The LGT Private Banking Prix in Zurich…

Luciana and Fit for Fun made the 1.50 JO look like a walk in the park

Luciana and Fit for Fun made the 1.50 JO look like a walk in the park

Ludger Beerbaum and Chaman win the Private Banking Prix in Zurich…

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German.... rather comical error!!

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German…. rather comical error!!

Well another tough course set by Switzerland’s Rolf Ludi. Tough lines and very little room to breath, riders were again challenged by today’s course. A few more qualified through to the jump off then yesterday. Out of the 56 entries on the start list, ten comb combinations qualified for the jump off, including Olympic medalists Jeroen Dubbeldam, Marc Houtzager, Gerco Schroder and winner Ludger Beerbaum not to mention WEG notables Marcus Ehning and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Hendrik and Camilla

Hendrik and Camilla

The track was difficult with tight lines and challenging angles. The course’s difficulty meant a few strong combinations didn’t make it through such as Denis Lynch and All Star, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, Kevin Staut and Cheyenne HDC, Christian Ahlmann and Asca Z, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Carusso la Silla as well as Hans-Dieter Dreher and his newly acquired Colore.

Nonetheless, a ten horse jump off would prove to be competitive enough to say the least and Dutch Silver medalist Marc Houtzager was the first to start things off with Sterrehof’s Opium. Marc and Opium were fast and clean, with a time of 38.26 seconds, which put the Dutch duo into the lead.

Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr was second but a disappointing 4 faults would keep one Swiss rider from winning. California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the aptly named gelding Unbelievable. Unfortunately for Meredith, the German combo were just 0.02 seconds behind Marc’s time, putting them in second place with a time of 38.28. So close!!

Switzerland’s Werner Muff, leading rider for the show at the moment, was next to go. Hopes of a Swiss victory were evident as the crowd grew silent. Fashioning his armband, Werner had a frustrating 8 fault score and a time of 38.35 seconds. Another Swiss off the list.

Ukraine’s winner of the 2012 Global Champions Tour Finale in Abu Dhabi, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, were next in the ring, sure to give Marc a run for his money. But alas, it was not to be, with a surprising 12 fault score.

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco Schroder and the newly named Seoul were next up with a good chance at matching his Dutch team mates time. It was interesting to see all of Gerco’s mounts with new names for the new year. Eurocommerce has now been omitted from the horses’ registered names. Gerco and Seoul beat Marc and Opium’s time with a fast and efficient round, stopping the clock at 37.77 seconds. Very well executed, but with Ludger, Luciana and Jeroen Dubbeldam to come, would it be enough?

Alas, it would not! Ludger was next up aboard his stunning bay stallion Chaman. Clearly fixated on a win, the four-time Olympic gold medalist made quick work of the jump off, crossing the finish line with a time of 36.55 seconds.

In typical Ludger fashion, the German combo looked to be in a strong place for the win.

A truly beautiful round by the leggy Brazilian beauty; Miss Luciana Diniz. Truly textbook but unfortunately not fast enough to match Ludger’s time. Luciana and Fit for Fun finished with a time of 39.82 seconds, putting her under Meredith, Marc and Gerco.

Second last to go was Olympic gold medalist Jeroen Dubbeldam aboard the feisty grey BMC Quality Time. Making the shortened track look easy, the Dutch combination finished smooth, perhaps too smooth, with a time of 37.97.

So all hopes were raised when Swiss beauty Alexandra Fricker came in to finish the class aboard Albfuehren’s Memphis. Alexandra has been serving up some strong rounds over the last two days and today was no exception. Clean and relatively fast, Alexandra and Memphis stopped the clock at 38.05 seconds, which would be good enough for 4th place.

The Swiss crowd cheered for Alexandra regardless and the young Swiss miss offered her mount a well-deserved pat for a job well done.

Congratulations to Ludger and Chaman for a great win! A great set up for tomorrow’s big day!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

LGT Private Banking Prix

1.50 FEI Art 238.2.2 (Zurich, Switzerland)

1. 37 Chaman Beerbaum, Ludger GER
B 14-j.H v.Baloubet du Rouet/M.v.I Love You/KWPN/MEX01925/B: Winter-Schulze, Made GER
2. 62 Seoul Schröder, Gerco NED
B 12-j.W v.Thunder van de Zuuthoeve/M.v.Lancer II/BWP/NED41598/B: Gevi Internatio NED
3. 55 Quality Time TN Dubbeldam, Jeroen NED
SCH 11-j.H v.Quantum/M.v.Cantus/HOLST/NED40905/B: H.J.Nijhof NED
4. 79 Albfuehren’s Memphis Fricker, Alexandra SUI
B 12-j.H v.Quinar/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/NED07642/B: Hofgut Albführen GmbH SUI
5. 58 Sterrehof’s Opium Houtzager, Marc NED
B 17-j.H v.Polydor/M.v.Bormio/WESTF/GER23567/B: Stoeterij Sterrehof B.V. NED
6. 45 Unbelievable Michaels-Beerbaum, Meredith GER
B 12-j.W v.Manhattan/M.v.Democraat/KWPN/GER42182/B: Windward Farm GER
7. 67 Fit for Fun Diniz, Luciana POR
F 9-j.S v.For Pleasure/M.v.Fabriano/HANN/103IB23/B: G.R.O.W. Horses & Jünger, Ral POR
8. 88 L B Con Grazia CH Liebherr, Christina SUI
B 10-j.S v.Con Spirito R/M.v.Karondo V. Schlösslihof/CH/102OR73/B: La Baumetta Sa SUI
9. 95 Landthago Muff, Werner SUI
SCH 10-j.W v.Landjunge/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/102QP50/B: Muff Werner SUI
10. 122 Fidji Island Offel, Katharina UKR
F 12-j.S v.For Feeling/M.v.Wanderer/HANN/GER44709/B: Llc Vian Group UKR
11. 30 Voila Smith, Robert GBR
B 11-j.S v.Calvados/M.v.Concorde/KWPN/102QD90/B: Robert Smith GBR
12. 44 Sabrina Ehning, Marcus GER
B 14-j.S v.Sandro Boy/M.v.Landadel/BAY/GER40673/B: Winley Farm Llc & Gölkel, Judi GER

Walking the World Cup in Leipzig….

Steve Guerdat and Rob Whitaker

Steve Guerdat and Rob Whitaker

Photos of the Year….

Check out which photos from this year made our Top 20 Photos of 2012….

First Five…

The Netherland's Harrie Smolders is ushered into the ring in Rotterdam for his win.

#1 The Netherland’s Harrie Smolders is ushered into the ring in Rotterdam for his win. Harrie is very well liked amongst his peers and has a wonderfully relaxed approach to the sport. Everyone is always happy when Harrie wins… which can be quite often!

Christian and Codex One flatting in Chantilly. Christian is currently the world's leading ranked rider. It is really lovely to watch Christian flat his horses

#2 Christian and Codex One flatting in Chantilly. Christian is currently the world’s leading ranked rider. It is really lovely to watch Christian flat his horses

Team Germany won the FEI Nations cup in Rotterdam. Marcus was having a good time, joking around a bit on the podium.

#3 Team Germany won the FEI Nations cup in Rotterdam and went on to win the 2012 FEI Superleague. Marcus was having a good time, joking around a bit on the podium. (from the left; Philippe Weishaupt, Marco Kutscher, chef d’equip Otto Becker, Marcus Ehning and Ludger Beerbaum)

Stephex's Daniel Deusser watches his good friend Eiken Sato (JAP). Daniel and Eiken share a wonderful friendship and they represent the commradery that riders can develop in this sport. These two work incredibly well together.

#4 Stephex’s Daniel Deusser watches his good friend Eiken Sato (JAP), who also rides for Stephex Stables. Daniel and Eiken share a wonderful friendship and they represent the comradery that riders can develop in this sport. These two work incredibly well together.

This was in the warm up ring, Michael had just won the Grand Prix of Aachen with GIG Amai and everyone was so happy for him. He really deserved it!

#5 This was in the warm up ring, Michael had just won the Grand Prix of Aachen with GIG Amai and everyone was so happy for him. He really deserved it!

Hendrik van Eckermann wins World Cup in Mechelen….

hendrik van eckermann

Hendrik van Eckermann and Gotha for Sweden

What I love the most about this World Cup series is that you just never know who will win each leg. From the beginning of this Western European World Cup season, it has been action-packed and spontaneous and this afternoon was no exception. It was so lovely to see the lively Hendrik van Eckermann win today’s World Cup aboard the equally lively mare, Gotha.

The story of these two is a great one. Hendrik trains and works with Ludger Beerbaum in Germany and that is where he bases himself when he is not on tour. Gotha is the daughter of Ludger’s prize stallion and well known champion Goldfever. Ludger had been riding Gotha earlier this year with high hopes. He eventually decided to pass the scopey mare onto his star pupil and confidant, Hendrik, because he felt that the two could possibly make a stronger combination. Well today, Ludger’s foresight and wisdom was proven right!

It was a tricky track with plenty of 4 faults. In fact to be exact, a total of 20 horse and rider combinations out of 40 riders in total had a disappointing 4 fault result. The first two riders, one for South Africa and one for Austria, had some difficulties, but we didn’t have to wait too long for the first clear round. That first clear round came from yesterday’s winner of the Landrover Masters, Francois Jr. Mathy and D’Atlantique Royal. Francois, who has had a wonderful week in Mechelen, rode to a grand applause from the home crowd.

The course proved to have several taxing lines but it was the last part of the triple combination, in particular the back rail, that proved most frustrating for so many. The second clear came from one of Belgium’s pride and joys, Jos Lansink and Cavalor Valentina van’t Heike, who jumped one of my favorite rounds of the day. Valentina is a true tribute to Jos’s expert touch and it was a treat to watch the pair attack the course with ease. So it was confirmed, we were to have a jump off and so far it was between two of Belgium’s finest.

hendrik van eckermann

Gotha is the daughter of Ludger’s prized stallion Goldfever

Hendrik’s fellow Swede, Jens Fredricson and the one-and-only Lunatic were also able to clear the track. Just as soon as Jens was out of the ring, France’s top jockey Kevin Staut would match the difficult feat with his eight year old mare Estoy Aqui de Muze.

Last year’s winner Gregory Wathelet had 8 faults while Italy’s Juan Carlos Garcia, the Netherland’s Harrie Smolders, Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Ireland’s Denis Lynch all suffered the same fate with a frustrating 4 faults. We were particularly disappointed for Ireland’s Denis Lynch whose full bodied bay, All Star, had been jumping incredibly well all week. It was as though he could never touch a pole but alas it was the back rail of the wide oxer, set at the end of the triple combination, that would dash Denis’ hopes of a win.

Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat showed everyone how it was to be done with his lovely mare Nasa. It would be back-to-back textbook performances, with Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Ludger Beerbaum’s Gotha FRH displaying plenty of ease and athleticism despite losing his stirrup after the triple combination. Even though Hendrik was unable to regain his stirrup for the remaining course, him and Gotha finished fault free.

Many of us were betting on Scott Brash, who was riding his reliable gelding Hello Sanctos, but unfortunately it was again the frustration of the triple combination that would dash the hopes for this year’s Olympic Team Gold medalist. But Scott, along with Roger-Yves Bost and Nippon d’Elle, would leave the ring with 4 faults.

laura renwick

Laura Renwick and Oz de Breve

However, another clear round was on the way. The 7th clear round came from Britain’s very own Laura Renwick with Oz de Breve. She was overjoyed with Oz and patted the little chestnut gelding over and over. Sure enough, the 8th clear round was close behind with Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and his bay gelding Verdi III. Pius is currently number four on the overall Western European World Cup standings, and after today’s performance he will have likely secured a place in the final in Gothenburg this spring.

More four faults would follow for Olympic silver medalist Maikel van der Vlueten, Olympian Ludo Philippaerts, Rik Hemeryck and Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher. Christian Ahlmann, who sported his new Rolex armband, would be second to last with a very fast 4 faults. Fast enough to secure him 9th place aboard the stallion Taloubet Z. Christian received his new Rolex leading rider armband just today and fashioned it for the last Rolex World cup of the year.

With changes afoot, and the new Longines sponsorship with FEI, we will no longer see the Rolex name fastened to much of what we saw today. An official release will be issued by Rolex on the 15th of January, so we can expect more details to follow.

So it would be 9 horses and riders to follow through to the jump off. It would be an entertaining jump off with plenty of possibilities. Francois Mathy Jr. would certainly look to continue his strong streak with D’Atlantique Royal. Steve Guerdat looked very determined, as he usually is, and many did wonder whether Pius would make Mechelen his second World Cup win of the season.

The first of the nine riders was Belgium’s very own Francois Mathy Jr. who rode a clean and fast clear round. He stopped the clock at 35,89, so we wondered would that be enough? Second to go was the highly acclaimed Jos Lansink. The 2006 World Champion was sure not to fluster his mare too much. Jos kept a strong but steady rhythm and finished on four faults with the time of 40,19 seconds.

gotha

Gotha looking very much like her father

We could not say the same about Jens Fredricson on the other hand, who clearly wanted to chase Francois’ time. Surprisingly enough, the Belgian crowd cheered him on. As usual, Jens and Lunatic were fast and tight and everyone seemed assured that the speedy Swede had taken over second place. But alas, as Lunatic lept across the finish line, we all glanced at the time of 36,08 seconds. Indeed, Francois had been faster then many of us had expected and he would remain in lead despite Jens attempts. What a weekend for Francois, who won Saturday’s Masters class and finished second in today’s World Cup.

The man who has been much talked about this year, Steve Guerdat, rode Nasa to a strong clear, but were unable to take over the lead with a time of 37,77 seconds. They would finish fifth in the end.

Henrik once again proved his brilliance and exactly why Ludger has entrusted the lovely Gotha to his expert hands. Henrik steered Gotha around the shorted track with confidence and ease and took over the lead with a time 0.6 second faster then Francois Mathy. As Hendrik glanced up at the scoreboard and saw his time of 35,29 seconds, he fashioned a big smile and punched the air with incredible exuberance. And rightly so, for it would only take the short time to wait through 3 more riders to add to this exuberance.

Laura Renwick gave it her all, as we all expected. Laura is infamous in England and abroad for her speed. Many often say, that if Laura jumps clear, her time is rarely beaten. But today would be the exception to the rule. Oz de Breve jumped very well, but her time of 37,00 seconds would not be the leading time of the day.

Hendrik stood at the in gate in anticipation as Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer entered the ring with Verdi III. But alas, it would not be a double win for Pius Schwizer today. Verdi would unfortunately touch two fences and Hendrik would express a sigh of relief. Simon Delestre was last to go, but despite being the Leading Rider of the Show, today would not be his first World Cup win of the 2012/2013 season.

A very happy Henrik von Eckermann threw his hands up in the air and celebrated his first and much deserved World Cup win. Congratulations Hendrik!

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.

Happy Birthday Kevin!! Leading Frenchman wins the World Cup in Stuttgart…

Well it was a great birthday weekend for Kevin, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday in Stuttgart with friends Rodrigo Pessoa, Michael Whitaker and Patrice Delaveau. The leading French rider, who is currently ranked 6th in the World beat Germany’s Marcus Ehning by 100th of a second in a very fast and very competitive jump off.

Kevin was amongst the best of the best today, with 8 out of the top 10 Rolex Ranked riders included in the start list.

11 riders qualified for the jump off; Kevin Staut, Marcus Ehning, Luciana Diniz, Jens Fredricson, Denis Lynch, Carsten-Otto Nagel, Ludger Beerbaum, his sister-in-law Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann, Hans-Dieter Dreher and France’s leading lady rider Penelope Leprevost.

Meredith was the first clear of the 39 entries with her wonderful 9 year old mare Bella Donna. They tackled Christa Jung’s course with ease and proved to be well on their way to qualifying for the World Cup final in Gothenburg next April, an important goal of Meredith’s this season.

Jens Fredricson and the memorable Lunatic were the next clear round, after 5 horse and rider combinations. Carsten-Otto Nagel and his mare Corradina, a well-known combination who have been together for quite some time, came in the ring next to be the third combination clear.

It was great to see Olympic silver medalist Jur Vrieling and his beautiful bay stallion Bubalu, however Jung’s course proved too difficult for the combination as they surprisingly retired half way through the course.

It would be Luciana Diniz and her gorgeous grey stallion Winningmood, back from a short leave from competition due to a virus, who would be the next combination to post an effortless clear. This round was one of my favorites of the entire class. This combination is pure class; they looked as confident as ever.

Gold medalist Scott Brash and his Olympic mount Hello Sanctos had an unfortunate 4 faults in the last element of the triple combination. The triple combination proved to be difficult for many riders; Jessica Springsteen, Pilar Cordon, Gregory Wathelet, Patrice Delaveau, Pius Schwizer as well as Edwina Tops-Alexander.

I was disappointed to see Rolf-Goran leave the ring with 12 faults on Carusso LS La Silla and Laura Kraut with 8 faults on her lovely Olympic gold mount Cedric, however it was a very difficult course, said to be one of the most difficult we can expect to see of the season.

There were eleven clear rounds in total, six of which were German riders. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehing were included in those six German combinations to qualify. Might I remind you that both Meredith and Marcus are two of only three riders to have ever won the FEI Rolex World Cup three times.

Both Marcus and Meredith will surely be looking to qualify for the Finals in Gothenburg next April, for if either of them win, they will make history and become the first rider to ever win four World Cup Finals in total.

Meredith was first in the ring for the 11 horse/rider Jump-off, fashioning the German flag for the host nation. The crowd of 6,400 spectators gave her a huge warm applause as she entered with her Olympic mare Bella Donna; one of the youngest horses at the Olympic games this summer. The combination did not go fast and posted a modest time of 52.41. This time was sure to be beaten.

Next in the ring was Sweden’s Jens Fredricson aboard the aptly named Lunatic. The two were the first to attempt the tight right turn after the 3rd fence (Jump 11) and did so with success. They had set the time to beat. Carsten-Otto Nagel was in the ring after the Swedish combination and the experienced team were slower with a time of 45.27 seconds.

It was the lovely Luciana Diniz of Portugal and Winningmood who would beat Jens time. The Portuguese pair were super fast and attached the jump off from the first fence. We got a lovely smile from Luciana who was clearly very happy with the time and more then pleased to be back in action with her striking grey stallion.

It would be Germany’s very own Marcus Ehning who would come in straight after Luciana with his expressive bay mare Noltes Kuchengirl and leave her in the dust. Always the cool, calm and collected customer, Marcus once again proved to the crowd as well as all those of us watching via live stream why he obtains such respect and admiration from fellow riders. Marcus made quick work of the jump off with the tight right turn and a fast gallop of eight strides to the last fence, a solid blue wall. Ehning posted a time of 42.67.

Irishman Denis Lynch and fellow countryman Ludger Beerbaum and Hans-Dieter Dreher would attempt to beat Marcus’ time but to no avail. It would be France’s leading rider and past world number one, Kevin Staut, who would beat Marcus’ time by a mere 100th of second to post a winning time of 42.66.

This is a much deserved win for 32 year old Frenchman who was the only male rider to attend every World Cup event last year. Kevin did not miss one date on the 2011/2012 Western European League calender and clearly that effort paid off today.

It was an incredible jump-off, the true makings of an eventful 5th leg of the World Cup Western European League season and no doubt a great taste of what’s to come in Geneva next month.

ROLEX FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013
Grand Prix of Stuttgart presented by Mercedes-Benz, WALTER solar and BW-Bank

1. Silvana H D C Staut, Kevin FRA Car (52000 EUR) 0 penalties 42.66 sec
2. Noltes Küchengirl Ehning, Marcus GER 30000 EUR 0 penalties 42.67 sec
3. Winningmood Diniz, Luciana POR 23000 EUR 0 penalties 43.90 sec
4. Lunatic Fredricson, Jens SWE 16000 EUR 0 penalties 43.97 sec
5. Abbervail van het Dingeshof Lynch, Denis IRL 10000 EUR 0 penalties 44.42 sec
6. Corradina Nagel, Carsten-Otto GER 8000 EUR 0 penalties 45.27 sec
7. Zinedine Beerbaum, Ludger GER 6000 EUR 0 penalties 48.42 sec
8. Bella Donna Michaels-Beerbaum, Meredith GER 3000 EUR 0 penalties 52.41 sec
9. Codex One Ahlmann, Christian GER 2000 EUR 4 penalties 43.54 sec
10. Embassy II Dreher, Hans-Dieter GER 2000 EUR 4 penalties 43.83 sec
11. Nayana Leprevost, Penelope FRA 2000 EUR 13 penalties 59.10 sec

Christian is the German Master….

Well sure enough, it was the world’s number one ranked German rider who won tonight’s German Masters class at the World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany. Christian Ahlmann, who is currently ranked number three in the world was riding his lovely 10 year old mare Lorena, who he also won the Prix Merial with in Lyon just a few weeks ago.

Only the top 12 riders in the two qualifying classes gained entry in the line-up for the Mercedes German Masters class this evening. Christian drove away in a brand new Mercedes and certainly started off the weekend well.

Christian was incredibly fast with a time of 32.97, almost 3 seconds faster then his fellow German team mate and friend, Marcus Ehning. Lyon’s World Cup winner, Pius Schwizer, came in third place with his adorable grey are Coolgirl. Leading lady Laura Kraut was 4th with her famous Olympic mount 14 year old rockstar Cedric.

Earlier in the evening, Patrice Delaveau (FRA) won the Prize of the DIW Instandhaltung, the second qualifying competition for the German Masters Class. Riding Carinjo HDC in front of a crowd of 6,400, Patrice crossed the finish line clear in 65.10 seconds. The Frenchman placed ahead of Brazilian Olympian Rodrigo Pessoa, who was riding his very own HH Let’s Fly. Third was Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Picsou du Chene followed closely by Delaveau’s countrywoman Eugenie Angeot on one of my favorite stallions, Old Chap Tame. The best-placed German was Ludger Beerbaum in fifth on Zinedine.

Looks like it was a great evening in Stuttgart and no doubt the boys will celebrate in accordance to the wonderful German hospitality. Well done guys!! Keep it up!!

MERCEDES GERMAN MASTER
Int. jumping competition with jump-off (1.55 m)

1. Lorena Ahlmann, Christian GER Car
2. Sabrina Ehning, Marcus GER 16000 EUR
3. Coolgirl Schwizer, Pius SUI 12000 EUR
4. Cedric Kraut, Laura USA 8000 EUR
5. Little Pezi Stevens, Mario GER 5000 EUR
6. Bayard van de Villa Theresia Alduhami, Ramzy KSA 3000 EUR
7. Ornella Mail HDC Delaveau, Patrice FRA 1000 EUR
8. HH Rebozo Pessoa, Rodrigo BRA 1000 EUR
9. Embassy II Dreher, Hans-Dieter GER 1000 EUR
10. Gotha FRH Beerbaum, Ludger GER 1000 EUR
11. Antello Z Whitaker, Michael GBR 1000 EUR
12. Old Chap Tame Angot, Eugenie FRA 1000 EUR

Christian wins for Hickstead…

“The one who could fly without wings and conquer without sword”

The biggest and perhaps, the class laden with the most emotion, was this evenings Hickstead Memorial Prix dedicated to Canada’s Olympic gold medal winner Hickstead. The Olympic stallion, that tragically passed away during the World Cup in Verona last year just after the first round, found himself back in the ring at Verona in a lovely evening of remembrance and recognition.

Due to the tragic and sudden death, the class last year was cancelled and the prize money was set to be shared amongst all the riders. Instead, the riders suggested that a class be created in Hickstead’s memory the following year, and tonight we see that consideration come to life in the most fitting recognition of the amazing stallion’s tragic death.

Tonight’s Hickstead’s Memorial Prix 100,000 Euro was won by Christian Almann and Taloubet Z.

The top 3 rider’s in tonight’s memorial Prix were in fact all German riders. Ludger Beerbaum came in 2nd with his stallion Chaman while Marco Kutscher landed in 3rd place with his gelding Cornet’s Cristallo. It was a full class, with 42 top international riders and what better way to remember one the world’s greatest horses then a Prix with his past competitors.

100,000 Hickstead Memorial Prix Results

Who’s going to Verona, Italy…

VERONA ITALY-4TH LEG OF THE FEI ROLEX WORLD CUP
ARG Argentina
LAROCCA, José María Cornet du Lys, Hardrock Z, Royal Power
AUS Australia
TOPS-ALEXANDER, Edwina Erenice Horta, Guccio, Mel d’Argences
BEL Belgium
DEMEERSMAN, Dirk Bufero van het Panishof, Cicero Z van Paemel, Esperanto van Paemel
LE JEUNE, Philippe Ballerina, Carlino Stx, Once de Kreisker
BRA Brazil
PESSOA, Rodrigo HH Ashley, HH Palouchin, HH Rebozo
ESP Spain
ALVAREZ MOYA, Sergio Action-Breaker, Sirius, Zipper
AÑON, Manuel Baldo DS, Fantasia, Rackel Chavannaise
CORDON, Pilar Lucrecia Dinky Toy, Nuage Bleu, Surefire
FIN Finland
KONTIO, Anna-Julia Cassano II, Lalik, Offenbach du Granit
FRA France
ANGOT, Eugenie Atlete van T Heike, Davendy S, Old Chap Tame
LEPREVOST, Pénélope Mylord Carthago*HN, Nice Stephanie, Quelmec du Gery
STAUT, Kevin Cheyenne 111 Z H D C, Reveur de Hurtebise H D C
GBR Great Britain
FUNNELL, William Beowulf, Billy Angelo, Billy Congo
MAHER, Ben Aristo Z, Tripple X III, Vadeline
WHITAKER, Michael Antello Z, GIG Amai
GER Germany
AHLMANN, Christian Aragon, Codex One, Taloubet Z
BEERBAUM, Ludger Chaman, Chiara, Gotha FRH
EHNING, Marcus Campbel, Copin van de Broy, Plot Blue
KUTSCHER, Marco Cash, Cornet’s Cristallo, Spartacus
MICHAELS-BEERBAUM, Meredith Bella Donna 66, Malou, Unbelievable
WEISHAUPT, Philipp Caresse, Catoki, Leoville
IRL Ireland
KÜRTEN, Jessica A.P.I. Largo, Oklahoma de Riverland, Vincente
MC AULEY, Mark Isco de Amoranda, Loriot, Par Trois
ITA Italy
ARIOLDI, Roberto Lagerfeld 19, utile, Viper
CHIAUDANI, Natale Almero 12, American Blu Van Eeklelchem, Quicka
COATA, Simone Cannavaro, Carthelot, Whycoconah Ter Linden
GARCIA, Juan Carlos Bonzai van de Warande, Paulin, Prince de la mare
GAUDIANO, Emanuele Chicago, Cocoshynsky, Uppercut DS
GOVONI, Gianni Dynamite vt Hazelarenhoekje, W Delta mossel Jantje, Winn Winn
MARZIANI, Luca caribo z, Nontender, WIVINA
MONETA, Luca Maria Connery, Jesus de la Commune, neptune brecourt
VIZZINI, Lucia Lismeen Lancer, Loro piana quinta roo, Romie
ZORZI, Alberto Carlotta, New remake de servery
NED Netherlands
DUBBELDAM, Jeroen BMC Quality Time TN, BMC Utascha Sfn, BMC van Grunsven Whisper
VRIELING, Jur Km Wish, Sissi van Schuttershof, VDL Bubalu
NOR Norway
RAAHOLT, Line Blue Thunder, Diablo
POR Portugal
DINIZ, Luciana Bluebuster, Nangaye de Kergane, Winningmood
SUI Switzerland
CROTTA, Clarissa Bwg Carolien, Cassinja, West Side V.Meerputhoeve
LIEBHERR, Christina L B Virility, L.B. Callas Sitte Z, L.B. Con Grazia CH
SPRUNGER, Janika Electra van’t Roosakker, JL’s Komparse, Palloubet D Halong
SWE Sweden
BARYARD-JOHNSSON, Malin Baltimore, H&M Actrice W, H&M Tornesch 1042
VON ECKERMANN, Henrik Allerdings, Gut Neuenhofs Bacarole, Quibell 5
USA United States of America
SPOONER, Richard Apache, Billy Bianca, Cristallo