Nineteen years ago, Flexible hit the ground and Bertram Allen was born, both in Ireland. Who would have thought they’d meet in Las Vegas and finish one-two in the speed leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Final?
People ooh and aah over Allen’s precociousness at the tender age of 19—a rider just a few years off ponies and already taking the world by storm.
Jack Hardin Towell chuckles a bit as he tells me, “I came to Miami for the Longines Global Champions Tour with the best riders in the world, and I’m sure they were like, ‘Who is this guy?’ but I like it that way because I think it gives you a little bit more fight. If you get too comfortable, I think you get lazy.”
Talk about precious cargo—on Saturday, April 11, 40 of the world's top dressage and show jumping horses caught the same flight over the ocean to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final and the Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final.
Ever wonder what it looks like to fly horses? Here's a sneak peek into the process. All photos by FEI/Dirk Caremans/Pool Pic Livepic
Katie Monahan Prudent had never competed the Thoroughbred The Jones Boy overseas when they landed in Gothenburg, Sweden, to contest the inaugural FEI World Cup Final in April 1979.
“I can still hear it in my ears,” said Prudent, 25 at the time, remembering the intense atmosphere of her warm-up for the “sudden death” final jump-off against Austria’s Hugo Simon on Gladstone, in the huge multi-level Scandinavium Hall. Simon and Prudent had traded wins over the first two days of competition and finished the last day tied in points, necessitating a final jump-off.
The U.S. show jumpers heading to Las Vegas on April 15-19 for the Longines FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final have been confirmed and they include two former World Cup Final winners—Beezie Madden, who won in 2013, and Rich Fellers, who was victorious in 2012.
When we're on assignment at a big competition for the Chronicle, it's our job to catch the winner at the best moment of action—in a perfect extended trot, or at the apex of a jump. And as much as we get a nice frisson of victory when we do capture those moments, it's frequently the less conventional photos that are our favorites—ones that might not be of the winners or appear in the magazine.
It was a clonk that echoed through the arena. The crowd sucked in their breath and raised their eyebrows. Cornet d’Amour swished his tail. And Daniel Deusser snapped out of the nervous fog he’d been in.
Deusser had it all to lose, and he’d just gotten really lucky at the first fence when Cornet d’Amour rubbed it hard but left it in the cups.