King Edward Wears the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Crown With von Eckermann In the Saddle

Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Podium Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Podium ©FEI/ Richard Juilliart
April 09, 2023

The amazing gelding King Edward and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann made history in Omaha winning the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final by taking the 2023 title — a first for Sweden. With an unpredictable turnout until the very end, the duo who has collected both the Olympic and World Championships jumped to the highest step of the podium leaving Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands riding Monaco N.O.P. in second place and wonderful American Hunter Holloway and Pepita Con Spita in third. Missing the podium by a very narrow margin was Brazil’s Yuri Mansur and Vitiki.

Henrick von Eckermann & King Edward - Photo FEI / Richard Juilliart

Von Eckermann was incredulous prior to the prize giving and admitted he couldn’t even put it in words. “Everyone knows the horse and how amazing he is and I’m so happy that he won this because he really deserves it,” he said. In the second leg held on Friday, the pair had one rail down, and though he was really disappointed, he shared that at the same time he thought that maybe that was not so bad as they didn’t have to perform in the jump-off…especially as they were only one point behind the leaders. “King Edward felt really fresh when he came out today; we had the rail in the first round but otherwise he felt fantastic. For the last round, I had to just trust him. He’s in super shape; we only jumped three jumps in the warm-up, and he was unbelievable in the arena,” he added about the powerful 13-year-old gelding owned by Switzerland’s Georg Kähny of Dufour Stables AG who were in Omaha to celebrate the victory.

Harrie Smoulders & Monaco N.O.P. - Photo FEI / Richiard Juilliart

Third from last in the draw, Harrie Smolders, who finished second at the World Cup Finals in 2022 at Leipzig, tried to repeat his clear from the first round but also collected 4 points penalty on an oxer fault. With a total of 9, stepping on the podium was a given, but which step was to be determined until the very end. The pair closed in second place and, according to the Dutchman Monaco N.O.P., a 14-year-old gelding he co-owns with Evergate Stables who he has been riding for the past seven years, is on his way to being the best horse of his career thus claiming second place behind the winning combination was not so bad!

Hunter Holloway of the USA left with the bronze medal around her neck with Pepita Con Spita under the saddle. For the 25-year-old rider from Texas, this was her second World Cup Finals after finishing 16th last year and she was thrilled to be on the same podium with the World’s #1 and #6. “I’ve always had pretty big goals and to be sitting with riders such as these is such a great honor. I’m very excited to be here and I think my horse performed great all week. My relationship with her is getting stronger and building, and I feel we are just getting started so I’m very excited for the future with her!”, she said about the 12-year-old mare owned by Hays Investment Corp.

Yuri Mansur of Brazil riding with Vitiki also ended on 11 total penalties, but Holloway’s time in the final round was more than one second faster, giving her the spot on the podium. Only Denis Lynch of Ireland and Brooklyn Heights had a double clear on the last day. But with 14 points already to his name, Lynch settled for fourth place.

Once again FEI Course Designer Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal, who was quick to credit his team, produced tracks that kept the public glued to their seats with the world’s best horses and riders focused on showing to the best of their ability.

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final concluded a week of top equestrian sport at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. This is the second year that the venue has been host to the event as the spotlight now turns to Saudi Arabia for the FEI World Cup™ Finals Riyadh 2024.

Final Standings here

By Simona Diale / International Horse Press