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April 2, 2012

European Show Jumping Scene Review: March

Many European riders are giving the Rolex FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final a miss this year, but Christian Ahlmann is planning to return to defend his title. Photo by Molly Sorge

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

March has been a quiet month in Europe as the World Cup qualifications are over. Now we are all waiting for the Finals in 's-Hertogenbosch (commonly known as "Den Bosch"), the Netherlands, on April 19-22 as well as the kick-off of the Global Champions Tour in Doha, Qatar, on April 5-7. Many of the European riders have been competing on the different tours that are being held in the southern part of Europe such as the Sunshine Tour in Spain and the Tuscan Tour in Italy. And in the middle of March, Paris hosted the amazing five-star show Saut Hermes in Grand Palais. This year we got to see some real girl power, and Katharina Offel took home the win in the Hermes Grand Prix aboard Cathleen 28 (Cordobes I—Rio Bravo, Ramiro's Son I).

New Partnerships
French riders are busy with new horses these days. Michel Robert has taken over the ride on Kevin Staut’s former partner Zeta de Hus, as the owners Xavier Marie and Haras de Hus want to try to secure a strong French team for the Olympic Games in London. 

Olivier Guillon has a new and promising ride: the 8-year-old mare United Love (Catoki I—I-Lavinia, Lavall II). Edith Mézard, the owner of Guillon’s top horse Lord de Theize, and Haras des Coudrettes—the owners of Ornella Mail *HDC, Orient Express *HDC and Silvana *HDC—have stepped up and bought the horse for Guillon.

The Swedish riders Lisen Bratt Fredricson and Peter Fredricson have sold their stallion Maloubet de Pleville (Baloubet de Rouet—Dayade II, Rox de la Touche) to the stud Elevage de Pleville in France. The 12-year-old stallion is approved in Sweden and now also in France. His most famous offspring so far is Malou, ridden by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Jessica Kürten has gotten the ride on the 10-year-old stallion Voss (Voltaire—Pireina, Animo). Voss has up until now been ridden by British rider Simon Crippen, and before that by John Whitaker. In 2011, Voss and Crippen were part of the British Promotional League team in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Drammen (Belgium), and they were also picked to ride at the Top League show in Falsterbo (Sweden). Kürten made her debut with the stallion in Arezzo (Italy) the last weekend in March.

And New Beginnings

Finnish rider Nina Fagerström has made some big changes in her life and left Stephex Stables in Belgium to start her own business together with her boyfriend Alexander Rohling. Fagerström has had great success the last two years and is currently number 77 on the Rolex Ranking. The CSI***** show in Paris in March was Nina's last competition as a Stephex rider, and it is so far unknown who will fill her shoes at Stephex.

Retirements

In early March, it was announced that Patrice Delaveau’s lovely ride Katchina Mail (Calvaro—Elvira Mail, Laudanum) had ended her sports career and will now be used for breeding. The 14-year-old French-bred mare achieved some big international victories with Delaveau, as well as a team silver medal from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

After a very successful career, Kapitol d'Argonne also retired from the sport. The 14-year-old stallion by Apache d’Adriers will be breeding at Haras Nouveau de Buzancy in France in the future. Kapitol d'Argonne competed at top international level with Italian rider Emilio Bicocchi.

The 18-year old-gelding Aboyeur is another horse we will no longer see in the ring. Aboyeur has had many successful years in the sport together with riders such as Heinrich-Hermann "Heiner" Engemann, Alvaro de Miranda, and Jan Tops' stable jockey Daniel Deusser. In 2010, the horse was sold to Italian owner Andra Alessia Rossi, who let Gianni Govoni ride Aboyeur. Now the horse will return to his former rider, Engemann, to enjoy his retirement in his fields.

Ups And Downs—Recoveries And Falls

We are happy to see that British show jumper Tim Stockdale is back competing again only a few weeks after he got the green light to start riding again. Stockdale broke his neck in October when he fell off a young horse he was trying.

At the end of the month, French rider Julien Epaillard’s top horse Mr Davier was badly injured as they were about to travel back to France after competing at the Sunshine Tour in Spain. Mr Davier spooked at a plastic bag and took a bad fall that injured his hip. The horse has to stay at a veterinary clinic in Spain for at least two months, and it's uncertain whether he'll be able to make it back to the big sport. This is a big blow for Epaillard, who has been very successful with the 12-year-old chestnut gelding.

The veteran Hugo Simon had a bad fall during a show in Dortmund, Germany, when his horse, Ukinda, took off far too long to an oxer, landing in the middle of it. Simon, 69, fell off head-first, and he was lucky to escape with just a dislocated shoulder. His shoulder was fixed in the hospital, and Simon escaped without any worse injuries. Ukinda was luckily uninjured in the incident.

Big Things Ahead

The London Olympic Games loom large in many European riders' minds, as several of them have chosen not to compete at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final. The list of riders who have declined a place in the final includes Brits Ben Maher and Nick Skelton, Swedish star Angelica Augustsson and Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. The defending titleholder however, Christian Ahlmann, is ready to jump, and is going for a repeat victory together with Taloubet Z.

 

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