• FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking Number 1: Isabell Werth (GER) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

    FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking Number 1: Isabell Werth (GER) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

  • Longines Rankings Show Jumping Number 1: Steve Guerdat (SUI) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

    Longines Rankings Show Jumping Number 1: Steve Guerdat (SUI) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

  • FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings Number 1: Oliver Townend (GBR) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

    FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings Number 1: Oliver Townend (GBR) Photo: Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans

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Longines title sponsor of Royal International Horse Show

Longines has extended its support of the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead for three years. The luxury watch brand already sponsors the entire Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, of which Hickstead hosts the British leg, but Longines has now taken on sponsorship of the entire show from 2019 to 2021. Hickstead’s iconic main arena will also become the Longines International Arena. Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn said; “We are extremely fortunate to have a longstanding sponsorship agreement with Longines, a prestigious company and the biggest supporter of international equestrian sport. Our sport simply could not exist without such sponsors, and we are delighted to have signed with Longines for a further three years.” This year, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ class is back on its traditional slot on Friday afternoon, while the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup returns to Sunday afternoon.

Eiken Sato is back

For five years, Japanese rider Eiken Sato was off the competition stage and out of the international jumping arena. The former Stephex rider has now reported back into the limelight at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP). Here, Sato rode Gestüt Lewitz horses; and with Paul Schockemöhle the Japanse rider has started his second career. In the summer of 2014, 33 year old Eiken Sato disappears from the international stage after 188 starts and nine victories. Family affairs saw the rider fly back to his native Japan. Eiken Sato grew up in the Buddhist temple complex of Ogawa in the mountains near Nagano, where his father headed the temple. There were no cars, so all the locals travelled on foot or on horseback. This forged the special connection between the Sato family and horses. Eiken’s father Shodo Sato was not only a Buddhist monk, but also a member of the Japanese jumping team looking to qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. A global boycott on these Olympics following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan laid waste to Shodo Sato’s dream. His son Eiken had dreams of his own, however, competing for Japan at the 2008 Hong Kong Olympics and the WEG of 2006 in Aachen and 2010 in Lexington. At the age of 18, he moved to Belgium to join the Stephex Stables as a very successful stable rider. Older brother Kenki also caught the horse bug severely, opting instead for eventing and representing the Japanse team at the 2012 London Olympics. Now, after a five year absence, Eiken Sato is firmly back in Europe and back in the saddle, riding and competing for Paul Schockemöhle.

Van Gogh focuses fully on breeding

KWPN Keur stallion Van Gogh will focus fully on breeding in the future. The son of Numero Uno, now 17-years-old, was bred by Peter and Renate Stultiëns and was so successful in the jumping sport, first under Caroline Müller (GER) and later under Marco Kutscher (GER). For years the stallion competed at the very highest level, winning among others the LGCT Grand Prix of Valkenswaard and the EEM Longines Masters Grands Prix of Los Angeles and Hong Kong. At the stallion show of the Wiemselbach stables, Van Gogh will officially say farewell to the sport, after which he will be fully available for breeding. Van Gogh has been making a name for himself as a stud for several years now, and a wonderful future as a top progenitor awaits. A number of his offspring are already recording very appealing results in international competition; among others Bella Brown, Dena-Sienne, Ceylon, Vincent 163, Vallejo, Fabio and Giro de la Luna. Van Gogh’s son Innovation (ds. Contendro) is approved for the KWPN, and in 2016 Van Gogh himself was awarded the Keur predicate for his contribution to breeding.

Nip Tuck is making his comeback

Carl Hester’s Olympic, world and European medal winning Nip Tuck is making a comeback at the CDI3* at Keysoe (GBR). The 15-year-old gelding by Don Ruto x Animo, known as ‘Barney’, has not been out to competitions since his individual fourth place at the 2017 European championships at Gothenburg, Sweden, but Hester reports the big gelding is in absolute top form; “He is feeling incredible well, hot as hell, and I am really looking forward to competing him again. Since Gothenburg he gave him a break and his owner, Jane de la Mare, has been riding him and having fun with him.” Under Carl Hester the ‘spooky’ bay gelding had been a fixture on the British team over the past years, helping the team to medal positions at the 2014 WEG in Caen, the 2015 European championships at Aachen and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The pair also came third at the 2017 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Omaha. “From a team perspective Hawtins Delicato is the strongest contender for this season, but Barney will stay here. I can aim him at a team place as a reserve horse if needed. I really want to have some fun with him this year and aim him at the 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas,” Hester said.

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