The Italians proved unbeatable for gold at the FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2014 which drew to a close at Givrins in Switzerland at the weekend. Last year they scored a hat-trick on home ground in Manerbio, but this year they went one better and swept all before them.
The Championships took place at the state-of-the-art CS Ranch in Givrins which is a breeding, training and showing centre for Reining horses owned by Corinna Schumacher, wife of F1 motor-racing driver Michael Schumacher. The venue, located halfway between Geneva and Lausanne, enjoys spectacular views of Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva and was highly praised by visitors and competitors alike.
Entries from six nations – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands – lined out, and from the outset it was clear the Italians would be the ones to beat. They showed extraordinary consistency when taking Thursday’s team title, and placed their stamp of authority all over yesterday’s Individual medal-deciders when scooping gold and silver in both categories.
There were four nations in action in the Junior Team Championship, but the Italians ensured that they secured their fourth title in a row. Enrico Ranieri Volpe produced their best score of 213.5 with Exxcalibur, and with scores of 213.0 for Francesco Pedretti (Elvis Peppy Gold), 212.5 from Linda Rebecca Martinelli (Playgirl on the Rocks) and 212.0 from Enrico Sciulli (Partree 2008) the result was beyond doubt when totalling 639.0.
Germany’s Levin Ludwig and Top Flash Cody matched Volpe’s impressive mark, but while just 1.5 points separated all four of the Italian side, there was more than 10 points of a difference between the highest and lowest German scores. Gina Maria, 2013 Individual Junior gold medallist, posted 210.0 with Big Time Rooster, Madeleine Korbus and Lena Cielo Dream posted 205.5 and Daniel Kalk and Sheza Custom Crome put 203.0 on the board for a team total of 629.0.
There were just three riders on the Dutch and Czech Republic teams and The Netherlands took the bronze when Zoey Kant and It’s Dun Time were awarded a mark of 208.0, Trudy van der Pals and Twist n Freckles posted 205.5 and Jamie Verker and Double R Whiz Kid earned a mark of 188.5 for a team total of 602.0. A final tally of 398.5 left the Czech Republic’s Karoine Karaskova (Smarty Chic Rooster), Tereza Hrdinova (Hahn Es Sweetie) and Brenda Lesniczakova (Ima Lil Pepto) outside the medals.
Italian coach, Filippo Masi, said “our Junior riders were great today!” Italy has great strength in depth where team selection is concerned. “What makes me happy is that the riders change but the enthusiasm and the urge to do well remain. Today these young competitors showed us all that they were responsible and focused”.
There was no disappointment in the German camp. Chef d’Equipe Nico Hoermann said “on the team we had a few new names that had never taken part in an event like this one so I am very pleased! Last year we missed the podium by a heartbeat. Conquering the silver today is fantastic!”
Dutch coach, Rieky Young, said “the first to enter the pen today, Zoey (Kant), is the rider with the most international experience and she did really well. The second, Jamie, was unlucky and incurred a few penalties. Trudy did well for us and overall I am happy and very proud of my team – they handled the pressure of this championship really well!” he pointed out.
There were 18 horse-and-rider combinations in the battle for the Junior Individual title yesterday in which Enrico Sciulli and the flashy sorrel mare, Partree 2008, cllinched their second gold medal of the week when closing their run with a score of 216. “Today my mare went much better than yesterday” said the 17-year-old rider who earned team gold and Individual bronze last summer with The Gunner King. “She still needs to mature a little as far her personality is concerned and that is why sometimes she is not as consistent as she should be in the pen” he added. Sciulli has been training with Italian coach, Masi, for the last month and has also been coached by Francesco Martinotti. “Being able to live this adventure has been great, especially here at the CS Ranch which is the perfect location for an international event. I really enjoyed the team spirit both with my team mates and with the other teams here. In the little “fun time” we had available, we enjoyed ourselves a lot!” Sciulli pointed out.
Roberto Cuoghi, Chair of the Italian Equestrian Federation’s Reining Committee, was delighted with the performances of his Junior riders. “Once again the results obtained here prove that Italian Reining is going in the right direction” he said.
Sciulli’s score was unchallenged when the other two medallists, his team-mate Eric Ranieri Volpe and Germany’s Gina Maria, both finished on a score of 212.5, and it would take a run-off to separate them. It was a thriller right to the end, with the evenly-matched pair once again finishing on a tie when they scoring 212. At this point the sum of the five scores of the judges determined who would claim the silver medal, and it was the Italian who got the nod. Volpe said afterwards, “the first time I went in the pen I was determined to do my best, the second time I was a lot more relaxed because I knew that in any case I had won a medal! My horse was fantastic and always waited for me, even second time around!”
Bronze medallist Gina Maria was delighted with the performance of her 14-year-old stallion Big Time Rooster. “He was great for me today and always listened” she said. It was quite an exceptional result as she had only been riding the horse for 10 days before the Championships. “I really get along with him, I like him a lot and I am so happy we achieved this great result and now he will take a well-deserved rest” she said. Just pipped for a Junior Individual medal was another German, Shawn Wagner who scored 211 with Holly’s Electric Spark.
Young Riders Team
Italy and Germany once again claimed gold and silver respectively in the Young Riders Team Championship, but it was Austria who took the bronze here while The Netherlands missed out on the podium.
The Italian challenge was led by a great score of 217.5 from Giovanni Masi de Vargas and Remins Remedy who took double-gold at the 2013 Junior Championships. Ricardo Calascibetta and Geniune Secolo scored 212.0, Sara Ambrosini and Arc Think a Gunfire scored 210.0 while Elena Kompatscher and Dry Steps produced the drop score to leave Italy on a final tally of 639.5, a full 10 points ahead of Germany in silver medal spot.
Jennifer Luhmer and Peppys Lil Dreamer produced the best German result of 212.5 which was backed up by 209.0 from Franziska Zschau and She’s Lil Dunit and 206.0 from Isabeau Riemann and Charlys Cool Running.
Austria took the bronze when Anna Lisec and Golden Jac the Boss scored 206.0, Marina Bottoli and Whizable posted 204.5 and Nicole Riegler and It’s Golden Time Jack were awarded 200.5 while Elena Koelbl and Mr Rieta Classic were the drop score here. The final Austrian tally was 611.0,while the Dutch missed out on the medals with a team-total of 584.5. The Netherands’ Giomani Puts (Color Me Cuervo) produced a strong score of 207.5, Sharon de Groot (Conquistador Sis) posted 202.5 and Lariss Klaassen (Brim Hat’s Benz) scored 174.5.
Italian coach, Masi, had plenty to be pleased about where his gold-medal-winning side was concerned. “All the riders were very good, they were a true team and were always focused. Even though we had a little bobble at the start of the competition with our first combination, the other riders solved the situation to bring home another gold” he said.
German coach, Nico Hoermann, was also well-satisfied. “Considering we only had three horse/rider combinations I am twice as happy we won the silver medal!” he said while Austrian coach, Chuck Klipfel, was also upbeat. “This was the first time our riders were showing their horses in such an important competition. We had a couple of problems but they took the pressure well. I told them all to do their best and they did, so I am truly happy!” he pointed out.
Young Riders Individual
The Young Riders Individual Championship brought the FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2014 to a close yesterday, and there were big celebrations when Giovanni Masi de Vargas secured gold once again with his lovely stallion, the faithful Remins Remedy owned by Luca Zeni. Last to go, the pair racked up the winning score of 218.5 for a clear and concise victory.
“I am so happy for this result!” said the newly-crowned champion. “Remins Remedy was incredible from the beginning to the end! In the first stop I didn’t want to push him too much, mainly because I wanted to execute a pattern that just got better and better. He always listened to me and waited for me. He’s a super horse and I don’t know how to thank hime enough. This is our sixth consecutive medal and I am on cloud nine!” the young Italian said.
Italy had even more to celebrate when Alessia Simoncini and Top O Spanish posted 213.0 to take the silver. “I didn’t push my horse too much in the first set of circles, but in the rest of the pattern he was great and gave me all he had” Simoncini said. “I really want to thank my trainer, Marco Manzi, for helping me achieve this result. Without his help this wouldn’t have been possible” she added.
Austria’s Marina Bottoli and Whizable claimed Young Riders Individual bronze with a score of 210.5 on their debut together and team coach, Chuck Klipfel, was most impressed. “Yesterday their performance didn’t go that well but they worked hard, corrected some mistakes and today they earned this medal – I am very proud of both of them” he said. Bottoli has only been riding Whizable for three weeks. “We haven’t really had much time to get to know each other and yesterday I wasn’t happy with our performance but today I am very happy!” she said. Fellow-Austrian, Anna Lisec riding Golden Jac the Boss, missed by the podium by just one point.
FEI Director of Driving, Vaulting and Reining, Bettina de Rham, attended the Championships and complimented the organisation and facilities. “I witnessed a high level of competition here in Givrins over the last two days. Both the horses and riders were well prepared. The location is beautiful and the organisation was perfect. Everything was organised in detail, from the stabling of the horses to the awards presentations. I truly hope that in the future, events such as this one will take place here”.
FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2014:
Junior Team Championship: GOLD - Italy 639.0: Exxcaliber (Eric Ranieri Volpe) 213.5, Elvis Peppy gold (Francesco Pedretti) 213.0, Playgirl on the Rocks (Linda Martinelli) 212.5, Partree (Enrico Sciuli) 212.0; SILVER - Germany 629.0: top Flash Cody (Levin Ludwig) 213.5, Big Time Rooster (Maria Gina) 210.0, Lena Cielo Dream (Madeleine Korbus) 205.5, Sheza Custome Crome (Daniel Kalk) 203.0; BRONZE - Netherlands 602.0: It’s Dun Time (Zoey Kant) 208.0, Twist n Freckles (Trudy van der Pals) 205.5, Double R Whiz Kid (Jamie Verker) 188.5.
Junior Individual Championship: GOLD - Partree (Enrico Sciulli) ITA 216.0; SILVER - Exxcaliber (Eric Ranieri Volpe) 212.5 (212) ITA; BRONZE – Big Time Rooster (Gina Maria) GER 212.5 (212).
Young Rider Team Championship: GOLD - Italy 639.5: Remins Remedy (Giovanni Masi de Vargas) 217.5, Geniune Secolo 9Riccardo Calascibetta) 212.0, Arc Think a Gunfire (Sara Ambrosini) 210.0, Dry Steps (Elena Kompatscher) 0; SILVER - Germany 629.5: Peppys Lil Dreamer (Jennifer Luhmer) 212.5, She’s Lil Dunit (Franziska Zschau) 209.0, Charlys Cool Running (Isabeau Riemann) 208.0; BRONZE – Austria 611.0: Golden Jac the Boss (Anna Lisec) 206.0, Whizable (Marina Bottou) 204.5, It’s Golden Time Jac (Nicole Riegler) 200.5, Mr Rietta Classic (Elena Koelbl) 0.
Young Rider Individual Championship: GOLD - Remins Remedy (Giovanni Masi de Vargas) ITA 218.5; SILVER - Top O Spanish (Alessia Simoncini) ITA 213.0; BRONZE – Whizable (Marina Bottoli) AUT 210.5.