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FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018
Superlative Sport at triumphant Tryon
The most memorable moments of sporting history often revolve around triumph over adversity, and that was the story of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina, USA where Longines was the Official Partner, Timekeeper and Watch. A frantic race against time to complete the venue, intense heat and humidity and the threat of a hurricane were just some of the obstacles to be overcome.
With only a two-year run-down to the staging of the eight-discipline event it was always going to be a challenge to have Tryon International Equestrian Centre ready in time. However the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) provided two weeks of high drama and epic sport, with athletes from all around the globe competing in the different disciplines.

There were 349 competitors from 54 nations chasing down the first-week medals in Dressage, Endurance, Eventing and Reining. And there was deep disappointment for the 124 Endurance competitors when the ride was eventually abandoned due to the combined effects of exceptionally high levels of heat and humidity along with poor ground conditions following heavy rain. A total of 365 athletes from 53 countries competed during week two in four disciplines : Para-Dressage, Driving, Vaulting and Jumping.
It was double-gold for Germany who took the early lead in the Helgstrand Dressage Team championship when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl’s leading score with TSF Dalera BB was backed up by another great result from Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. And then Sönke Rothenberger riding Cosmo and Isabell Werth and her beloved mare Bella Rose wrapped it up to secure their country’s 12th victory in the 52-year history of the world Dressage championships, and their seventh in the eight editions of FEI World Equestrian Games™.

There was a major battle for silver and bronze, with only fractions separating the British, Americans and Swedes going into the closing stages. And it was the Swedes who lost out on a podium placing when pinned back to fourth by an agonising 0.15 points.

The British had to sit it out nervously as the final riders took their turn, and the score of Swedish anchor, Patrik Kittel, was critical to the end result. He came so very close when putting 78.199 on the board, but it wasn’t quite enough to edge out the British who claimed the bronze behind Team USA in silver medal spot. The top six nations - Germany, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain - earned the much-sought-after six qualifying spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Werth showed exactly why she is the most decorated rider in the history of equestrian sport when claiming the Grand Prix Special title the following day with the 14-year-old mare she has carefully nursed back to health and fitness after an injury sustained four years ago. This was her third time to top the Special podium in the 28-year history of the World Equestrian Games.

She was under maximum pressure when last into the arena, with America’s Laura Graves and Verdades sitting in gold medal spot ahead of Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle. Dujardin was the undisputed queen of the sport during her record-breaking partnership with the great Valegro which came to an end when the horse was retired two years ago. And she stepped right back onto centre stage when scoring 81.489 with a mare that is clearly full of potential at only 9 years old. However Werth punched out massive scores to put the result beyond doubt with a mark of 86.246 to push Graves back to silver and Dujardin into bronze.

“Most people know that my heart is so close to this horse. She is a gift!” Werth said of Bella Rose.

And the battle of the giants looked set to recommence in the top-15 Freestyle competition two days later, but that was rescheduled due to weather conditions and eventually cancelled due to logistical problems.

The Netherlands turned the established order of international Para Dressage on its head by winning the team competition and knocking Great Britain off the top of the podium for the very first time at European, World, and Paralympic level.

And, in the end, the Dutch also headed the overall Para-Dressage medal table with five golds, two silvers and two bronzes. The British were next in line with two golds and one silver, while Denmark claimed two golds and a bronze, Brazil had two silvers and the USA sat fifth on the medal table with one silver and three bronzes.

After Grade II’s Nicole den Dulk, Grade III’s Rixt van der Horst, Grade IV’s Sanne Voets, and Grade V’s Frank Hosmar were crowned WEG team champions, Dutch Chef d’Equipe Joyce Heuitink said, “I just can’t believe it! It’s been a dream since I started this job six years ago after London 2012 when the gap with Great Britain was so big. But every year the gap seemed to be getting closer so we kept working hard and just worked on everything that we can. And then you happen to have four amazing riders that do four amazing tests. But we were so nervous and thought ‘what if they beat us by just one per cent?!”

That didn’t happen and the British had to settle for team silver while Germany and Denmark battled it out for bronze and the last of the three qualifying spots on offer for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. And it was the Germans who edged it, by a narrow 0.150 margin.

And the Dutch still weren’t done, Voets going on to become the first ever non-British rider to win three gold medals in one major international championship before team-mate van der Horst did exactly the same in the final Freestyle during which Japan secured its first ever Para Dressage medal.

Great Britain’s Sophie Wells, Italy’s Sara Morganti and popular Danish star Stinna Tange Kaastrup all won double-gold, and Morganti put her personal achievement into perspective. “I feel so happy. I had some health issues and, for a moment, I thought I couldn’t come here but I wanted to so much for my horse and my trainer. We really wanted to do something good and even just to be here was great - but to win gold is a dream!”, she said.

Team USA claimed their fifth consecutive Reining team title, and Belgium’s Bernard Fonck made history when becoming the first-ever European to win the individual title.

The top score posted by their youngest competitor, 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon riding Custom Made Gun, was pivotal to the US team victory. There were 12 national sides in action and Fonck’s second placing individually helped Belgium into silver medal spot for the third time in the history of the Games, while Germany claimed the bronze.

Casey Deary riding Hilldale Farm’s Heavy Duty Chex led the US challenge followed by Daniel Huss and MS Dreamy and Jordan Larson aboard Arc Gunnabeabigstar. And when McCutcheon posted his brilliant score of 229.00 then the Americans had it in the bag with a big final total of 681.0. “I’ve been riding this horse since he was a 4-year-old and he keeps getting better every year,” said McCutcheon. “This is the highest score I have ever posted and being able to get this done representing my country is truly an honour.”

A total of 63 combinations from 20 countries chased down individual gold and it was Fonck and the brilliant What A Wave who brought it home when scoring 227. Team USA’s Dan Huss and Ms Dreamy also made history because the talented 8-year-old horse is the first mare to earn an individual medal in reining at the WEG. It took a run-off for bronze between McCutcheon and Brazil’s Joao Felipe Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again when each scored 225. “I was a little disappointed with myself after my first ride so I let him catch his breath and, when we went back in, I tried to perform a cleaner run,” said the young American when picking his second medal of the tournament.

But no-one was happier than gold medallist Fonck. “This is the first time that a European leaves the World Equestrian Games with the individual gold medal and I could not be any prouder,” he said. “What A Wave is the sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. When I came here I knew that we could probably make it to the top five positions but I would have never imagined that we would claim the gold!”

The aptly-named Rosalind Canter from Great Britain was the stand-out performer in Eventing as she carried her country to the top of the team podium and also claimed individual gold.

Germany led the way after the dressage phase thanks to extraordinary performances from Julia Krajewski with Chipmunk and Ingrid Klimke partnering SAP Hale Bob who filled the top two places. But Canter was right behind them in third, and in the final analysis when they faltered over the following days the British rider rose to pole position when adding nothing to her first-phase scoreline.

Cross-country day over the course designed by Capt. Mark Phillips brought plenty of surprises and saw the German team plummet to sixth. But while Krajewski disappeared from the reckoning, all the way down to 47th place, Klimke took over at the top of the individual rankings with a super-fast clear of the course.

It was the British, Irish and French who were holding the team medal placings going into the final showjumping phase and Irish hearts were pounding loudly after some nervous moments during the final horse inspection. Sarah Ennis had moved into individual silver medal spot and there was a huge cheer when her horse, Horseware Stellor Rebound, eventually got the thumbs up to compete. But it was her compatriot, Padraig McCarthy, a former showjumper who took 10 years out of his riding career to do a doctorate in Business Studies, who would stand on that second step of the podium.

Britain’s advantage over the Irish shrank rapidly when Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul collected 12 faults and then Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo) and Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) each had a single fence down. All the weight was on Canter’s shoulders as she set off, last to go for her side, but a foot-perfect run clinched it. And when Klimke hit the very last fence on the track she dropped to bronze medal position while Canter climbed up to take the individual title. “There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” Canter said afterwards.

The Irish silver medallists had plenty to celebrate as they took their first team podium placing at a world championship since they won the inaugural event in 1966. And McCarthy’s individual success was the nation’s first since John Watson – father of current team member Sam Watson – claimed silver 40 years ago.

Britain, Ireland and the bronze medallists from France all claimed qualifying spots for Tokyo along with the fourth-placed Japanese, and Germany and Australia who finished fifth and sixth.

Team USA won the team title and Australian driver, Boyd Exell, proved he remains in a league of his own by securing a third successive individual WEG gold medal. Despite the valiant efforts of crowd favourite, America’s Chester Weber, who showed icy composure to secure that team gold and grab individual silver, no one was able to rival Exell from the moment he entered the dressage arena on day one.

First in the dressage, third in the marathon stage despite driving with broken brakes and second in the closing cones phase, Exell finished almost 10 points clear of Weber while Edouard Simonet, the 29-year-old Belgian who was once a back-stepper for Exell, took individual bronze medal.

Weber, who also finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France, was overjoyed to secure the unexpected team victory in front of a raucous North Carolina crowd. “I can tell you that was a surprise!”, he said. The Netherlands, WEG champions in 2010 and 2014, lined up in silver while Belgium bagged the bronze.

The Belgians, who are also European bronze medallists, served notice of their intention to change driving’s established order. “We are the future not only of Belgian driving but of international driving,” said Glenn Geerts, who like individual bronze medal winner Simonet is 29 years old, while Dries Degrieck, the third member of the team, is just 23.

“I love training horses. It is a relief to win, I have a huge team of people who have been with me twenty years.”
Australian driver Boyd Exell
Australian driver Boyd Exell
Team Germany won gold in the inaugural Vaulting Nations Team Championship in which Switzerland lined up in silver and Austria claimed the bronze. A total of nine nations lined out and it was the combination of Kristina Boe, Jannik Heiland and the German Squad – Team Norka des VV Koeln-Dunnewald - that excelled when posting breath-taking scores.

“It means the world to us because this is the first time this event has been held…and to come away with the win is outstanding,” said Boe highlighting the enormity of the occasion. “For us, it is so special because as a contingent we are such great friends and I think the opportunity to come together and work as a team is fantastic!”, she added

The Pas-de-Deux partnership of Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini will go down in the history books as the first Italian vaulters to win a gold medal at the WEG. Lupacchini is not long recovered from injury. “At the end of last year I broke my foot and we missed out on the FEI World Cup™ season. It was then we decided that we would come back even better than before. So we trained and trained and repeated the freestyle and we could not be more pleased with the result!” he said.

And when it came to the Freestyle, Boe was back on top once again when taking the Female gold. A formidable competitor and ambassador for the sport, she now holds the European, World Cup and World Championship titles. “As a result of the new Nations Team Championships it is the first time that it is possible to win two medals for an individual. To come away from Tryon with two gold medals makes me speechless and more than grateful!”, Boe said.

Lambert Leclezio from France dominated the individual male category as his artistic impression and utter control meant he was in a league of his own. “It is the accumulation of hard work over the past four years, every day waking up with the end goal of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in mind. It is a real honour to win here for France” he said.

The Squad championship brought Vaulting to a perfect conclusion. With only 0.001 separating leaders Team Germany and Team Switzerland it was always destined to be a nail-biting final and it was the German squad who really rose to the occasion, pinning Switzerland into silver and Austria into bronze.

USA won the Team Jumping Championship but they were chased all the way to the line by a brilliant Swedish side who took silver, while Germany claimed the bronze.

It was an epic battle - “unbelievable!” said US Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “The odds were miniscule that there would be a jump-off for first place… it wasn’t what we were looking for, but the sport doesn’t get any better than this!”

Leading as the day began, the Swiss lost their grip when Werner Muff’s 13-fault round with Daimler was followed by elimination for Janika Sprunger and Bacardi VDL. With six Olympic qualifying places also up for grabs all eyes were also on the minor placings, and in the end the Swiss finished fourth ahead of The Netherlands in fifth and the astonishing Australians who pipped the reigning European champions from Ireland for that coveted sixth spot.

The Swedes, lying fourth, piled on the pressure when adding nothing to their previous day’s scoreline but America’s McLain Ward could have put it away early with an anchorman clear. However a single mistake saw the two sides tied on the same score so all four riders had to go again against the clock. And in the end it was Ward who won it for the host side that also included Laura Kraut, Devin Ryan and Adrienne Sternlicht, with a scorching last-to-go run with the grey mare Clinta.

Germany’s Simone Blum and her fabulous mare DSP Alice never touched a pole all week and in the final two-round medal-decider were simply unbeatable when last to go. The previous, and only other, lady champion was Canada’s Gail Greenough who steered Mr T to victory in Aachen (GER) in 1986. And after their nightmare second round in the team event, it all came right for the Swiss on the final afternoon when Martin Fuchs claimed silver with Clooney ahead of fellow-countryman, and great friend, Steve Guerdat and Bianca in bronze. “Alice has the biggest heart and I think this week she knew that she could win the hearts of all of the sport… she really wanted this win today!” said Blum who was making her championship debut.

The 29-year-old was selected for Tryon because she showed incredible form at top level in recent years, winning the German Ladies title in 2016 and then coming out to top the 2017 German Men’s Championship in which the best German ladies are also entitled to compete.

The sense of achievement of all three who were presented with their medals by IOC President Thomas Bach and FEI President Ingmar De Vos was tangible. (Daphne Deschamps)

Germany’s Simone Blum and her fabulous mare DSP Alice never touched a pole all week and in the final two-round medal-decider were simply unbeatable when last to go.

A breath of fresh air
Longines Ambassador of Elegance Mikaela Shiffrin
Longines iconic HydroConquest collection, meets the expectations of those who are drawn to the open sea while remaining true to the elegance of the Swiss watchmaker. HydroConquest timepieces preserve the traditional style of diving watches, inspired by the unique requirements of the sport. The distinctive characteristics of this collection include water-resistance to 300 metres, a unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crown and case back, crown protection and a double security folding clasp with integrated diving extension.

Highly technical and innovative ceramic has been added to the bezel of the new HydroConquest models. Ultra resistant and scratch-resistant, this insert, which matches the colour of the dial, ties together the fully modernized design and sporty silhouette of this collection.

The brilliance of the hands and the hour markers adorned with Super-LumiNova® stand out in sharp contrast to the dark look of the new grey, black and blue sunray dials. More ergonomic and more comfortable, the strap has also been upgraded, with colours that match the dial, while the metal version combines polished and brushed steel for a truly impressive finish.

Available in 41 mm and 43 mm sizes for models with three hands and a calendar, and 41 mm for the chronograph model, the new variations of the HydroConquest collection will take their rightful places on the wrists of aquatic sports lovers who are looking for the perfect blend of performance and elegance.

Mechanical self-winding movement / L888.2 (ETA A31.L01)
Fonctions :

– hours
– minutes
– seconds
– date at 3 o'clock

Dials :

sunray black, grey or blue, 3 arabic numerals and 10 cabochons, Super-LumiNova®

Cases :

circular, stainless steel, ø 41 mm or 43 mm ; sapphire crystal with multi-layered anti-glare coating on both sides ; crown and screw-down case back ; black/grey/blue ceramic bezels insert ; ceramic bezel in black, grey or blue

Other features :

rhodium-plated hands, Super-LumiNova® ; stainless steel bracelet with double safety folding clasp and integrated diving extension or black/grey/blue rubber strap ; water-resistant to 30 bar (300 m) ; power reserve of 64 hours

to host the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships in 2019
Longines becomes the Title Partner, the Official Timekeeper and the Official Watch of the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships 2019. The German venue of Luhmühlen has been allocated hosting rights from August 28th until September 1st 2019.
The 2019 fixture will be the sixth time that Luhmühlen has hosted the Europeans, having previously staged the Championships in 1975, 1979, 1987, 1999 and most recently in 2011. It also hosted the world championships in 1982. Luhmühlen was the fourth event in the world to become a four-star when it joined this elite group in 2005.

“Luhmühlen is a really wonderful venue and the organising team, headed by Julia Otto, has so much experience in hosting championships that we know they will provide the best possible facilities for the 2019 Europeans and will be a great follow-on from the championships in Strzegom”, FEI Eventing & Olympic Director Catrin Norinder said. “It’s an immense honour to host the next Longines FEI Eventing European Championships and Luhmühlen team is looking forward to the challenge”, event director Julia Otto said.

After Blair Castle in 2015 and Strzegom in 2017, it is a great pleasure for our brand to even further reinforce its partnership with Eventing in becoming the Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships 2019. We are proud to lend our support to this major competition, in a discipline which requires both the horses to be extremely versatile and the riders to have exceptional skills. In addition, this discipline illustrates values of our brand as it combines elegance of dressage, precision of show jumping, speed and courage of cross-country” says Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President Longines and Head of International Marketing.

Quick glance at the results
Swiss rider Martin Fuchs and his mount Clooney set themselves apart by winning the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League, while the Longines Grand Prix resulted in a victory for Daniel Deusser (GER) and Tobago Z. Longines also had the pleasure to take part in the FEI Dressage and Driving World Cup legs, which were won by Isabell Werth (GER) on Emilio and Jérome Voutaz (SWI) respectively. Among the young riders, Molly Hughes Bravo (P) on the amazing Carrickaduff Pet were faster of all at the FEI Jumping Ponies’ Trophy. Nimroid Vannietvelt (B) and What A Wave took the gold medal of the FEI Reining European Championships Juniors and Young Riders.