Quote of the Week
“I have had the privilege to ride hundreds of horses in my career, and I can say with 100 percent certainty that I am yet to sit on two horses that are the same. It is my job to understand each horse and the ‘why’ behind everything it does.”
— Captain Canada and 10-time Olympian (!) Ian Millar shares his training philosophy in 10 principles. Grab a pad and paper, kids.
A New Year, A New World #1
Steve Guerdat & Albfuehren’s Bianca. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
After seven months in the driver’s seat, the Netherlands' Harrie Smolders has been replaced by Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat as the top-ranked show jumper in the world.
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The 2019 season is starting out on a high note for the 36-year-old Guerdat, who took over the lead following a string of impressive results, including a win in the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final at CHI Geneva with Alamo in December. In September, Guerdat also rode Albfuehren’s Bianca to an Individual bronze medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon.
Now sitting on 3050 points, Guerdat, who last held the World #1 position back in 2012 (the same year he won Individual Olympic gold with Nino Des Buissonets), has a comfortable lead over Smolders, now at 2995 points. Marcus Ehning of Germany has moved up to third place, overtaking American McLain Ward by a slim margin of 16.
Smolders maintained the World #1 position for more than half of the 2018 season, while his predecessor, the U.S.A.’s Kent Farrington, held onto his lead for nearly a year (from April 2017 to March 2018) before being sidelined with an injury.
How long could Guerdat reign? It’s hard to say, but the Swiss rider has several factors working in his favor. Chief among them, experience—he’s held the title before—and, of course, an impressive string of 1.60m horses with a proven ability to win. Among them, Alamo, Vernard de Cerisy (with whom he won the €62,000 Geze Prize CSI5* at the Stuttgart German Masters in November), and top mount, Albfuehren’s Bianca, who’s ownership was secured by Hofgut Albfuehren and Guerdat, himself, late last year. Will 2019 mark the second coming of Steve Guerdat? Only time will tell.
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch the Jump-Off From the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier in Mechelen
Three of the best riders in the world squared off in one of the last horse shows of the 2018 year, and the jump-off was nothing short of electric. At the end of the night, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the always-entertaining stallion, Clintrexo Z, earned a dramatic victory against France’s Kevin Staut and the Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders. Keep an eye on this pair in 2019!
**Watch This Space**
New FEI Rules to Watch Out For in 2019
The world’s governing equestrian body has released its new rules for the 2019 show season, including the much-buzzed about restrictions governing the use of hind boots in international competition (yes, they’re still legal, but they have to meet these criteria). Also on the docket: new FEI classes for five-year-old jumpers and—get ready—it's now open season on show jacket colors. Bring on the purple polka dots.
This Just In...
Two Top Horses to Retire in 2019
Denis Lynch & All Star 5. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
Denis Lynch has announced that he will retire the 16-year-old stallion, All Star 5, in 2019. Lynch and All Star have been paired together since 2011, earning wins at Leipzig, London, Zurich, and beyond, and winning Team gold for Ireland at the European Championships in 2017. Also bidding farewell: Jessica Springsteen’s Davendy S, 16. Together, the pair has logged 17 wins since 2014.
Nayel Nassar’s Lutz Rolls in Sand, Eats Grass, Rolls Some More
Try not to LOL at this video of Nayel Nassar’s oh-so-cute Lutz, who’s living his best life down in Wellington this winter. This week, the chestnut gelding found himself suddenly desperate for a mid-roll snack in the sandpit, and hilarity ensues.
We get this feeling 100 percent, Lutz. You do you.