Category Archives: Equestrian

Countries Line Up To host FEI World Championships in 2022

A total of 10 countries have put in formal bids to host the FEI World Championships 2022, including two proposals to host the multi-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games™. Bidding countries are Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America.

More than 20 years after Rome stepped in as host city of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 1998 following Ireland’s late withdrawal, the Italians are looking to once again host the full Games. The Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh is also in the running having put forward an all-discipline bid for 2022.

“The number of formal bids that we’ve received for single and multi-discipline FEI World Championships and full Games is an excellent indication that the interest in the World Championships is as strong if not stronger than ever”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We knew that some of the countries that put in expressions of interest back in February were just dipping their toes in the water, but these formal bids are a great validation of the new bidding process and show that we have a really strong product.”

The FEI initiated a bidding process for individual World Championships in all disciplines for 2022 after the FEI General Assembly in Manama (BRN) in November 2018.

The FEI Board decided that multi-discipline bids would be given preference, and that Dressage and Para Dressage should be combined. The World Championships in 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines will serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The new bid process allows for the sustainable and cost-effective use of existing equestrian sports facilities, and was put in place to provide the opportunity for the FEI to partner with National Federations that may have hesitated to put forward multi-discipline bids in the past.

In a key change to the bid procedure, the FEI hosted an interactive workshop at the end of March 2019 in Lausanne for all National Federations/Organising Committees that had submitted an expression of interest.

The workshop provided interested parties with detailed information of the structure, opportunities and minimum requirements for hosting the FEI World Championships 2022. By working more closely with the National Federations and Organising Committees from the outset, the FEI and its stakeholders can establish an achievable set of goals and work towards a unified vision for 2022.

All bids will be fully evaluated over the summer and allocation of FEI World Championships 2022 will be made at the in-person Board meeting during the FEI General Assembly in Moscow (RUS) in November this year.

Countries line up to host FEI World Championships in 2022

All Disciplines

Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA), World Equestrian Games
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA), World Equestrian Games
Multi-Discipline

Dubai Equestrian Club (UAE), Jumping & Endurance
Herning (DEN), Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage
WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona (USA), Reining & Vaulting
Jumping

Dubai Equestrian Club (UAE) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Herning (DEN) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Endurance

Jazdecký Klub Napoli, Samorin (SVK)
Stichting Endurancesport, Ermelo (NED)
Padise Equestrian Centre (EST)
Dubai Equestrian Club (UAE) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Driving

National Stud of Szilvásvárad (HUN)
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Dressage

Herning (DEN) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Para Dressage

Herning (DEN) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Eventing

Millstreet Equestrian Services, Millstreet (IRL)
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Reining

WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona (USA) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid
Vaulting

WestWorld of Scottsdale, Arizona (USA) – part of a multi-discipline bid
Pratoni del Vivaro (Rome), Elementa (Rome) & Isola della Scala (Verona) (ITA) – part of a WEG bid
Saudi Equestrian Federation, Riyadh (KSA) – part of a WEG bid

JustWorld International signs Memorandum of Understanding with FEI

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), world governing body of equestrian sport, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with JustWorld International.

JustWorld International, formed in 2002, is a non-profit organisation aimed at uniting the global equestrian community to provide basic needs programmes to children around the world focusing on education and nutrition programmes.

Under the terms of the agreement, JustWorld International is designated an “Official Charity Partner of the FEI”. The two organisations will mutually promote their activities and work closely on development and fundraising for the JustWorld International charity programmes.

“The FEI is very happy to join forces with JustWorld International and sign this important MOU”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our organisations have a very strong connection, sharing the same values of promoting equestrian sport and encouraging its development among the youth. Through our Solidarity Programme ‘Sport for All’ we help children from public schools and from socially disadvantaged environments to have access to riding activities. The partnership with JustWorld International will allow us together to provide incredible benefits to disadvantaged children around the world.”

FEI President Ingmar De Vos with JustWorld International Founder and President Jessica Newman at the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) to mark the signing of an MOU between the two organisations. (FEI)

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the FEI and together transform the lives of children through equestrian sport”, JustWorld International Founder and President Jessica Newman said. “This has been a goal for JustWorld. We believe that working together with the FEI and having their official support will have a remarkable impact and further enhance our charity programmes.”

China, Thailand and Poland secure Tokyo 2020 Eventing team slots

China, Thailand and Poland secured their equestrian team tickets to next summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at special Eventing qualifiers held in Saumur (FRA) and Baborówko (POL) over the weekend.

This will be a first-ever Olympic Eventing team slot for China and Thailand, although both have had individual starters at previous Olympics. The two nations finished second and third at the FEI designated Olympic qualifier held in Saumur (FRA) for Olympic Groups F and G, which covers Africa and the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Hong Kong finished fourth when only one of their three starters went through to the final Jumping phase.

Japan, already assured of a starting place on home ground next summer, were fractionally behind China after Saturday’s Pierre Michelet designed cross country test, but regained the lead they had established in the Dressage arena to take top spot by 6.1 penalties ahead of the Chinese. Team China, led by double Olympian Alex Hua Tian who finished eighth in Rio 2016, held on for second place and a Tokyo ticket ahead of Thailand, also now with a place logged on the 2020 startlist.

Hua Tian, who made his Olympic debut at the age of 18 at Beijing 2008, was bidding for individual success with the talented Don Geniro, but four faults in today’s Jumping handed victory to the 1993 European champion, Frenchman Jean Lou Bigot with Aktion De Belheme.

Double Polish win on home soil
Pawel Spisak, already a four-time Olympian, led his team to victory on home turf at Baborówko to book Poland a place at next year’s Games. Riding his Rio 2016 horse Banderas, the 37-year-old also claimed the individual honours ahead of two-time Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung with Fischerchipmunk FRH.

Both Belarus and Russia also fielded teams at Baborówko, venue for the Olympic Group C qualifier covering Africa and the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania. However, when just two of the Belarussians and one Russian completed all three phases, the Poles were left untroubled at the top.

Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand are already gearing up for Tokyo, having secured Olympic qualification at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™. Japan, as host nation, is automatically qualified, but the win in Saumur shows that the home side will be right in the mix next summer.

While three team slots were nailed over the weekend, there are still spaces available for five more teams to make up the full quota of 15 Eventing teams for Tokyo. An additional 20 individual places are up for grabs via the FEI Olympic rankings to fill the overall quota of 65 starters.

Two-time Olympian Alex Hua Tian rode Don Geniro to second place at the special Olympic qualifier held in Saumur (FRA) over the weekend to help secure China’s first-ever Olympic team qualification in Eventing. (Ouest Image)

Remaining opportunities for nations to qualify Eventing teams for Tokyo are at the Pan-American Games in Lima (PER) at the beginning of August and the FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen (GER) at the end of August, both of which have two slots available. Additionally, the highest ranked nation at the end of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ series 2019, which winds up at Boekelo (NED) in mid-October, will also book their ticket for next year’s Games..

The FEI system allows nations from each of the FEI Olympic Groups two opportunities to qualify, either at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 or at their designated regional qualifier. The FEI Olympic Groups for the Olympic qualification process are based on seven geographical regions: A – North Western Europe; B – South Western Europe; C – Central & Eastern Europe, Central Asia; D – North America; E – Central & South America; F – Africa & Middle East; G – South East Asia, Oceania.

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019: Swiss Win Mighty Opening Battle At La Baule

In a spectacular start to the Europe Division 1 series, Switzerland pipped reigning series champions Belgium in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of France 2019 at La Baule (FRA) today where the host nation lined up third.

Clear rounds are key to success, and there were plenty who managed to leave all the poles in place on the track set by crack French course designer Frederic Cottier despite a testing time-allowed of 75 seconds. But double-clears are even better, and when the Swiss posted two of the the five recorded this afternoon, thanks to superb efforts from team pathfinder Niklaus Rutschi (53) and anchorman Steve Guerdat (36), they beat the Belgians by a single penalty point.

It was Guerdat who clinched it when last into the arena, shouldering unbelievable pressure as only this man can. But it was Rutschi who set it all up with a fantastic performance from his 11-year-old gelding Cardano CH. He had every reason to be proud this evening.

“It’s a dream come true! We have this horse since he was a foal and we are good friends together. Last year he was injured so he had a long break, but he’s right back to his best now. He’s one of the best horses in the world – he’s scopey, he’s careful and he just needs his rider to his job properly!”

Niklaus Rutschi (SUI)

It was neck-and-neck between the Swiss and Belgians at the halfway stage when both sides finished the first round with four faults on the board. The Irish were close behind with five while last year’s La Baule winners from Brazil were sharing fourth place with the French on eight faults. Germany carried 10 into the second round, but the British and Canadians were already looking vulnerable with 18 and 19 faults respectively before the action resumed. However the spotlight shone brightly on a new young British star when Amy Inglis (22) followed a first-round clear with a single time-fault in round two with her lovely mare, Wishes.

French hearts were lifted with three rock-solid second-round clears that saw them climb up the leaderboard when both the Irish and Brazilians faltered, but it was the Belgians and Swiss who would slog it out for the win in the closing stages, and it went right down to the wire.

A clear from Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Chilli Willi gave the Belgians a great start to round two. And when Niels Bruynseels’ second clear of the day from Utamaro D’Ecaussines was followed by just a single time fault from Pieter Devos and Claire Z they looked bullish because even without the services of their final partnership, Gregory Wathelet and MJT Nevados S, they could finish on no more than five faults.

Rutschi’s second clear of the competition was followed by eight faults from Bryan Balsiger (21), but Paul Estermann (55) pulled it back for the Swiss with a foot-perfect run from Lord Pepsi and that set it up for one final showdown. If Wathelet could return a zero score then the Belgians could discard Devos’ single time fault and it might just force a jump-off with the Swiss.

But the vertical that followed the 4-metre-wide open water had hit the dirt plenty of times during the day. “It was difficult because the horses were inclined to look at the crowd in the tribune behind, instead of at the fence”, Rutschi explained this evening. And when that fell, then Devos’ four faults was the discard as only the best three results from each of the four-member teams are counted, and now Belgium were definitely finishing on those five faults.

Niklaus Rutschi of Switzerland on Cardano CH

So as Switzerland’s Guerdat rode into the arena with the brilliant mare Albfuehrens Bianca with which he claimed individual bronze at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA the result was hanging in the balance. A fence down and it would be all over, a single time fault and it would go to a jump-off but a clear round would win it. And you could hear a pin drop as the London 2012 Olympic individual gold medallist and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion steered his fiery mare through the track one last time.

“Being able to give the win to your country is one of the best feelings. It’s for these kind of moments that I love our sport!”

Steve Guerdat (SUI)

he said after clinching it, Bianca still bursting with energy as she bounced through the finish one more time.

Today’s result puts Switzerland at the top of the Europe Division 1 league table at this early stage of the eight-leg series which now moves on to their home ground in St Gallen (SUI) in two weeks’ time. Each team in this series has four opportunities to collect points towards qualification for the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2019 in October where, along with the much-coveted series trophy, one last Olympic qualifying spot will also be on offer.

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019: Magical Mexicans Make It Two-In-A-Row

Fairytale performance from Lorenza O’Farrill

The host nation turned on the magic once again to win the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Mexico 2019 at Coapexpan today with a gutsy and determined performance. The Mexican side of Patricio Pasquel (47), Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane (25), Lorenza O’Farrill (49) and Salvador Onate (41) produced a spectacular result, confirming their supremacy without having to call up anchorman Onate in the second round and pinning USA into runner-up spot while Canada finished third.

O’Farrill was hailed the hero of the day, her second-round clear with the 14-year-old gelding Queens Darling wrapping it all up nicely. But it wasn’t just the second consecutive Mexican success in the three-leg 2019 North and Central America and Caribbean League that she and her team-mates were celebrating this evening, it was O’Farrill’s sensational return to the top end of the sport against all the odds.

“I’m out of myself with proudness and emotion!”

Lorenza O’Farrill (MEX)

said the lady who suffered a life-altering back injury when kicked by a horse leaving a prize-giving ceremony seven years ago. Her condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t walk, but after a series of surgeries, and now sporting six screws in her spine, the athlete who lined out at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Rome (ITA) in 1998 has now bounced back to her very best.

With just three teams in action, today’s competition was a compact but intense affair. Mexico and USA were on level pegging with nine faults apiece at the halfway stage but the Canadians already looked vulnerable as the action resumed, carrying 14 faults from which they would never recover.

America’s Richard Spooner was foot-perfect both times out with his 10-year-old grey, Quirado RC, but the man whose nickname is “The Master of Faster” picked up a time fault in each round. Eve Jobs, at 21 the youngest competitor on the day, kicked out only the narrow vertical at fence six in the first round before returning to put in a copybook clear with Venue d’Fees des Hazelles. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson’s feisty mare, Akuna Mattata, fell foul of the bogey oxer at fence nine that caught out so many in the first round and added five more in the second round and this brought the US total to 15 faults.

When O’Farrill followed Pasquel’s second-round clear with Babel, and another four-fault result for Gonzalez Dufrane and his sweet mare Hortensia van de Leeuwerk, with a superb clean run the game was up.

JALAPA, MEXICO – MAY 05: Lorenza O’Farrill of Mexico riding Queens Darling competes during the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup – Coapexpan on May 5, 2019 in Jalapa, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images for FEI) (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

The Canadians made a great recovery with second-round clears from Lisa Carlsen (Parette) and Nicole Walker (Falco van Spieveld) but it was too late as they completed on 22 faults. Alex Granato and Carlchen W rounded up the US effort with a 12-fault result but the Mexicans were already home and hosed with their team total of 13, so Onate, who had racked up an uncharacteristic 12 faults first time out with Big Red, didn’t need to run again when listed last to go.

O’Farrill said today that her comeback hasn’t been easy.

“I had to work on myself inside and out with physical therapy and mental training, but it’s been worth every minute!”

Lorenza O’Farrill (MEX)

Her husband bought Queen’s Darling as an 8-year-old but they had a couple of falls so his wife took him over and began to enjoy some success. When she was going into surgery her husband promised that Queens Darling would be waiting for her when she was better and since she returned to the saddle she’s been working on the horse’s spooky nature – “I can’t change him so I use it to my advantage!” said the rider whose steeds are naturally supremely fit because they live 3,000 meters above sea level in Mexico City and whose other ride, the mare Calvira, won Friday’s Longines Grand Prix.

O’Farrill is now looking forward to the third and last leg which will take place in Langley (CAN) in a few weeks time where the result of the North and Central American and Caribbean League series will be decided. In the lead with 200 points on the board following their double of victories in Wellington (USA) in February and again today, Team Mexico hold the lead followed by USA on 170 and Canada with a total of 140 points.

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.