European Show Jumping Scene Review: April

May 3, 2012 - 2:29 AM
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani from Qatar was named the Rolex One To Watch for April, and turned in some good rounds aboard Cantaro 32 at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in April. Photo by Molly Sorge

Our friends at are providing monthly updates about all the happenings in European show jumping, not just who wins what, but all the biggest news.

April started off with a great April fool’s joke from Jos Lansink and Anky van Grunsven as they tried to convince the world that Lansink was training for an Olympic spot as a dressage rider. The images of Lansink in full dressage outfit on van Grunsven’s website spread quickly, but in the end it was nothing more than a smart joke. With that being said, Lansink is a great rider, so who knows what he could accomplish!

Getting Noticed

Rolf-Göran Bengtsson kept the lead on the Rolex Ranking in April, and he was No. 1 in the world for the fourth month in a row.

Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani from Qatar had a great month in April. First he was named the Rolex One to Watch for the month, then he performed well at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in the Netherlands, finishing 23rd. He also placed second in the Rabobank Grand Prix held during the Final. Al Thani finished the month with a new ride, the amazing 10-year-old mare Eurocommerce California, formerly seen under Gerco Schröder.

Al Thani, 30, is based in Belgium and training with Jan Tops. He’s been showing internationally since 2003 and represented Qatar at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. March was encouragingly eventful for the young Qatari rider, who rocketed up the Rolex Rankings after securing a fourth-placed finish at the Dortmund Grand Prix (Germany), riding the 14-year-old gelding, L.B. Casanova, and a third place at the Braunschweig CSI (Germany) with 12-year-old gelding Cantaro 32.

The house of Al Thani has been ruling Qatar since 1825.

The British show jumper Ben Maher recieved an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex for his contribution to the equestrian industry. “As well as his record as an extremely talented horseman, Ben is a very personable and helpful individual who has trained and employed a number of Writtle College equine students over the past few years,” said Writtle College’s Emily Patel to Horse & Hound


In April it became official that Daniel Deusser is leaving Stal Tops to start working with Stephan Conter at Stephex Stables in Belgium. After six years at Jan Tops’ place, the German rider now moves closer to his Belgian girlfriend. He’ll takes over at Stephex from Nina Fagerström, who decided to start up on her own in March.

Eurocommerce California was not the only horse who changed hands in April.

Steve Guerdat has really strengthened his string of horses over the last year. In April another new horse joined his stable, the 9-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding Chips (Come On—Centora, Cento). Chips has previously been competed by Swiss rider François Vorpe, and together they took part at the CSIO***** in Geneva in December. Guerdat’s longtime supporter Yves G. Piaget has acquired Chips for him to ride.

Katharina Offel was once again seen riding Alexander Onischenko’s horses. Offel showed both Vivant and Nobylis, and the Ukrainian team is without a doubt gearing up for the Olympic Games with some great horses and good riders.

Gastronom de Hus, Kevin Staut’s former ride, had a pit stop in Gregory Wathelet’s barn over the winter before he went on to Frank Schillewaert’s stable in April. The move from Wathelet to Schillewaert will enable the stallion to stand at stud in Normandy and thus be available for fresh semen throughout the season while still being able to compete.

Chamberlain Z—David McPherson’s ride at the 2010 WEG—has been sold to fellow British show jumper Tim Gredley. Chamberlain Z has been competed at the five-star level by McPherson, and last year the 11-year-old gelding won two international grand prix classes in Spain. Chamberlain Z has also been a part of many Nations Cup teams for Great Britain.

The 12-year-old stallion Maestro de la Loge has moved from Penelope Leprevost to another French rider, Julien Epaillard. Maestro de la Loge will be a good addition to Epaillard’s stable as his top horse, Mr. Davier, got injured a few weeks ago when they were about to leave Spain after the Sunshine Tour.

We also have to mention John Whitaker’s new ride, the 11-year-old Carnute son Maximillian. The Danish-bred stallion was registered in British ownership in December, and this month it was announced that the new combination has already been elected for the British Nations Cup team in Lummen, Belgium, in May. In Hagen, Germany, the combination put in a great round with only 1 time penalty in the DKB Riders Tour Grand Prix. Since Maximillian was British-owned by December, Whitaker and Maximillian actually might have a chance to become a part of the Olympic team for London.

New Names

For Edwina Tops-Alexander’s ride Vleut, April came with a new name and new co-owners. From now on the Quick Star-sired stallion will be known as Guccio, a name with a close relation to Edwina’s sponsor Gucci.

Guccio Gucci was born in 1881 and founded The House of Gucci. Vleut’s name changed on the 16th of April, and his ownership changed the next day, as the horse is now co-owned by Guccio Gucci S.P.A.

Sad News

The Danish rider Camilla Enemark tragically passed away in April after fighting an aggressive brain tumor since 2006. The 31-year-old rider was a part of the Danish team at the Europeans Championships in Madrid, Spain, last year where she performed very well despite the fact that she was undergoing chemotherapy. Enemark was also selected for the Danish team in last year’s Top League Nations Cup teams in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Dublin and Hickstead, England.

A Big Congratulations

We’d like to tip our hats to the United States and Rich Fellers for a great World Cup final in Den Bosch. You gave us everything we hoped for—great rounds and excitement until the last finish line was crossed.



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