Monday, April 25, 2011

Reining: Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup to Air LIVE on

From the USEF Communications Department

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Lexington, KY -  Join for two days of LIVE, world-class reining, with the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup, April 29-30, 2011. The CRI5* and the Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment World Freestyle Championship will air live from the Alltech Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, featuring reiners from around the world, including U.S. favorites Tim McQuay, Craig Schmersal, Tom McCutcheon and Shawn Flarida, all members of the Gold Medal-winning 2010 Adequan U.S. Reining Team. 

The inaugural Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup will take place alongside the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, April 28-May 1, the only CCI4* eventing competition in the United States.

Broadcast Schedule for the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup:

April 29:          LIVE CRI5*, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EDT
April 30:          LIVE Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment World Freestyle Championship, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. EDT
Broadcast Schedule for the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover:

April 28:          LIVE Dressage on
April 29:          LIVE Dressage on
April 30:          LIVE Cross-Country on
May 1:              LIVE Show Jumping on (off air from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT)
                 LIVE Show Jumping and highlights on NBC Sports, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT

All broadcast times subject to change.    

World Cup: Leipzig: USEF: Twenty Americans Head to FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig, Germany

April 25, 2011

By Helen Murray

Lexington, KY- The United States will have strong representation in Germany for the 2011 FEI World Cup Finals (April 27-May 1), with 20 of the country's best riders ready to leave their mark on Leipzig. For the first time the World Cup Finals in dressage, driving, jumping and vaulting will all be held under one roof, with the US sending competitors to vie for top honors in the dressage and jumping. The US will also use the Leipzig Exhibition Hall to showcase up-and-coming jumping riders in the European Youngster Cup Finals and the CSI3*.

With three riders competing in the 2011 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final, the US is poised to excel on the world stage. The American effort will be led by Catherine Haddad and her own Winyamaro. Based in Germany, the pair punched their ticket to the Finals by finishing fifth in the Western European League, which is widely known as the toughest Reem Acra World Cup Qualifying League.

California's Jan Ebeling returns to World Cup stage with his partner from the 2009 Finals, Raflaca. The pair won most recently at the Festival of the Horse CDI-W in March. Shawna Harding and Come On III make their FEI World Cup Final debut, they look to capitalize on the consistent form they displayed throughout the winter season. Under the guidance of Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons, these three riders will compete in a field of 18 competitors from 11 countries, including former FEI World Cup Champions Edward Gal, Isabel Werth and Ulla Salzgeber.

USEF Chef d'Equipe George Morris, leads 10 of the country's top show jumping riders to the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final to take on 43 competitors from 21 countries. Beezie Madden and McLain Ward, teammates on both the 2004 and 2008 gold medal-winning Olympic Games teams, head the US charge. Madden brings Danny Boy, her 2009 Finals' partner, and newest star Coral Reef Via Volo to Leipzig.  Antares F and Rothchild will look to step into the limelight for Ward on jumping's largest stage.

US veteran Margie Engle is poised to make a splash as she returns to the FEI World Cup Finals with the exciting grey gelding Indigo. While fellow East Coast League qualifier, Kirsten Coe, makes her debut with fiancé Ilan Ferder's Tristan.

The US will have strong representation from the West Coast, with veterans Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner making return trips to the Finals. Fellers and Flexible (runners-up in 2008) once again topped the West Coast League Standings and return to the Finals for the fifth consecutive year. Spooner makes his 13th FEI World Cup Final appearance and once again rides Cristallo.

Youth prevails for the rest of the US Team: four of the US competitors are all under the age of 30. Michelle Spadone, Charlie Jayne, Brianne Goutal and Ashlee Bond (as well as McLain Ward) are all former recipients of the Maxine Beard Award, an honor the USET Foundation bestows annually for a rider's promise in the future of show jumping. Goutal and Bond make their second trip to the Finals, while Spadone returns for the third consecutive year. Jayne makes his inaugural trip but looks ready for a strong showing, after successfully spending the winter jumping in Florida and California.

The US looks to knock the home country off the top of the pedestal as Germans have claimed top honors for the past three years.

For the first time, the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final will also feature the EY Cup, giving six of America's top Young Riders a chance to go head-to-head against their peers. Reed Kessler, Charlotte Jacobs, Caitlin Ziegler and Katie Dinan all qualified for the EY Cup by jumping successfully in the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series. After jumping successfully at HITS Thermal in California, Cayla Richards and Audrey Coulter qualified from the West Coast.

Kessler, Dinan and Coulter are all medalists at the Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North.

In Leipzig, Jacobs will ride the veteran Promise Land, a horse that represented the US on FEI Nations Cup teams. While Ziegler takes VDL Groep Camara, the mare she contested her first Grand Prix with. Richards heads to Germany as the top qualifier from the West Coast.

2009 Youngster Cup winner, Lucy Davis, will compete in the CSI3*. In March, the California phenom won four Grand Prix classes in row. She brings her $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix winner, Nemo 119, to Leipzig.



Mark Todd (NZL) on NZB Land Vision celebrates after winning at Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2011 - first leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 © Peter Nixon/FEI
Lausanne (SUI), 25 April 2011

Radio interviews:

Mark Todd :

Piggy French:

Mary King:

Niklas Lindback:

Kai Ruder:

HSBC Bursary winner Fiona Hobby: hobby.mp3

It was a special moment in Eventing history as an ecstatic crowd at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), first leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™, rose to their feet to salute the achievement of Mark Todd (NZL) in winning for the fourth time here since 1980.

“Thirty-one years’ experience comes in handy sometimes!” joked the ever-relaxed Todd, whose mount NZB Land Vision had never experienced the rarefied CCI4* atmosphere before.

“It is incredibly special, though, right up there with the back-to-back Olympic golds. When I came back to the sport (in 2008) it was to see if I could get back to top level. It has always been my aim to win another big one.”

Long acknowledged as the one of the best horsemen the world has ever seen, Todd is also the oldest winner of Badminton (after Andrew Hoy) by an astonishing eight years; he has matched Mark Phillips’ record of four Badminton victories (only Lucinda Green has more, six) and has achieved this major victory after just three years back in the sport after an eight-year “retirement”.

The 56 finishers produced 20 Jumping clears between them on Claire Fourgacs’ straightforward track, but it inevitably becomes much harder to achieve as the pressure mounts, and it would be hard to think of a more high-pressure finale than this one, in which the price of a fence covered the top 12 riders.

Caroline Powell (NZL), lying 10th after Cross-Country, was first to apply the pressure with a sparkling clear on her 18-year-old Burghley winner Lenamore and this ultimately pulled her up to sixth place.

Sweden’s Niklas Lindback, fifth on the much-admired Mister Pooh followed suit, as did Sam Griffiths (AUS) on Happy Times, fourth, and Mary King on Imperial Cavalier (third). Piggy French (GBR) showed the cool head that won her a European silver medal in 2009 and jumped clear on Jakata to score her best four-star result.

But they could only watch nervously as the atmosphere reached fever pitch and the stakes rose higher. The next three riders all faulted: Andrew Nicholson (NZL) on Nereo had two down and dropped to 12th  below his other ride, 10th placed Avebury; Nicola Wilson (GBR) slipped four places to seventh on Opposition Buzz, and Marina Kohncke (GER) suffered the disappointment of having the final fence down on Calma Schelly, plus two time faults, which relegated her to ninth.

Land Vision was a tired horse at the end of Cross-Country, but he looked supple and athletic as he jumped around cleanly, only giving one fence a rattle. “In the end it came down to horse-power, and I’ve obviously got a good one here,” said Todd. “Charisma (his double Olympic gold medallist) will always be the most special horse, but this one has no weak links.”

In a good day for mature riders, third-placed Mary King, 49, who said “Badminton is the reason I’m still competing”, revealed that Piggy French, a mere 30 years old, used to send her fan mail. “And she’s still got my letters back in her bedside table! But it’ll be me writing to her now.”

“Finishing in the top three at Badminton has been my dream,” confessed French. “I didn’t feel too nervous and felt that what will be will be. I just wanted to do my best. I didn’t think the course was that tricky when I walked it, but that’s what can make it much harder. You just had to stay focused.”

Now, Todd is also looking to consolidate his early lead in the HSBC FEI Classics™ and flies to Kentucky tomorrow morning, where he will be riding his world bronze medal ride NZB Grass Valley. King is also aiming to collect more points and is taking two horses, Kings Temptress and Fernhill Urco.

HSBC Training Bursary

Fiona Hobby (GBR), 39, who moved up 18 places to finish 26th on the grey mare Roma ML, won the $1,000 HSBC Training Bursary as the best first-time four-star finisher. “I’m definitely going to spend it on dressage,” she said. “Roma couldn’t believe it when she arrived in the arena and saw all those people, but she was great across country, really focused. I’m delighted.”

Hobby runs a schooling yard in Wiltshire and is a qualified sports injury therapist. Her previous attempt at Badminton, in 2003, on Le Chef, ended when the horse was withdrawn after Cross-Country. Roma ML is a Holsteiner, by Bazar, bred in Germany but bought from Ireland. The pair finished seventh at Blenheim CCI3* last year. Hobby, who is married with two children, is from a Jumping background – her sister, Tina Fletcher, is a member of Britain’s Nations Cup teams - and she was National Junior Champion twice.


1 Mark Todd/NZB Land Vision (NZL) 36.8 + 6.8 + 0 = 43.6

2 Piggy French/Jakata (GBR) 36.0 + 9.2 + 0 = 45.2

3 Mary King/Imperial Cavalier (GBR) 44.2 + 1.6 + 0 = 45.8

4 Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 46.3 + 0 + 0 = 46.3

5 Niklas Lindback/Mister Pooh (SWE) 46.7 + 0 + 0 = 46.7

6 Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 47.2 + 0 + 0 = 47.2

7 Nicola Wilson/Opposition Buzz (GBR) 44.0 + 0 + 4 = 48.0

8 Laura Collett/Rayef (GBR) 36.5 + 8.8 + 4 = 49.3

9 Marina Köhncke/Calma Schelly (GER) 39.8 + 4 + 6 = 49.8

10 Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 47.2 + 0 + 4 = 51.2

HSBC FEI Classics™ Leaderboard in 2011 (after 1 out of 5 events)

1 Mark Todd (NZL) 15 points

2 Piggy French (GBR) 12 points

3 Mary King (GBR) 10 points

4 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 8 points

5 Niklas Lindback (SWE) 6 points

6 Caroline Powell (NZL) 5 points

7 Nicola Wilson (GBR) 4 points

8 Laura Collett (GBR) 3 points

9 Marina Köhncke (GER) 2 points

10 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 1 point

Full results on

HSBC FEI Classics™ Calendar of Events in 2011
1 21-25 April - Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)

2 28 April-1 May - Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA) 
3 16-19 June - Luhmühlen presented by E.ON Avacon (GER)
4 1-4 September - Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
5 13-16 October - Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA) 

Notes to editors:

Mark Todd

Mark Todd first came to international prominence at the 1978 World Championships. He then arrived in Britain in 1980 with Southern Comfort, accompanied by Andrew Nicholson as groom, and won Badminton at his first attempt. He won again in 1994 on a chance ride, Horton Point, and in 1996 on Bertie Blunt. He has also won Burghley five times, in 1997 on Wilton Fair, in 1990 on Face the Music, in 1991 on Welton Greylag, in 1997 (taking the Open European title) on Broadcast News and in 1999 on Diamond Hall Red.

He won back-to-back Olympic titles in 1984 and 1988 on Charisma and won world team gold and individual silver on Broadcast News in 1998. In 2000, after winning an individual bronze at the Sydney Olympics on Eye Spy, he retired to his native New Zealand to train racehorses. But the lure of Eventing proved too strong and he returned to Britain in 2008 to campaign for the 2008 Olympics, where he finished 18th on Gandalf.

He is now based near Newbury, Berkshire, with a string of horses. Land Vision won the Young Horse CIC3* at Blenheim (GBR) and was second at Boekelo CCI3* last year.

HSBC Training Bursary:
HSBC, the platinum partner of FEI and global sponsor of Eventing, has supported the HSBC FEI Classics™ since 2008 and is the title sponsor. At the centre of this sponsorship is a commitment to the development of the sport of Eventing at every level.

HSBC has introduced a Training Bursary, which is a unique award presented to the highest placed rider at each HSBC FEI Classics™ leg who completes a 4* event for the very first time.

The winning rider receives a training voucher to the value of $1,000, which is spent on sessions with a trainer of the athletes’ choice approved by the FEI and National Federation.

HSBC FEI Classics™ prize money
Over the next three years, HSBC will be contributing US$1 million in prize money, which represents the biggest prize fund on offer in Eventing on an annual basis.

At the end of the season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected among the five HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 events are awarded their share of a total prize pot of US$333,000, split as follows:

1st US$150,000 (Series Champion)
2nd US$75,000
3rd US$50,000
4th US$33,000
5th US$25,000

The HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 season will begin at Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) on 12-16 October 2011. This is also the location for the final leg of the 2011 season. Competitors therefore have the unique opportunity to secure points for both the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 and 2012 seasons by competing at Les Etoiles de Pau.

1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 12-16 October 2011
2 Australian International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 18-20 November 2011
3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) -  26-29 April 2012
4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 4-7 May 2012
5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by E.ON (GER) - 14-17 June 2012
6 The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 30 August-2 September 2012

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