and a good team atmosphere. It was a great week for them to not only gain experience, but they did really well too.”

The jumping individual gold medal went to Marlon Modolo Zanotelli of Brazil on Sirene de la Motte, who was double clear. José María Larocca (ARG) and Finn Lente had one time fault for the silver medal.

Gold medalist Zanotelli posted the only perfect score for the day. “I knew if I gave my mare a good chance, she was going to jump a clear round,” he said. “I had to keep my nerves in place. For me, I was in a good position. I was first to go of the clears, and I knew if I was clear, it would put the pressure on the others.” Photo by Marcello Zambrana / Lima 2019.

[Final Individual Standings]

[US Equestrian: Beezie Madden and Breitling LS Win Jumping Individual Bronze Medal at Lima 2019 Pan American Games]

[FEI: Brazil Does It Again In Lima]

Brazil Takes Team Gold, U.S. Wins Bronze in Pan Am Show Jumping

Brazil took team gold, followed by Mexico for silver and the U.S. for bronze in 2019 Pan American Games show jumping. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

After taking team silver in eventing and bronze in dressage, Brazil capped an impressive two weeks at the 2019 Pan American Games with a gold medal — and a third ticket to Tokyo — for its jumping squad. Mexico and Canada also clinched Olympic qualification slots, finishing in 2nd and 4th place respectively, and the U.S. squad won bronze.

Team medals for this year’s Games in Lima, Peru, were awarded yesterday. The four-rider Brazilian squad of Marlon Modolo Zanotelli with Sirene de la Motte, Eduardo Menezes with H5 Chaganus, Rodrigo Lambre with Chacciama, and Pedro Veniss with Quabri de L Isle finished on a team total score of 12.39 points.

“We came here to qualify for Tokyo; that was the main goal and, of course, to chase this gold medal,” Menezes said. “It was a long journey to get here. It was an amazing journey together with these guys. This medal just gives the perfect end to it.”

Pedro Veniss of Team Brazil. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

It was a tight battle for silver, with Mexico ultimately claiming runner-up honors and the second of three available Olympic qualification slots on a 22.97-point score. The Americans, already qualified for Tokyo due to their gold medal at the 2018 WEG in Tryon last September, finished with the bronze medal on a team total of 23.09 points, while fourth-placed Canada secured the final Olympic qualification on a 30.21-point team total.

Erynn Ballard from Team Canada. Photo by Vidal Tarqui / Lima 2019.

 

Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the U.S. team of Lucy Deslauriers, Alex Granato, Eve Jobs, and Beezie Madden put in solid performances.

“We came here for a medal, that’s what you always do in a championship, and we went away with a medal,” said Ridland. “We were a little bit disappointed because we were in the fight for the gold until the end, and then the silver slipped away. What I’m most proud of is that all four of the riders were an essential part yesterday, putting us where we were, and today as well. Everybody participated in a group effort, and I’m very proud of that.”

Team USA bronze medal winners, from left to right: Beezie Madden, Alex Granato, Eve Jobs and Lucy Deslauriers. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

For three out of the four U.S. riders, this was their first championship competition. As part of the long-term plans for the U.S. Jumping Team to give more experience to up-and-coming riders in team competition, these Games showed the strength of the pipeline of riders ready to join championship teams.

“We were in a favorable position coming in, having already qualified for the Olympic Games, but we sent a team that we knew would be competitive for the gold medal, which it was,” said Ridland. “It was important to have them be able to ride side-by-side with Beezie and all her experience and have [alternate] Richard Spooner as part of the team and be absolutely instrumental all week long. To be able to have three riders that have never been in a championship before come away with a medal, that’s what it’s all about.”

The scores from Wednesday’s two rounds of team competition were added to Tuesday’s opening round scores (with a drop score from each) to determine the team medals.

Alex Granato and Carlchen W. Photo by Vidal Tarqui / Lima 2019.

The pathfinders for the U.S. in the team rounds were Alex Granato (Wellington, Fla.) and Carlchen W, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding owned by Page Tredennick. They had four fences down for 16 faults in round one.

Granato believes he “overthought” his first round. “He is such a fresh, oversensitive horse, and I went in and put a little more pressure on him in some places that I didn’t want to,” he explained. “Going where I did in the team order, it was not my ideal plan to put pressure on my teammates.”

Riding out of the second spot in the team order, Lucy Deslauriers (New York, N.Y.) and Hester, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Lisa Deslauriers, had an eight-fault performance.

Team USA’s Eve Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

Eve Jobs (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) and her own Venue d’Fees des Hazalles, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, put in a critical clear round for the U.S. in round one.

“I really owe that round to her because I was really nervous, and she helped me a great deal,” said Jobs of her horse. “She always fights for me, and that’s one of the things that I love so much about her. She wants to win just as much as I do.”

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

With an additional clear first round for two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Breitling LS, Abigail Wexner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, the U.S. Jumping Team sat in second place on 10.09 penalties behind Brazil with 7.39 penalties and followed by Mexico with 10.97 penalties.

Granato and Carlchen W had a determined comeback in round two, finishing with just one fence down and a single time fault for a total of five faults. After adding to their previous total, they finished with 21.92 penalties.

“He felt a lot more level-headed this round,” said Granato after his second ride. “I would have liked to have started with that this morning, but it gave me something to dig in and fight for to have a better round. That is the end of our game [this week], so I feel like we’re going out on a really confident and strong note.”

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Photo by Vidal Tarqui / Lima 2019.

Deslauriers and Hester also had a significant improvement in round two, recording a clear round for the U.S. team. They finished with 9.32 penalties.

“There were three or four places where I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with my ride, so I was just really focusing on fixing those things,” noted the 20-year-old Deslauriers. “These weeks [at a championship] really are ultimately about performing for your team, so I was just really happy that I could pick up from my two down in the first round and help them out a little bit.

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Photo by Yael Rojas / Lima 2019.

“Representing the United States at any level feels special and important,” Deslauriers continued. “When it goes well, it’s even better. To do it at a championship alongside one of my best friends and two other riders I’ve looked up to, there are no words.”

Returning in the second round, Jobs and Venue d’Fees des Hazalles tallied eight faults for a final total of 9.17 penalties, but a podium finish was a consolation to the 21-year-old riding in her first championship.

“It’s like a dream come true,” expressed Jobs. “I really wasn’t expecting this, especially to win a medal not only with people that I’ve looked up to in the sport for years, but with one of my closest friends; I can’t even put into words how happy I am.”

Eve Jobs and Venue d’Fees. Photo by Fidel Carrillo / Lima 2019.

With two fences down in the careful line across the middle of the arena that challenged many competitors, Madden and Breitling LS ended with eight faults, which gave them eight penalties overall.

“I think there was maybe just a little lack of focus at the first fence [down] and that maybe distracted him for the second fence,” said Madden of her two rails. “I can’t really say there was any really big mistake there. I thought he jumped well both rounds, and it just didn’t go my way that round.”

As the most experienced rider on the team who has competed in four Olympic Games and is at her third Pan American Games, Madden pointed out, “I think the Pan American Games are a super stepping-stone to the Olympic Games. You get the same team atmosphere, the same pressure, trying to win a medal here. People get excited about it. I compliment this venue. It’s fantastic and they’ve done a super job. I think we have a great team here. It’s been a super experience so far, and we look forward to Friday.”

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS. Photo by Vidal Tarqui / Lima 2019.

 

While all four U.S. riders finished Wednesday’s team competition in the top 35 individually, only three athletes from any one nation may advance to the individual final. The top three U.S. riders, who all finished in the top nine in the individual standings, will advance to Friday’s individual final where they will start on a clean slate for faults for the final two rounds.

Beezie Madden, Lucy Deslauriers, and Eve Jobs will return on Friday, Aug. 9, for the individual final, in which athletes will compete in the first round at 12 p.m. EST and the top 20 return for a second round to determine the individual medals.

View complete team results here.

[Bronze Medal Performance for U.S. Jumping Team at Lima 2019 Pan American Games]

[Pan American Games Lima 2019: Brazil punches ticket to Tokyo with team gold]