Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dujardin and Deusser Take Titles At 2014 FEI World Cup Finals In Lyon

The 2014 FEI World Cup Finals in Dressage and Show Jumping were held April 17 – 21 in Lyon, France, and what an exciting competition it proved to be! It was the first time that France hosted the two World Cup Finals at the same venue, something that was first done in Las Vegas in 2005, and it was a resounding success.

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro won the 2014 Reem Acra FEI World Cupª Dressage Final in Lyon

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro won the 2014 Reem Acra FEI World Cupª Dressage Final in Lyon
photo © FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst/Pool Pic

Seventeen of the world’s best dressage horses and riders battled it out in the 29th edition of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, and it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, ranked number one in the world, and her record-setting horse Valegro, who won it all.

Dujardin, a double gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the reigning European Champion, has now become the first-ever British rider to win the coveted Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage title.

Dujardin and Valegro, who has only been competing at the Grand Prix level since 2011, set the tone for the high-stakes competition, winning the opening Grand Prix on the first day, and breaking their own world record with a score of 87.129%. In the Grand Prix Freestyle, the pair virtually brought the crowd to its feet for a standing ovation after their winning performance, which consisted of new music and choreography – a routine they had practiced only twice at home before arriving in Lyon. The duo earned a remarkable score of 92.179% putting them well ahead of defending champions Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW from Germany, who finished in second place with 87.339%, while Edward Gal of The Netherlands and Glocks’s Undercover took third with 83.696%.

Defending champions Helen Langehanenberg (GER) and Damon Hill NRW finish in second place

Defending champions Helen Langehanenberg (GER) and Damon Hill NRW finished in second place
photo © Dirk Caremans

Both U.S. riders, Tina Konyot and Cesar Parra, performed well at the Final, and improved their scores as the competition went on. Konyot, from Palm City, FL, rode Calecto V, her 2012 London Olympic Games and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games partner, to 11th place in the Grand Prix, scoring 70.443%. The pair scored 71.929% in the Grand Prix Freestyle and finished the competition in 12th place.

Parra, from Whitehouse Station, NJ, and Van the Man scored 65.543% in the Grand Prix for 16th place, and finished in the same spot after scoring 68.429% in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Both riders were pleased with their horses’ improved performances at the Final.

On the podium (l-r): Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Daniel Deusser (GER), and Scott Brash (GBR)

On the podium (l-r): Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Daniel Deusser (GER), and Scott Brash (GBR)
photo © Dirk Caremans

Having won the two previous Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, the U.S. was hoping for a hat-trick, but it was not to be, and there were many reversal of fortunes as the competition progressed. In the end, it was Germany’s Daniel Deusser who clinched the title and took center stage on the podium after a fantastic week of competition aboard Cornet D’Amour. He finished with an overall total of two faults, edging out former World Cup Champion and countryman Ludger Beerbaum, who rode both Chaman and Chiara in different legs to finish in second place on a total of four faults. Great Britain’s Scott Brash, ranked number one in the world, and Ursula XII finished with a five-fault total to take third place.

Daniel Deusser of Germany and Cornet D'Amour take the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping title

Daniel Deusser of Germany and Cornet D’Amour take the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping title
photo © Dirk Caremans

It was tragic news for the French camp, as Patrice Delaveau, who was carrying the dream of a nation on his shoulders, looked poised to win on home soil after sharing a joint-lead on a zero score with Olympic champion Steve Guerdat of Switzerland. Unfortunately he was forced to withdraw his horse Lacrimoso prior to the last phase of the Final due to a minor foot problem. France has only won the World Cup Final once during the 36-year history of the competition, and that was ten years ago, when Bruno Broucqsault and Dileme de Cephe took the coveted title in Milan, Italy. Guerdat was also edged out of the competition and was relegated to a final fifth place behind Germany’s Marcus Ehning who took fourth.

Twenty-seven of the world’s best horses and riders started in the first round of the third and final phase, with 22 riders, including seven Americans, qualifying to return for the second round. Course designer Frank Rothenberger created challenging tracks throughout the competition, which produced a shake-up in the leaderboard as the competition progressed, and only four horse-and-rider combinations produced double clears in the last round.

Defending champions Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon finished 7th in the overall standings

Defending champions Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon finished in 7th place
photo © FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst/Pool Pic

Defending champion Beezie Madden led the way for the U.S. aboard her 2013 winning partner Simon, starting the final leg with four faults, and sitting in a tie for fourth place. A rail down in the each of the first and second rounds meant the pair dropped to eventual 7th place, with a total of 12 faults.

U.S. Team veteran McLain Ward, Madden’s two-time Olympic gold medal teammate, produced one of seven clears in the first round, but unfortunately the pair had a rail down in the second, adding four faults to their score and dropping them to final 9th place with total of 17 faults. Finishing right behind in 10th place was teammate Charlie Jayne and Thatcher’s Chill R Z, completing on 23 faults.

Rounding out the top 20 for the U.S. were Katie Dinan with Nougat du Vallet, former World Cup champion Leslie Burr Howard on Tic-Tac, and Lucy Davis with Baron, finishing in 15th, 16th, and 17th places respectively. Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star made their World Cup debut and finished in a respectable 20th place.

Kent Farrington won the second leg of the competition, and did qualify for the final phase, but decided to save Voyeur for another day and withdrew from the Final.

The 2014 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final may have only just finished in Lyon, but everyone is already looking forward to the excitement of the 2015 Finals in Las Vegas, which are only 357 days away.

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2014 FEI World Cup Finals Start The Official Countdown To Next Year’s Finals In Las Vegas

The 2014 FEI World Cup Finals are being held this week in Lyon, France and, using the model initiated in Las Vegas in 2005, feature both the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final. Both promise to present equestrian sport at its best and their conclusion will start the official countdown to the long-awaited return of the World Cup Finals to Las Vegas one year from now, in April 2015.

Defending Champion Helen Langehanenberg of  Germany and Damon Hill NRW

Defending Champion Helen Langehanenberg of Germany and Damon Hill NRW (photo: Roland Thunholm/FEI)

The field for the 29th Dressage Final includes 18 horse-and-rider combinations from 11 countries. These finalists qualified from four different Leagues around the world. Heading the list are the defending World Cup champion, Helen Langehanenberg of Germany with Damon Hill NRW, and the reigning Olympic and European champion, Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain on Valegro, who holds records for the highest scores ever recorded in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle.

Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and Valegro (photo: Kit Houghton/FEI)

Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and Valegro (photo: Kit Houghton/FEI)

The strength of these top two contenders is reminiscent of the last decade when Any van Grunsven of The Netherlands and Isabell Werth of Germany were so dominant. Van Grunsven, who is not in this year’s Final, has won the title a record nine times including one in Las Vegas in 2005. She is the main reason why The Netherlands has the most wins of any country with 12. (Germany is second with nine.) Werth, who will ride this week on either El Santo or Don Johnson, has won the Final twice including one in Las Vegas in 2007. She has also been runner-up four times including 2009 in Las Vegas when American Steffen Peters took the title on Ravel.

The U.S. has two riders competing – Tina Konyot of Palm City, Florida on Calecto V, and Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, NJ who will ride Van the Man. Konyot rode for the U.S. at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Parra has represented his native Colombia in the Olympics, World Equestrian Games, Pan American Games, and World Cup Finals. He began riding for the U.S. in 2009.

Beezie Madden of the USA and Simon (photo: Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI)

Beezie Madden of the USA and Simon (photo: Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI)

One of the big stories entering the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final is whether or not the U.S. can claim a third straight win. U.S. riders dominated the early years of the World Cup Final, winning seven of the first nine. Inexplicably, it was another quarter century before a U.S. rider would win again with Rich Fellers ending the draught on Flexible in 2012. Beezie Madden made it back-to-back wins last year when she took the title on Simon.

Madden’s win last year put the U.S. in a tie with Germany for the most wins (nine) in the Final’s first 35 years. German riders have done particularly well in Las Vegas with Marcus Ehning claiming the first of his three wins there in 2003 and U.S. native Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum winning there twice for her adopted country (2005 and 2009).

Joining Madden (Cazenovia, NY), who will again ride Abigail Wexner’s Simon, in the U.S. line-up is an impressive mix of veteran and young riders with some talented horses. Included are:

  • Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL with Willow and Voyeur
  • McLain Ward of Brewster, NY with Rothchild and HH Carlos Z
  • Katie Dinan of Wellington, FL with Nougat du Vallet
  • Brianne Goutal of New York, NY with Nice de Prissey and Zernike K
  • Leslie Burr-Howard of Darien, CT, the 1986 World Cup champion, on Tic-Tac
  • Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL with Chill R Z
  • Charlie Jacobs of Boston, MA on Flaming Star
  • Saer Coulter of San Francisco, CA with Springtime and Carmena Z
  • Ashlee Bond Clarke of Hidden Hills, CA with Chela LS and Agrostar
  • Jenni Martin-McAllister of Sun Valley, CA on Casseur de Prix
  • Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, CA on Barron
Scott Brash of Great Britain - #1 in the Longines FEI World Rider Rankings (photo:  Roger Svalsroed/FEI)

Scott Brash of Great Britain – #1 in the Longines FEI World Rider Rankings (photo: Roger Svalsroed/FEI)

With 41 riders from 20 countries competing, it will be a challenge for the Americans to pull of the “three-peat.” The Europeans have several strong contenders, including a very deep and talented German team and a two-rider British contingent featuring Scott Brash, the number one ranked rider in the Longines FEI World Rider Rankings.

We can all watch the action live as it happens on FEI TV at www.feitv.org. What will happen is impossible to predict, but the one thing we do know is that this year’s FEI World Cup Finals are guaranteed to produce incredible excitement that will whet our appetite for what lies in store one year from now in Las Vegas!

By the way, don’t miss out on your chance to assure yourself the best seats at next year’s Final in Vegas. Here’s how it’s going to work:

The renewal period for previous VIP and all-session ticket holders runs through Friday, May 30, 2014. Tickets will then go on sale to World Cup Club Members starting on Monday, June 30. If you were a 2009 VIP and/or all-session ticket holder and haven’t received information on renewals, please email ticket_office@lasvegasevents.com today. If you haven’t been a VIP and/or all-session ticket holder, join the World Cup Club right now. There’s no cost and it takes less than a minute. You will receive the most up-to-date information on the World Cup and you’ll be first in line, after the previous ticket holders, for the best seats for next year. Do it now at www.worldcuplasvegas.com/home/world_cup_club. I’d hate for you to miss out!