Behind the scenes in Paris with Hymne….


Well, I started in the stables at 8 am and finished at 5pm (Which was a nice easy day for a change :-)) I even had time to go and watch the 2 classes of the 5* :-)!

Could see all the horses jump! The Gucci Masters is a nice event to visit and everything is well organized!

The spectators are very French minded, so whenever a French rider goes in the ring, they start to cheer!

So when Bosty won the class, the crowd went crazy! They supported him the whole way!


Bosty blasts to victory in tonight’s Longines Speed Challenge in Paris…


Roger Yves Bost was the fastest of the fast tonight in Longines Speed Challenge. It was a very entertaining class with a fully enthused crowd behind almost every rider. You could here the cheers and cries from the stands as spectators shouted “Allez, allez,” encouraging each rider to go faster. Speed can sometimes bring some unexpected outcomes and that was the case this evening with two riders unseated; Hong Kongs’ Kenneth Cheng and Italy’s Emanuele Guadiamo.

Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar almost came off through the double combination, not only did he manage to stay on but also jump clean, bringing the crowd to a standing ovation.

Gregory Wathelet, Belgium’s number one ranked rider in the world, snapped up second close to the end of the class. Gregory Wathelet was riding Kronos d’Ouilly and he certainly tried to unseat the famous Frenchman but to no avail . Unfortunately he had the front pole of the Grand Slam oxer, but still managed an amazing time of 64.52 seconds

Olympian Reed Kessler took the lead a little over half way through the class. The 18 year old’s round on Ligist was textbook, with her usual deceptively quick style, Reed stopped the clock on 64.76.

Reed sat atop the tallest blue velvet chair next to Luciana Diniz and Kevin Staut awaiting the speedy Frenchman’s arrival, remarking that she was concerned about the chance Bosty might beat her time. Sure enough, Roger received a warm welcome as he entered the ring on Castle Forbes Cosma. With his signature style, Bosty set an unbeatable pace, getting the French crowd on their feet and very much behind him. He crossed the line at 63.00 seconds flat.

With a few left to go, it looked as though no one could catch him and sure enough they were right, for the famous Frenchman held his lead until the end.

A big congratulations to Roger and Castle Forbes Cosma for a very entertaining win… as per usual.

 LONGINES Speed Challenge… Épreuve barême C au chronomètre (1.45 m)
FEI – Art. 239 / 263 – CSI 5*

1. Castle Forbes Cosma Bost, Roger Yves FRA 63.00 seconds
2. Kronos d’Ouilly Wathelet, Gregory BEL 64.52 seconds (62.52)
3. Ligist Kessler, Reed USA 64.76 seconds
4. Lady Lindenhof Diniz, Luciana POR 64.93 seconds
5. HH Palouchin Pessoa, Rodrigo BRA 65.99 seconds (63.99)
6. Cheyenne 111 Z H D C Staut, Kevin FRA 66.46 seconds
7. Catapulte Robert, Michel FRA 66.49 seconds
8. Abab van het Molenhof Alvarez Moya, Sergio ESP 66.67 seconds (64.67)
9. Sidney VIII Guerdat, Steve SUI 66.78 seconds
10. Cristallo A Epaillard, Julien FRA 67.24 seconds (63.24)
11. MCB Maya Whitaker, Michael GBR 67.29 seconds (65.29)
12. Constantin B Dreher, Hans-Dieter GER 67.61 seconds (65.61)

Nick Skelton speaks out against lawsuit in Wellington…



131605044Great Britain’s Olympic team gold medalist, Nick Skelton, joined a wide variety of top-ranking International riders in speaking out against attacks on equestrian events in Wellington, Florida.

“I think people, especially those who are in the sport, want to be careful how much they try and stop the horse shows in Wellington,” he told Kenneth Braddick from the Gucci Masters in Paris Masters this week. “Investment in recent years has made it a great facility, probably the best in the world.

“The horse show in Wellington has become an industry, big business. If the people who have invested so much decide to pull the plug, what is going to be left? An empty building site.”

The comments by Nick have come after specific members of the Jacobs family, which oppose Equestrian events at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex, filed a new lawsuit to prevent several 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival hunter and jumper competitions and the entire Global Dressage Festival. The lawsuit, targeting the state of the art dressage grounds and the grass derby field that has been used for jumping events since 2010, is led by Charles and Kimberly Jacobs and their family’s Solar Sportsystems, Inc. The Jacob’s family are associated with billionaire Jeremy Jacobs, who owns the Boston Bruins hockey team.

The lawsuit aims to tear down the entire complex and has asked the court to undo an agreement between the horse show organizers and the Village of Wellington allowing events to be held there from Nov. 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013.

The latest legal action and subsequent news reports have sparked a surge of anger and concern on both sides of the Atlantic as it has created a sense of uncertainty within the industry regarding the future of certain equestrian events in Palm Beach.

The dispute originally centered on the international dressage facility but has grown to include the show jumping competitions as well.

meet3_1272952a_1Since the acquisition of the show grounds by Wellington Equestrian Partners and the organizing group, Equestrian Sport Productions, the Palm Beach center has been rebuilt. The winter circuit was extended from 6 weeks to 12 weeks and drew riders from more then 30 countries; especially top ranking riders from Great Britain and continental Europe. As more and more riders elected to incorporate the Winter Equestrian Festival into their annual show agenda, Wellington has become the center of global attention between the months of January and March.

Riders such as Rodrigo Pessoa, Alvaro de Miranda, Athina Onassis, Ben Maher, Laura Kraut, Eric Lamaze, Mclain Ward, Harrie Smolders, and Nick Skelton will base themselves in Wellington this winter for the 3 month long competition.

This latest legal action has sparked wide-spread feelings of anger, directed predominately against the Jacobs family and the Village of Wellington council. This year, it seems the Council have pursued policies to cripple events at the Stadium complex.

Laura Kraut, told Kenneth of Dressage news, “Not only myself but many top international riders will be very disappointed to lose the classes on the grass field. We all felt that over the past couple of years those classes added so much to the circuit as well as provided a fresh new venue for our horses to jump on. I was looking forward to more opportunities to be out there this year and I sincerely hope that things can be worked out.”

The Village of Wellington and ESP signed an agreement two months ago approving the 2012/2013 six-month equestrian circuit at the Stadium and agreed to negotiate future use of the facility. The latest lawsuit was filed a week ago after the court had rejected similar efforts.

The new suit asks “the court to order the lands returned to their status prior to the commencement of the development activities.” The property had been the original home of the Palm Beach Polo Club. A succession of hurricanes seriously damaged permanent grand stands and the polo fields were no longer used for competition.

Mark Bellissimo, chief executive of Wellington Equestrian Partners that owns PBIEC and the organizing group, ESP, said he is confident the suit will fail as did two similar lawsuits. “The lawsuit is, however, a dark cloud over our equestrian industry and was no doubt filed to create uncertainty. Simply stated it’s another attack by the Jacobs to prevent a successful, thriving equestrian industry that is attractive and available to all Wellington residents and visitors.”


Doda wins the Battle of the Sexes Qualifier in Paris….



The first big class of the evening in Paris today was the Qualifier for the Battle of the Sexes class, set for tomorrow, at the Gucci Masters. The top 10 best men and women riders of the show will battle it out against each other in the 1.55 Grand Prix at 10 pm.  Quite a few combinations earned errors in the double and triple combinations and the lines were set very technical with little room for error. Of the 46 starters, only 9 combinations were clear and qualified for the Jump off.

It was the Brazilian Alvaro de Miranda that would be the fastest with a time of 32.27 with AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan (v.  Drosselklang II). Close behind in second place would be HDC’s Patrice Delaveau with Carinjo 9 HDC (v.  Cascevelle) with a time of 32.64.  The top third placing was earned by American Kent Farrington with his lovely grey gelding Uceko (v.  Celano) in a time of 32.73 error-free.

Places 4th and 5th went to France with Simon Delestre (Valentino Velvet) and Pénélope Leprevost (Nice Stephanie). Gerco Schroder was clear but not quite fast enough with his lovely grey stallion Eurocommerce New Orleans in 6th place. Along with Bosty in 7th place riding Nippon d’Elle. Olivier Philippaerts and his CN International winning mount Cabrio Of the Heffinck (v.  Casini) got an unfortunate fault in the triple combination and finished in 11th place. Gregory Wathelet earned 8 penalty points with Citizenguard Cadjanine Z (v.  Canabis Z).

With four out of the top 8 riders being French, the host country will no doubt be happy with the French performances in the Masters first big match of the week.

Prix GDE

Qualifier Guerre des Sexes EADS  (1.55 m) FEI – Art. 238.2.2 – CSI 5*

1. AD Ashleigh Drossel Dan Miranda, Alvaro de BRA 0 penalties 32.27 sec
2. Carinjo 9 HDC Delaveau, Patrice FRA 0 penalties 32.64 sec
3. Uceko Farrington, Kent USA 0 penalties 32.73 sec
4. Valentino Velvet Delestre, Simon FRA 0 penalties 33.51 sec
5. Nice Stephanie Leprevost, Pénélope FRA 0 penalties 34.60 sec
6. Eurocommerce New Orleans Schröder, Gerco NED 0 penalties 35.46 sec
7. Nippon d’Elle Bost, Roger Yves FRA 0 penalties 38.16 sec
8. Codex One Ahlmann, Christian GER 4 penalties 32.13 sec
9. Carlo 273 Alvarez Moya, Sergio ESP 4 penalties 33.96 sec
10. Winningmood Diniz, Luciana POR 4 penalties 60.43 sec
round 1
11. Cabrio Van de Heffinck Philippaerts, Olivier BEL 4 penalties 61.87 sec
round 1
12. Cylana Kessler, Reed USA 4 penalties 61.92 sec
round 1

Great pics from Paris…

Beezie and Nick both decline invitation to Geneva for IJRC Top 10…

According to IJRC, Beezie has declined her invitation to attend the Rolex Top 10 in Geneva next week. This comes as surprise to many as we were all looking forward to seeing the world’s number two leading lady rider strut her stuff in Switzerland’s second largest city. Beezie’s last show was Lexington, Kentucky last month. It seems that the American Olympic gold medalist is not currently entered for any competitions.

It seems that Beezie was not the only top 10 rider to decline the invitation. British gold medalist Nick Skelton was also amongst those to choose against a trip to Switzerland for the World Cup event and instead opt for an Olympia attendance in two weeks time, along with a very long list of fellow top ranking Brits. These include Scott Brash, Peter Charles, Tina Fletcher, William Funnell, Ben Maher, Laura Renwick, Tim Stockdale, John Whitaker, Michael Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Guy Williams.

Penelope Leprevost and Roger Yves Bost were the two riders, both French, who took the remaining spots to complete the top 10 order for the big event in Geneva next week.

Geneva is one of the last World Cup events before Christmas and is set to be an exciting event with many of the top 20 in attendance including Steve Guerdat, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson.

Nicola Philippaerts remains in the US while Olivier takes on Paris…


Well Olivier Philippaerts is in Paris this week for the annual Gucci Masters; one of France’s most highly anticipated social events of the year. Olivier will be amongst fellow Belgian’s Gregory Wathelet and Judy-Ann Melchior for the five star event, set to get underway tomorrow. However, it seems that Olivier left his twin brother State side after Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair this month.

While Olivier has returned to Europe for the remaining season on the continent, it seems that Nicola has opted to remain competing in the United States, entered in the World Cup Qualifying event, ESP Holiday & Horses CSI2** in Palm Beach, Florida this week with his horses Vadetta VH Mettenhof (seen above) Cortez, Chicago v/h Moleneind. Nicola finished 9th in the $33,000 Holiday and Horses Opener Grand Prix today.

Ludo also flew over to join his son and finished 26th on Chicago. Lauren Hough won the Grand Prix on her very own Ohlala, beating the likes of Tiffany Foster, Richie Moloney, Daniel Bluman, Mario Deslauriers, Shane Sweetnam and Margie Engle, just to name a few.

According to the Philippaerts team, this will be Nicola’s last show in the United States and the 19 year old Belgian jockey will return home for the annual World Cup horse show in Mechelen, which starts just after Christmas. Nicola will join his brother Olivier and his father, Ludo, for the 5star competition. We’re looking forward to seeing all three together for one of Belgium’s most legendary shows. The famous trio have not competed together since the Spruce Meadows Masters in September where Olivier won the $1 Million CN International Grand Prix.

We’ll be wishing the Belgian trio very good luck next month.

Who’s training Emilie, Doda and Tim Gredley…

Well as you may very well know, Emilie Martinsen (DEN) has changed trainers recently. Emilie has been training for a very long time with Hendrik Gunderson, a well-known Danish trainer based in Wellington, FL but now has made the recent transition to famed Olympian Norman Dello Joio. A decision she came to during the World Cup event in Washington, only weeks ago. Emilie will join Tim Gredley (GBR), who also trains with the well-known American Olympian.

Alvaro de Miranda, the world’s top ranking Brazilian rider at number 23, along with his wife Athina Onassis, have recently been working with Ludger Beerbaum. Doda, who wants to increase his competitive edge and keep pushing his way up the rankings has sought the training and advice from the 4 time Olympic medalist and 6 time European Champion. Already moving from 30th to 23rd spot since the last rankings list was published, his decision is clearly paying off.

So, why is it that some top ranking riders continuously seek assistance from the ground while others rely singularly on their own “inner” coach? Is it a reflection of their own natural talent or does it possibly have something to do with confidence. Perhaps it fundamentally boils down to the desire to be better, improve and learn from those around you as much as you can. As Sergio Alvarez Moya explained when we spoke in Lyon, it is important to improve and learn from those around you.

What is clear is that this sport has always maintained a myriad of opinions and approaches to success. While George Morris may feel faint watching France’s Roger Yves Bost unorthodox technique, one cannot argue with his results let alone his current World ranking, at number 14.

Let’s look at the 2010 World Cup Finals. Germany’s epitomy of subtle technique and textbook style, Marcus Ehning, beat his fellow countryman, Ludger Beerbaum, and Swiss speed demon Pius Schwizer to win the 2010 FEI World Cup. Now despite what you might think, Ehning has been training with Henk Nooren longer then he has been internationally recognized. Marcus and Henk went their separate ways once, however, the separation did not do wonders for the famous German jockey. Despite Henk remarking on Marcus’ superior knowledge and regarding his ability as far exceeding any required assistance, it was clear to all, including Marcus, that Henk was a vital part of his recipe for success.

At 38 years old and number 7 in the world, Marcus Ehning doesn’t do much without the consultation of Henk Nooren, despite his overwhelming knowledge and experience, this jockey has very clearly chosen to offer his ear to the well-known Dutch trainer.

So with that in mind, I wonder what is it about Norman, Henk, Luder and Neco that make them so good at training the best in the world. Yes, surely their own personal success as riders plays a part, but what is it about their technique that creates results and gets the top riders in the world coming back?

So, who amongst the best riders are the best trainers you might ask. Well, Henk Nooren, who trains Marcus, also trains Kevin Staut, Penelope Leprevost and Simon Delestre. Ludger Beerbaum is another well known rider who offers his services as a trainer on the side. The German Olympian has worked with many notable riders, some of which include Phillipp Weishaupt, Marco Kutscher and Henrik von Eckermann.

Albert Voorn, Neco Pessoa and Norman Dello Joio are also amongst those who find themselves at the in gate of the international area, advising the best of the best.

So I asked a few riders, how they would describe these famous trainers. What is it that makes the best at training the best?

Samantha Lam, rider for the 2008 Hong Kong team in Beijing as well as one of the youngest riders to ever attend the World Cup finals for Canada, spoke fondly of Neco Pessoa. Samatha has trained with Neco for sometime and regards him as her longtime mentor and friend. When I asked Samantha what made Neco such a famous and successful trainer of top international riders, she described him as a great observer. “He can really observe the rider and the horse as individuals.” She emphasized his individual approach to each rider and how he finds the right technique for each horse and rider combination. “And he is such an awesome person!”

I asked Tim Gredley what it is about Norman Dello Joio that makes him a successful trainer and so widely sought after as an addition to some top international rider’s ringside entourage. He described Norman as very straight forward trainer. Tim, who has made quite the return to the sport after a short absence, has been working with the American Olympian for 2 months now and has nothing but good things to say about Dello Joio. “He speaks honestly and tells it how it is” says Tim. Describing Norman’s straight forward and simple technique to training as very effective. Management of the horses was another element that Tim describes as key to a competitive program. Gredley, who describes how fantastic his horses are feeling at the moment, agrees that Norman’s knowledge, experience and managerial skills are one of the contributing factor’s to his international success as a go-to trainer for top riders based in the States.

So, what do Norman, Ludger, Neco and Henk all have in common? Well besides being older men with a lot of experience, they have strong careers behind them. They have a list of achievements that unsubtly suggest they know what they’re talking about. It seems so simple and obvious, but the best trainers chosen by the best riders in the world seem to have one thing in common… a great career themselves.

Simple and straight forward advise as well as thoroughly thought out training regimes are the key to the respect these men have earned within the industry, that and a long list of students’ results that mirror there own.

So, whether a top ranking rider decides to take on a trainer or not seems to be a matter of personal preference. Whether an experienced trainer such as Neco Pessoa could improve every international rider’s competitive edge is up for debate. But perhaps what is clear, is next time your by the warm up ring or perhaps at the in-gate, take a seat and take notes for these guys know what they’re talking about.