As the season winds down we have a pretty good idea of what the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings will look like when we close the book on 2016. We aren’t surprised to see the indomitable Michael Jung (GER) still blowing the rest of the world away, but we are thrilled that America’s own Phillip Dutton has moved up to second and is joined in the top 50 by another four U.S. riders.
With 632 points on the world rankings leaderboard, Michael Jung’s incredible year started off with a win at the Fontainebleau CICO3* riding La Biosthetique Sam FBW then went on to earn back-to-back wins at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* (riding fischerRocana FST) and Badminton CCI4* (riding Sam), which made him only the second rider in history to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. He made history again this summer when he earned a second consecutive Olympic Games individual gold medal in Rio with Sam. He followed that up with a second and third place finish at the Pau CCI4* with fischerTakinou and fischerRocana FST. Pau is the last FEI event Michael competed in, and Ze Terminator is currently in Canada riding at the Royal Winter Fair.
Carrying 517 points, our very own Phillip Dutton, having sat in the world #4 position after finishing with two horses inside the top 5 at Rolex (Mighty Nice and Fernhill Cubalawn), is now ranked #2 in the world. Phillip also earned points for the FEI leaderboard with a fourth place finish at the Jersey Fresh CCI3* on Z, finishing fourth and fifth at the Fair Hill International CCI3* with I’m Sew Ready and Mr. Candyman, and of course, earning the individual bronze medal at the Rio Olympics with Mighty Nice.
Australia’s Christopher Burton is ranked third in the world with 484 points. Chris won the Saumur CCI3* riding Santano II and the Barbury Castle CIC3* riding Polystar I. He also finished fifth individually in Rio riding Santano II, won the Burghley CCI4* with Nobilis 18, was 11th with TS Jamaimo at Pau and won the 6-year-old Championship at Le Lion with Fire Fly.
Close behind with 476 points is New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, who finished first and seventh at the Bramham CCI3* with Jet Set and Teseo. He finished fifth and seventh at Luhmühlen CCI4* riding Qwanza and Perfect Stranger, respectively, then finished second with Nereo at Burghley and rounded out the year with a second place finish at the Blenheim CCI3* on Teseo.
Boyd Martin (USA) has made a steady climb up the leaderboard to currently sit fifth with 456 points. Boyd finished Rolex this year with two in the top 15 (Blackfoot Mystery in sixth and Shamwari 4 in 12th), came second at the Jersey Fresh CCI3* on Welcome Shadow and won the Bromont CCI2* with Bonito. He finished 13th at the Pau CCI4* with Welcome Shadow, and as a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, he finished in 16th place individually with Blackfoot Mystery.
The next highest ranked American is Lauren Kieffer in 18th place with 337 points. She and Veronica were second at the Carolina International CIC3* and later second at Rolex Kentucky (for the second time). She and Vermiculus were sixth at the Bromont CCI3* and she placed sixth at the Boekelo CCIO3* with Meadowbrook’s Scarlett. Lauren most recently finished 11th and 12th at the Fair Hill International CCI3* riding DA Duras and Landmark’s Monte Carlo.
Hannah Sue Burnett is currently ranked 23rd with 317 points. The results that counted include third at the Red Hill CIC3*, 15th at Rolex, and fifth at Blenheim CCI3* all with Harbour Pilot. And with Under Suspection she was second at the Ocala CCI2*, second at Rebecca Farm CCI3* and third at Fair Hill International CCI3*.
Buck Davidson is the fifth and final U.S. rider in the top 50; 258 points puts him 37th on the world rankings. Buck’s results include eighth at the Ocala CCI2* on Approved Power, ninth at Rolex with Petite Flower, eighth at the Great Meadow CICO3* and first at the Rebecca Farm CCI3* with Copper Beach, and a win and fifth place finish with Halimey at the Rebecca Farm CCI2* and Plantation Field CIC2*.
Two FEI events remain on the U.S. eventing calendar for the year including Galway Downs in California this weekend and the Ocala Jockey Club in Florida at Thanksgiving. While we get geared up for winter, Australia and New Zealand are kicking it into high gear with the Adelaide CCI4* going on now and several more FEI events scheduled before the end of the year. With five Australian and New Zealand riders currently ranked in the top 10, the final leaderboard for the year may change.
Note: While each of these riders have additional excellent results on their 2016 records, we have only listed those that count towards their current athlete rankings in this article. For a complete breakdown of how the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings are determined, click here.