Here we will bring you a sum-up of the showjumping year of 2010; both the highs and the lows.
Britain's show jumping team remains relegated to the Meydan FEI Nations Cup Promotional League after a decision from the FEI disciplinary tribunal. In September 2009 the FEI decided that both Britain and Belgium would be relegated to the Promotional League following their tied last place in the Nations Cup competition in 2009.
The 61 year old French legend Michel Robert proves that age does not matter in the world of showjumping when he tops the list of the riders that have won the most prize money in 2009.
Jose Larocca buys the amazing Oki Doki for a reported $US2 million as a prospect for the WEG in Kentucky.
The last leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup in the Western European League is held in ‘S-Hertogenbosch. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson wins it aboard the stallion Casall la Silla. "I spent a long time building him up through young horse classes and I never pushed him to do anything before he was ready - I'm profiting from that now. For the last three-quarters of a year he has been more and more consistent in jump-offs and I can trust him more to go quick and stay focused - we've had a very, very good late season", the Swede said after his win to FEI.org. Jessica Kürten was on top after all the qualifying legs in the Western European league with a total of 90 (!) points.
In March FEI announces that it has renewed its partnership with Meydan for the title sponsorship of showjumping’s premier team competition, the Meydan FEI Nations Cup.
Marcus Ehning wins the Rolex FEI World Cup final in Geneva - for the third time. This time he rode two horses in the final: Noltes Küchengirl and Plot Blue. "It's really unbelievable - I thought I was too far behind going into the last round but this is how it works out - I am so happy", Ehning said to FEI.org after his win before his 36th birthday. Ehning’s win is somewhat shadowed by the much-discussed disqualification of McLain Ward’s horse Sapphire following a positive hypersensitivity test. Ward was the leading rider of the final when his mare was eliminated from round two of the final.
In April CAS allows the appeal of the British Equestrian Federation, and the decision of the FEI Tribunal is anulled - allowing the British team to take part in the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup.
The Meydan FEI Nations Cup kicks off in La Baule, and everybody agrees it’s going to be the toughest season ever as four of the ten teams will be relegated after the last leg in Dublin. "This season is going to be difficult because so many teams will be relegated", Germany’s Heinrich Hermann Engemann pointed out to FEI.org.
In May Sapphire’s urine and blood samples taken during the FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Geneva proves negative. Results from leg swab samples containes no prohibited substances.
The beloved Oki Doki is injured during the Global Champions Tour in Cannes when he and his new rider Jose Larocca lands badly during a jump over an oxer
fter a full investigation into the disqualification of McLain Ward's Sapphire at the FEI World Cup Final in Geneva, the FEI decides that Sapphire was incorrectly eliminated from the second round. The mare's disqualification from the final round of the World Cup is nonetheless upheld by the FEI. "Certainly I feel a little bittersweet", Ward said.
Oki Doki dies following complications - septic shock in the abdomen - after an operation for the injuries the gelding sustained in Cannes. The wonderful 14 year old will be much remembered for his many triumphs together with Dutch rider Albert Zoer; they won team gold at the WEG in Aachen in 2006 and were individual bronze medalists at the Europeans in Windsor in 2009. “Oki Doki was a legend within the equestrian family and it is very sad that he is no longer with us”, said John Roche, the FEI Jumping Director. “His incredible athleticism, sheer brilliance and the many successes with Albert Zoer will never be forgotten. Oki Doki’s death is a great loss for our sport”, Roche continued.
France is the overall winner of the the Meydan FEI Nations Cup. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland – gold medalists at the Europeans at Windsor in 2009, as well as Poland is relegated from the Meydan FEI Nations Cup – or the Super League as it is called – to the Promotional League. The Dutch save themselves in last second, winning the last leg if the series in Dublin with Eric Van der Vleuten/VDL Groep Utascha SFN, Jur Vrieling/VDL Bubalu, Harrie Smolders/Exquis Walnut de Muze and Marc Houtzager/Tanimo on the team.
Marcus Ehning wins the last leg of the Global Champions Tour in Rio de Janeiro aboard Noltes Küchengirl, snatching the total victory in the tour from Marco Kutscher and earning himself 433 000 Euro – the biggest price money ever in showjumping.
Denmark earns promotion – together with Belgium - when they win the final of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup Promotional League in Barcelona. Andreas Schou/Uno's Safier, Emilie Martinsen/Caballero, Thomas Sandgaard/Rubber Ball and Tina Lund/Zamiro win with a total of 12 faults ahead of Spain and Canada. "We are a small country, but this is a young team with some good new horses and we made qualification for the top-level series our goal from the very start of the year - so we are delighted with what we have achieved", said Danish anchor-rider Tina Lund to FEI.org.
It’s clear that Marco Kutscher and his horse Cash will miss the WEG in Kentucky, when the 14 year old gelding injures himself just before the plane is about to lift for the US. Cash is not alone; Luciana Diniz’s Winningmood and John Whitaker’s Peppermill – two great stallions – also miss the championships.
Germany wins team gold at the WEG in Kentucky; Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina, Janne Friedrikke Meyer and Cellagon Lambrasco, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Checkmate and Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue are on the winning team. France earns the silver, while Belgium gets the bronze.
The Top Four Final is as exciting as ever; and as always there is the outsider who reaches it – this time its Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al Sharbatly who steals one of the four tickets to the final. Al Sharbatly is the championships biggest surprise when he claims the individual silver medal on the Emillion-mare Seldana di Campalto who he had ridden for only six weeks. A well deserved gold goes to Belgium’s Phillipe Le Jenue who showed amazing horsemanship and riding skills throughout the days in Kentucky; in the Top Four Final he is the only rider that is clear on all horses. "I had no difficult moments with any of them" he said to FEI.org afterwards reflecting on the rides on his rival's mounts - "I decided to go their way and not to try and make them go my way, and it paid off”, Le Jeune said after the final. The world of showjumping has a new favorite in the wonderful Nabab de Reve-stallion Vigo and Le Jeune. Eric Lamaze and Hickstead - expected to be the most difficult horse to ride, but the only horse to go clear with all four riders in the final - settles for bronze.
The Rolex FEI World Cup kicks off in the Western European league with Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z winning the two first legs in Oslo and Helsinki. In Oslo Ahlmann experience mixed emotions when his stallion Calvados Z dies in the stables.
Kevin Staut is ranked at world number one on the Rolex Rankings for the fifth time in a row after taking over the throne in August.
The members of the International Jumping Riders Club vote the Canadian rider Eric Lamaze ”Rider of the Year” 2010. The award is given by the equestrian publication yearbook L’Annee Hippique, published in the Netherlands. Lamaze commented that it was “special to know that it is judged by the other riders.”
Swiss rider Steve Guerdat wins on home soil in Geneva when taking home the Rolex IJRC Top Ten aboard the SF-mare Jalisca Solier. After his win Guerdat said; “It’s been a long day for me today as I have waited for this final in front of the home crowd. It got to my nerves, but when I started jumping in the warm-up and felt how good Jalisca jumped I calmed. And I really think she deserved this victory as she jumped supreme in both rounds."
In December Vigo d’Arsouilles – Philippe Le Jeune’s partner at the WEG – is crowned horse of the year in Belgium by the Belgian magazine “Landbouwleven”.
The legendary Ratina Z – winner of medals at the Olympics, the Europeans, the WEG, as well as winner of the World Cup and the Grand Prix of Aachen - dies at the age of 28 in her home at Ludger Beerbaum's stable. A horse of a lifetime - and even more - she will always be remembered.