Category Archives: Equestrian

FEI Signs Partnership Deal With Equine Nutrition Brand Cavalor

Cavalor, the Belgian based equine nutrition brand, today signed a deal to become the FEI’s Official Nutrition Partner and Title Partner of the FEI Best Groom Award.

A world leader in equine nutrition for high-performance horses, Cavalor has helped thousands of horse owners and athletes achieve top level performance through proper nutrition and care.

“Horse welfare is at the top of the agenda for both Cavalor and the FEI which makes this partnership a natural fit,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus said. “With over 30 years of experience, Cavalor brings a wealth of equine nutrition knowledge to the table along with a strong brand reputation and we look forward to a productive working partnership.”

At this year’s FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS), the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award will be given to the person working behind the scenes to ensure the horses he or she looks after are given the best possible care. Lee McKeever (USA), groom to four time Olympian McLain Ward, was the recipient of last year’s accolade.

The Awards ceremony, which will be attended by more than 250 distinguished guests and top sporting legends, will honour the Cavalor FEI Best Groom as well as the winners in the other four categories – FEI Best Athlete, Longines FEI Rising Star, FEI Against All Odds and FEI Solidarity.

“Cavalor has a history of working with top athletes and their horses and this partnership with the FEI now provides an opportunity to reach a more international audience,” Lieselot Hamerlinck, Managing Partner of Cavalor said. “We believe in fostering long term relationships and we know that together with the FEI we can bring our experience in this field to more people.”

The company’s products are based on years of intense research and development, the selection of the highest quality ingredients, as well as strict manufacturing and quality control processes.

The Cavalor name is trusted by champion athletes like Simone Blum (GER) who won individual Jumping gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and the Fosun Best Athlete Award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines last year in Manama (BRN).

FEI signs partnership deal with equine nutrition brand Cavalor

“As an elite athlete, I have benefitted greatly from Cavalor’s expertise which has allowed me to fine tune my horses’ nutritional programme,” Simone said. “Cavalor really understands the feeding requirements and needs of my competition horses and I appreciate their holistic approach to equine care and welfare.”

The nominations for the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award will be shortlisted by the FEI in each of the five categories and presented to the public vote and the panel of judges. Voting will take place between 25 September and 7 October 2019.

Para Dressage To Be Broadcast Live at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics!

Para Dressage is one of five sports that has been added to the live broadcast schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, marking the first time that equestrian fans the world over will be able to watch daily live coverage of Para Dressage at the Paralympics.

The move comes thanks to increased support from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and the demands of broadcasters, with Para Dressage joining canoe, rowing, archery and shooting to bring the total number of sports with live coverage to a record 21 disciplines from 19 sports.

“We are thrilled to be part of the live broadcast of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and our sport will benefit greatly from this worldwide exposure”, FEI Secretary General and President of the Association of Paralympic Sports Organisations (APSO) Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“The development of Para Dressage is phenomenal, with the number of athletes growing year on year, and being included in the live coverage from Tokyo 2020 will give more parts of the world the chance to discover our amazingly talented Para athletes.”

Para Dressage features from Day 2 to Day 6 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which run from 25 August to 6 September.

“Thanks to the growing interest and investment from broadcasters around the world to screen the Paralympic Games we have been able to significantly increase the number of sports to be broadcast live for Tokyo 2020”, IPC Commercial, Broadcasting and Partnerships Director Alexis Schaefer said.

“Our strategy throughout has been to invest all additional revenues generated from TV rights sales back into the broadcasting plan for Tokyo 2020. This is allowing us to broadcast live nine disciplines and seven sports more compared to Rio 2016, a huge leap forward which will benefit broadcasters and the whole Paralympic Movement.

“Without doubt Tokyo 2020 will have the best, most complete and in-depth TV coverage yet for a Paralympic Games. In addition to more live TV coverage, we are also investing into delivering far greater short form content for broadcasters to use in the form of highlights, athletes features and profiles. With such comprehensive coverage in place we are very confident that viewing figures will exceed the record cumulative audience of 4.1 billion people that enjoyed the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”

“OBS is pleased to deliver extensive broadcast coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and bring even more outstanding, inspirational performances and stories of the Paralympic athletes to millions of viewers around the world”, OBS Chief Executive Officer Yiannis Exarchos said.

FEI.tv will be offering live free-to-air coverage of the Para Dressage competitions at the Longines FEI European Championships in Rotterdam (NED), 19-25 August, one of multiple events where Para athletes can achieve their Minimum Eligibility Requirements for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Dedicated Para athlete profile videos will also be made available on FEI’s digital platforms.

The IPC press release can be viewed here.

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.