Monthly Archives: October 2019

Officials Announced for 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final is the most prominent competition on the annual international dressage calendar and the anticipation will be high next year with it also being an Olympic year. This week, the list of officials for the Dressage World Cup™ Final is being announced and it includes some of the most notable officials in the sport.

The world’s elite dressage, and jumping, athletes will return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV, next April 15-19, for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals, where they will compete in both the 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final and 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final.

Heading the list of dressage officials is Anne Gribbons of the USA, who serve as President of the Ground Jury. Joining her on the Ground Jury will be Elke Ebert of Germany, Raphaël Saleh of France, Eddy De Wolff of The Netherlands, Susanne Baarup of Denmark, Irina Maknami of Russia, and Peter Storr of Great Britain. First Reserve will be Maria Colliander of Finland, with Susie Hoevenaars of Australia as Second Reserve (Non-Traveling). Maribel Alonso of Mexico will be the Foreign Technical Delegate.

The Judges Supervisory Panel (JSP) will consist of Henk van Bergen of The Netherlands, Linda Zang of the USA, and Mary Seefried of Australia. The Final will be managed, as was the case for the Final’s previous appearances in Las Vegas in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2015, by Glenda McElroy of Cornerstone Event Management.

Anne Gribbons (USA) – President of the Ground Jury

Anne Gribbons

Anne Gribbons is a licensed USEF Senior judge and a FEI 5* Judge. She has judged four FEI World Cup™ Finals, three FEI European Championships, and was the head of the Ground Jury at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon. Gribbons has officiated at numerous international shows around the world, and Olympic and Pan American Games trials in the U.S. She was a member of the FEI Dressage Committee from 2010-2013 and the North American Representative to the FEI World Cup Committee 1994–1997. Gribbons served for ten years on the USEF (formerly AHSA) Board of Directors, was a longtime member of the USEF High Performance Dressage Committee and is a member of the USET National Advisory Board. She has trained and shown sixteen horses to Grand Prix, competed in ten USET Championships, and was a member of the U.S. Silver-medal-winning team at the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina. In 2013, Gribbons was inducted to the USDF Hall of Fame.

Elke Ebert (Germany) – Ground Jury Member

Elke Ebert has been an international dressage judge since 2007, and was the only person the FEI promoted to 5* Dressage judge status in 2019. Ebert has judged many of the biggest international shows across the globe, including FEI World Cup™ competitions. As a rider, she has received the Golden Riding Award (Goldenes Reitabzeichen), and won classes through Intermediaire II. Ebert is a member of the Dressage Committee (“Deutschen Olympiade Komitee”) which works with pony riders, juniors and young riders, and is also a member of the education committee of the Deutsche Richtervereingung.

Raphaël Saleh (France) – Ground Jury Member

An international judge since 2004, Raphaël Saleh was awarded FEI 5* judge status in 2017. Saleh was Ground Jury President at the Compiegne 5*CDIO and the 2018 FEI European Young Rider Championships, both in France. He has judged at many international venues including Hamburg, Germany, the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, and Madrid, Spain, among many others. He was notably a judge at the 2017 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, in Omaha.

Eddy De Wolff van Westerrode (Netherlands) – Ground Jury Member

Eddy de Wolff has extensive experience in the equestrian world. He has competed in jumping, eventing and dressage, and trained as a Bereiter. A FEI 5* Judge since 2013, De Wolff’s expertise as a judge and trainer has been sought worldwide for over two decades. He has officiated at FEI World Cup™ competitions, World Young Horse Championships, 2015 FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, and, most notably the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Susanne Baarup (Denmark) – Ground Jury Member

Susanne Baarup has been an international judge since 2000. She was appointed as a FEI 5* Judge in 2013. She has officiated at many top competitions around the world, including FEI World Cup™ qualifiers, Youth Championships and World Championships for Young Horses. Baarup was a Ground Jury Member at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2016 FEI World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, 2018 FEI World Cup™ Final in Paris and most recently at the 2019 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Irina Maknami (Russia) – Ground Jury Member

Irina MaknamiIrina Maknami has been a FEI 5* Judge in Dressage and Young Horses since 2017 and was appointed to the FEI Dressage Committee in 2018. She was born in Russia where she found her passion for dressage and relocated to the U.S. to ride and compete before returning to her home nation three years later. Maknami has worked for the Russian Equestrian Federation in charge of international relations, as well as helping to organize international shows. She has also served as Chef d’ Equipe for Russian national dressage teams for all age divisions. Maknami has been a member of the International Dressage Officials Club since 2008 and is a member of the Russian FKSR Board of Judges. She was a Member of the Ground Jury at the 2016 FEI World Cup™ Final, 2018 FEI World Cup™ Final, as well as the 2019 FEI European Championships.

Peter Storr (Great Britain) – Ground Jury Member

Peter Storr

Peter Storr is an internationally renowned trainer and coach and has been a FEI 4* Judge since 2017. During his riding career he represented Great Britain at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games™ and 2001 FEI European Championships. Storr has twice been British national Grand Prix champion and has won many national titles. He was the British Dressage Pony Team Trainer, coaching the team to Gold Medals in 2015 and 2013. In 2018, British Dressage appointed Storr to the Board as Judges Director and Chairman of the Judges Committee.

 Maribel Alonso (Mexico) – Foreign Technical Delegate

Involved in horse sports in her native Mexico since childhood, Maribel Alonso maintains a heavy schedule of involvement in equestrian governing activities both regionally and internationally. She has been a FEI 5* Dressage and Young Horse Judge since 2009. She has judged in more than two dozen countries on five continents at the biggest international venues and most important championships including the 2009 FEI World Cup Final™ in Las Vegas, 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Lexington, KY, 2012 London Olympics, 2013 FEI European Championships in Herning, Denmark, 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, and 2018 FEI World Cup™ Final in Paris.

Henk van Bergen (Netherlands) – Judges Supervisory Council

Henk van Bergen trained riders for the Olympic Games in 1972, 1984, 1988 (for the Japanese team) and 1992, where his Dutch Team won the Silver medal. He has coached at European Championships and World Equestrian Games and trained the Juniors and Young Riders Team in Great Britain for eight years, as well as continuing to coach many top senior riders. Since 2011, van Bergen has been a member of the FEI JSP, which oversees and supports the judges at Olympic, World Games and World Cup competitions. He has been on the board of the International Dressage Trainers Club (IDTC) for over 25 years.

Linda Zang (USA) – Judges Supervisory Council

Linda Zang

Linda Zang is a highly accomplished international competitor, FEI judge, FEI technical delegate, clinician, and leader of national and world-wide organizations.  She is a U.S. Equestrian Federation “S” rated judge, the first U.S.-based judge to reach FEI 5* status, and one of only a handful of  FEI “O” level dressage judges in the world. Zang has officiated at the highest level of the sport, including Olympics Games, FEI World Equestrian Games and many FEI World Cup Finals. She was a member of the technical coaching staff for the U.S. Eventing Team at the 2012 London Olympics. Zang competed at the 1978 World Championships in Goodwood, England, was a member of the U.S. Dressage Team for the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico, and a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, although she was unable to compete because of the U.S. boycot. In 2009, the USDF inducted Zang into the Hall of Fame and in 2013, the USEF awarded her the Pegasus Medal of Honor for lifetime achievement.

Mary Seefried (Australia) – Judges Supervisory Council

Mary Seefried is a highly respected member of the dressage community both in Australia and internationally. She has been a national dressage judge for over 30 years and has served as an FEI5* dressage judge for 20 years. Seefried became the first Australian ever to judge at an Olympic Games, something that was especially poignant in that it was on home ground at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She was the Reserve Judge for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2013, Seefried was appointed as a member of the FEI JSP – the first non-European judge to take a seat on the panel since the establishment of the JSP in 2011. She was a member of the JSP for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and will be the Foreign Technical Delegate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Nearly 74,000 spectators came to the 2015 Finals in Las Vegas and more are expected in 2020, so I urge you to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!  All-Session tickets for both disciplines are now on sale.  Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale early this winter, so it’s best to get your tickets NOW to be sure you get the best seats! Everyone is welcome to join the World Cup Club at http://www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club. Membership is FREE and members receive all the latest breaking news, information on host hotels, hospitality and much more!

All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*Additional fees may apply

All VIP ticket holders will have access to the impressive Taylor Harris Club presented by Lugano Diamonds which will be an amazing experience. Located in the brand new Strip View Pavilion, the new 36,000 square-foot, two-story magnificent VIP space has an outdoor patio overlooking the stabling area with spectacular views of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Access to the Taylor Harris Club, presented by Lugano Diamonds will provide:

  • VIP seating in the first four rows of the venue
  • Easy access from seats to the VIP area
  • VIP Food & Beverage
  • Live music
  • An exclusive entrance to the venue for VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

Further information on the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, and the chance to join the World Cup Club, is available at the event’s official website at www.WorldCupLasVegas.com.

The 1980s: When the U.S. Ruled the Show Jumping World!

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders, started in 1979.  Of the 41 Finals held through 2019, the U.S. has won the most titles – 11 – with seven of those wins coming in the 1980s.

Mclain Victory 2 © Lili Weik LOW RES

Mclain Victory © Lili Weik

While U.S. riders have won four Finals this decade – Rich Fellers in 2012, Beezie Madden in 2013 and 2018, and McLain Ward in 2017 – the dominance of the U.S. in the 1980 is not likely to be seen again.  The 1980s were the golden era for U.S. jumping. Not only did the Americans dominate the World Cup, but the U.S. also won team Gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and 1986 World Championships, as well as team Silver at the 1988 Olympics.

The first World Cup Final was held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1979, and it was the start of something very special for equestrian sport. The event was everything the organizers, as well as the spectators, hoped it would be. Austrian rider Hugo Simon impressively won the inaugural event on Gladstone in a jump-off with U.S. rider Katie Monahan who took second place with The Jones Boy. It was a crowded podium that year as her compatriot Norman Dello Joio on Allegro tied for third place with Ireland’s Eddie Macken and Carrols of Dundalk.

The 1980 Final took place on American soil in Baltimore, Maryland, and began the U.S. domination. The Americans scored a one-two finish as Conrad Homfeld and Balbuco claimed victory with Melanie Smith and Calypso taking second. At the 1981 Final in Birmingham, England, the U.S. once again took the top two spots, with Michael Matz and the great Jet Run clinching the victory and Donald Cheska and Southside, who were competing outside the U.S. for the first time, taking the runner-up spot. The event’s debutante winners, Hugo Simon and Gladstone, took third place. It was an incredible result, as a total of six U.S. riders finished in the top ten!

The 19982 Final returned to Gothenburg with a change in the format and scoring, and the U.S. celebrated another victory. Melanie Smith became the first female to win the Final aboard her superstar Calypso. It was an exciting finish as the pair finished just one penalty point ahead of second-placed Paul Schockemohle of Germany and Akrobat, while Hugo Simon and Gladstone shared third place with Great Britain’s John Whitaker and Ryan’s Son.

Norman Dello Joio and I Love You World Cup Finals '83

Norman Dello Joio and I Love You • World Cup Finals ’83

Both Norman Dello Joio and Melanie Smith returned to the podium in 1983 in Vienna, but this time it was Dello Joio who clinched the win with I Love You, while Smith and Calypso took third place behind home nation favorites Hugo Simon and Gladstone. Although he wasn’t able to enjoy a victory on home soil, the ever-competitive Austrian did later reclaim the World Cup trophy with back-to-back victories in 1996 and 1997, and he remains one of five riders that have scored three wins in the history of the World Cup Final.

At the 1984 Final in Gothenburg, the Canadian national anthem was played, but the stars and stripes were still flying. Dello Joio and I Love You tied for second place with Brazilian rider Nelson Pessoa and Moet et Chandon Larramy, as Mario Deslauriers, at just 19 years-old, clinched the first win for Canada aboard Aramis who was only seven years-old! Deslauriers became the youngest rider ever to win the FEI World Cup Final, a record that still stands today.

Homfeld at 1985 World Cup Final with Abdullah

Homfeld at 1985 World Cup Final with Abdullah

The 1985 Final in Berlin saw a record field of 45 riders from 13 nations. Conrad Homfeld became the first rider to win the World Cup for a second time, and it was with the famed grey stallion Abdullah, his partner at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where they not only helped the U.S. win its first-ever team Gold medal in show jumping, but also won the individual Silver medal. European riders rounded out the World Cup podium, as Great Britain’s Nick Skelton took second place aboard Everest S. James and France’s Pierre Durand and Jappeloup took third.

When the 1986 Finals returned to Gothenburg, it was another exciting victory for the U.S. as Leslie Burr became the second woman to win the World Cup Final. Leslie and her horse McLain won with a score of zero faults, ahead of Canada’s Ian Millar and Big Ben, who later would become the first rider to win back-to-back World Cup titles in 1988 and 1989. Leslie’s compatriot Conrad Homfeld made his third appearance in the top three, taking third place with May Be.

Katharine Burdsall and The Natural

Katharine Burdsall and The Natural

The U.S. claimed success yet again at the 1987 Final in Paris, taking two of the top three spots. Katharine Burdsall, a former student of Melanie Smith, copied her mentor and rose to victory aboard The Natural, the horse she rode on the Gold medal U.S. Team at the 1986 World Championships. France’s Philippe Rozier and Malesan Jiva took second place, while U.S. rider Lisa Jacquin and For The Moment rounded out the top three.

Following that incredible run of seven titles in nine years in the 1980s, it would be 25 years before another American rider claimed the World Cup title. At the 2012 Final in s’Hertogenbosch, Rich Fellers broke the spell. He and his chestnut stallion Flexible, reclaimed the title, followed a year later by a win by Beezie Madden and Simon in Gothenburg in 2013.

In 2017 in Omaha, McLain Ward and HH Azur jumped spectacularly throughout the event to clinch Ward’s first World Cup title. It was a truly special moment as he rode around in the victory gallop and waved to the appreciative home crowd while fighting back tears.  Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and Twentytwo Des Biches took second place, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckerman took third aboard Toveks Mary Lou.

Beezie-Madden-Breitling-2018 LS-Photo-by-Taylor-Renner-45

Beezie Madden Breitling 2018 ©Taylor Renner

The American National Anthem played again at the 2018 Finals in Paris, when Beezie Madden claimed her second World Cup title, this time aboard Breitling LS. Countryman Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue had the ride of a lifetime, taking second place in their World Cup Final debut, while Henrick von Eckerman and Toveks Mary Lou again rounded out the top three on the podium. Ward and HH Azur finished fourth.

With U.S. riders dominating international competitions in recent years, it will undoubtedly be an exciting 2020 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals! The best equestrian athletes from around the globe will be in Las Vegas (for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ too!) and you won’t want to miss it. The only prediction I can make is that history will be made once again, as it’s going to be the biggest and best Finals the world has ever seen!

The 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas take place April 15-19! All-Session tickets for either discipline are now on sale!  Tickets for individual sessions will go on sale early this winter, so it’s best to get your tickets NOW to be sure you get the best seats! Everyone is welcome to join the World Cup Club at http://www.worldcuplasvegas.com/world-cup-club. Membership is FREE and members receive all the latest breaking news, information on host hotels, hospitality and much more!

All-Session Ticket Packages are available as follows:

  Jumping Dressage Combo
VIP Seating $2,000 $2,000 $3,950
Plaza $450 $450 $850
Balcony $250 $250 $450

*Additional fees may apply

All VIP ticket holders will have access to the impressive Taylor Harris Club presented by Lugano Diamonds which will be an amazing experience. Located in the brand new Strip View Pavilion, the new 36,000 square-foot, two-story magnificent VIP space has an outdoor patio overlooking the stabling area with spectacular views of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. Access to the Taylor Harris Club, presented by Lugano Diamonds will provide:

  • VIP seating in the first four rows of the venue
  • Easy access from seats to the VIP area
  • VIP Food & Beverage
  • Live music
  • An exclusive entrance to the venue for VIPs only
  • Large screen TVs so no one has to miss any action
  • Complimentary World Cup Souvenir Program
  • Complimentary Day Sheets

Click here for the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals Tentative Schedule

Further information on the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, and the chance to join the World Cup Club, is available at the event’s official website at www.WorldCupLasVegas.com.