Who leads the charge? Who sets the pace? And who has the power to change everything?
This weekend, we're heading to the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials, where Leg One of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series begins with a bang. Thirty horses and riders have made it through The Cut - now, it's time to find out who has to face the judges first. Join us for the Chatsworth Draw
How does it work?Horse and rider combinations are seeded into three groups based on prior performance - there's the A team, which features the world-beaters, the household names, and the medal-winners. Then there's the B team, a formidable group of up-and-comers who are proving themselves on the world stage, with impressive results. Finally, there's the C team - and they're hungry for the top spots.
Once they're through the initial seeding process, our competitors numbers are randomly drawn by ERM presenter Nicole Brown. The draw determines the order in which they'll enter the ring - will they have the tough task of trying to impress the judges early on? Will they go straight after an Event Rider Masters champion? Or will they close out the day's competitions, leaving an impression on the scoreboard and the spectators, for better or for worse?
Leg One of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series will begin on Saturday, the 11th of May, at the Dodson and Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials. The competition will begin with Saturday's dressage phase, which will be broadcast from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. BST.
The first horse and rider combination to head down the centreline will be Sweden's Malin Josefsson riding Agaton V. The morning's session will feature hot competition from Australia's Chris Burton, the French phenomenon Astier Nicolas, and Irish silver medalist Sam Watson.
British gold medalist Tom McEwen will be the afternoon's first competitor, riding his Belton Grantham Cup winner Figaro van het Broekxhof. He'll have to fend off hot competition from last week's Badminton winner Piggy French, and the runner-up, Oliver Townend - but both riders will come forward on inexperienced horses.
The day's final session is red-hot and jam-packed with potential leaders. Laura Collett and London 52 have been on the form of their lives this spring, and can never be discounted in the dressage arena, while fellow Brit Gemma Tattersall brings forward a big gun in the form of her Rio Olympics mount, Quicklook V. Germany's Julia Krajewski has earned herself a reputation for being unbeatable in the first phase, but can she continue her lucky streak with Amande de b'Neville? Or will we see Pippa Funnell's dressage superstar MGH Grafton Street deliver a personal best and leave the competition in the dust?
For a full list of starting times, click here
DHL appointed new official logistics provider for Event Rider Masters 2019
DHL Trade Fairs & Events responsible for logistics and transport services at six ERM events in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and UK
DHL Trade Fairs & Events, the specialists for fair and event logistics and part of DHL Freight, will be coordinating the transport and storage of equipment, venue logistics, and on-site support for this year’s Event Rider Masters, the world’s leading Eventing series.
Founded in 2016, ERM is a condensed two-day version of the traditional Olympic class Three Day event, featuring the traditional three disciplines of Dressage, Showjumping and Cross Country. The series will stage six events across the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Ireland, and will offer the world's top riders a prize fund of £350,000.
Stephan Engisch, Head of Trade Fairs & Events said: “We are happy to partner with ERM to make the series become reality. Speed, agility and striving for excellence are shared values between both our organizations. Our event project team is already looking forward to winning the logistics race after all riders have crossed the finish line.”
ERM CEO Jim O’Toole commented: “We are delighted to welcome a company of DHL’s global stature to the ERM commercial partners group. They bring experience and status to a key area of our business as we grow our business across five European markets. We look forward to working with them on the logistics of delivering a world-class series featuring the very best riders and horses.”
The cross-country was billed as both a mental and physical challenge for both horse and rider. A course that would challenge the fitness of our athletes, their partnership and trust in one another and would also require focus and strategy from start to finish.
It was a course that saw even the best of the best crumble, and in some places tumble, and it certainly provided a leader board shake up. GBR went into day 3 the dominant nation, filling 8 of the top 10 places, however by the end of the day New Zealand and Australia had clubbed together to give the antipodeans the upper hand.
It was, however, Oliver Townend that reigned supreme at the end of the day. Having piloted dressage leader Cillnabradden Evo round clear with 10.6 time penalties the pair slipped down to the rankings to 7th, but the former Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class put on a display of pure brilliance to power home just 1 second over the optimum time to complete on 21.1.
Piggy French has had the most phenomenal start to the British Eventing season and showed everyone why as Vanir Kamira made light work of Eric Winter's track. Completing with just 0.8 time faults the WEG Team Gold Medallist moved up to 2nd place, 5.3 penalties behind compatriot Townend.
Christopher Burton (AUS) moves up to 3rd and 5th with Graf Liberty and Cooley Lands following two blisteringly quick cross-country rounds. Both horses will remain on their dressage scores going into the final jumping phase.
Team GBR Dominate
Day 1 concluded with a British top 5, by the end of day 2 the British dominance had extended to the top 8, with just Christopher Burton (AUS) and Andrew Nicholson (NZL) slipping into 9th and 10th.
No change for top spot with Oliver Townend's Cillnabraden Evo being unrivalled in the dressage arena. Stable mate Ballaghmor Class gave him a run for his money to finish in 2nd on 21.1. Christian Steiner (AUT), the judge at E, actually having them in the top spot. Oliver Townend not only making history in producing a record breaking score, but becomes the first person in Badminton history to hold the top 2 places at the conclusion of dressage.
Tom McEwen & Piggy French both move down one place to occupy 3rd and 4th respectively. GBR stalwart Pippa Funnell sits in 5th with Billy Walk On after producing a 26.5 dressage on the 10-year-old gelding by Billy Mexico.
Kitty King & Millie Dumas move down to 6th and 7th. Millie being the highest place first timer and also the youngest rider in the top ten at just 26 years of age.
Mr Bass & Laura Collett come with an army of loyal fans and gave them a test to remember with 26.7 - however split the judge's opinion by 4%
An unassailable lead?
Leading British riders dominated the first day of dressage at their home 5*, with British riders occupying the top 5 places on the leader board at the half way point.
Double Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials Champion Oliver Townend provided the early wow factor on Dressage Day 1, with Cillnabraden Evo. Setting a new Badminton record of 19.7 the pair took an early, and commanding, lead over the rest of the field.
With a flourish of 10s the former World Number 1 topped the leaderboard by some considerable margin.
World Equestrian Games gold medallist Tom McEwen sits in 2nd place with Toledo De Kerser following a very well executed test, for 24.7. With the 12-year-old’s work now much more established Tom is able to ride for the higher marks, and Toledo certainly delivered. Only 5 penalties away from Oliver, this could be Tom’s year with a phenomenal jumping record to their name.
Fellow WEG team mate, Piggy French completed the podium at the end of day one with Trevor Dicken’s Vanir Kamira. An elated French paid tribute to sister Nini French on helping produce Vanir Kamira for the event, whilst he was competing in Kentucky.
Kitty King is no stranger to 5* level however for Vendredi Biats it was a first-time affair. A 27.3 leaves them just outside of the top 3, but with Eric Winter’s thought-provoking cross-country challenge still ahead of them there is everything still to play for.
26-year-old, Badminton first-timer Millie Dumas and Artistiek produced a test of a lifetime to sit in 5thon 27.3, the same score as Kitty King. A horse renowned for being a bit spooky, Millie managed to keep it all together to ride a beautiful test.
Sunshine and showers get this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials underway. The black skies adding an air of drama to proceedings as Wednesday afternoon's first horse inspection got underway.
A veritable fashion parade of country collections, Fairfax & Favor boots and a torrent of tweed were the order of the day.
The dramatic back drop of Badminton House in all of it's glory wasn't the only thing to add an extra element of drama to the afternoon. Tamra Smith (USA) & Wembley were sent to the Holding Box, along with Sweden's Hanna Berg & Quite Survivor. Both were subsequently withdrawn.
Izzy Taylor's Springpower decided that trotting was far too civilised and that the lure of the cross-country course was far too much, with a sudden break for freedom. Luckily Tim Price was on hand to athletically leap into action to help anchor the runaway bay.
With the majority of equine athletes being well behaved Louise Harwood's imposing grey Balladeer Miller Man gave the expectant crowd something to look at with a display of aerial acrobatics.
Chatsworth House is a setting as timeless as the sport itself: for centuries, it has been the seat of Dukes, Duchesses and, in more recent history, sporting champions. It may be one of the most beautiful and exclusive locations in England, but Chatsworth means business - only a handful of competitors have ever made the time across its infamous cross-country track. Prepare for an incomparable leaderboard shake-up.
The stage is set for an epic showdown of guts and gumption. But the first phase of the competition? Making it through #ERMtheCut, in which our field of entrants is whittled down to the final thirty. Thirty of the biggest stars in the sport of eventing. Thirty riders, and thirty horses, who are determined to put on a show you'll never forget. Here's what to expect.
Featuring eight of the world’s top 20 event riders, and spanning nine different nationalities, the Chatsworth line-up is a veritable who’s-who of eventing talent. The hot class of thirty includes all three of our previous series winners, the Event Rider Masters themselves: 2016 victor and World Number One Oliver Townend dons the premiere tabard aboard double ERM runner-up Cillnabradden Evo, while 2017 winner Gemma Tattersall follows him into battle as number three aboard her Rio Olympics mount Quicklook V. 2018 saw the title head to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s finest, and Aussie Chris Burton (10) will be looking to hang onto it for another year. The fastest man in the world will be riding his exciting new horse Lawtown Chloe – but will she be speedy enough to fend off pretenders to the throne?
There’ll be plenty of those: recent Belton winners Tom McEwen and Figaro van het Broekxhof will compete under number two, while Tom’s fellow gold medal-winning teammate - and reigning Chatsworth title-holder - Piggy French will pilot her secret weapon Brookfield Inocent in the fourth slot.
You can find half the dynamic EquiRatings team in the commentary box, but while Diarm Byrne props up the mic, his business partner and best friend Sam Watson will be blazing around the course in fifth position aboard the striking dun Tullabeg Flamenco. He'll need to be quick - after all, he's got busy Izzy Taylor just behind him wearing number six. Cool, calm, and collected, she's one of the fastest women around.
Meanwhile, we'll see a match-race of future superstars of the British team as Junior European Champion Bubby Upton (24) and Fernhill Rockstar face off against former Pony European Champion Yasmin Ingham (25) and Rehy DJ. The last time we saw this competitive duo come head-to-head was in the Young Rider National Championships, when Yaz edged Bubby into second place. Could this be Bubby's redemption song?
Ireland's Cathal Daniels (8) and Rioghan Rua have strong Chatsworth form, and they'll need to use all of it to close the backstop against the continental contingent. France's pin-up boy Astier Nicolas (9) and Arpege du Mancel head a formidable front, while German national championJulia Krajewski (11) can never be underestimated. She'll head into the trenches on Amande de b'Neville, while Dutch national champion Tim Lips comes armed with the dynamic Eclips.
With four leg-winning combinations, eight leg-winning riders, and multiple Olympic medallists heading to Derbyshire to battle it out for their share of the £50,000 prize pot, leg one of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series promises to be action-packed from start to finish. And at Chatsworth? Well, nothing is ever guaranteed - no matter how many medals you've won.
EMMA McNab and the talented 10-year-old Fernhill Tabasco put in a winning performance at this year’s Tattersalls’ International Horse Trials in County Meath, Ireland to take the CIC3*.
Proud owners of the 10-year-old bay gelding, Dom and Poppy Worcester were excited to be present at the event to see the pairs first big win since being produced by Emma from the age of four.
Emma and Toby, as he is known at home, started the event with a fantastic dressage score of 21.90 penalties and were in second place on the leader board at this stage.
A clear round in the show jumping followed and their cross-country round saw them jump a classy clear and finish with just 5.20 time penalties to claim the winning spoils in the George Mernagh Memorial CIC3*.
Said Emma: “Toby was fantastic from start to finish at the event. This is my first big win since moving to the UK and he (Fernhill Tabasco) is so deserving of it. We have been working really hard and he feels in top form."
Emma and Toby now head to Luhmühlen CCI*** in Germany in two weeks’ time. This will be their final event in the lead up to selection of the Australian team for the World Equestrian Games in September.
Earlier this year Emma and Fernhill Tabasco were listed on the Equestrian Australia Green Eventing Squad. This is for combinations that have demonstrated a capability for medal performances at major championship level.
Success continued for the McNab team with Kevin in good form taking third place in the Eventing Ireland CCI2* with the talented Brookfield Quality, owned by Chloe and John Perry and Alison Swinburn.
With the top three FEI Ranked Riders in the World, among the entries, the competition promised to be fierce right from the start.
In a Leg that produced both the highest ERM Completion and Cross Country clear jumping rates, the Home Nation’s Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD, held their nerve to finish on top of the Podium with 3 seconds to spare.
“Bobby did such a wonderful job today. It was the best feeling to ride through the Schloss Park with so many people cheering us on.” Said Ingrid after taking up her place on the top of the podium.
European Gold Medallist Ingrid Klimke came into the competition as the EquiRatings favourite to win. As second last to go in the dressage, the expectations were high for Ingrid and her European Gold Medal Partner SAP Hale Bob OLD. Beginning her dressage test trending on scores in the teens they finished just .6 of a penalty in front of the World Number 1, Oliver Townend. Tension was high as they entered the show jumping arena, a foot perfect clear ensured they kept hold of their lead. As the final combination to head out on the twisting Cross Country Course, Ingrid was determined to ride fast and clear, which is exactly what she did to claim the Wiesbaden ERM Title.
Recent Land Rover Kentucky CCI4* Champion and FEI World Number 1, Oliver Townend produced a stunning test with Sally-Anne Eglington’s Cillnabradden Evo to begin their ERM season in style. Scoring an incredible 22.8 and beating their CIC3* Personal Best by 2.5 marks, the pair held on to the top spot for the majority of the dressage day. Jumping a stunning clear and adding nothing to their dressage score in the show jumping phase, the pair headed out on the Cross Country course as the penultimate combination and held their 2nd place.
“I am thrilled with the horse,” said Oliver “To get so close to Hale Bob is very special and I couldn’t be happier with how he has performed.”
Rising from 5th after dressage by adding just 0.8 show jumping time faults to their score, German Olympic Silver Medallist, Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot took their second consecutive Wiesbaden ERM podium place by finishing third this afternoon.
Speaking after cross country Krajewski said, “Sam loves it here and he’s always been really comfortable in front of all of the people watching him. I was maybe a bit conservative at the start but by the end I could let him run and jump. He really loves his job and I love riding him. I am very proud to share the podium with two legends.”
World Number 3 Tim Price (NZL) and Joanne Pullen’s Cekatinka scored a disappointing 31.4 in the dressage, which left the pair in 7th place going into the show jumping. With just one pole down to add to their score they headed out on the cross country in 8th. After a clear and fast cross country round, Tim and Cekatinka finished on their post show-jump score of 35.4 to climb from 7th to 5th on the final leader board.
“I’m super happy with the Mare, she went out there and gave it her all showing everyone the class that she has!” commented Price.
Michael Jung and CIC3 star debutant Corazon, scored a respectable 34.8 in the dressage to leave them in 15th place before the show jumping. The World Number 2 added 2 show jumping time penalties to his dressage score, going into the cross country in 9th position. Putting in a masterful performance on the 8yr old Mare, Michael added 5.2 time penalties after the Cross Country to sit on 42.4.
Speaking after his Cross Country round Michael said of Corazon, “She is really growing up and getting more experience – she is really starting to believe in herself more I am very happy with her.”
The Event Rider Masters now heads to Leg 3 at new venue Arville in Belgium (23rd & 24th June 2018).
Don’t miss the Leg 1 Chatsworth TV Highlights show broadcast on Sky Sports Arena – Monday 25th May at 19.00 GMT
WATCH all of the action from the Event Rider Masters 2018 Series HERE
Top 3 overnight:
The morning of day one in Wiesbaden produced the lowest average ERM Dressage scores of all time but with only the top 5 (20%) achieving sub-30 scores the marks weren't flowing freely from the Judges.
Sitting in third place going into the Show Jumping this afternoon was Dutch Olympic Event Rider Tim Lips and his ride Bayro on a score of 27.7
Second place after Dressage were World Number 1 and 2016 ERM Champion Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo. Leading by a large margin on his score of 22.8 for the majority of the morning Oliver said, "I am thrilled for the horse and want to thank Andrew Nicholson for giving me the opportunity to have the ride on him. He just keeps getting better and better."
Second last to go in the dressage, European Gold Medallists Germany's Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob OLD knocked Oliver off the top spot by the smallest of margins by posting a score of 22.2.
The Show Jumping time proved influential in this afternoon's session with only 44% of the field avoiding time penalties.
There was no change at the top of the leader board with Ingrid, Oliver and Tim all achieving clear rounds inside the time.
With a climb up the leader board of 13 places, Sweden's Ludwig Svennerstal and his ride EL Kazir SP have upped Ludwig's chances of landing his first ERM podium place this season.
The challenge on Saturday will come from the clock. The Wiesbaden clear jumping rate across the country is currently 65% so we are expecting a tough challenge tomorrow and a big shuffle on the final leader board. It is worth noting, however, that nobody has made the time at Wiesbaden in the last two years.
SAP Hale Bob OLD and Ingrid have made the time 6 times at this CIC3 star. Which makes him the favourite to do it again here.