A pioneering women-only jumping team triumphs, an F1 star inspires and heavy rain cancels one of year’s biggest contests

  • In this week’s international showjumping news round-up, there was huge disappointment when prolonged torrential rain brought the St Gallen leg of the Longines League of Nations to a halt. In Saint Tropez, however, the sun was shining brightly for a special celebrity guest from the world of Formula One and a pioneering female-only showjumping team reigns victorious.

    Read on for this week’s round-up of international showjumping news and results.

    Max meets Max: F1 hero enjoys front row seats for a spot of showjumping

    Austrian showjumper Max Kühner had a congratulatory handshake from Formula One hero Max Verstappen, who was watching the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez.

    Max Kuhner meets Max Verstappen

    A meeting of the Maxes: showjumping hero Max Kuhner is congratulated by Formula One champion Max Verstappen in Saint Tropez.

    Max Kühner and EIC Up Too Jacco Blue triumphed ahead of France’s Simon Delestre on Cayman Jolly Jumper, with championship leader Eduardo Alvarez Aznar third on 19-year-old Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot.

    “What a day! It’s great to stand on top of a Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix podium again, particularly here in Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez, with Max Verstappen watching us,” said the winning rider.

    Max Kuhner and EIC Up Too Jacco Blue claim victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez, in this week's showjumping news round-up

    Max Kuhner and EIC Up Too Jacco Blue claim victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez.

    Showjumping news: “challenging circumstances” cause havoc in St Gallen

    St Gallen’s Longines League of Nations, due to take place on Friday 31 May, was cancelled owing to prolonged heavy rain. FEI jumping director Todd Hinde said: “Despite extensive planning, the weather conditions made the situation extremely difficult and we very much appreciate the efforts of riders, chefs, grooms, officials and the organiser in trying to find solutions in the challenging circumstances. While this is regrettable, we believe under the circumstances this was the right decision to make.”

    The loss of this team competition comes at a crucial point for Paris 2024 Olympic selectors as entries deadlines loom. No points will be allocated for the 2024 series from the St Gallen leg and the league will continue instead in Rotterdam on 21 June, after which the standings for Barcelona will be calculated.

    Tim Gredley, who had been picked to represent Great Britain in Friday’s League of Nations competition said, “The League of Nations shows are the pick of the circuit, so to get to that stage and not jump was disappointing, but a lot of people are in the same boat. Imperial HBF is in great form and I was so looking forward to that Nations Cup with him. I gave him a jump the day before and he never felt better.”

    In showjumping news, Denis Lynch wins at St Gallen riding Vistogrand

    Denis Lynch wins at St Gallen riding Vistogrand.

    Martin Fuchs and Commissar Pezi won Sunday’s 1.60m Defender grand prix in St Gallen with the sole clear round, and Britain’s sole representative Robert Whitaker and Vermento finished ninth with five faults. Of the few supporting classes to go ahead at the five-star show, two went to Irish riders – Denis Lynch and Vistogrand topped the 1.50m MS Direct Group Prize and Mark McAuley (Fury Nocturne) won the Thommen Recycling Prize.

    Showjumping news: Darragh Kenny and Serendepety win at Devon Horse Show

    Darragh Kenny and Serendepety win at Devon Horse Show.

    Showjumping news: speed Derby success for Debney

    Great Britain’s Grace Debney won Devon Horse Show’s speed Derby in USA riding Zarina De Vidau while Darragh Kenny and Serendepety flew to victory in the welcome stakes.

    Girl power: the first women-only jumping team triumphs

    Finally in this week’s showjumping news round-up, we return to Ramatuelle, Saint Tropez, where the first women-only jumping team Cannes Stars powered by Iron Dames triumphed in the latest leg of the GCL. This pioneering project founded by Deborah Mayer of the Iron Dames secured their second win of the year. They were represented by Katrin Eckermann and Kim Emmen; the former describing winning as “an amazing feeling”.

    “We won the first stage in Doha and have been very unlucky since,” said Katrin. “In Doha we had different women in our team so it shows how strong we are. We are just women in the sport following our dreams and right now I don’t want to ever stop it.”

    Malin Baryard-Johnsson, part of the third-placed GCL team added, “To have four women out of six athletes on the podium shows the girl power within the sport.”

    “We love that,” added her team-mate Jessica Springsteen.

    And let’s hear it for the boys, too!

    Great Britain’s Olli Fletcher and Hello William landed the CSI3* 1.50m class in Le Touquet, France, from a field of 77.

    “He has so much personality, he’s king of the stable and always will be – he’s my baby and gets treated better than any human,” said Olli of Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham’s 12-year-old.  “Even talking about him puts a smile on my face. He has such a big heart and I can’t thank the Harrises and the Kirkhams enough for giving me the opportunity to ride my ‘horse of a lifetime’.”

    Not to be outdone, Scotsman Sandy McLean continued his 19-strong winning streak from Sentower Park with a run of eight successes in Lier.

    A medal haul for Great Britain in Zuidwolde

    In the Youth Nations Cup, there were medals galore for young British riders. The junior squad secured silver, represented by Maisy Williams (Dalton D’Hoyo), Noora von Bulow (Interstar B), Charlie Atkinson on Ballingowan Leia and Olivia Sponer on Equine America Bingo Du Chateau.

    “The pressure was on, but they delivered,” said team manager Clare Whitaker.

    The young rider quartet of Rachel Proudley (Petitfour VD Wareslage), Jake Myers (J Superstar), Lauren Caroline (Elmira Mail) and Ava Vernon on Volnay De Choc Z took bronze, while Lauren Caroline (Gait L), Olivia Sponer and pony rider Emily Gulliver (Fleur De Nuit 8) all finished on the individual podium during the concluding grands prix.

    “Gait L is very naturally quick, has a very big heart and always tries to jump clear,” said Lauren.  “I know him well now as we bought him from Shane Breen two and half years ago; he said he was the horse for Junior classes and he was right, it was a very good buy.”

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