19 May 2018
Rene Lopez Wins Derby Pays de la Loire at La Baule
Nineteen pairs started in the Derby Pays de la Loire region, on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at CSIO5* La Baule in La Baule, France. The 1,000-meter course included 22 obstacles, including two banks and an open water obstacle to ride through. Colombian René Lopez, a regular at this stop of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup in France, was the first to start on the grass track at Stade François-André with his 10-year-old mare Destiny's Child. They showed all their talent with a fluid round, resulting in a faultless 139.48 seconds to set the standard. The pressure was now on the shoulders of their competitors. But on down the order, no other pair managed to do as well. Frenchman Philippe Rozier, also a regular in this derby, and Rêveur de Kergane finished their round with 24 saults. Sweden's Peder Fredricson, the world No. 3, was eliminated after two refusals from H&M Carat Desire, as was France's Max Thirouin with Tarquin. In his first derby appearance, the French rider Harold Boisset was faster than René Lopez on a time of in 137.63 seconds with Vakhenaton, a 9-year-old Selle Francias. But with a fault, he saw the victory escape and took 2nd place. As for the 2012 Olympic champion, Swiss rider Steve Guerdat, he also made a mistake with Venard de Cerisy in a time of 138.04 but earned on the third step of the podium. In the award ceremony, René Lopez did not hide his emotion. He had just realized a dream by winning at La Baule. It was a victory that goes down in history, as he is the first Colombian to put his name on the prestigious list of winners of the of Derby Pays de la Loire.
18 May 2018
Patrice Delaveau Edges Out Kent Farrington in Grand Prix of La Baule
Kent Farrington has almost made his comeback to the sport after three months off from injury completely flawless—but on Friday, May 18th at La Baule CSIO5*, home rider Patrice Delaveau got in the way of the American when he won the €150,000 Longines Grand Prix Ville de La Baule with Aquila HDC (Ovidus). A beautiful day in France set the stage for the full spectator stands to witness one of the spring’s most prestigious grand prix classes. A start list of 47 tried their best to come back for the jumpoff, but just seven made it through without fault. From that, Gudrun Pateet of Belgium was first to go and laid down a super time with Sea Coast Just the Music (Tornedo FCS) that held for 3rd place. It was a super day for the Belgian rider, as she also won the Prix Bouygues Immobilier CSI5* earlier in the day with Sea Coast Atlantic (Schilling). With two French riders in the jumpoff, the home crowd had a good chance to witness what played out with a French rider standing atop the podium. Delaveau’s time of 38.53 seconds couldn’t be beat, but Farrington gave it all to try aboard Gazelle (Kashmir Van Schuttershof). His time of 39.28 seconds earned him the 2nd place sash. The Longines Grand Prix, traditionally held on Sunday afternoon of La Baule, is new on Friday this year in order to feature the FEI Nations Cup CSIO5*, now held on Sunday with eight nations set to start. Full result Photo ©Psvphoto.com/Jumping International La Baule
18 May 2018
Development of the Sport Pt2: Six Stars & Nations Cups
The ideas that were brought up at Cesar Hirsch’s “Jumping Into the Future” forum in Wellington, Florida in March continue to take hold and inspire more discussion for improvement of show jumping in North America. We asked Hirsch about the follow up to several of the topics that are forefront in the sport today. As show jumping grows into a busier and busier calendar, with CSI5* events all but common throughout the entire year, there is the notion that a new, higher rating may emerge. “I do think that ‘six star’ events could happen in the near future,” Hirsch said. “Anyone can look at the very top events in the world and see how they stand out compared to others who are given five stars purely based on the prize money denomination, which is how shows are currently rated. Other top sports such as tennis and golf have Grand Slam or Major events.” Athletes pinpoint the standout events when they plan their calendar, but when there is a CSI5* every week of the spring and summer, the events start to blur together, making it harder to stand out. “I think we have come to a point now where there has to be another category,” Mclain Ward said during the March forum. “I don’t think that a five star every week is of the same level. I think there could be a super league. You take four or six major events a year for the top horses and athletes to pinpoint.” While the idea of a new “super league” (separate from what used to be called the Super League of Nations Cups) has potential, Hirsch believes it is still far off in the future. There is virtually no disagreement about preserving the Nations Cup series. Rather, discussion is ongoing about enhancing the value of the Nations Cup, something that is lost in certain parts of the world. Anyone who has witnessed the Nations Cup of Aachen and also, the Nations Cup of Wellington, knows that the two competitions are polar opposites in energy level and excitement. “With our panel being from North and South America, we do see the need to strengthen and create more events,” Hirsch said. “I think that show managers, National Federations, and media are all responsible to make these more special events. There are only four Nations Cups in North America/Mexico. They need to be special and a big deal. The panel was emphasizing that Nations Cups need to remain, and they need to be important. They are the centerpiece of why we are an Olympic sport.” Introducing more, lower level Nations Cups to develop riders and gain experience in team competitions is a possibility. “We all know that CSIOs are very costly, there fore the possibility of having a lower level CSIO during a CSIO5* was discussed (now that is not allowed),” said Hirsch. It would be similar to the CSI5* and 2* the same week. This will bring the cost down and give the opportunity for developing riders to feel the excitement of top-level competitions.” Since the winter season ended in Wellington, the confluence of big names and big stakeholders in the sport scatter towards competitions in different parts of the world. But there is a spark that this forum ignited. In a quickly moving sport, it is essential to keep the flame of progress moving forward.
14 May 2018
For the Future: Domino van de Valhoeve
What do you get when you combine a freaky good jumper with a rider that has big-time stickability? At the moment, that combination describes Conor Swail and Domino van de Valhoeve. The Irish rider paired with Domino, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Lord Z x Concorde), last fall after seeing him with Emma Augier de Moussac of the Czech Republic. Swail and his business partner Vanessa Mannix inquired with de Moussac’s trainer Vincent Voorn if the bay gelding was available, and from the minute Swail tried Domino, he felt something special. “He’s a big unorthodox and tricky to ride, a little bit the same as Flower,” Swail mentions of the 13-year-old BWP mare (Bon Ami) that Swail earned over half a dozen international wins with last year. “With having Flower, it made it a good transition [to Domino],” Swail adds. “He’s such a freaky jumper, and so careful. His results have been amazing.” While Swail caught a lot of attention over the winter season for pulling off a massive save when Domino slipped behind while turning a corner in a jumpoff at Oliva Nova, that has been far from their most notable moment of the past few months. Jumping seven clear rounds on the January and February circuit at MET Oliva were just a start. This spring on the CSI3* and 4* circuit in Arezzo, Swail and Domino rode a streak of 11, first round clears. Of those, he won the March 25 CSI3* Grand Prix (pictured above) and placed equal 2nd in the final, CSI4* Grand Prix of the circuit on April 8th. The spectacular results place Domino van de Valhoeve squarely into focus as a horse to watch as Swail legs him back up at CSI2* Caledon this coming week, and CSIO5* Langley at the end of May. “With how he is jumping, some of the rounds are a little not so nice to watch, but when we go through the finish timers it’s 0, and 0 again, and 0 again,” Swail says. “There are some fancy rounds and some not so good ones, but the score is always 0. When you know that going in, it’s funny how it makes it ok. It might not be perfect, in fact it probably won’t be perfect, but more than likely it’s going to be 0 when we’re done. I think that helps both of us. Even though he’s doing funky things around the course, and I know something might happen that I might not expect, at the same time I don’t override or get in his way.” Swail’s current focus is honing the connection with Domino, so that, as he says “we can get better so we’re both on the 0 we’re looking for.” With Domino, Flower (who is also owned in partnership with Mannix and coming back from time off), and the very successful Ruben LS La Silla to count among his string, Swail is looking forward to what the summer might bring. He’s even allowing himself to dream—a little. “With Flower, she is a top top winner, but would she go to the Olympics and World Cup and things like that—I think that’d be a little bit unfair for her. However with Domino, I haven’t reached that top out,” Swail explains. “I still don’t know where he’ll finish up, so we do have that dream that he could make it to the top level. He has unbelievable ability and fight. He hasn’t told me yet that there’s anything he can’t jump. So, I do feel that he could possibly get there.” Time will tell! Either way, Domino van de Valhoeve and Swail could be one of the best combinations to watch this summer.
14 May 2018
For the Future: Domino van de Valhoeve
What do you get when you combine a freaky good jumper with a rider that has big-time stickability? At the moment, that combination describes Conor Swail and Domino van de Valhoeve. The Irish rider paired with Domino, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Lord Z x Concorde), last fall after seeing him with Emma Augier de Moussac of the Czech Republic. Swail and his business partner Vanessa Mannix inquired with de Moussac’s trainer Vincent Voorn if the bay gelding was available, and from the minute Swail tried Domino, he felt something special. “He’s a big unorthodox and tricky to ride, a little bit the same as Flower,” Swail mentions of the 13-year-old BWP mare (Bon Ami) that Swail earned over half a dozen international wins with last year. “With having Flower, it made it a good transition [to Domino],” Swail adds. “He’s such a freaky jumper, and so careful. His results have been amazing.” While Swail caught a lot of attention over the winter season for pulling off a massive save when Domino slipped behind while turning a corner in a jumpoff at Oliva Nova, that has been far from their most notable moment of the past few months. Jumping seven clear rounds on the January and February circuit at MET Oliva were just a start. This spring on the CSI3* and 4* circuit in Arezzo, Swail and Domino rode a streak of 11, first round clears. Of those, he won the March 25 CSI3* Grand Prix (pictured above) and placed equal 2nd in the final, CSI4* Grand Prix of the circuit on April 8th. The spectacular results place Domino van de Valhoeve squarely into focus as a horse to watch as Swail legs him back up at CSI2* Caledon this coming week, and CSIO5* Langley at the end of May. “With how he is jumping, some of the rounds are a little not so nice to watch, but when we go through the finish timers it’s 0, and 0 again, and 0 again,” Swail says. “There are some fancy rounds and some not so good ones, but the score is always 0. When you know that going in, it’s funny how it makes it ok. It might not be perfect, in fact it probably won’t be perfect, but more than likely it’s going to be 0 when we’re done. I think that helps both of us. Even though he’s doing funky things around the course, and I know something might happen that I might not expect, at the same time I don’t override or get in his way.” Swail’s current focus is honing the connection with Domino, so that, as he says “we can get better so we’re both on the 0 we’re looking for.” With Domino, Flower (who is also owned in partnership with Mannix and coming back from time off), and the very successful Ruben LS La Silla to count among his string, Swail is looking forward to what the summer might bring. He’s even allowing himself to dream—a little. “With Flower, she is a top top winner, but would she go to the Olympics and World Cup and things like that—I think that’d be a little bit unfair for her. However with Domino, I haven’t reached that top out,” Swail explains. “I still don’t know where he’ll finish up, so we do have that dream that he could make it to the top level. He has unbelievable ability and fight. He hasn’t told me yet that there’s anything he can’t jump. So, I do feel that he could possibly get there.” Time will tell! Either way, Domino van de Valhoeve and Swail could be one of the best combinations to watch this summer.
14 May 2018
News from America
At the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show in North Salem, New York, 25-year-old Adrienne Sternlicht (pictured above) won the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix CSI2* with Toulago (Toulon). It was the American rider’s first, career grand prix victory. Fellow American Sydney Shulman was 2nd with Villamoura, and Charlie Jacobs placed 3rd with Cassinja S. In Lexington, KY, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show saw Kevin Babington take the Sunday grand prix aboard Super Chilled (Gelvin Clover). The Irish rider won the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix CSI3*, with Ramiro Quintana of Argentina placing 2nd aboard Corento VH Dingenshof (Contendro I). Alex Granato of the USA was 3rd with Beorn (Douglas), and Karl Cook placed 4th with Caillou 24 (Casall). Also at Kentucky Spring, Darragh Kenny took the biggest win of the weekend in the $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3* riding Babalou 41 (Balou Du Rouet). "She’s so fantastic. She’s so careful and tries so hard. She turns unbelievable and I think she’s going to be an incredible mare for the future. We’re really learning each other now and it feels so good and she’s jumping well, I’m just so happy with her,” said the Irish rider. Babalou's former rider, Todd Minikus, placed 2nd with Quality Girl (Quidam's Rubin), and Eugenio Garza was 3rd with Armani SL Z (Asca Z). On the West Coast, both Southern and Northern California national circuits are well underway, with the Sonoma Horse Park’s opening week taking place one hour north of San Francisco. Mattias Ekeroth of Sweden placed 1st and 2nd in the $25,000 Tack Warehouse Grand Prix with Dacarlos (Verdi) and Hautesse Van’t Zorgvliet. Hayden Zadel placed 3rd with Triskel De Kerliven. In Southern California, Carly Anthony is making her mark after a season in Wellington. She won the $60,000 Grand Prix of California with Chacco (Chacco-Blue), coming out ahead of veteran rider Richard Spooner with Quirado RC (Quinar). Shawn Casady placed 3rd with Cicomein VDL. Photo ©The Book