Category Archives: Equestrian

FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019: Werth wins Grand Prix…

Werth wins Grand Prix… but runner-up Graves looks a powerful threat

The legend that is Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) steered her wonderful 13-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, to victory in the Grand Prix as the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 got underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) this afternoon.

But the World No. 1 rider, and the most decorated athlete in the history of equestrian sport, is taking nothing for granted as she chases down her third consecutive, and fifth overall, World Cup title.

FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

“I can feel the breeze on the back of my neck!”

Isabell Werth (GER)

she admitted, after the World No. 2 combination of America’s Laura Graves (31) and Verdades slotted into second place on a day when US riders were highly impressive.

Indeed tomorrow’s deciding Freestyle competition looks set to be another thriller, and the sold-out stadium will be throbbing with excitement. Third-placed Dane, Daniel Bachmann Andersen, said it suited his stallion Blue Hors Zack when the crowd clapped enthusiastically as they came into the ring. But Judy Reynolds’ Vancouver K didn’t feel the same way, spinning around with fright and boiling over at times when they were first to go. The Irishwoman, whose Freestyle programme is a big crowd favourite, just shrugged it off after finishing 14th of today’s 18 starters however. That blip is already confined to history as far as she is concerned.

It was America’s Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet who headed the leaderboard with a score of 77.267 at the halfway stage after a performance that oozed partnership between horse and rider. And when Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey posted 76.957 as the second-half action began, the US rider was still out in front. But then Werth set off with Weihegold and the big scores just kept coming in, the precision and quality of the mare’s work seeing them post 81.755 to soar out in front.

Bachmann Andersen’s Blue Hors Zack did a lovely test, “he’s just getting better and better!” said the Danish star who temporarily slotted into second when putting 78.152 on the board, but Werth’s lead looked very vulnerable when Graves followed him into the ring, fourth-last to go. Some big early scores suggested the American just might oust the defending double-champion, but there was a little mistake in extended trot and the final scoreline of 80.109 left Werth in pole position.

The German superstar and multiple champion knows the story is far from over however, and Graves reminded her of that at this evening’s post-competition press conference. You could tell that the American meant it when she said “I’m incredibly hungry to be at the top of the podium and I’ll do my very best tomorrow. I know there is a real chance, I believe in this horse – he’s 17 but in the best shape ever!”

But Werth has been to battle, and won, so many times before, and as she said today “Gothenburg holds great memories for me”. It was here that she posted her very first FEI Dressage World Cup Final win with Fabienne in 1992. Can she do it again 27 years later? As she said this evening, “tomorrow is a whole new game – we will have to wait and see….”

Result here

Louise Parkes

Strong Interest In Hosting FEI World Championships 2022

A total of 20 countries on four different continents – Europe, North and South America and Asia – have submitted expressions of interest to host the FEI World Championships 2022, with representatives from over 30 different venues attending a workshop for potential host cities in Lausanne (SUI) today.

Participants at the interactive workshop, which is a first for the FEI, were briefed on the benefits of hosting FEI world championships, including the economic impact on the host city and country, operational requirements, commercial opportunities, broadcast media rights and event promotion, support from the FEI’s team of experts across key functional areas, and the bidding process itself.

“It is extremely encouraging to have received so many expressions of interest to host the FEI world championships 2022 and to have had the opportunity to welcome potential bidders to Lausanne for today’s workshop”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We hope that this new collaborative approach, in line with the IOC’s New Norm and based on transparency, cost-effectiveness and sustainability, will result in solid formal bids, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

“Our sport has grown so much that an all-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games has become too big for many venues to host. By opening up the bidding process for 2022 to single and multi-discipline bids, and not excluding a full Games, we believe that we have created a more enticing formula and the high level of expressions of interest suggests that we are on the right track.”

Following today’s workshop, which was attended by more than 70 delegates, the process now enters the Candidate Phase, with a 7 June 2019 deadline for the submission of formal bids. A shortlist of candidates will then be drawn up by the end of June, with a draft host agreement provided to each of the shortlisted candidates.

Deadline for receipt of host agreements signed by both the candidate and relevant National Federation is mid-September, with candidates potentially being asked to present their bids to the FEI Evaluation Commission over the following month. Final evaluation of all shortlisted bids will be completed by the end of October, with recommendations provided to the FEI Board prior to allocation at the in-person Board meeting in Moscow (RUS) in mid-November 2019.

Swiss Look Strong As Final Line-Up Takes Shape At Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019

The numbers are in as the definite entries for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 were confirmed earlier this week, with 35 athletes from 18 countries set to line out when the edge-of-the-seat action gets underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April. And while American superstar, Beezie Madden, returns to defend the title she claimed for the second time in her stellar career 12 months ago, she will face a mighty battle to hold on-form contenders from all around the globe at bay as she chases down her hat-trick.

This is the 41st finale to the prestigious series that began way back in 1978. Austria’s Hugo Simon and the brilliant Gladstone were the first champions when the inaugural Final was staged in Gothenburg a year later, and in 2019 the title-decider returns to the Swedish city for 15th time.

As always it’s like something of a homecoming, and if there’s one man who would dearly love to become the very first Swedish winner it is world No. 12, Henrik von Eckermann, because he finished third with the brilliant Toveks Mary Lou in both 2017 and 2018 and right now the two of them are on fire.

The formidable partnership played a key role in Sweden’s team silver success at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) and have maintained form ever since. However they’ll have to be at the very top of their game if they want to see off the challenge thrown down by the world individual silver and bronze medallists, Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat from Switzerland.

Fuchs’ performance with Clooney in Tryon was inspirational, and the grey wonder-horse showed just how tough he is when still fresh and strong on the final day.

As for Guerdat, he is a past-master of pressure riding as he has demonstrated on so many occasions. He already has two Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ titles with two different horses under his belt, and he posted the second of those two victories in the Scandinavium Arena three years ago. He’s completely at home in a pressure-cooker environment, and that’s exactly how it’s going to feel when he rides into the ring with Albfuehren’s Bianca, who finished eighth at the Omaha (USA) Final in 2017 and 10th in Paris (FRA) last time around.

CSI5*-W LONGINES FEI JUMPING World Cup TM

There are other former champions also taking another crack at the title this year, and perhaps the most remarkable of all these is Ludger Beerbaum who provided the first-ever German victory with the legendary Ratina Z in Gothenburg in 1993. The German challenge is intimidating, with 2014 champion Daniel Deusser and 2011 winner Christian Ahlmann both armed with great horses after enjoying an impressive qualifying season. They finished first and second on the super-competitive Western European League table, with three wins boosting Deusser to pole position ahead of his compatriot who will be showing off his fabulous young stallion, Clintrexo Z.

Only five female athletes have taken the title in the 40-year history of the series that every rider wants to win, and they all have American roots. There will be eight lady riders competing this time around, but Madden has to be firm favourite, especially since the first of her two previous wins was recorded in the Scandinavium Arena.

The countries that will be represented at this year’s Final are Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and USA. And each and every athlete will be hoping to realise the dream of holding the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy in their hands as they take the top step of the podium on the final afternoon on 7 April.

FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019: Denmark’s Bachmann Andersen Wins Dramatic Last Leg

Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) threw down the performance of a lifetime to win the edge-of-the-seat tenth and last leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at ’s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands today. Last to go, it seemed he had a mountain to climb to overtake the fantastic score of 84.875 posted by Helen Langehanenberg (36) who had just pushed her German compatriot, and reigning series champion, Isabell Werth, off the top of the leaderboard.

But the Danish rider and his 14-year-old stallion, who began the season with a brilliant victory on home ground last October in Herning (DEN) where they also left Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH in their wake, really pulled out all the stops to do it once again. Their winning margin was tiny, just 0.015, but their mark of 84.890 rocketed them into pole position on the day and into fourth in the final standings on the Western European League table.

On an afternoon of sparkling sport there was plenty to keep the Dutch crowd pleased, with both Anne Meulendijks (MDH Avanti NOP) and Emmelie Scholtens (Apache) giving a great account of themselves before Hans Peter Minderhoud took the lead with Glock’s Dream Boy when posting a score of 81.635. However, third-last to go, World No. 1 Isabell Werth put 82.930 on the board to go out in front, and that was the target Langehanenberg was chasing when next into the ring.

And the lady who was crowned 2013 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion was on fire, Damsey completely composed and concentrated as they forged way into the lead. The smile on her face as she punched the air after the final halt said it all. “This was the best test we’ve ever done!” Langehanenberg pointed out. But Bachmann Andersen wasn’t going to be intimidated. “I saw Helen’s score just before I went in and I decided I was just going to go for it – and I did!” he said.

And Zack answered his every call, demonstrating his ever-growing confidence and immense ability. He’s an extraordinary horse, because he lost an eye due to an injury when he was six years old, but it certainly doesn’t hold him back. “He’s well used to it and he knows his job and he believes in me – but he is truly amazing!” the Danish rider said of his 15-year-old stallion.

“Today he just rocked it and it felt so good, he has so much power and now he can really absorb the degree of difficulty in this Freestyle. We finished very close Helen and I, and it’s amazing to ride against these great German and Dutch riders who are bringing out their ‘A’ game. This is another really important moment in my career!”

Daniel Bachmann Andersen (DEN)

Now he’s really looking forward to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) which kicks off on 3 April. His strong league result will ensure a good place in the drawn order, and he can’t wait to take on the best of the rest when the moment comes. “Zack will have a little rest now and I will slowly build him up for Gothenburg. I know what the Swedish crowd will be like, it will be electric, but that only makes him better!” he pointed out.

There are nine spots at the Final available to riders from the Western European League and, as it stands this evening, Germany’s Langhanenberg and Dorothee Schneider will join their fellow-countrywoman and defending champion Isabell Werth when the action begins. But despite finishing third, eighth and tenth respectively on the WEL League table, Germany’s Benjamin Werndl, Frederic Wandres and Fabienne Muller-Lutkemeier will miss out because only three riders from each National Federation are permitted to compete.

As of this evening, completing the WEL line-up will be Bachmann Andersen, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud, Portugal’s Maria Caetano and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds.

Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019: Moggre Shines in Longines Debut At Live Oak

Brian Moggre (USA) made his World Cup debut a winning one, racing to victory with MTM Vivre le Reve in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Live Oak, the final leg of the 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League at the Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida (USA).

Moggre and his 10-year-old Westphalian gelding topped a six-horse jump-off, crossing the timers of the Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER)-designed shortened course in an unbeatable 41.29 seconds. Andre Thieme (GER) and Aretino finished second by a narrow margin with their 41.56-second time, while Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper were third (43.96 seconds).

Moggre, who turns 18 this year, is in his first year of eligibility to jump in World Cup competition. He also won Friday’s ranking class, which qualified him for Sunday’s World Cup event.

“I had a little bit of low expectations for myself—never for my horse, because he’s amazing. I wanted to go and jump a clear round; that was my main goal. Once that happened, it was pedal to the medal in the jump-off.”

Brian Moggre (USA)

Moggre attributed stride and efficiency to his jump-off win, along with a superior effort from his horse over the course’s penultimate fence.

“There was one small place where my horse had to save me, and he did,” Moggre explained. “I’m so appreciative of him. That’s what makes him so special.”

The Stage is Set

The points have been finalized, and the stage is set for North American League riders headed for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, in April.

Beezie Madden (USA) finishes the season at the top of the east coast sub league standings with 58 points, but as the reigning World Cup Final Champion, she automatically qualifies. Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), with 55 points, finishes the season in second place, with Wilhelm Genn (GER) finishing third. With 47 points, Genn qualifies as an Extra Athlete.

Richard Spooner (USA) is the leading rider on the west coast with 49 points. Eve Jobs (USA) finishes second on 48 points to qualify for her first World Cup Final, while Nayel Nassar (EGY) finishes third in the standings with 46 points.

The top seven U.S. riders from the east coast sub league qualify for Gothenburg, along with the top three U.S. riders from the west coast, and the top two riders from Canada and Mexico. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final takes place 3-7 April 2019.

By Catie Staszak

Endurance Temporary Committee Meets With Stakeholders At FEI HQ

The Endurance Temporary Committee, set up by the FEI Board in October 2018 to review the discipline with the remit of bringing the sport back to its original roots of Endurance riding rather than Endurance racing, has met with a total of 26 stakeholders representing each of the FEI Regional Groups, World Horse Welfare and the Alliance of Endurance Organisers.

All smiles – Croatia’s Zrinka Bilen on ten-year-old Sally took individual bronze and helped her team to silver on home soil at the 100km FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2016 at Velika Pisanica yesterday (8 October). (FEI/Bosko Milivojevic)

The purpose of the meetings was to allow stakeholders to provide the Temporary Committee with feedback on a series of topics, including the qualification system, mandatory rest periods, track design covering natural features, number of loops, access to water and proximity of cars, elimination codes, heart rates and presentation times, weight of athletes, officials, increased sanctions for anti-doping violations, limits on number of starters and continuous crewing.

The European Equestrian Federation (former FEI Groups I and II), together with FEI Group III, was represented in the first of five sessions which took place today.

“It was a very positive meeting and it was very important for those who participated, that they were being asked for their contributions”, said Quentin Simonet (FRA), Chair of the EEF Endurance Working Group. “Our position is that we have to tackle the real problems which concern a fairly limited number of people. There are plenty of places where the sport of endurance is going very well.”

Also at FEI HQ today for meetings with the Temporary Committee were representatives from Groups IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX.

World Horse Welfare also met the Committee, together with representatives of the Alliance of Endurance Organisers, an affiliate of the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance.

“We are heartened that the FEI is taking the strong initiative to “take back”, in the FEI President’s words, the sport of endurance, placing far greater emphasis on equine welfare in what has been a rapidly growing, but all too often, controversial discipline”, said Roly Owers, Chief Executive Officer of World Horse Welfare. “We hope the committee will come up with substantive, and in places radical, changes to better protect equine welfare and so secure the future of endurance.”

The Endurance Temporary Committee will hold its third in-person meeting at FEI HQ tomorrow to further discuss the input from today’s stakeholder group meetings and prepare for the FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) as the second day will be dedicated to Endurance.

Swiss Olympic champion Guerdat back to world number one in Longines Rankings

Steve Guerdat, the Swiss star who took individual Jumping gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has reclaimed the world number one slot in the Longines Rankings.

The 36-year-old, who was previously 140 points off the lead in second place behind Harrie Smolders, has now jumped ahead of the Dutch athlete with a 55-point advantage in the rankings published today by the FEI.
The four-time Olympian last topped the world rankings in November 2012 and his return to the number one slot, on 3,050 points, follows a series of impressive results last month, most notably an emotional victory in the IJRC Top 10 Final on home turf at Geneva.

Individual bronze medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 last September, Guerdat also leads the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League standings and will be aiming for a third victory in the seasonal Final at Gothenburg (SWE) in April after back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.

Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Hannah in the LONGINES FEI World Cup™ Jumping Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 19th 2017
Photo FEI/Cara Grimshaw

Germany’s Marcus Ehning, fourth in the rankings published at the beginning of December, has now switched places with McLain Ward (USA) to sit third on 2,936 points, 59 adrift of Smolders and just 16 clear of Ward. European champion Peder Fredricson (SWE) remains fifth on 2,815.

Daniel Deusser (GER), Ben Maher (GBR), Henrick von Eckermann (SWE), Beezie Madden (USA) and Guerdat’s compatriot Martin Fuchs (SUI) complete the top 10.

View the complete Longines Rankings here.