Major National Partners
Support National Partners
Australian Team Partners
Linz CSIO4* Grand Prix success for James Paterson-Robinson
The second round of the Jumping selection series at Linz CSIO4* Austria ended on a high note for the Australians with James Paterson-Robinson and Lanosso finishing fourth in the Grand Prix of Linz, putting themselves front and centre for consideration for the Australian Olympic jumping team.
Italian Matteo Giunti won the competition on Bambino Van’t Zorgvliet, ahead of Cassio Rivetti of the Ukraine and Brazilian Jose Reynoso. (See the full results here).
James rode an excellent first round on his 13 year old bay gelding Lanosso to achieve one of only six clear rounds over a technical 1.60m track designed by Austrian Course Designer Franz Madi that was testing for many combinations. James’ round was a well ridden, careful and scopey effort under pressure, and added the required certificate of capability for the London Olympics to this combination’s credentials.
The course was intriguing for two lines, firstly the double at fence four of 1.50x1.60m one stride oxers at 10.60m followed by either 4, 5 or 6 strides to optional style fences before turning out of the entry gate corner to the 4.0m water four strides from the end of the arena, and then 6 or 7 strides to the vertical, oxer, vertical treble at 7.90m and 10.80m. Very challenging lines and fences 4 to 7 accounted for a large percentage of the faults.
The Australian riders who produced solid rounds during the Nations Cup held on Friday encountered some horse problems following the significant effort required, and then followed by some heavy work during additional Grand Prix Qualifying rounds on Saturday in very wet and heavy ground conditions.
Matt Williams was unable to bring Watch Me vd Mangelaar back for the Grand Prix, neither was James Paterson-Robinson able to produce a happy Qulander ready for the main event. Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set were also unable to participate in the main event due to some leg soreness issues.
The dilemma for the Olympic team selection process is that none of these combinations are able to deliver a total score for the Selection Panel to take an objective measurement for two positions on the team to join recently nominated Edwina Tops-Alexander.
This doesn’t mean that these horses cannot make the team, but it will be far more difficult to match the already posted results over two rounds by Paul Athanasoff, Julia Hargreaves and Amy Graham last weekend in Lummen.
Matt Williams replaced Watch Me with Bolero Van’t Heike, however they had three rails down before electing to retire. Danielle Butcher on Twins Big Higgs showed both the horse and rider’s inexperience at this level but they will have gained from the opportunity to participate in the selection series as a chance to learn about the process and the pressure at the top end of European competition.
The Australian Jumping Nomination process is broken into two phases; the first was for all intending nominations to participate in either Lummen or Linz and post a score in the first rounds of the Nations Cup and the Grand Prix. Following the first phase the penalties incurred during both rounds are to be added and the best five performed combinations will be invited to participate in the final competition to be held in Bourg-en-Bresse, France on the last weekend in May.
A further three positions at this competition can be nominated by the Selection Panel. The final eight combinations must have an MES (certificate of capability) to be eligible to be considered at the final event.
Australia has an invitation to the Copenhagen Nations Cup in the Promotional League next weekend and has chosen to use the opportunity for Mark Lindh on Coolio, Matt Williams with Bolero and James Passy on Carry Star to try to obtain an MES by achieving four faults or less in the first round of the Nations Cup.
While Copenhagen is not part of the selection series for London, it provides another valuable chance for less experienced combinations to step up to the team competition scenario and gain valuable experience for future campaigns.
The Copenhagen Nations Cup contingent will comprise Mark Lindh, James Passy, James Paterson-Robinson, Matt Williams and Danielle Butcher.
Following Copenhagen, the National Selection Panel will nominate which combinations will be invited to compete for the Olympic Team selection at Bourg-en-Bresse, based on their results from these earlier events and attainment of an MES.
12 May 2012
Mixed results for the second group of Australian Jumpers
Story by Peter Cooke, Photos from Nicol Taylor
Following last weekend’s rain drenched grass arena in Lummen, the next group of Australian jumping riders were faced with a hot and dry sand arena for the Linz CSIO4* in Austria. The selectors are assessing the riders over the first round of the Nations’ Cup class and the first round of the Grand Prix on Sunday. Six combinations were assessed at the Lummen CSIO4* in Belgium last weekend.
The warm up day on Thursday 10 May provided our riders with a good 1.45m track to get the feel of the sand and fibre arena, and at the end of a massive class of 81 horses Matt Williams on his back up horse of Bolero Van’t Heike ended up in 2nd place and earning himself a spot in the grand Prix class on Sunday. Danielle Butcher and Twins
Big Higgs made an impressive start with a clear round and just 1 time penalty for a top 20 finish. Wendy Schaeffer and her mare Koyuna Sun Set had a good warm up with one rail down and will need to qualify for the Grand Prix later in the weekend. James Paterson Robinson rode his stallion Qulander Z in the earlier 1.40m class for a comfortable start to the weekend.
Unfortunately, Harley Brown and Cassiato were unable to join the team in Linz due to the big grey gelding contracting a viral infection and under veterinary advice was unable to travel for fear of adding further complications. In addition, Mark Lindh and Coolio were also non-starters due to Coolio not travelling too well to Linz and stepped off the truck with a sore front leg, and despite some rapid attention from the team vet Dr David Johnson, was unable to present to the trot up on Day One.
This means under the Olympic Games Jumping Nomination Policy that both combinations have requested and received an exemption to participate in the Phase 1 of the selection, however under separate direction one or both may be invited to the final competitions in Borg-en Bresse, France at the end of May. The consequence is that neither combination can automatically win their way onto the team and will have to rely on their performances over one weekend and the views of the National Selection Panel to earn a spot on the team.
Nations Cup day is always a tense build up as 15 Nations look to prove their wares and compete as a team as opposed to the normal individual competitions – a very different atmosphere and pressure for all concerned as the event unfolds. Australian Riders have a twofold purpose – to compete in the Nations Cup for the team but in this instance to put a sound performance on the board for their own future selection prospects.
The team consisted of Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set, Danielle Butcher and Twins Big Higgs, Matt Williams with Watch me vd Mangelaar, and James Paterson Robinson with Qulander Z.
Austrian Course Designer Franz Madl put together a very well-crafted but solid 12 fence course which from the onset was going to test all nations to the limit. The 120x100m arena has been re-modelled during the past year and now is a bowl shape with a small lake in the middle serving as a drain or sump in the event of heavy rain and the well balanced new sand and fibre surface has to be watered and dressed every 30 horses.
The track had 2 key lines with number 3 a 1.52x2.00m triple bar 23metres to a 7.8m double of 1.55m verticals. This was a very definite 6 strides for 90 per cent of the class but the few who tried the 5 strides were not necessarily disadvantaged – the line was responsible for many errors during the afternoon.
The next line to really sort out the class was turning after the 3.8m water jump directly away from the in-gate to a 1.60m wall followed 26.2m or six strides to the treble of a 1.50m square oxer, 7.80m to a 1.55m vertical and 11.00m to a 1.50x1.70m oxer – the back rail was a long way for many combinations. At the end of the arena following the treble was a 1.60 rail vertical.
There was a significant difference between the Lummen and Linz events due to the rain and nature of the going, however both course designers achieved the best results with their adaptation to the conditions resulting in a very fair comparison for our Nomination process.
Australia had drawn 8th of the 15 nations and so Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set were our first combination. They jumped very positively and clearly benefited from participating in the Nomination process in the lead up to the Kentucky WEG as they made the majority of the track look quite easy and apart from rolling the top rail of the 1.60m vertical after the treble completed a first rate 4 fault round.
Danielle Butcher and Twins Big Higgs were competing for their country for the first time and apart from some nerves on the first day, looked very at home in the main ring. Inexperience for both horse and rider accounted for a rail at the first of the tall double of verticals after the triple bar and then again both the B and C elements of the treble. The speed at 400m/min also took its toll and added a further 2 penalties to her 12 jumping faults for a total of 14.
Matt Williams at 27 years is now a very experienced campaigner for Australia and although aboard a relatively inexperienced Watch Me was not able to meet his own lofty standards and had four rails down for a total score of 16. They were at the high faulting double and treble fences and the 1.80m wide last fence oxer. Matt has decided that his horse needs some treatment for a sore back and will not compete with Watch Me again at this show.
James Paterson-Robinson did not have the best of weekends at Lummen, and was looking to make up ground at Linz with his and Ger Poels’ stallion Qulander Z. When this pair entered the ring, there had only been 7 clear rounds from over 50 horses and only 10 horses earlier we had to sit and endure probably the best round of the afternoon from Niack De L’Abbaye who was James’ ride in Kentucky and now competing for Ukraine. Under significant pressure to perform James and Qulander delivered a faultless round earning an automatic spot in the Grand Prix and a certificate of capability for the Olympic Games.
Australia finished the teams event on 18 faults, the same as Spain and Italy and in front of Belgium and Austria, however did not accept the invitation to return for the second round. The eventual winners on the afternoon were Ukraine followed by Brazil and Canada. View the full results here
All riders were well supported by National Coach Gilbert Boeckmann and will continue to benefit from participation at this level.
The Linz CSIO4* Grand Prix class starts at 2pm Sunday 13 May European summer time or 12:00am AEST Monday 14 May.
Catch all the action online on FEI TV as they broadcast from Linz – visit
For full event information visit http://www.linzerpferdefestival.at/
10 May 2012
This weekend’s Jumping nomination event
Another group of Australian jumping combinations will get their first chance in front of national selectors this weekend when they compete at the Linz CSIO4* (AUT).
Australian selectors are on their way to Austria to watch the athletes who are vying for a position on the four* member team that will represent Australia at the London Olympic Games.
Currently 12 combinations are eligible for a position on the four person team but with Edwina Tops-Alexander already occupying a position through pre-selection, there are just three spots up for grabs.
Last weekend saw six riders contest the Lummen CSIO4* (BEL) and the remaining combinations will line up at Linz when the event gets underway on Thursday.
The Jumping combinations that will compete at Linz CSIO4* are: Danielle Butcher and Big Higgs, Matt Williams and Watch Me VD Mangelaar, James Paterson Robinson and Qulander and Wendy Schaeffer and Koyuna Sun Set.
Missing from this weekend’s team is Harley Brown who was due to start at Linz with Cassiatio.
Despite undergoing veterinary treatment for a virus, advice given to Brown by both his own vet and the Australian team was that Cassiatio was not well enough to travel to Linz.
Brown requested special consideration to miss the first jumping nomination event and continue in the selection process. EA has accepted the request for special consideration under clause four of the Jumping Nomination criteria which advises that the selection panel may exempt combinations from nomination events.
Before selectors invite the combination to proceed to the next round of the nomination process at Bourg-en-Bresse, Brown and Cassiatio must now satisfactorily compete at the Roosendaal CSI2* in France on 24-26 May to prove the horse’s fitness.
“This is disappointing news for Harley but our riders are experienced and know that an issue such as this can sometimes happen in our sport. But as always the welfare of our horses is paramount,” said National Performance Director for Jumping, Stephen Lamb.
“Our national selectors are focused on fielding the best possible team and this nomination process is a proven system which I am confident will give us the right team for London. After this weekend selectors will have a much better idea of who will be in the running for a position on what we hope will be the best Jumping team Australia has
sent to an Olympic Games,” he added.
The Aussies are set to come up against tough competition this weekend with top nations Italy, Brazil, Canada and Germany among the starting line-up. Italy won the CSIO4* in Lummen last weekend and will certainly be the ones to beat in Linz.
But the real competition for our Aussie athletes will be against their fellow team members – after strong performances last weekend from the Australians, this weekend’s team will need to stop at nothing to impress the selectors.
Linz CSIO4* will take place from 10 – 13 May. Stay tuned to equestrian.org.au for results and highlights.
Catch all the action online on FEI TV as they broadcast from Linz – visit
For full event information visit http://www.linzerpferdefestival.at/
*A fifth combination will act as the team’s reserve