Quote of the Week
“Christian [Kukuk] and Ludger [Beerbaum] have done a superb job producing this exciting stallion, and to be honest myself and the other investors involved decided to move him purely for patriotic reasons.”
—Cian O’Connor on why he’s moved 10-year-old stallion Lukas to Irish teammate Denis Lynch’s stable. Lukas will join O’Connor’s own recent championship acquisition—Lorenzo de Luca’s former ride, Irenice Horta—in an effort to secure Team Ireland’s 2020 Olympic bid.
Christian Kukuk & Lukas. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
Fast, Faster, Fastest: CSI5*-W Amsterdam
Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou earned a standing ovation in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier of Amsterdam on Sunday after a thrilling jump-off that left them just 0.33 seconds ahead of runner-up Pius Schwizer (SUI) & Cortney Cox.
Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
Eight pairs of 39 were invited back for the second round after earning clears on Louis Konickx’s 13-obstacle track. Among them was a who’s who of the sport’s speediest partnerships: von Eckermann, Schwizer, Niels Bruynseels (riding Gancia de Muze), Kevin Staut (on For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC), and Daniel Deusser & Tobago Z.
More than halfway through the jump-off, it seemed Deusser—who took a full 1.13 seconds off Staut’s time of 34.67—couldn’t be caught. The crowd gasped when Schwizer did just that, maximizing his gelding’s enormous stride to takeover the lead. It all came down to von Eckermann and Mary Lou, an experienced pair with proven results on a major stage, including two third-place finishes at the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Omaha in 2017 and Paris in 2018.
Von Eckermann credits an early leave-out stride between fences 1 and 2 along with faith in his horse for the victory (you can watch their breathtaking round below). “You have to believe that you can beat it, otherwise you will not,” he said after the class.
Stakes were high in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Amsterdam, the second-to-last qualifier in the hotly contested Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League ahead of the final in Gothenburg this April (Bordeaux will be the last qualifier next month).
As of Sunday, the League is currently topped by Germany’s Daniel Deusser, with countryman Christian Ahlmann in second place, and World #1 Steve Guerdat of Switzerland in third. The top 18 riders in the League will be invited to Gothenburg, and this win will move von Eckermann, previously sitting just outside the running in 19th position, into contention and 7th place overall. The Western League is known as the breeding ground for World Cup™ Finals Champions, and with back-to-back American wins in 2017 (McLain Ward) and 2018 (Beezie Madden), rest assured that the Europeans will be hungry to reclaim the crown.
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou Bring Down the House in Amsterdam
Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou have been major and consistent players at the last two Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, and you bet von Eckermann has his sights set on qualifying for the Final in his home country this spring. With this win, he’s all but done it, and as this round in Amsterdam proves, 2019 might just be the year of Henrik & Mary Lou.
The Week’s Big Drama
Harry Charles Is Disqualified from the 2019 European Championships for Young Riders
Peter Charles and Harry Charles (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
This week, British rider Harry Charles’s father Peter Charles released a statement regarding the recent disqualification of the pair’s horse, Vivaldi du Dom, following a positive test for the controlled medication Lidocaine. According to Charles senior, the trace-level finding was a result of an accidental skin transfer by a party who uses the medication for an advanced cancer-related skin condition and pet Vivaldi prior to the test. The FEI has a zero-tolerance policy for medical positives, regardless of circumstance, and Charles says he supports their position. You can read the full story here.
At the In-Gate
Ain't No Party Like a PonyApp (Tailgate) Party...
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PonyApp is throwing a massive ringside #ponytailgate on Sunday, February 3rd for the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington, and we want you to join us! Follow the link in our bio to RSVP to the PonyApp tailgate to cheer for your favorite horses and get free Pony swag! 📸 PC @kathyphotogrussell
Be there or be square: PonyApp is throwing a massive, ringside #ponytailgate this weekend on Sunday, February 3rd ahead of the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington at the Palm Beach Masters. Among the highlights: a course walk with our co-founder, U.S. Olympian Lucy Davis, free swag, and an epic table decorating contest (the winner gets a free clinic with Lucy!). Also on tap, an awesome #ponytime to be had by all. See you there!
Australia’s Kevin Wynne Is the Equestrian Hero We Need
Runaway horses are a relatively frequent and seriously dangerous hazard of horse racing sports, as evident by this video from the Cranbourne Turf Club in Victoria, Australia. But when #11 Lady Bell dumped her jockey and made a break for it in late December, it was 75-year-old Kevin Wynne and his fearless (and speedy) pony horse who came to the rescue and, in doing so, rode into our hearts forever.