Julien Epaillard won the fourth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup 2021/2022 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. The French rider was one of the six who made it to the second-round jump-off with his chestnut gelding Billabong du Roumois.
In dressage, German star Helen Langehanenberg topped the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup 2021/2022 Western European League. The Olympian and European team gold medallist succeeded with her brilliant mare Annabelle.
Spanish course designer, Javier Trenor, presented a challenge in the IFEMA Madrid Horse Week as riders such as Steve Guerdat or Martin Fuchs did not make it past the first round. Swedish rider Douglas Lindelow was the first to go with Casquo Blue, leading the way against the clock in 43.34 seconds.
Epaillard was faster, and the horse and rider combination raced through the finish line in 41.24 seconds. Neither three-time World Cup champion Marcus Ehning or Irish sensation Denis Lynch could beat Epaillard, the first finished in 42.87 seconds while the latter knocked the penultimate vertical.
Austrian Max Kuhner also knocked the same fence and finally Germany’s David Will with C Vier stopped the clock in 42.71 seconds. This left Epaillard with a clear victory.
“I knew there were a lot of fast riders coming after me and it wasn’t the most beautiful jump-off I ever rode in my life, but it was big pressure and I also had a little bit of luck!” -Julien Epaillard
Spanish dressage rider Beatriz Ferrer-Salat was a tough target for Helen Langehanenberg as she posted 79.220 with her mare Elegance. Also, talented 24 year old Juan Matute Guimon gave an excellent show when scoring 78.160, and the Spanish rider is already a legend amongst the crowd after his recovery from a brain bleed in May 2020.
Germany’s Frederic Wandres, who won the Short Grand Prix with Bluetooth OLD scored 77.230, only good enough for fourth spot. Langehanenberg and Annabelle soared in front of the dressage competition with a score of 80.500.
“She is such a very special horse, full of talent but with so much temperament that she is not always easy, but I’m very happy today.
With this win, Helen Langehanenberg moved into fifth place towards the series Final in Leipzig, Germany. She added 20 points to the 13 she had already collected when ending in fourth place in Herning, Denmark. Wandres continues at the head of the standings, and now the competition continues to the next round in London.
It is complicated for German athletes to get into the Final as only three per country are permitted to compete. Werth is the defending champion, so she will be attending anyway and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl will try to go as well. The Western European League action will continue at the London International Horse Show on the 16th of december.
In the jumping competition, Denis Lynch has launched into the first position after his third-place result in Madrid. He has 37 points accumulated and it looks like he could make the cut to the Final. In second place, first-leg winner Kevin Jochems is ahead of Sweden's Jens Fredricson who is placed third.
Epaillard has La Coruna and Mechelen in his sights as he lies sixth on the Western European League leaderboard.