Monthly Archives: October 2014

Impressive Slate of Officials On Board For Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals

When the stakes are as high as they are for the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals, it is important that the officials overseeing the competition be worthy of the world’s best horses and riders. Well, an impressive slate of officials is in place for the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals in Las Vegas next April. The officials for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals will be announced shortly.

Heading the list of officials for dressage is Lilo Fore of the United States who will be President of the Ground Jury. She will be teamed with Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, Francis Verbeek of The Netherlands, Peter Holler of Germany, Isabelle Judet of France, Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus of Sweden, and Maria Schwennesen of Australia. Hans-Christian Matthiesen of Denmark is the Reserve. Freddy Leyman of Belgium will serve as Technical Delegate and Elisabeth Williams of the U.S. will be Chief Steward.

The Finals will be managed, as was the case for the Finals’ previous appearances in Las Vegas in 2005, 2007 and 2009, by Glenda McElroy and Jennifer Killinger of Cornerstone Event Management.

Ground Jury President Lilo Fore (USA) photo (c) PhelpsPhotos.com

Ground Jury President Lilo Fore (USA) photo (c) PhelpsPhotos.com

Liselotte ‘Lilo’ Fore (USA) – President

Lilo Fore has been involved with top level dressage in the U.S. and around the world for decades. She is an FEI 5* judge, and has been a member of the Ground Jury for numerous international competitions including the Olympics, Pan American Games, and World Equestrian Games (WEG) including the recent 2014 WEG in Normandy, France. Fore is also a 3* Judge for Para-Equestrian and a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) “R” Sporthorse judge. Fore has also has been successful as a rider, coach and breeder, and she has trained many horses to national and international victories.

 

Stephen Clarke (GBR)

Stephen Clarke has always been interested in training horses for every discipline. He was a show jumping and eventing rider prior to concentrating fully on dressage starting in the late ‘70s. He was team reserve rider for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games with his horse Becket. Clarke is an FEI 5* judge. He is legendary for his leadership and was unanimously elected as FEI Official International Judge General. Clarke travels virtually all over the globe, and has been on the Ground Jury at numerous international competitions including the World Equestrian Games, European Championships, FEI World Cup Finals, and was President of the Ground Jury at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Francis Verbeek (NED)

Francis Verbeek of The Netherlands is also an FEI 5* judge, and has been successful as a trainer and clinician. Verbeek has been a dressage official at several FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and was President of the Ground Jury in 2010 at s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. She has also officiated at Nations’ Cups, European Championships, and most recently, at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

Peter Holler (GER)

German judge Peter Holler has trained and educated dressage riders worldwide. He is an FEI 5* judge and also an FEI Dressage Mentor Judge. He has been an official at top international shows and Championships across the globe including the German Championships, Bundeschampionate, World Championships for Young Horses, and European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders. Most recently, he was the President of the Ground Jury at the Asian Games in Korea.

Isabelle Judet (FRA)

Isabelle Judet is well known worldwide as a FEI 5* judge and as a trainer for over 20 years. She has judged at the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals, European Championships, CHIO Aachen, and was the President of the Ground Jury at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. She served as the French Equestrian Federation’s Chef d’Equipe from 1991 to 1994 including for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. From 1999 to 2002, she was France’s National Trainer. Judet is also on the long list for the Ground Jury for the 2015 European Dressage Championships.

Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus (SWE)

Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus is an FEI 5* judge for both dressage and Young Horses. She was a member of the Ground Jury for the 2014 FEI European Pony Championships in Ireland, as well as for the 2014 FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships in Germany. She is also on the long list for the Ground Jury for the 2014 European Dressage Championships.

Maria Schwennesen (AUS)

Maria Schwennesen resides in Brisbane, Australia. She retired from the workforce and from competitive and professional riding which allows her to dedicate more time to her passion of dressage. Schwennesen is an FEI 4* judge and has worked on many national and state committees and boards including the Australian Dressage Committee. She was an Australian selector for the past two Olympics and for the WEG. She has been involved with the sport for over 30 years, and officiates at many international shows including the FEI World Challenge Tour each year.

Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN) – Reserve

Hans-Christian Matthiesen of Denmark became an FEI 5* dressage judge last June. He is also a FEI 5* judge for Young Horses. He is a veterinarian, and has been a member of the Danish Equestrian Federation Board of Directors. Matthiesen was a member of the Ground Jury at the 2014 FEI European Young Rider & Junior Championships in Arezzo, Italy last July.

Freddy Leyman (BEL) – Technical Delegate

Freddy Leyman is passionate about dressage and traveling. He is an FEI 4* Dressage Judge and FEI Dressage Technical Delegate, and has been an official at many international competitions. He was a member of the Ground Jury at the 2014 FEI European Young Rider & Junior Championships and the 2014 Asian Games, as well as Foreign Technical Delegate at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships in Verden, Germany in August.

Elisabeth Williams (USA) – Chief Steward

Elisabeth Williams was extensively involved with the US Pony Clubs and managed part of their National Championships for many years. Elisabeth has been a US Equestrian Federation Technical Delegate since 1981, and an FEI Chief Steward for Dressage since 1994. She has officiated at many prestigious competitions, among them the 1995 FEI World Cup Finals in Los Angeles, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the 1997 North American Senior Championships in Maryland, and the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg. She has also been the moderator for many US Equestrian Federation and USDF Technical Delegates Forums.

First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final features the world’s best dressage horses and riders. The United States has won the championship twice – in 2003 (Debbie McDonald with Brentina) and 2009 (Steffen Peters with Ravel). The Final has been held in the U.S. previously in Los Angeles (1995) and Las Vegas (2005, 2007, 2009). There is a sense of great anticipation for the Finals’ return to the U.S. next April and I urge everyone to order their tickets today!

The FEI World Cup™ Finals — How It Works

The world’s best riders in show jumping and dressage have their sights set on the 2015 FEI World Cup™ Finals and they are gearing their horses to be part of equestrian sport’s biggest annual event when it is held in Las Vegas next April!

This will be the sixth time that Las Vegas will host the FEI World Cup™ Finals. The Jumping Finals were held there in 2000 and 2003 and combined Finals in both Jumping and Dressage were held there in 2005, 2007 and 2009; those were the first times that the world’s premier annual championships in the two Olympic disciplines were held together, and each one was more fantastic than the one before. Qualifying for the 2015 Finals has already begun and the qualifying process assures us that only the best will make it to the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ for what will surely be a week we will remember forever!

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final

Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final has been held 36 times. Besides those in Las Vegas, Finals were held in the United States in Baltimore (1980), Tampa (1989), and Del Mar, CA (1992). The US has won the most titles, 9, including seven in the Finals’ first nine years. However, it was 25 years before the US won again, coming when Rich Fellers re-claimed the title in 2012 with Flexible. Beezie Madden and Simon then made it back-to-back wins for the US in 2013 when she became just the fifth woman to win.

Three-time FEI World Cup champion Marcus Ehning (GER) won the 2014 FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier in Bordeaux, France with Cornado NRW (c) Fred Chehu / FEI

Three-time FEI World Cup champion Marcus Ehning (GER) won the 2014 FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier in Bordeaux, France with Cornado NRW (c) Fred Chehu / FEI

Three riders have three Finals wins: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning of Germany, as well as Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil. Pessoa is the only rider to win three in a row with the last of his three-peat coming in Las Vegas in 2000 aboard the famed stallion Baloubet du Rouet on whom he won all three.

Expect to see 40-45 riders in next April’s Jumping Final. They will get there by earning points at Qualifying competitions held in 16 FEI Leagues: Western Europe, Central Europe, North American (East Coast), North American (West Coast), Central America & Caribbean, South America North, South America South, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Central Asia, SouthEast Asia, Arab, South Africa, Caucasus, and China.

The Western European League is allowed 18 riders in the Final, and North America is allowed 14 (7 US riders from the East Coast League; 3 US riders from the West Coast League; 2 Canadian riders from the East or West; and 2 Mexican riders from the East or West). The number of finalists from the other Leagues is determined by the FEI Jumping Committee according to the overall standard of their League. If the country hosting the Final does not have a qualified rider, they may nominate a ‘Wild Card’ competitor to represent them in consultation with the FEI Jumping Committee.

In the Final, riders must ride horses on which they have completed at least one Qualifier. The Defending Champion (this year, Germany’s Daniel Deusser) is allowed to enter two horses of his choice.

Belgium's Nicola Phillipaerts & Donatella win the 2014 FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg, Sweden (c) Roland Thunholm - FEI

Belgium’s Nicola Phillipaerts & Donatella clinched the 2014 FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg, Sweden (c) Roland Thunholm – FEI

The First Competition at the Final is a speed class held on Thursday night with jumps set at a maximum height of 1.50 meters (just over 4’11”). It is designed to give a rider with a rail down a chance to stay in the running. The Second Competition is held the following night and involves one round with a jump-off against the clock, with fences at a height of 1.50-1.60 meters (approximately 4’11” – 5’3”).

Points are awarded to each rider based on their finishes in each of the first two rounds. Those points are then converted into penalties that riders carry into the Third Competition which takes place on Sunday afternoon. The Third Competition has two rounds with a Grand Prix course set at 1.50-1.60 meters (approximately 4’11” – 5’3”). The top 30 riders (plus ties) after the Second Competition are eligible for Sunday’s first round. Then the 20 best-placed riders (plus ties) move on to the second round. The winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final is the rider with the lowest number of penalties after all three Competitions. If there is a tie, there is a jump-off to determine the winner.

Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final

First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. four times, in 1995 in Los Angeles and in 2005, 2007 and 2009 in Las Vegas. The United States won the title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald won on Brentina, owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas (for whom the Thomas & Mack Center is named), and in 2009 when Steffen Peters won in Las Vegas on Ravel. The Netherlands has won the most titles, 12, with 9 of those by Anky van Grunsven with her two famed horses, Bonfire and Salinero.

Germany's Helen Langehanenberg & Damon Hill NRW win the FEI Dressage World Cup Qualifier at Neumunster on home turf (c) Karl-Heinz Freiler /FEI

Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg & Damon Hill NRW scored a personal best score to win the FEI Dressage World Cup Qualifier at Neumunster (GER) (c) Karl-Heinz Freiler /FEI

In order to compete in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, riders and horses qualify through one of four FEI World Cup™ Dressage leagues: Western Europe, Central Europe, North America, and Pacific (Australia and New Zealand). In any League, a rider/horse combination may start in only six qualifying events, with the four best results to count.

To be eligible for the Final, each rider/horse combination must meet the minimum qualification score of at least 68% in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music in two different Qualifiers (CDI-W), at least one of which must be in a foreign country. For riders that don’t belong to one of the recognized Leagues, they must score at least 68% in a Grand Prix Freestyle in a CDI3/4/5*/CDIO on two different occasions. The defending Champion (in this case, Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain) is automatically qualified with a horse of her choice, but still must compete in the Freestyle in at least two Qualifiers during the qualifying season.

Denmark's Anna Kasprzak & Donnperignon won the 2014 FEI Dressage World Cup Qualifier in front of the home crowd at Odense (c) Annette Boe Ostergaard / FEI

Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak & Donnperignon won the 2014 FEI Dressage World Cup Qualifier in front of the home crowd at Odense (c) Annette Boe Ostergaard / FEI

A maximum of 18 riders and horses may participate in the Final. The Final consists of the compulsory FEI Grand Prix and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, and all competitors who finish the Grand Prix with at least 60% may continue through to the Freestyle. The Final results in the Freestyle determine the FEI World Cup™ champion!

With the Qualifiers for Las Vegas already underway, the world’s top riders in both dressage and jumping have marked their calendars and set their sights on a trip to the Finals next April. The good news for you is that you don’t need to qualify to be part of the big event – all you need to do is buy your tickets! And it is my recommendation that you do so right now so that you are part of next April’s incredible happening as the world’s best riders try to turn their dream of winning the FEI World Cup™ Finals into a reality!