Olympia gold medal winners, World, European and Swiss Champions: the 18th edition of the Longines CSIO St. Gallen which takes part from May, 30th to June, 2nd promises once again to be the place to be if one likes to see top sports. The Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM on Friday and the Longines Grand Prix on Sunday are definitely crowning the 4 day program. Both of these classes have a prize money of Euros 200’000 each.
With Nayla Stössel, it is for the first time a woman to preside over the organizational committee. And with Brigitta Gass Mahdhi it is the first time that St. Gallen has a female president of the Ground Jury. Gérard Lachat is following resigned Rolf Lüdi as course designer. These are only a few of the innovations and alterations of the most important outdoor show jumping event in Switzerland, which this year is extended to four days duration again.
62 riders, 14 nationalities
62 riders from 14 different countries compete this year in St. Gallen. Eight countries (Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and host country Switzerland) with their national teams at 5 riders each are set for the competition of the Furusiyya FEI Nations CupTM. Four of them (Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland) are earning points in order to qualify for the remunerative final taking place in the end of September in Barcelona. After the CSIO La Baule it is Switzerland who is currently in the lead of the Nation Cup ranking of the European Division I.
The Swiss chef d’Equipe, Urs Grünig, is banking at the present on his strongest rides which he nominated for the national team. Olympic winner Steve Guerdat, Pius Schwizer, Paul Estermann and Janika Sprunger are the ones designated for the team competition. Reserve rider is Beat Mändli. As it was already the case in La Baule, Steve Guerdat will ride his 12-year-old grey mare Nasa and not as primarily announced his Olympia-champion-horse Nino des Buissonnets. After the second rank and the efforts during the World Cup final in Gothenburg Nino had to pause since he wouldn’t be up to achieve top results at a grand show like St. Gallen without any corresponding preparations. Steve Guerdat: “ I want to ride Nino for as long as possible and the season with the European Championship in Denmark in the end of August is long. I’ll do everything in order to pace his strength well.”
Diniz and Sharbatly
In addition to the 40 team members, there are also 22 individual riders from 6 different countries. Among them one can find well known names like Luciana Diniz from Portugal, this year’s GP-winner from Zürich and Basel, as well as Abdullah al Sharbatly, the great second placed at the World Championship of 2010 from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Switzerland brings eleven individual riders: Arthur da Silva, Alexandra Fricker, Martin Fuchs, Christina Liebherr, Theo Muff, Andreas Ott, Jane Richard Philips, Niklaus Rutschi and for the first time Roman Duguet from Muri (Bern) who became naturalized in Switzerland by last autumn and who is figuring as replacement for Claudia Gisler. The amazon’s top horse Touchable has carried away a minor injury which makes the duo pause.
Complete Olympia winner representation
When talking about London’s individual Olympia medal winners, all of the top placed can be admired at the Gründenmoos in St. Gallen: Steve Guerdat, Gerco Schröder (NED) and Cian O’Connor (IE), as well as British team Olympia champions Scott Brash and Peter Charles. The Netherlands send the complete Olympic Silver medal team with Marc Houtzager, Gerco Schröder, Maikel van der Vleuten und Jur Vrieling. World and European Champions Germany has set their first team for St. Gallen with the world top ranked riders Christian Ahlmann, last year’s GP-winner Marcus Ehning, Ludger Beerbaum, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the shooting-star Hans-Dieter Dreher, who arose amongst the top 20 world ranking riders.