I’m pleased to share with you the first of a small series of guest blogs that Jennifer Anstey (publisher of this very blog) has kindly agreed to write from the World Cup Finals in Leipzig. Enjoy!

After an extended stay in Paris following the Hermes show at the Grand Palais, I have arrived in Leipzig, Germany for the World Cup finals. A cram packed event featuring four World Cup finals (jumping, dressage, driving and vaulting), the Super Final of the European Youngster Cup (people 16-26), Youngster Cup (horses)national level competitions and I’m sure other events that I’m probably forgetting.

The show is being held in a massive exhibition complex called Messe Leipzig. The building is made up of five different sections, but the event is limited to two halls. “Limited” is misleading, however, as each hall is a huge space, a fact that I can attest to as I’ve already been lost in two of the other empty ones.  The venue is actually reminiscent of last year’s event in Geneva, Switzerland – same airplane hangar kind of feel to these huge buildings but with nicer amenities.

Each hall has a main competition ring and warm-up area. Around the ring is a shopper’s heaven with riding clothes, boots, and horse wear everywhere. The only thing it doesn’t have is diet Coke. The fast food stand lady informed me that German’s don’t like the taste of diet Coke so they don’t bother to sell it. Similarly, I found out too late, they don’t like flat water either and only sell “au-gaz”. So only high calorie, carbonated drinks for me at the show. Excellent. Especially when combined with the four different varieties of sausage on the menu.

Wednesday was the first day of the show and the highlight for me was watching the first class of the EY Cup finals. Canada’s David Arcand was one of three riders that qualified to compete here courtesy of the Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix Series. Made up of four competitions during the WEF circuit, the top three riders in the series qualified for theses finals – 1. Reed Kessler; 2. Charlotte Jacobs; 3. David Arcand. Arcand had a good first round with a single rail to finish 24th overall. The USA was well represented with 11 of the 52 entries. The organizers decided to use their option of inviting some wild cards to participate and extended invitations to the fourth and fifth placed finishers in the US series – Caitlin Ziegler and Katherine Dinan. Very politically correct since the series sponsor, Artisan Farms, is owned by Caitlin’s parents, Carlene and Andrew Ziegler. The two wild cards did not disappoint, however, and placed at the top of the first class.

Trained by none other than Eric Lamaze, the youngest Ziegler pinned fourth on VDL Groep Camara with a clear and speedy round, but had two rails on her other horse, Valencia, to finish 40th. Dinan placed second, less than a second behind class winner Alexander Hufenstuhl (pronounced Hoof n’ Stool). With his receding hair line, I think the winner must be at the upper end of the age limit. Maybe that’s unkind. Dinan had a single rail on her second mount, Belle Dame D, with a super quick time placed her in 22nd.

There are two other US entries here (Cayla Richards and Audrey Coulter) that I think qualified at HITS but I have to confirm that today. 

Full results here

As last night was the only night that there wasn’t an evening class I wanted to see, I decided to visit downtown Liepzig to get the feel for the city. I was fortunate that my driver spoke English and she gave me some background. She explained that the city was built for 1,000,000 people but only 500,000 currently live here. Being part of the old “East Germany”, as soon as people were allowed to leave they did – en masse – and many houses remain empty. The town, already one of the more developed ones even before the wall came down, is constantly building and creating infrastructure where none existed in the communist era – “these things don’t happen overnight or even in 20 years”, she noted.

It does not have the Parisienne sophistication that I’ve been appreciating over the last week, but it still has some of the European elegance that you just don’t see in North America.

Today I’ve got a full line up of classes I want to see so must get going.

Here’s the full schedule