Friday, August 26, 2011

Driving FEI: Pairs Driving Championship: Dancer, Wrigley-Miller and Yoder in Fifth Place at Their First FEI World Pair Driving Championship; Yoder Drives to Sixth in Dressage

Joe Yoder (USA) currently in 5th place (Marie DeRonde photo)

From the USEF Communications Department

Joe Yoder at the 2011 FEI World Driving Pair Championship.
Photo: Marie de Ronde.
Lexington, KY - At the 2011 FEI World Pair Driving Championship in Conty, France, American Joe Yoder drove to sixth place Friday in the dressage and the American team - all three drivers making their International Championship debut - sits in fifth place heading into Saturday's marathon.

Led by Chef d'Equipe Chester Weber and Coach Michael Freund, the U.S. is being represented by Yoder, the 2011 USEF National Pair Driving Champion, and Katherin Dancer and Misdee Wrigley-Miller. The trio drove at Reisenbeck CAI in July and earned valuable international experience as they represent their country this week.

Thursday morning marked the beginning of the dressage competition phase and it was Wrigley-Miller drawn as the first and only U.S. competitor on opening day. Wrigley-Miller is in the top half of the pack of 69 drivers, in 20th place on a score of 52.86.

The pressure then passed to Dancer and Yoder on Friday. Dancer is in 34th individually with a score of 58.88. Yoder's impressive sixth-place mark of 44.03 means the team sits in fifth with 96.9 penalties. Germany leads with 84.1 over Switzerland, The Netherlands, and France. The top two scores from each phase count for the Team Classification.

Individually, German Driver Carola Deiner leads with a score of 35.58.

Joe Yoder and Misdee Wrigley-Miller at the 2011 FEI World Driving Championship.
Photo: Marie de Ronde.
"It was extremely muddy and we had to work through it," Yoder said of his dressage test. "It was a good test and the horses were good, but it was quite muddy throughout the test. It is a lot more work when it is like that, a lot more rein handling to keep the horses more supple and more forward. You do lose some impulsion in the mud, it is more difficult for the horses. I am quite pleased with how the horses went, and I'm pleased with the score I received."

Yoder, 30, who began to make a name for himself in 2010 driving a four-in-hand, recently relocated from his Montana home to Aiken, SC, where he drives for Jack Wetzel.

The U.S. Drivers will now turn their focus to Saturday's marathon.

"The marathon is tight and open in the hazards, there are multiple routes to take," Yoder said, adding that the course shouldn't get any muddier as Friday the sun is expected to come out. "If you want tight you can take tight lines, but overall the marathon looks fairly decent. It is a tough, tight course but it looks doable."

Eventing: European Championships: Britain poised in second place after dressage at the HSBC FEI Eventing European Championships 2011

Dressage at the HSBC FEI Eventing European Championships may not have all gone GB’s way but despite this the professionalism of the British quartet has won through. The team of Mary King, Piggy French, William Fox-Pitt and Nicola Wilson chased every mark, pulling through to maintain their overnight position and finish in second place after the dressage phase of the competition on 121.90.

The score keeps them in touch of home nation Germany who leads the competition by 23.20 points going into the cross country phase. It also sees off competitive scores from the Italians in third and the Swedish in fourth on 128.30 and 128.70 respectively.

Four of the five Brits currently lie in the top 20 of the individual standings with championship rookie Laura Collett top of the bunch. Cantering down the centre line for her first senior call-up as an individual the 21 year old proved she can more than hold her own with Mr Jason Houghton’s 12 year old gelding Rayef. The pair rode a polished test for 35.4 to go into joint fourth place after dressage, scoring 9’s for their trot work.

“He was such a good boy, I’m so chuffed with him” said Laura. “He’s been quiet all week as there’s not much atmosphere elsewhere but he got quite bright going into the arena. As soon as we went in he knuckled down though and is becoming a real performer as he gets used to these bigger occasions. Apart from one mistake in his final change he was faultless; this test is definitely up there with his best.”

Mary King ends the dressage best of the team riders in 10th position with the 14 year old Irish Sports horse Imperial Cavalier owned by Miss Janette Chinn and Mr & Mrs Edwin Davies. They rode a smooth, consistent test to produce their best score together of 38.80.

“Thank goodness the test wasn’t yesterday!” said Mary “Today Archie [Imperial Cavalier] got control of his nerves, he was very bright but much more relaxed; at WEG he was uncontrollable; better in Badminton and now finally seems to be beginning to settle. There’s quite an atmosphere in there and the wind has picked up but I was pleased he let me ride him; I’m really thrilled.”

Just behind her team mate, Piggy French’s 40.40 she posted yesterday proved good enough for 11th place after a confident ride with the 13 year old bay gelding Jakata owned by her father, Wally French and Michael Underwood. Meanwhile trailblazer Nicola Wilson’s 52.70 with Opposition Buzz places them 39th in the individual standings.

Reigning world silver medallist and team anchorman William Fox-Pitt recovered from a shaky start in the arena on Cool Mountain, regaining their poise and producing some wonderful work for 42.70 to go into 17th place.

“He got edgy towards the end of his warm up and carried this into his test” explained William. “He’s usually very reliable and steady but I presume this atmosphere just reminded him of all the excitement in Lexington! It’s a shame as overall the horse has improved so much and is a stronger, much more capable horse. It’s disappointing that he just didn’t quite do it here.”

Germany currently occupies the top four spots with Ingrid Klimke heading the leader board on 30.00 penalties after a sublime test that rocked the crowd with FRH Butts Abraxxas. They may may have won the dressage phase but it’s still all to ride for as we head into the cross country tomorrow.

Captain Mark Phillips has designed the course that he hopes will “keep the attention of the best riders while giving those with less experience a way to get round.”
Commenting on the test ahead William said: “It’s an inviting, galloping course that should ride really well, there are lots of little places where things could go wrong but it’s the timing of the course that will prove crucial, it needs to be tight enough to force some penalties.”


Britain come into the championships as World and European team Champions and are chasing their ninth successive European title as well as individual honours.

The host nation Germany are bidding for a first European team gold since 1973

All the British riders are on the UK Sport funded World Class Programme which works with talented riders to maximise their potential and deliver success on the world stage in the three Olympic sports of dressage, eventing, showjumping and the Paralympic sport of para-equestrian dressage. The Programme has been funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, through Exchequer and National Lottery funds, via UK Sport since 1998.

Eventing: FEI: European Championships: Record-breaking Germans lead the field at HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and FRH Butts Abraxxas lead the individual standings at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships and Germany is on top in the teams after the Dressage.  Photo: Peter Nixon/FEI.

Lausanne (SUI), 26 August 2011

Outstanding performances by Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Michael Jung have put the home side into a fabulously strong position before tomorrow’s Cross Country phase at the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships at Luhmühlen (GER).

The host nation, bidding for a first European team gold since 1973, is now more than 20 penalties ahead of defending champions Great Britain as the first team to score under 100 in the Dressage at European level. The Italians, who won silver in 2009, hold a fractional advantage in third over Sweden, who last won gold back in 1993.

Klimke is no stranger to brilliance in the Dressage arena, but even she was overwhelmed by FRH Butts Abraxxas’s mark of 30.0, which included six 10s: three for the entry and halt; two for her final halt and one, from Ground Jury member Christoph Hess, for her riding.

“Hans Melzer [German team trainer] told me I should do a 29, so he put me under pressure,” Klimke revealed.

The ever-smiling Klimke also admitted to despondency after her fall at Badminton (GBR) in April, in which she suffered a knee injury which kept her out of the saddle for 12 weeks.

“I was very depressed about it all because I just love to ride,” she said. “But then Abraxxas was in good shape at Aachen and Mälmo and now I’m just thankful to be here.

“It’s wonderful because we have so many friends here on home ground and, with Germany running 12 riders [as host nation], it’s a case of ‘one team, one dream’. Our team atmosphere is full of positives.”

Michael Jung (GER) riding La Biosthetique - Sam FBW, 2nd place after dressage.
Jung showed the mark of a World Champion, holding it all together to post a score of 33.3, despite a nervous start when La Biosthetique Sam broke in the first medium trot.

“I tried to take a break, breathe hard and relax,” he said. “I had to make the horse concentrate, but I wasn’t sure how much I could ask for.”
Frank Ostholt (GER), who was also revelling in the atmosphere, chose a good day to score his first ever 10s, for his entry and for his final halt. He is now lying third on Little Paint.

“I know I have a fantastic horse, but it’s another thing in the arena. However, I don’t think this is going to be a dressage competition,” he said.

Frank Ostholt (GER) riding Little Paint 3rd place after dressage.
Ostholt has been a member of the senior German squad since 1993, but individual glory has eluded him, his best result being fourth place at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Aachen (GER).

“I didn’t expect to be on the team this time,” he explained. “Little Paint has had two years off and, although it was fantastic to be third at Luhmühlen CCI4* in June, our preparation has not been 100%. But I have never won an individual medal, so maybe this year will be it.”

Britain’s Laura Collett got her senior championship debut off to a flying start. She is lying equal fourth with Sandra Auffarth (GER). Her only mistake in a beautifully presented test was when her horse Rayef bounded forward in the second flying change.

“He went to change early, I said ‘no’ and it all happened too early – he was a bit surprised,” explained the 21-year-old, who has already won Junior and Young Rider European titles on Rayef. If she completes the set this weekend, it will be a record.
Sandra Auffahrt (GER) riding Opgun Louvo currently is tied for 4th. Peter Nixon/FEI Photo

Ten riders achieved sub-40 marks. Stefano Brecciaroli (ITA), former dual European Champion Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), riding the relatively inexperienced Neptune de Sartene, and Mary King (GBR), who managed to contain the exuberant Imperial Cavalier, all pulled their respective team scores up.

William Fox-Pitt (GBR), whose test on World silver medallist Cool Mountain was marred by resistance, notably in the rein-back, commented: “We’ll need a bit of luck on our side tomorrow.”

Like all riders, he is viewing Course-Designer Mark Phillips’s Cross Country track with respect. “There’s a lot of room for error, and it’s definitely got a sting in the tail,” he said. This is a reference to the penultimate combination, the Rolex Turn (fence 27) where a big ditch and brush is followed by a four-stride turn to a corner and another four strides to a narrow fence.

“I think most riders will take the long route,” predicted Fox-Pitt. “The risk factor seems greater than the time factor.”

The course runs in a reverse direction to usual, so even though Luhmühlen is a familiar venue for many, it will be a completely new test for all.

Course-builder David Evans has excelled himself with his trademark carvings, which include fishing bears in the pool at the far end of the course from which spectators can see seven fences.

The ground is perfect, the weather is forecast to cool down, and, although the Germans appear to be running away with the medals, they know accuracy and focus are key.

“Horses will need to be able to see exactly where they are going and riders will have to be precise,” warned Ingrid Klimke.

Her father, Dr Reiner Klimke, was the most medalled Dressage rider of all time; how proud he would be to see his daughter add a couple of gold medals to the family trophy cabinet in this thrilling HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships, the marks the 30th of these Championships.

Individual standings after Dressage:
1 Ingrid Klimke/FRH Butts Abraxxas (GER*) 30.0
2 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER*) 33.3
3 Frank Ostholt/Little Paint (GER) 34.0
4= Laura Collett/Rayef (GBR) 35.4
4= Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER*) 35.4
6 Stefano Brecciaroli/Apollo van der Wendi Kurt Hoeve (ITA*) 35.8
7 Sara Algotsson-Ostholt/Wega (SWE*) 36.0
8 Dirk Schrade/King Artus (GER) 36.7
9 Nicolas Touzaint/Neptune de Sartene (FRA*) 37.9
10 Mary King/Imperial Cavalier (GBR*) 38.8
(* denotes team member)

Team standings
1 Germany, 98.7; 2, Great Britain, 121.9; 3, Italy, 128.3; 4, Sweden, 128,7; 5, France, 136.6; 6, Netherlands, 140.7; 7, Belgium, 142.9; 8, Ireland, 158.9; 9, Switzerland, 163.9; 10, Spain, 173.0; 11, Poland, 184.4

Full results on

Equestrian Australia’s “roadmap to success‟ released

26 August 2011

A new framework for Equestrian Australia‟s (EA) High Performance Program has been released, as the sport looks to develop an integrated pathway for competitors across all equestrian disciplines.

With the additional funding received from the Federal Government through the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and based on EA‟s strategic priorities (Creating our future: 2010-2016), EA was able to expand its High Performance Program (HPP).In addition to increased benefits for elite level competitors the program will now better capture up-and-coming athletes and horses through talent identification programs for the Olympic/Paralympic disciplines and will now also include non-Olympic disciplines.

The new framework was developed in consultation with EA‟s National Performance Directors along with program partners ASC, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

As the sport gears up for the London 2012 Olympic Games EA CEO Grant Baldock, said the new program will look to strengthen the solid foundations that have already been established in the sport.

“Our record at the Olympic Games has always been strong and that is a testament to the solid foundation the sport has provided over many years in delivering quality programs.

“But as we look to the future, we recognised the need to create a centralised national pathway to better support our athletes, both at home and abroad, as well as to incorporate our non-Olympic disciplines into the framework.

“While the centralised national pathway will provide added support to all athletes, from the  “developing”  to the “world-class” athlete, it will also extend to better support our owners, vets and team staff who all have a vital role to play in achieving excellence,” he said.

·         The major features and changes to the program include:
·         National pathway that focuses on providing a centralised support program to all
·         Olympic/Paralympic disciplines across Australia and abroad
·         Recognition and support of the non-Olympic disciplines within the High Performance
·         framework
·         Creation of a national talent identification program across all disciplines
·         Working closely with the State Branches in program delivery
·         Expanding the High Performance Squads – more than 250 athletes will be part of HPP - an increase from 80 athletes
·         Increase of financial support to Olympic discipline elite athletes
·         Dedicated owners program
·         Development of a European training base to better support athletes participating
·         overseas
·         Using Information Technology infrastructure to support the overall HPP.

The “roadmap to success” is not only about medal performances and success in the short term, but designed to ensure athletes and horses are identified early on and bought into the HPP so that they can be monitored and guided throughout their career.

Australian Sports Commission’s Deputy General Manager of Funding, Andrew Collins, said it was important for the national sporting organisations to have sustainable plans in place to be able to build on success.

“The Australian Sports Commission is working hard with all their key sports to ensure they have the right planning in place ahead of London.

“We are pleased with the work Equestrian Australia has put in with their program that has been about building on the success in the past to deliver success for the future,” he said.

The full High Performance Program clearly outlines the key objectives for each discipline which EA CEO Grant Baldock explains are geared towards international results.

“Our international results and rankings allow us to attract funding and profile, so there is no secret that our High Performance Program aims for international excellence.

“In Beijing, we saw the team qualify in every discipline for the first time and at the World Equestrian Games we fielded a full team in every discipline as well as won Australia’s first WEG gold medal. We now want to take that to the next level and establish the system to create long term success,” he said.

The Equestrian Australia High Performance Program “Roadmap to success‟” 2011-2016, is now available on the EA website

Dressage: FEI: EXQUIS NADINE RETIRES - by Louise Parkes

Exquis Nadine, the 16 year old mare ridden to great success by The Netherlands' Hans Peter Minderhoud, was retired on the final afternoon of the FEI European Dressage Championships 2011 in Rotterdam (NED) last Sunday.  Photo: FEI/Peter Nixon.
Lausanne (SUI), 26 August 2011

There was an emotional moment for Dutch rider, Hans Peter Minderhoud, on the final afternoon of the FEI European Dressage Championships 2011 in Rotterdam (NED) last Sunday when the great mare, Exquis Nadine, was officially retired.

The 16 year old Dutch warmblood, by Partout x Roemer, was bred by G.C Vervoorn at Brakel in The Netherlands and descends from a very distinguished dam bloodline.  During her highly successful career, she won team gold at the FEI European Championships 2007 in Turin (ITA) and team silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.  She was reserve for the 2009 European Championships and won team gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA last year.

Last week Exquis Nadine was part of the bronze-medal-winning Dutch side in Rotterdam, and on Sunday the chestnut mare said goodbye with a lovely performance that earned eleventh place in the hotly-contested Freestyle to Music finale.  Tears trickled down Hans Peter's face as he rode her past the grandstand and acknowledged the crowd's applause on behalf of his great chestnut mare.

"After the ride I felt quite bad" he said, "she gave everything in the Freestyle, but there was no better moment for her to retire."


"I want everyone to remember a special horse, not one that goes on and on until she has nothing left" Hans Peter continued. "She will slow down over the winter months and we will put her in foal in the spring - I know this is the right thing to do, because I've noticed over the last year or so that when I'm riding her past the fields it's hard to get her to concentrate because she's looking at the foals, I think she would love to have one, and it's time for her to have another life.   She has been doing Grand Prix for five years now".

Hans Peter pointed out that the decision to retire Exquis Nadine was only finalised last Sunday, and it wasn't an easy one to make.  But, along with the mare's owners, he had been thinking about it for a while. "She's done such a lot" he pointed out, "she needed an extra page in her passport because she had travelled so much around the world!"

He must now depend on some new rides to ensure he maintains his own profile.  "It's time for Tango to step up a bit now and I have two really nice nine year olds coming along" he said.  But filling the gap left by Nadine's retirement will not be easy - "it is like it is!" Hans Peter said with a tinge of sadness in his voice on Sunday night.  He added that he will miss her greatly as a competition companion, but that she will remain on his farm, "so we will still see each other every day!" he said.

Polly Stockton out of competition following a minor injury to her horse Regulus

Note:  Ingrid Klemke (GER) Currently in the Lead on 30.0
Polly Stockton out of competition following a minor injury to her horse Regulus

Unfortunately Polly Stockton’s ride Regulus, owned by Mrs Anne Henson, has sustained a minor injury that will prevent him from competing this weekend at the FEI European Eventing Championships 2011, Luhmulen, Germany. The combination were selected to compete as individuals in the championship and due to contest the dressage element of the competition this morning.

Team GBR Eventing Performance Manager Yogi Breisner commented: “Regulus came out for exercise this morning and Polly reported he didn’t feel quite right. It was decided it was in the horse’s best interests not to run him. It’s nothing serious and his long term health will be unaffected but it’s obviously very disappointing for all concerned.”

Polly will remain in Germany until the end of the Championships to support her team mates who are chasing their ninth successive European title as well as individual honours. Their chances remain unchanged by the unfortunate withdrawal of Polly and Regulus.


The selected team comprises:

• William Fox-Pitt riding the Hon. Mrs Teresa Stopford Sackville’s Cool Mountain
• Piggy French riding Mr Wally French and Mr Michael Underwood’s Jakata
• Mary King riding Miss Janette Chinn and Mr & Mrs Edwin Davies’s Imperial Cavalier
• Nicola Wilson riding Miss Rosemary Search’s Opposition Buzz
Competing as an individual:
• Laura Collett riding Mr Jason Houghton’s Rayef