Jessica_Libertina_Leipzig_OK_copy.jpgIrish riders were in short supply, in the standings of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ competition after seven rounds. But now the ‘greens’ are back in town. Jessica Kürten won the Leipzig leg of the global indoor jumping competition, her compatriot Cian O’Connor ended up third.

The Leipziger Messe coloured green and orange, in spite of a great number of German top riders wanting to do well in front of 8500 enthusiastic fans. Gerco Schröder and Albert Zoer ranked second and fourth, German favourites Lars Nieberg and Marcus Ehning had rails down in an exciting jump off of no less than 13 combinations.

Jessica Kürten must be faster than she expects herself to be. The Irish superstar, training and living in Germany, had Marcus Ehning on her list as the rider most likely to win the 33.000 euro’s and 20 World Cup points.

First show

“I was 11th to go in the jump off, and I was able to watch Gerco beat the result of Albert Zoer”, says Jessica. “So I knew what I had to do to try and be quicker. But this was Libertina’s first show after Geneva, we had decided not to ride like maniacs.”

“In the jump off things didn’t work out the way I had planned. I was not able to leave out a stride coming from the FEI vertical number 2 and I needed more space approaching the wide oxer number 4. So I thought I had lost it, even though I made up some time in the last line. Yet, I could have pushed even more, galloping towards the last fence and I was absolutely sure that Marcus Ehning and Sandro Boy would beat me there. But Marcus had one rail down, so I was very happy.”


Gerco Schröder surprised the crowd to be so competitive with Eurocommerce Pennsylvania. The beautiful son of Gambrinus is in the Eurocommerce stables for an number of years already, but he lacks experience, having had his debut at World Cup level only recently in London Olympia. “Pennsylvania is naturally fast and he was brought up to this level very well, so I could do all the time saving efforts with him”, says Gerco.

The Dutch rider was the shooting star of Leipzig, climbing up the list, now ranking second in the provisional standings of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ competition. “Of course I will do my best in the World Cup qualifiers still to come, but this gives a wonderful feeling. Now I can plan my season going to the final in Las Vegas.”

Big arena, good footing

Frank Rothenberger did not do a bad job, selecting 13 combinations for the jump off, according to Schröder. “It was certainly not a light course. And all the difficult distances were there as well. But the arena was big, the footing very good and there were a lot of good riders on the list.”

Some participants made mistakes at the Rolex vertical number 2, seemingly simple, but at an angle in eight or nine strides. The FEI vertical, coming from an acute angle, was not easy either. The last line, consisting of a double of verticals, followed by a narrow five stride to a huge oxer, caused many riders to make mistakes as well.

First to go

Johannes Ehning was first to go, riding the former BWP stallion Salvador W, which was gelded after he gave his rider a hard time. Having 12 competitors breathing down his neck, the younger brother of Marcus really had to press for time, which resulted in 12 faults.

Ehning’s compatriot Franz Joseph Dahlmann also got stuck in the technical challenges of the jump off that one had to face in order to be fast: 8/35.57 sec. Lars Nieberg, very well known for being naturally quick, passed the finish with his small mare Lucie after only 34.54 seconds. The time looked good enough for victory, but the one rail down destroyed all hope at the German side.

Safety first

Danish rider Thomas Velin was the first to put safety first. He placed his stallion Grim st Clair superbly in front of every fence, allowing the son of Laudanum xx to show his enormous jumping ability. But 0 in 35.45 seconds simply was not good enough in this big jump off field.

Albert Zoer and Okidoki, slowly climbing up towards their old, pre-Olympic form, showed that faultless could be fast as well: 0/34.66 seconds. But there was another Dutchman in the jump off, and one of the fastest riders in the world too. Gerco Schröder raced from start to finish aboard Eurocommerce Pennsylvania (0/33.93 seconds). This beautiful son of Gambrinus does not have a lot of experience, so it was to be expected that some of the experienced rider-horse combinations that were still on the starting list would have a go at the result of Schröder.

Pretty close

Two of them were from Ireland. Cian O’Connor, still in the phase of building up and teaching his extremely talented Rancorrado, came pretty close: 0/34.17 seconds. But Jessica Kürten really pushed the pedal and took advantage of Castle Forbes Libertina’s mileage. Her superb effort (0/33.79 seconds) was good enough for 33.000 euro’s and the full 20 World Cup points. Not even last rider Marcus Ehning and his galloping machine Sandro Boy, having one rail down, could threaten the Irish supremacy.

Results of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ competition in Leipzig:

1) Jessica Kürten (IRL), Castle Forbes Libertina, 0-0/33.79 sec

2) Gerco Schröder (NED), Eurocommerce Pennsylvania, 0-0/33.03 sec

3) Cian O’Connor (IRL), Rancorrado, 0-0/34.17 sec

4) Albert Zoer (NED), Okidoki, 0-0/34.66 sec

5) Thomas Velin (DEN), Grim st. Clair, 0-0/35.45 sec

6) Lars Nieberg (GER), Lucie, 0-4/34.54sec

7) Marcus Ehning (GER), Sandro Boy, 0-4/35.98 sec

Standings after 8 of 13 competitions:

1) Steve Guerdat (SUI), 51

2) Gerco Schröder (NED), 47

3) Edwina Alexander (AUS), 45

4) Daniel Etter (SUI), 45

5) Ludo Philippaerts (BEL), 41

6) Thomas Velin (DEN), 39

7) Ben Maher (GBR), 39

8) Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), 35 (already qualified)

9) Geir Gulliksen (NOR), 35

10) Max Kühner (GER), 34

11) Rutherford Latham (ESP), 33

12) Helena Lundbäck (SWE), 30

13) Marcus Ehning (GER), 29

14) Lars Nieberg (GER), 29

15) Albert Zoer (NED), 27

16) Omar Bonomelli (ITA), 25

17) Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, 24

18) Vincent Voorn (NED), 22

19) Alois Pollmann Schweckhorst (GER), 20

19) Jessica Kürten (IRL), 20