Jumping around the world – the weekly wrap

We got right into the World Cup final in Sweden, from here at home in New Zealand.

Chris Chugg on Christalline at Adelaide World Cup Qualifier, November 2015
Chris Chugg on Christalline at Adelaide World Cup Qualifier, November 2015

We have covered the exciting jumping competition that was the Longines World Cup in separate posts (first, second rounds and final) so we won’t go over the details again. But we cannot help but say again what a great competition it was (even watching live stream) and well done to Steve Guerdat and his lovely horse Corbinian. The Olympic Gold medallist will be hoping that he can go back-to-back at Rio as he did with this World Cup! We are certainly looking forward to seeing him compete at the Olympics, where he plans to ride his Nino des Buissonnets, the same horse he won the gold medal on at London.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

We loved seeing the Australian Chris Chugg go so well on the eight-year-old mare Cristallina, who is sired by Cristallo 1 out of a Caretello B mare. Chris had competed all season in Australia, and went across to Europe in February for the World Cup and to prepare for the Olympics. It is great to see another from Australasia show the world we have what it takes, following on from the brilliant performance in 2011 by Katie Laurie (then McVean) when she was sixth at the World Cup in Leipzig on Delphi.

Abi Kuna, Chris’s partner, has ridden Cristallina (“Stella”) most of her career and is still hoping to compete on her in the future, including at the World Equestrian Games in 2018. Abi had four months off with an injury from being kicked by a horse and Chris competed Stella when Abi was out. However,  Abi came back and rode the mare to win a World Cup class, the Summer Show Jumping Classic CSI-W over a Leopoldo Palacious course. Leopoldo was very impressed with the combination, going as far as to say that he thought they would become household names – around the world! While Cristallina isn’t being aimed at the Olympics, due to her tender years, Chris does have his stallion Cera Cassiago who could do the job for him at Rio.

Chris posted on his Facebook page a lovely summary of the event. “We came to Europe six weeks ago with our two wonderful horses and knowing they are both young and green indoors, we never expected to come to Gothenburg for the World Cup final and finish in the top 10 in the world. The last few days have been totally surreal and we just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has wished us and Stella well. The aim was always to start and finish with a happy horse, and I think everyone can see that she just absolutely loved every second, and the proof is in her results. The whole world has fallen in love with Stella and we are so proud that she has represented Australia and ourselves in such a way. She is an unbelievable mare and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.”

No doubt the offers will come flooding in, and Abi is on record saying that they would only sell if the figure involved was “life-changing”; she is obviously very attached to the horse so it would be a tough decision for the young woman.

Luck of the Irish

Talking of Olympics and the World Cup, we were most impressed with Denis Lynch and his very aptly named All Star. They didn’t touch a fence the whole competition, and jumped so high in the jump-offs and speed classes that they probably wasted quite a bit of time. That is one super horse. But the Irish only have one spot for the Olympics and Denis is certainly not guaranteed it. He is currently ranked 29th in the world show jumping rankings as at end of February whereas boy-wonder Bertram Allan is currently ranked number nine. The latest rankings are due out in a week or so.

Another Irishman who must have made the selectors do a double take over the weekend was Cian O’Connor, currently ranked 52nd in the world. He was second in the USD$1million Grand Prix on the talented Good Luck, and the horse looked fantastic. What a shame that Ireland did not get a team into the Olympics, especially when it all came down to one rail, one official getting in the way, and a Court of Arbitration. The show jumping fans miss out on seeing some of the top horses.

Highs and lows

The money on offer for show jumping is eye-watering now. The latest $1mill class at O’Cala, Florida, was taken out by Columbia’s Roberto Teran. New Zealander Sharn Wordley was unlucky to have four faults in the first round, along with Beezie Madden. Sharn finished 12th.

However, there have been some show jumping lows, one of which was very sad: a terrible incident at Ocala in which Laura Linback suffered a bad head injury when her horse HH Dauphin collapsed and died after completing a round in an amateur owner competition. Laura underwent surgery and is now in a stable condition in hospital. We hope she recovers quickly. RIP Dauphin.

Penelope Leprovost (FRA) and Vagabond de la Pomme en route to claiming Û131,250 for second place in the Longines FEI World Cupª Jumping Final in Las Vegas (USA). Equestrian - Longines FEI World Cupª Jumping Final in Las Vegas (USA) date 15/04/2015 - 19/04/2015 Credit: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst
Penelope Leprevost (France) and Vagabond de la Pomme (Image: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Another very negative incident which has emerged from the World Cup involved Penelope Leprevost. She was filmed in the practice arena, and had what appeared to be an ugly reaction when her horse tripped and nearly fell. The pair went on to jump in both rounds that day, finishing eighth overall. You can see the incident on this link. FEI have announced they are investigating further. The outcry, especially on social media, has been significant and led to Penelope posting the following on her Facebook page:

“People have been upset by images broadcast via social networks of my horse Vagabond de la Pomme who nearly fell during the warm-up before the World Cup Final in Gothenburg. My horse was trotting, very relaxed and with his head down, when he stumbled. It was actually quite frightening and I really thought that both of us were going to fall down. I immediately checked that he was not injured. I then wanted him to pull himself together. My goal was to wake him up but not to push him too hard. The French team’s vet also checked that he was fine and had no problems. I am deeply sorry that I over-reacted and was too strong with my horse and I want to express my sincere apologies. I place great importance on the trust and cooperation between myself and my horses. I also have the greatest respect for their state of mind and their physical well-being.”

Watch this space on what will happen, but she certainly has lost some fans and a lot of her reputation.

There was plenty of other jumping going on around the world but we were so engrossed in the World Cup that we couldn’t keep up with much else. Here in New Zealand, we had the North Island Championships which we covered in this post.

Also, congratulations to Maurice Beatson on being elected as rider’s representative on the ESNZ Jumping for another term. We were somewhat surprised that there were only 220 valid votes – surely this is an election that should have had a good turnout! And good on Ray Egarr – the ESNZ Jumping board has co-opted him on to the board up until the 2016 AGM in order to update the by-laws and the technical rules leading up to remits and the AGM voting. What a job! Talking of jobs and boards, there are two positions available on the board of HOY if you are interested