Tag Archives: olympia

OLYMPIA RAISES OLYMPIC HOPES

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The London International Horse Show at Olympia signals a round-up of the equestrian year. This coupled with that festive feel-good factor shared amongst riders and spectators alike, makes it one of the best shows on the European circuit.

 

This year was no different and it further reinforced the gravitas of Olympia, which first took place in 1907 making it one of the oldest and most prestigious shows on the continent. With seven of the world’s top ten show-jumpers competing, including World Number one and two Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs. This together with the reigning Olympic dressage gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin plus Carl Hester and the FEI Driving World Champion Boyd Exell, proves the show as one of great significance to the equestrian world. And beyond- Olympia is one of only three British equestrian events still broadcast annually by the BBC.

 

The show attracted riders from a wealth of nations but in almost every discipline, it was British riders who dominated. With the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics less than seven months away, riders have something to prove to selectors. In addition, the end of January is the cut off point for horses to change hands if they are to be campaigned by riders at the Olympics. So you could say Olympia gave us a bit of a glimpse of what may be to come.

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The Dressage World Cup class at Olympia is the only British qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup Final and it was as hotly contested as ever amongst Britain’s leading riders. The top three places in both the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix were filled by Charlotte Dujardin (Mount St John Freestyle) in first, Carl Hester (Hawtins Delecato) in second and Lottie Fry (Everdale) in third. It was something of a deja-vous the following day when the placings were replicated in the World Cup Freestyle to Music.

 

This was Charlotte’s fourth win in the FEI World Cup. Although it was a first with the talented British bred mare by Fidermark, having previously won it and set the record on Valegro. “This was her third ever Freestyle. The crowd felt even closer tonight and it was a difficult floorplan. She really tried and listened to me. I’ve had my highs and lows this year (referring to disqualification at the European Championships for blood on a flank) and it is great to end the year with such a positive ride.”

 

With the Olympics in mind, judge Andrew Gradner was particularly pleased with the British dressage domination: “These horses are young, so there is more to come. This is my favourite show and judging horses of this calibre here is such a treat.”

 

Olympia is a personal favourite for many leading British showjumpers and whilst there was the notable absence of John and Michael Whitaker from the line-up, Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Scott Brash both brought a team of horses and Holly Smith had three.

 

Whilst the World Cup was won by Swiss rider, Martin Fuchs on Sinner, Scott further cemented his place at the Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas with a fifth placing on Hello Jefferson. Speaking in the press conference, Scott believes that this could be his mount for the Tokyo Olympics this year. Indeed the 10 year old gelding by Cooper vd Heffink seems to improve in form with each outing. The pair were crucial to the British FEI Nations Cup victory in Dublin back in August which set them in good stead for a team bronze and Olympia qualification at the European Championships in Rotterdam.

 

Scott pulled off another great display of horsemanship in the final class of the show, The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. This time riding Hello Vincent, a recent purchase and previously the ride of Jodie Hall McAteer, the 19 year old British starlet who also had a good show with a win in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship. Scott was notably enthusiastic about the young gelding. “I’m so proud of Vincent- he was amazing. Winning my last grand prix of the year, in front of a home crowd- it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Seven riders made it through to the jump-off and four of them were British. Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander was the only non-Brit to squeeze into the top four with a second place on brand new ride Identity Vitserol.

 

Third place went to Holly Smith on Hearts Destiny who has enjoyed her best season yet with a Nations Cup win and the Aga Khan Trophy in Dublin and a bronze medal at the Europeans. Holly enjoyed an outstanding Olympia and took the Leading Rider accolade by an incredible 28 points.

 

“I’m absolutely delighted with all three of my horses but Heart’s Destiny has taken me to places I’ve only dreamed of. The calibre of riders here at Olympia- seven of the world’s top 10- makes it all the more special.”

 

Fourth place in the Grand Prix went to 25 year old James Wilson, a new face on the British Nations Cup team this year. Riding Imagine de Maze, the mare has kept James starry eyed this year. “This horse has made all my dreams come true: my first World Cup, my first Nations Cup and now my first Grand Prix placing. She has catapulted me right up there and now I’ve got Tokyo in my sights.”

 

So in our humble opinion, and if Olympia is anything to go by, the Brits may have more than just Tokyo in their sights. Bring on the medals!

Written by Ellie Kelly

The biggest win of my career: Longines FEI World Cup at Olympia

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British rider William Whitaker celebrated the biggest win of his career after claiming the Longines FEI World Cup Final at Olympia yesterday. Fighting back tears he said “This is the one class I think about every day. I’ve been coming here since I was two or three years old and to actually win it is a dream come true. To us British riders, the World Cup here is like a Championship and you only get one shot at it, a year. I have been thinking about it for a while and decided if I was clear, I wouldn’t hold back in the jump-off.”

 

Riding the stallion Utamaro D Ecaussines, who he partnered at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina earlier this year, William posted the fastest clear in the jump off. “I knew I had done a good round but when I looked down at the list and it was the best riders in the world left to jump, I didn’t think it was possible.  It helps that I was on such a horse. He has such a good brain and mentality. He was nearly falling asleep in the warm-up but he just lights up and grows a hand when he gets in the arena. We’ve had loads of fantastic performances but we’ve never managed to win a Grand Prix so to win one and it be this one on homer turf, is so special.”

 

The 29 year old from Huddersfield, is of course part of showjumping’s most successful family. Both his uncles John and Michael together with his cousin Robert Whitaker were competing in the World Cup yesterday. His uncle Michael was next best Brit, finishing in 4th place. “I have memories of my uncles jumping here,” William said. “The thought of winning the World Cup was one of those things that got me out of bed in the morning.”

 

Belgian rider Karel Cox claimed second place and America’s Laura Kraut finished third. Laura was one of five female riders competing, all of whom got through to the jump off, including Britain’s Laura Renwick.

 

 

 

CELEBRATING THE SPONSOR: ROLEX AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO EQUESTRIAN SPORT

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Olympia, Badminton, Burghley, Windsor would simply not exist without sponsorship just as professional riders could not live without their support. We are extremely lucky to have some huge and high-end brands involved with equestrian brands so we thought it high time we celebrated one who has been involved in Eventing, Showjumping, Dressage for many years. They are also sponsors of the recent CHI in Geneva which attracts the best showjumpers in the world.

Rolex is synonymous with equestrian sport at the highest level. As well as sponsoring a number of individuals such as showjumpers Scott Brash, Rodrigo Pessoa, Steve Guerdat and Kent Farrington, Plus World Number One dressage rider Isabel Werth and event rider Zara Tindall; they are responsible for offering some of the richest prizes in the sport. The Rolex Grand Slam in both Showjumping and Eventing is one of the most lucrative and best-known accolades a rider can achieve. A true test of horsemanship and steely nerves, it’s the one they all want to claim. Last week was one of Rolex’s title shows- the CHI Geneva.

This year, the show welcomed 40 of the best riders in the world to compete in the main class, the Rolex Grand Prix, the final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Fittingly, Geneva is the home city of the Swiss watchmaker and The Rolex Grand Prix is, staged in the  Palexpo Arena. The 22-year partnership between Rolex and the CHI Geneva demonstrates Rolex’s commitment to supporting equestrian sport worldwide. Having been named the best show jumping event on nine occasions, CHI Geneva has a long and distinguished equestrian heritage and Rolex has been a proud sponsor since 1996.

It was a victory for Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Pret A Tout, repeating his success from CHIO Aachen where he won the Rolex Grand Prix in July earlier this year. Second place went to Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat riding Albfüehren’s Bianca and third place went to Irish rider Darragh Kenny riding Balou du Reventon. Britain’s Scott Brash and Ben Maher finished 6thand 7thresepectively.

Over 42,500 fans gathered over the four days for the CHI. With a packed arena delighting in a thrilling two-stage Rolex Grand Prix competition between the world’s elite. Scott Brash was the first rider to go clear, later joined by Steve Guerdat and USA’s Kent Farrington in the line-up of riders going through to the jump-off. The Swiss crowd erupted into applause as one of their home favourites, Guerdat went clear, sailing around the challenging course.

With 11 clears in the first round, the equestrian fans were enraptured as they waited for what promised to be a breath-taking jump-off, with three Rolex Testimonees, the world number one and a previous Major winner included in the line-up. Whilst all riders gave it everything, it was Marcus Ehning who prevailed with a precision performance demonstrating his exquisite horsemanship and sporting skills.

Supported by Rolex since 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most prestigious competition within equestrianism, it is also one of the toughest feats to achieve. It requires precision and excellence from every horse and rider partnership. All four Majors within the competition have a rich equestrian history and focus on delivering elite-level sport. This demonstration of commitment along with a passion for excellence reflect Rolex’s values and make each a perfect partner for the Swiss watchmaker.

The world’s equestrian elite will now look to The Dutch Masters, the first Major of 2019, where Ehning will be travelling as the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

 

Olympia Horse Show

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Written by Ellie Kelly Horse Scout press

The greatest exhibition of horsemanship: Olympia Horse Show

Horses, champagne and shopping are three of my favourite things. It’s always a heady cocktail of all that with an extra helping of festive fever at The London International Horse Show. Did you know it remains the UK’s largest indoor horse show and around 3000 bottles of champagne are drunk each year?

Olympia always attracts leading riders but this year, the line-up is nothing short of orgasmic. SEVEN of the world’s top ten showjumpers, some of the GREATEST dressage riders of all time plus the current Driving WORLD CHAMPION. Then throw in some damn fine looking Chilean men doing crazy things on horseback and throng of flat and jump jockeys, most of whom are the most FAMOUS on the planet.

Christmas Jumpers

With more talent than your Aunt Roberta’s knitting skills, this year’s jumping entries will raise the roof. The British line-up includes Scott Brash, Ben Maher, leading British lady, Laura Renwick as well as John and Michael Whitaker who have almost a century’s worth of experience between them (ouch).

European challengers include former World No 1 Simon Delestre, current World No 3 and recent winner of the  Rolex IJRC Final, Kevin Staut, FEI World Cup winner Steve Guerdat, Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson and the effervescent Lorenzo de Luca who is always a favourite with the crowds.

Perfect piaffes and how to produce the next Valegro

Olympia would not be the same without indulging in the nations love affair with Carl and Charlotte. The pair have practically owned the place with their performances for years now. Whilst neither are competing in the FEI World Cup classes, they will be inspiring and motivating us with a Masterclass on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday Carl will be entertaining and educating on the process of making a Grand Prix horse with Charlotte as his guinea pig and at times the brunt of his wicked humour. It’s hot gossip that Charlotte will be bringing her FEI World Equestrian Games hopeful, Mount St John Freestyle for her Masterclass on Tuesday.

The FEI World Cup London leg is as hotly contested as ever. There is Patrick Kittel, Swedish Olympian and leader of the Western League, Dutch maestro, Edward Gal and the home team includes Hayley Watson-Greaves, Emile Faurie, Richard Davison, Gareth Hughes and Lara Butler.

Doing it for charity

The Markel Champions Challenge is all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF). A cause close to most jockey’s hearts and some incredible jockeys go tête-à-tête in a relay show-jumping competition.

20-time Champion Jockey, Sir A P McCoy is coming out of retirement to lead the jump jockeys, in battle against the Flat jockeys led by none other than Frankie Dettori.  AP is not a man to rest on his laurels. “Last year, I watched from the side lines as my fellow jump jockeys got thrashed by Dettori’s boys. So this year I shall be picking my own team and shall be looking to the greats of the past to help me do this. Whilst we’ll be ultra-competitive, it’s all for such a great cause in the Injured Jockeys Fund.”

We all scream for Ex-treme

Hold your horses because once again, Olympia hosts three Driving competitions which has attracted some of the world’s best four-in-hand drivers. Thursday’s “Extreme Driving Top score” will warm up both the drivers and the spectators for the following two legs of the FEI World Cup.

As well as popular Ozzie and World champ Boyd Exell, British driver Dan Naprous will be staking a claim as will the most experienced and multi-medalled of any driver, Ijsbrand Chardon who has been at the top of the sport since the 80s.

 

All I want for Christmas…

Is an Animo show jacket, a Butet saddle and a Liberty Kelly poncho. With 225 shops embracing cutting edge fashion, bargain rugs and unique gifts, this place comes with a warning. Especially if you are anything like us and have hit the champagne bar beforehand. #shopresponsibly #tattinger

 

The Horse Scout Team will be at Olympia bringing news, views and inspiration.

 

Tickets to the London International Horse Show are still available for some performances and you can watch the best of dressage and show jumping action on the BBC.

https://www.olympiahorseshow.com/