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October 5, 2012

European Show Jumping Scene Review: September

Nick Skelton's ride Carlo was one of the many high-profile horse sales of September. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

In Europe, a big topic of conversation is the draft rules drawn up for the FEI Nations Cup, which have raised concerns among the riders as well as the different federations.

At this points nobody knows what will happen to next year’s Top League, but a regional qualification system with two semi-finals and a final has been proposed as a possibility. As the draft currently looks, 12 teams will qualify for each of the two semi-finals in addition to the home nation if not already qualified. Consequently a maximum of 24 teams can qualify for the semi-finals, plus two home teams if the home team isn't qualified. The six best teams of each semi-final, plus the home team if not qualified, qualify for the final. 

Earlier this month, the British Equestrian Federation expressed their concerns that the draft leaves more questions then answers, and that these questions may not be answered in time for the 2013 season. The general concern seems not to be the fact that changes are to be made, but that these changes need a debate involving all parts including the show organizers, the riders, etc. Some big changes have been proposed, and the effect of these changes needs a to be discussed thoroughly before any decisions are made.

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, currently the No. 1 rider on the Rolex World Rankings, has announced on his website that his top horse, Ninja La Silla, will get a longer vacation. Ninja has still not recovered fully from the infection that he contracted in Doha in March. The hope is that he will be back competing at the end of the World Cup season.

New Homes For Quite A Few Horses

After months of speculation about the future of Nick Skelton’s successful ride Carlo 273, the horse was sold to Spain where he will be seen under Sergio Alvares Moya. Carlo did extremely well with Skelton and took home team and individual bronze medals at the European Championships last year in Madrid. The two have won numerous classes together over the past years, and this year the super pair won classes in Chantilly, Hamburg, La Baule and Wellington to mention some. Skelton has stated that he is very happy to see the horse with a rider like Alvares.

For Skelton’s teammate for Olympic gold in August, Peter Charles, it has been a different September than usual—first he sold his Olympic partner Murka’s Vindicat W to U.S. rider Jessica Springsteen, then he underwent a successful operation to repair a groin strain that had prevented him from competing after the Olympic Games. Hopefully we will see him back competing soon.

In the beginning of September, the young Belgian talent Nicola Philippaerts got a new top horse in the 10-year-old Cortez. The Belgian Warmblood gelding had been successful with the Belgian rider Lisa de Ridder. Nicola's previous top horse Carlos V.H.P.Z was sold at the end of the summer to the Danish rider Emilie Martinsen, who competes at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida during the winter.

A couple of weeks later, Nicola’s brother Olivier Philippaerts—the winner of the prestigious CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in September—also had a new horse to ride, Cooper vd Heffinch (Caretino x Landlord). The 8-year-old approved stallion was previously ridden by Dirk Demeersman and Vincent Lambrecht.

Other riders have lost their rides the past month. Rik Hemmeryck’s top ride Quarco de Kerambars was taken away from him as the owner wanted her daughter to take over the ride. Hemmeryck had been riding the Darco son since he was 4, and the two had been very successful together. In 2011 they won the Grand Prix at the Sauté Hermes in Paris, and they were third in the World Cup-qualifier in Mechelen (Belgium). Hemmeryck and Quarco had also served on several Nations Cup teams for Belgium.

Alberto Michan’s Olympic ride, Rosalia La Silla, has been sold to Qatar. The 11-year-old mare by Cassini I impressed many in London where she ended in fifth individually with her Mexican rider, who had ridden her for two years. The pair claimed individual and team silver at the Central American Games in 2010 and team bronze at the Pan American Games last year. Rosalia’s new rider is Bassem Hassan Mohammed.

Eric van der Vleuten’s promising ride Baranus has been sold to Ian Millar. The 9-year-old stallion won significant smaller grand prix classes this summer. Baranus was owned by van der Vleuten himself, but will in the future be seen under Canadian colors instead of Dutch. 

In September it was also reported that Roger Yves Bost and his top horse over several years, Ideal de la Loge, were going separate ways as Bost and Ideal’s owner disagreed on the 16-year-old stallion’s sport career. This disagreement resulted in the owner moving Ideal de la Loge (Dollard u Murier x Joyau D’Or A) to Olivier Robert.

In August the news was that Irish rider Denis Lynch had gotten the wonderful gray gelding Wonderboy III as a part of a horse trade deal. In September, Wonderboy’s former owner and producer, Georgie Crumley, bought Wonderboy back and took him home to his old stable in England where it seems like he will live happily ever after.

Global Champions Tour Successes

In September the prestigious Global Champions Tour series was held at two venues that had never hosted a GCT leg before, Lausanne (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria). Both shows were arranged in beautiful surroundings, and, as usual, the top riders in the world were present. In Lausanne by the shores of Lake Geneva, Laura Kraut took an amazing win with Cedric after a dramatic jump-off against Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander.

In front of a historic and impressive backdrop in Vienna the weekend after, it was Penelope Leprevost who went all the way to the top and took home the grand prix. The win in the penultimate leg of the series this season came aboard Mylord Carthago *HN, and the French rider left Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on Bella Donna and Gerco Schröder on Eurocommerce London behind her.   

The final of the Global Champions Tour will take place in Abu Dhabi in late November with Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Edwina Tops-Alexander in the lead at 196 points. Right behind them Christian Ahlmann follows at 180 points and Denis Lynch has been able to collect 178 points as No. 4. It has never been this close leading up to the final before, and the competition in the Middle East promises to be an unforgettable battle.

Our friends at www.worldofshowjumping.com are providing monthly updates about all the happenings in European show jumping, not just who wins what, but all the biggest news.

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