Tag Archives: WEG

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Mexican Young Guns take Nations Cup glory

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In any sport when the underdog wins, it makes for great entertainment. So when the Mexican team took a decisive victory in the very first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida the press conference was a joyous affair.

 

The youthful foursome fought off some of the world’s most successful nations including the USA, Canada, and Ireland. In fact, it was the youngest two Mexican riders with the least team experience who sealed the deal with their double clear performances. These came from 23-year-old Eugenio Garza Perez riding Victer Fin DHZ and 24-year-old Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane on the athletic grey mare Hortensia van de Leeuwerk. The other two riders played their part with low-faulted rounds from Fernando Martinez Sommer (29) on Cor Bakkar and Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (25) riding Tino la Chapelle.

 

Tryon’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 course designer, Ireland’s Alan Wade, set a track that tested rideability, and the final line of a one-stride triple combination to big oxer proved the undoing of many. However with three first-round clears the Mexicans were already in command at the halfway stage on a zero score, trailed by Ireland and USA on eight, Israel close behind with nine, last year’s Wellington winners from Canada on 12 and the three-member Colombian side already trailing the field with 16 on the board.

 

The Mexican quartet kept a cool head and clung on to their lead in the second round, which caught out a number of the world’s leading riders such as World No 2 Mclain Ward and Beezie Madden who both faulted. Fernando Martinnez Sommer commented on the technicality of the course. “The course was difficult enough, for me my horse has a very big stride so I had to go a bit steady all the time.”

 

All four riders were quick to praise their Chef d’Equipe Constant van Paesschen, not just for their Nations Cup victory but what he has delivered to Mexican showjumping during his short career so far. Stany van Paesschen had similar positive words “From when I came two years ago, I said I am going to try as much as I can to push some young riders forward. We have some great young riders but we also have some great support from professional and older riders. I think we have a great team.”

 

Garza Perez, who trains with legendary Irish rider Eddie Macken and is the only member of the Mexican side to be based in the USA, said: “Today’s result is a testament to the quality of the next generation of young Mexican riders.”

 

He was a member of the historic site that posted that spectacular win in Dublin last August. “That day was an inspiration to us all!” he pointed out. And now the main Mexican goal is a place at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final 2019.

 

“There’s an Olympic place on offer in Barcelona and we intend to take it!” He said.

 

Team Israel had a great show too. Daniel Bluman’s double-clear with Ladriano Z bolstering an impressive all-round performance that saw them add nothing to their first-round nine-fault tally for the second spot. The Americans looked strongest at the outset, with an extremely experienced team of Beezie Madden, McLain Ward and Laura Kraut joined by young star Lucy Deslauriers. But single errors proved costly, so they will be hoping to turn the tables when their regional League moves to Mexico next time around. Only Mexico, USA, and Canada were entitled to qualifying points in today’s competition, so they claimed 100, 80 and 60 points respectively.

 

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LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE MARES AT THE LONGINES WORLDS BEST RACEHORSE AWARDS

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Just as women are changing the game in today’s world of sport, business and politics, you may have noticed that the “fairer sex” of the four-legged variety, are making headlines in the equine world. A number of leading mares have claimed world titles prestigious accolades recently. And at the end of last month, the winner of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Awards was announced as Winx. The Australian flat race mare has won 29 consecutive stakes races including 22 Group 1s.

 

Winx is not the only mare to dominate the racing scene. The British thoroughbred Enable, who featured eighth in the 2018 Longines world rankings, has been one of the most dominant middle-distance horses in Europe for several years. Last year, after winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second time she went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Making history in the process, as the first horse to achieve this feat.

 

2018 was also a great year for mares as well as girls in Equestrian sport. The 15-year-old mare Classic Moet, won Badminton under Jonelle Price- the first female rider to win in 11 years. Whilst show-jumper Simone Blum riding DSP Alice and Dressage stars, Isabel Werth on Bella Rose were individual winners the showjumping and dressage world titles at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

 

But back to racing and the grand affair that I was lucky enough to be invited to. On Wednesday, January 23, Longines and its long-time partner the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), hosted the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorse, World’s Best Horse Race and World’s best jockey ceremony in the Landmark Hotel, London. With an equal rating of 130, Winx and Cracksman were together declared the 2018 winners. Frankie Dettori celebrated the leading jockey award, a clear leader with the highest number of points. It was a French victory as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was chosen as the best horse race in the world.

 

For Winx, this was the third year in a row that the nine-year-old has won the award. In addition, she has been the highest rated filly/mare in the world since 2016 as well as the top-ranked turf horse. In 2018, her season culminated in her becoming the only horse in history to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate four times. What is also significant about this tough mare, is her longevity in a sport which is rarely a long career for horses. Winx has consistently won over five seasons and is going into her sixth with no immediate plans to retire. Yet she has proved her versatility, speed, and staying power, by winning over a range of distances from 6 ½ furlongs (1300 metres) to 11 furlongs (2200 furlongs).

 

What is also unique, is that unlike many elite racehorses, Winx does not have a particularly long stride. Her stride was measured at 6.76 metres compared to 8.5 metres for other horses of similar calibre. Instead, her success has been attributed to a freakish stride rate that allows her to take 14 strides for every 5 seconds, compared to 12 for her rivals. According to Dr. Graeme Putt, who has studied the science of racehorse success, this is a unique advantage. “This means she can settle or accelerate at any time during a race.”

 

Winx was sold as a yearling for 230,000 Australian dollars (just under £128,000) at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast sale. She has already amassed around A$23 million dollars (around £12.74 million) in prize money under trainer Chris Waller and her principal jockey Hugh Bowman. She is owned by Magic Bloodstock Racing, Richard Treweeke, and Debbie Kepitis. Most of her connections came over to collect the Longines prize and we were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Debbie Kepitis about the courageous mare who has changed their lives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JopbA-fjSwM&feature=youtu.be

 

Imagery by © BEF / Jon Stroud Media

Horse Scout Opinion: What’s happening to British Showjumping?

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Showjumping was once the pride of the British nation. With a golden era spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s where Britain was consistently in the medals and the sport enjoyed a high television profile, riders like David Broome, Harvey Smith, Nick Skelton, and the Whitaker brothers were household names.

 

However, the sport started on a steady decline. Blamed largely to a shortage of horsepower and a crisis of management by the governing body, the lack of medals became a source of embarrassment to riders and followers. Suffering from a low profile led to many of Britain’s best horses being sold abroad. Tinkas Boy, a horse produced by Nick Skelton was sold to Swiss rider Markus Fuchs who went on to win four Championship medals including team silver in Sydney 2000.

 

Then in 2012, the British showjumping quartet of Nick Skelton, Peter Charles, Scott Brash, and Ben Maher put the sport back on the map by winning their first Olympic gold since 1952, in front of a rapturous London crowd. Nick Skelton continued to keep the dream alive when at the age of 58, he claimed the individual gold in Rio 2016- his seventh Olympic Games with the great Big Star.

 

But history repeats itself and recent results suggest a demise is once again occurring in the British camp. We are still not qualified for Tokyo 2020, with just two opportunities for qualification left.

 

This year we failed to be in the reckoning for a medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Whilst we qualified for the Longines Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, after finishing in second to last place, the future of British showjumping looked a bit bleak.

 

At the World Equestrian Games, the best British result came from new kid on the block, Amanda Derbyshire who was the only rider to qualify for the individual final. Is it significant that Amanda is based in the US, competing weekly against the US team members who claimed team gold? Adding to the fact she rides for American owners? Additionally, Amanda learned her trade from Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut, with whom she was based as a stable jockey at the beginning of her career. Interestingly her horse, Luibanta BH was sourced and produced by Britain’s Ellen Whitaker. In fact, seven horses competing in the final 25 for the individual medals in Tryon were either bred or produced in the UK.

 

The fact of the matter is that Performance Manager Di Lampard has struggled to pull together a team this year. She has had to be brave and select young partnerships but deserves credit for this move, especially her selection of a predominantly female team. It begs the question, where are Ben Maher and Scott Brash when we needed them? Is their absence due to lack of horsepower or lack of inclination, when the prize money offered by Rolex and the Global Champions Tour is far greater than that offered in Tryon.

 

Di is the first to remark that the problem is not for want of good riders but rather a lack of strong horse and rider combinations. Anyone who follows British showjumping will be aware that we are breeding some extremely successful horses. Yet the figure above, suggests that we are not keeping hold of these horses.

 

Other opinions in the sport, suggest it is the British system that is letting the sport down. That the class structure is a hindrance rather than a help in producing and sourcing young talent.

 

I will leave you with the view of Nick Skelton on where we are going wrong at the moment:

 

“Like the Europeans, we should be focusing on having age classes for horses in order to source and produce the best young horses in the country before they get sold out of the country. And unlike abroad, there are no incentives offered by the Federation for a rider to keep a good young horse. So when the riders get a good offer, they take the money and it’s foreign riders at the Championships on horses we bred and produced”.

 

At Horse Scout, we love knowing what you think about the industry. So our new series of opinion blogs are aimed at being interactive and spark debate. So we want to know your thoughts on the state of British Showjumping. If you were Chief Executive of British Showjumping or Performance Manager of the British Team, what would you do? 

We look forward to hearing your opinions.

 

Imagery by © BEF / Jon Stroud Media

 

 

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BEHIND THE SCENES: GRIT, GLAMOUR AND GREAT SPORT AT THE LONGINES FEI NATIONS CUP FINAL BARCELONA 2018

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I was lucky enough to be reporting at the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final In Barcelona last week. Not only was there great sporting action, a masterful display of horsemanship and a tantalising finish. Beyond this, there were some high profile individuals and interesting back-stories that really highlighted what a special sport this is.

 

Having breakfast in the hotel one morning I was sat next to Jessica Springsteen. The drop-dead gorgeous daughter of Bruce was looking very much in love with boyfriend, Italian heartthrob Lorenzo de Luca, as she ate her boiled egg.  Lorenzo was later caught buying his girl a present in the shopping village.

 

Across the room was World No 1, Harrie with the rest of the Dutch team and World No 2 Mclain Ward, fresh from winning team gold at WEG. Mclain was over to train 19-year-old showjumping sensation; Lucy Deslauriers who was making her first big team appearance for the USA. Extraordinarily Lucy’s father Mario was also competing but for his homeland of Canada. Now 53 years of age, Mario was the youngest ever winner of a World Cup Final at the age of 19 and he and his daughter could make headlines if they both achieve their dreams of being selected for the Tokyo Olympics, for their respective Nations.

 

Also competing at the show were the UAE team who are rising stars. After a fascinating interview, I discovered every one of them has a full-time job and compete just a handful of horses alongside this. Jobs included a policeman, an office administrator and a camel trainer.  “Football is the only professional sport but we are trying to change that” I was told.

 

“Never give up” was the take away message from this year’s prestigious competition. Held in the popular Real Club de Polo in Barcelona for the sixth year in a row, it was the Belgians who won the oldest jumping competition in the world and lifted the Nations Cup trophy. But it was by no means decisive and Peter Weinberg, Chef d’Equipe of the team summed up the result and in that, the very nature of equestrian sport. “We call ourselves the “Never Give Up Team” because in the middle we had two with 12 faults already but still we were fighting to the last rider, so this victory means a lot to us!”

 

With one of the most challenging tracks this final has seen, of the eight nations who went through to the final, just three riders jumped clear. It is hardly surprising that Course Designer Santiago Varela has been selected as course designer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The track was imposing and technical and questioned control, balance, judgement and skill, all the way around. As Varela pointed out it wasn’t about the number of faults the riders collected. “A score of 8 or 12 didn’t mean they had a bad round, horses jumped unbelievably, but the course was difficult, tough and big…and everything was connected”, he explained.

 

As was the case with most of the teams, the Belgians had mixed fortunes, Niels Bruynseels gave the team confidence with a superb clear from Gancia de Muze but both Pieter Devos (Claire Z) and Jos Verlooy (Caracas) each leaving three fences on the floor. However, it was the dashing Nicola Philippaerts, who saved the day with a sublime clear round on H&M Harley v. Bisschop and that sealed the deal.

 

Nicola said his teammates told him “everything is still possible” when he was last to go. “I just tried to ride my own class and it worked out well – today it was me that could make the clear round that would make a difference, and another time it will be one of the others”. And he had even more reason to be pleased when sharing the €100,000 bonus for double-clear performances with team-mate Bruynseels, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and Italy’s new star, Riccardo Pisani.

 

This was Belgium’s second win of the Longines FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona; their last came in 2015. As Chef d’Equipe Weinberg said: “it was an interesting day, first ups and then in between downs, but in the end, we won anyway so it was really great sport!”

 

 

 

 

FEI World Equestrian Gamesª Tryon USA

12 interesting (and slightly feminist and Nationalistic) facts about the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

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  1. In the Olympic sports of Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing, all three gold medals were won by female riders: Germany’s Isabel Werth (49) and Simone Blum (29) plus British rider Rosalind Canter (32)
  2. In Para Dressage the individual titles in all six grades, were won by women.
  3. Simone Blum became the first female individual gold medallist in the 28 year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games and only the second female rider in the 65 year history of the World Championships.
  4. Gold medalist eventer Rosalind Canter is 5ft2 whilst her horse Allstar B towers at 17.1hh. Whilst Best British showjumper, Amanda Derbyshire is also 5ft 2’’ but her ride stands at barely 16 hands.
  5. Of the top twenty placed horses in the individual showjumping, half were mares.
  6. Of the top five placed dressage horses, three were mares.
  7. Chestnut mares took top honours in both dressage and showjumping. Isabell Werth’s Bella Rose in the dressage and Simone Blum’s DSP Alice
  8. Showjumper Amanda Derbyshire, who finished best of the Brits has been based in the US for the last seven years but started her career as a work rider for Nick Skelton. Nick and his partner, US rider Laura Kraut still train Derbyshire.
  9. Derbyshire’s diminutive mare “Luibanta BH”, was bred in Ireland and produced by Ellen Whitaker. She was bought by current owner’s as a junior horse for their teenage daughter to ride but by far exceeded expectations.
  10. Of the 25 horses in the individual final of the showjumping at WEG, seven were produced in Britain and three were British bred. In eventing, Mr Chunky the silver medalist was bred and produced in the UK and Charlotte Dujardin’s Dressage bronze medalist, Mount St John Freestyle was produced from a foal by Emma and Jill Blundell at the Mount St John Stud Thirsk, Scotland. The Mount St John Stud also produced and still owns Para Dressage individual gold and team silver medalist Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, ridden by Britain’s Natasha Baker
  11. The British Para-Dressage team missed out on a major international gold for the first time in the history of the World Equestrian Games, having won every European, World and Paralympic team gold since the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.  Team GB were beaten by the Dutch into silver by just 0.64% in their total score in Tryon.
  12. A strong British performance at WEG resulted in Team GB finishing third in the medal rankings and receiving 2020 Olympic qualification for Eventing, Dressage and Para-Dressage.
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Eventers put the Great into Britain at FEI World Equestrian Games

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  1. Great Britain wins team Gold
  2. Ros Canter and Allstar B wins Individual Gold
  3. Great Britain scores the lowest team score in world championship history
  4. Great Britain qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  5. Four British athletes finish in the top 20

 

“Our primary objective coming here was qualifying for Tokyo and our next objective was to win as many medals as possible and we have achieved both” said Performance Manager for the British Eventing team, Richard Waygood. “It’s been an amazing day in the office. They all went in there for the team and stuck to the system.”

 

The final day of the eventing competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tyron was one of high dramas. The showjumping phase was postponed from Sunday to Monday after heavy rainfall. Yet despite an extra day of recovery, the showjumping caused problems throughout the field and a big shake-up in the order.

 

Ros Canter must have felt enormous pressure as the final rider for Team GBR, with Britain in the gold medal position. She had no margin for error if she was to win an individual medal and only one fence in hand to take the team title. A text-book clear round from the Lincolnshire rider not only secured Great Britain as World Champions, but also confirmed an individual medal for Ros, and team Olympic qualification for Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.

 

The overnight leader for the individual medals, Ingrid Klimke, also had no room for error on SAP Hale Bob OLD. As they approached the final fence after a promising round, it looked almost certain that the individual gold was going to Germany, but the crowds’ cheers turned to gasps as a pole on the final fence fell and the individual title went to Ros.

 

Speaking after her round, a slightly shell-shocked looking Ros said; “I don’t think it’s sunk in. I can’t believe it; Allstar B was absolutely amazing, he was an absolute hero, I had an amazing experience in there. I kept saying [to myself] just let him do his job, and I’m so proud. There were quite a few tears when I found out which isn’t normal for me.”

 

Ros paid huge credit to her support team. “The team around us is just phenomenal. They make the dream come true really.”

 

In the team competition, Great Britain headed into today’s showjumping with an 8.2 penalty advantage – or just two fences – over Ireland, and, after two clear rounds from Ireland’s team riders, the pressure mounted on the final three GBR combinations. After their incredible pathfinding cross country on Saturday, West Sussex’s Gemma Tattersall got Britain underway in the showjumping phase, picking up 12 faults on The Soul Syndicate’s Arctic Soul.

 

Tom McEwen, who is based at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, was next in for the team and took an unlucky four faults from an otherwise impressive round on his own, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser. Their completion score of 32.4 penalties meant that the gap between the team gold and silver had closed to just four faults with two team riders left to show jump.

 

The penultimate rider for GB, Northamptonshire’s Piggy French, also picked up four faults on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo in the final showjumping combination on course, which reduced GBR’s advantage to just 0.2 of a penalty. Ireland’s final team rider, Sarah Ennis, headed into the final phase in individual bronze but an early fence down on Horseware Stellor Rebound dropped them out of the individual medals and also increased the penalty gap between team silver and gold back to four. After Ros’ brilliant clear round the team gold was secured for Great Britain with a score of 88.8, Ireland took team silver on 93 and France bronze with a score of 99.8.

 

Tina Cook who was going as an individual on Elizabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s, Billy the Red, rounded off their championships with a clear round. This pulled them up to finish in ninth place individually and second best of the British riders behind Ros on a score of 31.5 penalties.

 

Roll on Tokyo!

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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WEG FOCUS: ARCTIC SOUL

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10 things you may not know about Gemma Tattersall’s  eventer, Arctic Soul aka “Spike”

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  1. Born in Ireland he was bred by Michael Whitty.
  2. He started life as a racehorse but he didn’t win a thing. “He was rubbish” says Gemma.
  3. He was rescued off the meat truck in Ireland by Marti Rudd, a Performance horse dealer who bought him for 500 euros. Nicki Roncoroni purchased him for Philip Kerr who rode him for a number of years.  Nikki produced him to 1* level and then Gemma was given the ride in 2012 when he was eight years old.
  4. His first event with Gemma was a novice at Tweseldown in 2012 which he won.  He went from novice to 3* in a year.
  5. His favourite things are going cross-country and rolling. He absolutely loves water and will paw the ground to make a splash. He loves puddles and will find the muddiest wet puddle to roll in.
  6. He eats Gain horse feeds: freedom mix and freedom nuts, hay and haylage, plenty of grass.
  7. The last person who fell off him was Sarah (one of Team Tatts grooms) when he bucked her off.
  8. What he wished he knew at six years old- eg bucking in the dressage warm up is a waste of energy.
  9. His favourite event is Burghley according to Gemma.
  10. What he could not live without: Gemma, his best friend and his field mate Pamero 4

 

Gemma Tattersall and “Spike” are Ambassadors of Equine Charity,  The Brooke and support their “EVERY HORSE REMEMBERED” campaign. www.thebrooke.org

Photo from hopedeamer1-17

WEG FOCUS: JONELLE PRICE- Riding the Crest of the Wave after the birth of her son.

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New Zealand’s Jonelle Price has been knocking on the door of a big win for nearly a decade. This year with her evergreen mare Classic Moet, she won perhaps the most famous equestrian events of them all, The Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials. In doing so, Jonelle became the first female winner in ten years and all this, just eight months after the birth of her son Otis. Then just a month later, she proved it wasn’t a fluke by winning Luhmuhlen on Faerie Dianimo. Jonelle has been a regular fixture on the New Zealand event squad and helped the team to win the bronze medal in London 2012.

 

This week the 37-year-old will be hoping to add another medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games, where she must be in serious contention for an individual as well as a team in Tryon. And why not? It has been a great year for the Price family and the stars seem aligned. Earlier this month her husband and fellow WEG team-member, Tim Price won the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, making them the first husband and wife to win back-to-back titles since Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips did it in 1971.

 

Jonelle, who quit her law degree to follow her eventing dreams, is one of the most determined riders on the circuit and has success at all levels of the sport. According to the statisticians from Equi-ratings, Price is still “the fastest cross-country rider in the world” even after her break to have baby Otis.

 

For Jonelle, her pregnancy came as something of a surprise and was received with mixed emotions; “I hated being off. I was riding the crest of a wave, having just been third at Burghley (2016). Things were all going in the right direction and it felt like a spanner in the works. But reflecting on it, I realise now that in the scheme of your lifetime, it is not much really is it?”

 

Her sporting ambitions kept the 37-year-old looking forwards and helped her make a speedy comeback to the sport.

 

“It was a real focus throughout my pregnancy to stay fit. I rode pretty much the whole way through and I was at the gym and worked with a personal trainer the whole time so I didn’t lose a huge amount of fitness. Even though obviously your body changes a bit and that takes time to come back, I don’t think I lost the fitness of core stability.”

 

On her return, it was business as normal and giving birth had not dampened her competitive spirit or changed her feelings for contesting a high-risk and physically and emotionally demanding sport. “For me, that wasn’t a problem. You have more time when you are pregnant to think about these things and you wonder how it will affect you and hear stories of other women who decide to give up, in any sport. I think it’s a very individual thing and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt really normal. Nothing had changed and it really was just back to work.”

 

Whilst her family still live in New Zealand, the Prices are reliant on good child-care and Otis joins them at most events. “It hasn’t been as life-changing in the way I thought it would. I was worried about that but it has just enhanced our lives. He’s an incredible little boy and he doesn’t care whether we win or lose. It’s really refreshing, he still loves you the same and looks forward to seeing us at the end of the day, as we do him. For us, it really has been business as normal and we are lucky that in this job, he can come on the road with us. He is probably one of the most well-traveled one-year-olds you will find and he doesn’t know any different”.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly