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The showjumping thrills (and spills) of 2013

Wednesday, 01 January 2014
It was an unforgettable moment in Herning, Denmark when Roger-Yves Bost very deserved won the individual gold medal at the European Championships riding Castles Forbes Myrtille Paulois not touching a single rail throughout the competition. Photos by Jenny Abrahamsson, unless stated otherwise.

The Rolex FEI World Cup Final went to USA for a second year in a row, as Beezie Madden won on Simon. Beezie and Simon were extremely consistent throughout the final; in Sunday’s last rounds Beezie took the lead after the first round, and after being tied with Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets following round two she came in as last to go in a heart-racing jump-off to land the win for America – making sure to follow up on compatriot Rich Fellers’ win in 2012.

The year saw the rise of a new star; Frank Schuttert really made himself noticed when winning the four star Amsterdam Grand Prix on Winchester HS at the beginning of the year – and went on to be given the trust to jump on the winning Dutch team in Al Ain, La Baule and Gijon. Schuttert also won the 2013 European Championship for young riders, putting himself on the map as one of the biggest talents in the world.

Last year also saw super stars retiring – both two and four legged ones – it was the final curtain call for the living legend Michel Robert…
 …for Valentina van’t Heike…
 …for Jalisca Solier…
 …for Ideal de la Loge…
...for Levisto Z...
 …and for Ninja La Silla.

It was an amazing moment in Aachen when Nick Skelton won the Rolex Grand Prix on the fantastic Big Star. It’s every riders dream to win – no matter what they have done and won in the sport, and Nick’s display of emotion as he realized he had won showed exactly how special this Grand Prix is! And for a second year in a row the win went to Britain, after Michael Whitaker ended on the Wall of Winners in 2012.

 The Brits were on fire this year; winning the European team gold medal with Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Michael Whitaker and William Funnell on the team. Ben Maher and Cella then went on to take individual silver and Scott Brash bronze on Hello Sanctos before Ben took over as number one in the world on the September Longines Ranking, where he stayed until December when Scott became world number one.
In 2012 Scott Brash told WoSJ that his horse owners goal was to make him number one in the world. A little over a year later he was. 2013 was really Scott Brash’s year; he went from win to win and crowned his season by taking the Global Champions Final in Doha also winning the overall tour title – before he climbed up the ladder to become number one in the world.

The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final was won by France, who had Simon Delestre, Penelope Leprevost, Aymerick de Ponnat and Patrice Delaveau on the team – unfortunately the entire new concept of the series made the qualification process slightly confusing and complicated with rules that not always were the easiest to understand – and the final itself somehow could have had more excitement if all teams hadn’t started on a zero penalty score in Sunday´s final one round competition. Photo by Jacob Melissen.

When the FEI announced in January that Longines would become their top partner in a record multi-million deal – making Longines the FEI’s official timekeeper and official watch of the FEI – it did not go unnoticed. A few months later Rolex created the Grand Slam concept – including Aachen, Spruce Meadows and Geneva as their three shows before they signed up Den Bosch to host a Rolex Grand Prix and then signing an unprecedented 10 year partnership with the Winter Equestrian Festival. Both Geneva and Den Bosch said goodbye as Western European League World Cup hosts as a consequence. Rolex also continued to support the International Jumping Riders Club, sealing the deal to sponsor the Top 10 Final for the next five years – staying loyal to the sport despite FEI’s decision to go with the competitor Longines.

As always there were plenty of big horse transactions – the most talked about was probably the sale of Janika Sprunger’s super horse Palloubet d’Halong that caught everybody’s eye when he ended second in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen, before he was sold to Stal Tops in September. It was expected that Edwina Tops-Alexander would ride the gelding, but when weeks went by without the pair making any appearances together it was no surprise to find out that the horse had been resold to Qatar.

Palloubet was not alone when it came to making headlines; as did Cos I Can when he went from Shane Breen to Reed Kessler…

…Powerplay went from Pius Schwizer to Eric Lamaze…

…and Verdi III to Tiffany Foster…

…Amaretto D’Arco went from Shane Sweetnam to Katie Dinan...

…Old Chap Tame went from Eugeine Angot to Edwina Tops-Alexander…

…Copin van de Broy was sold to Double H Farm after great success under Marcus Ehning..

…and at the end of the year Utascha SFN was sold to Qatar after being competed by Jeroen Dubbeldam.

 Olympic Champions Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets once again proved they are one of the best couples in the sport, winning the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva in December – in front of an ecstatic home crowd. It was not the only good result for Steve and Nino; for the second year in a row they were vice-champions in the World Cup Final – not to forget that they took home three runner-up spots in the World Cup Western European League in the autumn of 2013.
Daniel Deusser really made his mark on 2013, winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final on Evita van de Veldbalie after a last minute call to Stockholm, before he closed off his extremely successful year by taking the World Cup in Mechelen on Cornet D’Amour! Deusser also won the team silver for Germany at the European Championships in Herning. Photographer: Peter Zachrisson -

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