€16 million 4-year sponsorship package for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup…

November 7th, 2012- The FEI Nations Cup Jumping will have a new look  and a new name from 2013 onwards, following finalization of a 16 million Euro four-year sponsorship package from the Saudi Equestrian Fund. The series will now be called the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.

The sponsorship deal, worth four million Euro per annum and running through to the end of 2016, was announced at the FEI Bureau’s first meeting at the Federation’s General Assembly in Istanbul (TUR). The Bureau has given its unanimous approval for new rules for the series, completing the remodelling process initiated in April of this year.

“This is a truly historic occasion”, FEI President HRH Princess Haya said in making the announcement. “We have transformed a historic series and modernized it, without losing the fabulous tradition that dates back over 100 years. Now we have a series that will really catch the imagination of sports fans and the attention of the world’s media. We’re ready to take on the top sports.

“It is really wonderful news for equestrian sport and for the future of the FEI Nations Cup, now the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup. The Arabic word Furusiyya encompasses horsemanship, equestrian skills and knowledge, as well as chivalry. It perfectly captures the key elements of our wonderful sport and our unique relationship with the horse. I am confident that we now have the right format to put the FEI Nations Cup series right back where it belongs, at the heart of the international calendar.”

“Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup will herald a new dawn in the 100-year old history of this series,” HH Prince Faissal Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Al Saud, a former FEI Bureau member and Chairman of the Saudi Equestrian Fund board of trustees, said. “With its new format the series will allow us to spread the values of Al Furusiyya across the globe, underpinning our Arab heritage and commitment towards the growth of this noble sport worldwide.”

Acknowledging the work that has gone into restructuring the series, Princess Haya said: “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the re-modelling of the series, which has entailed a huge amount of input from the National Federations and stakeholders and it has taken a lot of work to incorporate all this into the series format.

“But most of all I want to thank the Saudi Equestrian Fund for their vision and for their belief in this flagship series. The restructuring process to give the series a truly global reach would not have been possible without their financial support. In-keeping with the way all our sponsors operate, they stood back to allow the FEI Jumping Committee and the staff at FEI headquarters to commit to an intensive consultation process with the National Federations and to draw up the rules unhindered.

“The Nations Cup competition has been in existence for more than 100 years, and it has been running as a series since 1965, so rather than scrap everything, we’ve kept what was good and re-modeled the rest to make the series universal and modern. Now that we have everything in place, including a wonderful new sponsor, we can look forward to really top sport in this flagship series.”

Under the new rules for the FEI Nations Cup Jumping, which were presented to the Bureau by FEI Jumping Committee Chair John Madden (USA), the world has been divided into six regions for the purpose of qualifying teams for a world Final. The six regions are Europe (Division 1 and 2), North & Central America, South America, Middle East, Asia/Australia and Africa.

The new rules were presented at the FEI Regional Group meetings in Istanbul today and there is also a dedicated FEI Nations Cup Jumping series session later this afternoon.

An executive summary of the new rules for the FEI Nations Cup Jumping is available. The full rules for the series will published later this week.

Nations Cup Executive Summary

Notes to Editors…
Furusiyya is the brand name for the commercial arm of the Saudi Equestrian Fund.

Furūsiyya (Arabic: فروسية) is the historical Arabic term for knightly martial exercise. It was a concept and noble art form that included equestrianism, tactics and strategy. It symbolises the pride, heritage and hospitality of the Arab people. The term is a derivation of faras, or horse, and in modern Standard Arabic literally means equestrianism.

Eric Lamaze decides to take a break…

September 8, 2012 – Calgary, Alberta – After six years at the top of the sport, 2008 Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, will take a short break from show jumping competition.

Lamaze, who is currently competing at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament, will step out of the competition arena following the international event in Calgary, AB. In his last competitive appearance of 2012, Lamaze will defend the title he claimed in the $1 million CN International last year in front of 89,632 fans with the legendary Hickstead.

“After many great years of contesting the sport at the top level for 12 months of the year, week in and week out, I’m looking forward to taking a little break and enjoying myself by travelling and playing a little golf,” said Lamaze, 44.

Since winning the $1 million CN International in 2007 at Spruce Meadows, a feat he would repeat in 2011, Lamaze has travelled to international show jumping tournaments almost weekly from his base in Belgium, while also spending the winter season in Florida at the highly competitive 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival. Team Silver and Individual Bronze Medals at the 2007 Pan American Games were followed by a Team Silver and historic Individual Gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. From there, Lamaze’s schedule continued to grow more and more intense, with major grand prix victories claimed around the globe as well as an Individual Bronze Medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the ‘Best Horse Award’ for Hickstead.

In November of 2011, Lamaze was dealt a devastating blow when Hickstead collapsed and died at a world cup qualifying event in Italy. While Lamaze questioned whether he could continue in the sport, he made the difficult decision to move forward, helped by the strength and support of his owners, teammates, sponsors and fans.

“The past 10 month have been an extremely difficult and emotional time for me,” said Lamaze, who has dominated the world rankings since becoming Olympic Champion four years ago. “The London Olympics were supposed to be Hickstead’s Games, and I never imagined that I would go without him. It is hard to describe how difficult it was to lose Hickstead, and yet not want to let down my country, my teammates and everyone who has stood beside me.”

Lamaze continued, “Now, with the support of my owners, especially the Ziegler and Fleischhacker families, I am able to take a step back and enjoy a break after a long season. It’s long overdue. Everyone on my team has worked very hard over the past couple of years, and everyone, including the horses, deserves to have a little break from the gruelling demands of international competition.”

Although he will continue to coach his students, including Tiffany Foster as well as Andy Ziegler and his daughter, Caitlin, of Artisan Farms, Lamaze does not plan to return to competition ring himself until the 2013 season.

“My current horses will have a rest after an intense season, and I’m looking into securing some new prospects for the future,” said Lamaze. “It’s exciting to be able to take my time to rebuild and re-energize our program, and return to the ring at a slower pace with a very competitive string of horses.”

Equine Canada respond to the disqualification of Tiffany Foster and Victor at the Games in London with a statement void of support…

Tiffany Foster and Victor were disqualified from further competition on Sunday, August 5th following the FEI Ground Jury’s assessment of the 10 year old Gelding, Victor. It was decided upon examination of a small cut on the coronet band on the left forelimb, that Victor was unfit to compete due to hypersensitivity on the very leg in question.

The horse was assessed in the stables and was not evaluated for soundness. It was an assessment regarding the hypersensitivity of the leg due to the lesion.

Statement by Federation Equestre International (FEI)

“The Canadian horse Victor, ridden by Tiffany Foster, has been disqualified under the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol due to an area of clear and obvious hypersensitivity on the front of the left forelimb. There is no accusation of malpractice, but the horse has been deemed unfit to compete by the Ground Jury.”

First statement by Equine Canada President Michael Gallagher…

August 7, 2012; London, England

“We fully support the FEI in its hypersensitivity testing protocol. This is an important testing procedure for the fairness of our sport and for the welfare of the horse which must always be paramount. Victor, our team horse, did have a small but sensitive area on the coronary band as a result of a minor lesion. This resulted in the disqualification of the horse in accordance with the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol. The Canadian Team is disappointed with the outcome, and the impact both on our team and the Olympic dreams of our athlete Tiffany Foster,” states Mr. Gallagher.

“Equine Canada appreciates that the FEI has shared with us the findings of the veterinary examinations. We also thank the FEI and its president, HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein,  for making it clear that the disqualification in no way implies any wrong doing on the part of the Canadian Team, nor athlete Tiffany Foster.”

Second statement, after Eric threatened to boycott all future Nations Cup events such as Spruce Meadows, until Equine Canada demonstrated a more appropriate level of support for Tiffany Foster, Equine Canada issued the following further statements regarding the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) hypersensitivity testing protocol.

(Photo: EC President Michael Gallagher helps Tiffany into her Canadian jacket, as a member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team)

August 8th, 2012; London, England

“Equine Canada agrees that the FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol is in place to protect the welfare of the horse and the fairness of our sport,” stated Michael Gallagher.

“Victor sustained a superficial cut on the front of the left front coronary band,” states Canadian Olympic Team Veterinarian for Jumping Dr. Sylvie Surprenant. “In our opinion the horse was fit to compete as he showed no signs of lameness. However the FEI hypersensitivity protocol is such that if the horse is sensitive to the touch, regardless of the cause, the horse is disqualified. While the FEI rules for the hypersensitivity protocol were followed, we believe that there should be a review of this protocol.”

“We feel that further discussion of the hypersensitivity protocol needs to take place in order to ensure a balance is reached between the philosophical intent and the real-world application.  Canada looks forward to playing a role in those discussions along with other nations within the FEI family,” states Mr. Gallagher

“Equine Canada wants to make it clear that there is absolutely no accusation of any wrongdoing on the part of our athlete Tiffany Foster or any member of the Canadian Team. Equine Canada fully stands behind and supports our athlete Tiffany Foster, as well as our entire team. Everyone at Equine Canada and the Canadian Olympic Team are disheartened and extremely disappointed over the premature ending of Tiffany Foster’s Olympic dream, and remain fiercely proud of both her incredible sportsmanship and athletic achievements,” states Mr. Gallagher.

Rodrigo and Rolf carry the flag…..

Rodrigo Pessoa and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson were their countries flag bearers in the Opening ceremonies last night! This is great for our sport of show jumping and such an honor for two wonderful ambassadors for show jumping. They couldn’t have picked two more lovely guys to carry the flags.

German’s win the FEI Nations Cup Super League…..

There is one more leg to go for the FEI Nations Cup Top League, however Germany is already announced as the winner. With Germany’s significant lead in the FEI Nations Cup standings, there is little chance anyone else will win.

Germany would be required to not start with a team in Dublin at all and France would have to win in order for Germany to be ousted out of first place.

France took over the second place after their 2nd place finish in Hickstead….

Standing after 7th leg in Hickstead:

1 – Germany, 47 points

2 – France, 37 points

3 – Great Britain, 32 points

4 – Switzerland, 31,5 points

4 – Sweden, 31,5 points

6 – Netherlands, 29,5 points

7 – Ireland, 29 points

8 – Belgium, 28,5 points

Philippe Le Jeune is knighted….

The reigning world champion from Belgium has received the distinction of Commandeur de l’Ordre de Léopold. This award is a very highly regarded distinction in Belgium. Le Jeune said himself that he was stunned, and it is really something special to be knighted in his native Belgium.

Malin Baryard-Johnsson and H&M Tornesch are out for the Olympics due to injury……

The H&M Team discovered a tendon injury on her horse Tornesch and therefore have withdrawn.

Malin decided to get Tornesch examined after the Nations Cup Friday. Sure enough, Malin’s concerns were well warranted as the vet inspection detected cause for concern.

Reserve Lisen Bratt Fredricsson will step in for Malin with her Gelding Matrix. Sylve Söderstrand stated in Falsterbo today that Matrix has more than proved that he is capable of  jumping the big classes, but there is no secret that he doesn’t have the experience traditionally required for the Olympic Games.

Rider switch for Swiss Team; Paul Estermann gets to ride in London…..

Paul Estermann was originally selected as a reserve rider, will now attend the London Olympics as a named rider the team with Steve Guerdat, Werner Muff and Pius Schwizer.

Paul has had some great results recently; last weekend Estermann and Castlefield Eclipse managed to deliver three double clears for Team Switzerland; Aachen, Rotterdam and Rome. Well done Paul and see you in London!!

Meredth Michaels-Beerbaum and Bella Donna 66 are going to London…..

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Bella Donna 66 will attend the London 2012 Olympics as the reserve combination for the German Team. It was decided after their great performance in the Rolex Grand Prix. Meredith and Bella Donna finished 3rd yesterday.

Germany announced their Olympic Team on Saturday, July 7th, however, the final fifth reserve rider was not chosen. It was decided that the fifth and final rider would be chosen after the completion of the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. Sure enough, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum completed two clear rounds in the test on Sunday afternoon with 4 faults in the final Jump-off. She finished in 3rd place under fellow German, Thomas Voss and Carinjo 9.

The 9 year old mare, Bella Donna, jumped the Grand Prix with ease and confidence, displaying an amazing amount of composure for such a young horse. To give you an idea, Bella Donna was amongst the younger horses in the competition. All in all, there were only four 9 year olds competing in Sunday’s Grand Prix. With a total of 40 horses entered. They were Niels Bruynseels’ Conisha Van De Helle, Rodrigo Pessoa’s Winsom and Janika Sprunger’s Palloubet D Halong 2.

This is great news for Meredith. It seems the Californian-born superstar just can’t stay away from the International limelight. Wait-a go Meredith!!! See you in London!!!!

Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express out for London Olympics…..

A major blow for Team France. Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express HDC will not be attending the Olympic games after the stallion sustained an injury this week in Aachen. The horse has returned home and will undergo examination for a complete diagnosis but recovery is expected to take the rest of the summer. Hopes are that he and Patrice will be back in time for World Cup competition in the fall.

It is a very unfortunate turn of events for the French rider. When I saw Patrice earlier in the week and he seemed very disappointed and it goes without saying as the team was only just recently announced, so quickly has it changed again. The horse was already scratched from competition on Thursday.

However, as many Chef’s have mentioned this may not be the last. It is very difficult to keep the horses healthy but also competitive up until the teams are announced. Philippe Guerdat, chef d’equipe for the Belgian Olympic team, was explaining to me how difficult the time leading up to the Olympic games is. It’s stressful for both horses and riders and the pressure can sometimes have devastating effects. Let’s hope that Patrice and Orient are the last pair to buckle under the strain, however predictions say otherwise.

It is a real shame as the Patrice and Orient were really on fire in Rotterdam and would have been a valuable asset for Team France next month. So, the new team is as follows;

1. Penelope Leprevost
2. Simon Delestre
3. Olivier Guillon
4. Kevin Staut
5. Roger-Yves Bost

British Team for London Announced…. No Whitakers this year!!!

1. Scott Brash with Hello Sanctos

2. Peter Charles with Murka´s Vindicat W

3. Ben Maher with Tripple X

4. Nick Skelton with Big Star

5. Tina Fletcher with Hello Sailor

This will be Nick Skelton’s sixth Olympic Games. This will be Ben Maher’s second Olympic games. For Peter Charles, this is his first time representing Great Britain. However, interestingly enough he has represented Ireland at the Olympic Games two times before. For Scott Brash this will be his Olympic debut.

Switzerland announces 2012 Olympic team members…


1. Steve Guerdat: with Nino des Buisssonnets, Nasa or Carpalo

2. Clarissa Crotta: with West Side van Meerputhoeve

3. Werner Muff: with Kiamon

4. Pius Schwizer: with Carlina or Verdi

5. Paul Estermann: with Castlefield Eclipse as reserve rider

Canada announces 2012 Olympic Team members…

1. Yann Candele on Carlotta Singular La Magnifica (Chasseur x Singular Joter)

2. Tiffany Foster on Victor (Elmshorn x Grandeur)

3. Jill Henselwood on George (Garant x Don Juan)

4. Eric Lamaze on Derly Chin de Muze (For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve) or Verdi (Heartbreaker x Mr. Blue)

5. Ian Miller on Star Power (Quick Star x Calvados)




GCT rider Nick Skelton awarded Queen’s Honour……

British show jumping star Nick Skelton has today been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to equestrian sport.  Nick, seen above winning the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix on Big Star in Hamburg just recently.

The award represents an official recognition of his long career at the top of international sport of show jumping.

Speaking at the Global Champions Tour event in Cannes only hours before the Grand Prix he said: “It is a great honour. I am really chuffed with it and very happy to receive this award. It was a shock and I am really pleased.” According to the Press release from Global Champions Tour online.

Born December 30th, 1957, from Bedworth, Warwickshire, Skelton has won more than 2,000 classes and over £6.5 million in prize money. “It has been an honour riding for Great Britain over the years and the announcement of the Queen’s Honour today is great” said Nick.

Nick has represented his country at five Olympic Games and is expected to be riding for Great Britain again this summer in London.

GCT President and founder Jan Tops said: “I send my congratulations to Nick for his Honour. He is a great ambassador for our sport and a great rider over the past 35 years. He is consistently at the top of the sport and even came back after a bad injury to be competing at the highest level in the world. Only top athletes can do things like that.”

An exclusive interview with Nick will be published on the Global Champions Tour website at the Global Champions Tour show in Monaco at the end of June. So check out their website for details…

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