first_imgMore from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. 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Email* SIGN UP Horse Sport Enews The tension is mounting as the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ series arrives in Rotterdam, The Netherlands this week.  This event marks the half-way stage of the team challenge which pits 10 great show jumping nations against each other in an eight-leg battle for survival in the premiership of the sport.  The USA holds the lead after scoring a superb back-to-back double at Rome and St Gallen over the past few weeks, but the pressure continues and there is no time to rest on their laurels as they face into the next big test.The Swiss team lies just one point behind them on the series leaderboard followed by Germany, The Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Belgium and then Sweden.  For Italy and Ireland however the situation is becoming ever-more critical.  Filling the last two places on the league table they desperately need to come up with a good result this time out if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation at the end of the season. RescueThe Irish will be hoping that their top-ranked rider, World No. 15 Jessica Kuerten, will gallop to the rescue when she lines out for the first time in the new series this Friday alongside Denis Lynch, Cameron Hanley and Capt David O’Brien.  Italian Chef d’Equipe, Emilio Puricelli, meanwhile is relying on Piergiorgio, Natale Chiaudani, Giuseppe D’Onofrio and Paolo Adamo Zuvadelli to move his country out of the danger-zone.The Swedish team has enjoyed mixed fortunes so far, making a superb start when runners-up in La Baule but then failing to make the cut into the eight-nation second round in St Gallen last time out.  Maria Gretzer’s side looks strong however with Henrik von Eckermann on call again with Montender and Peder Fredricson and Lotta Schultz joined by La Baule hero Svante Johansson.Belgium will be represented by reigning World Champion Jos Lansink alongside Philippe Le Jeune, Ludo Philippaerts and Marc van Djick while the British field another truly veteran selection – Robert Smith, who celebrated his 48th birthday last Friday is the youngest of Derek Ricketts’ crew which also includes Michael Whitaker (49), Nick Skelton (51) and Geoff Billington (54).AmendsThe French will be hoping to make amends for finding themselves on the sidelines along with the Swedes at the end of the first round in St Gallen two weeks ago, and Laurent Elias sends out Nicolas Delmotte, Olivier Guillon, Penelope Leprovost and Kevin Staut to bolster their fifth-place position on the leaderboard to date.  The Dutch of course will be keen to impress in front of their home crowd and Rob Ehrens is sending out his big guns.  Jeroen Dubbeldam recently added the Dutch National Championship title to his individual gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games and team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen three years ago, and his team-mates will be 2008 Dutch Olympians Angelique Hoorn and Marc Houtzager along with the man who missed out on that occasion, the ever-popular Albert Zoer.  A broken leg kept Zoer off that team in Hong Kong last summer but with his great ride Oki Doki he is right back to form and Dutch spectators will be expecting a lot from their representatives this week. Hard to BeatHowever with World No, 1, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and World No. 2, Marcus Ehning joined by Gilbert Bockmann and Caroline Muller the Germans will be pretty hard to beat.  They are just 5.5 points off the leaders and could narrow that gap considerably if things go to plan for them.  Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, Christina Liebherr, Werner Muff and Pius Schwizer will have no intention of yielding any ground to them however.  They are a very close second to the Americans who have stamped their authority all over the series so far and US Chef d’Equipe George Morris still has the awesome Ashlee Bond in his armoury this time out.  Incredibly, Bond and her extraordinary Holsteiner gelding Cadett have not once faulted in their three Meydan FEI Nations’ Cup outings.  And Mr Morris is the only manager who has yet to make a decision in terms of team selection as he also has Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, Todd Minikus and McLain Ward at the Dutch venue.The draw will take place at 16.00 hours local time tomorrow afternoon, and the fourth leg of the 2009 Meydan FEI Nations’ Cup series will begin at 14.30 hours on Friday.Live on FEITVBoth rounds of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup™ will be shown live on FEITV (14:30-17:30 CEST) commentated by horsesport specialist Philip Ghazala.Facts and FiguresThe 2009 CHIO Rotterdam is the 61st annual eventIt is the biggest outdoor international equestrian fixture in The NetherlandsThe show takes place at the Kralingse Bos, an urban woodland in the eastern part of the cityFor the CHIO, the showground includes a Children’s Village with activities for the younger generationThe Dutch Royal Family are regular visitors to the show.  HRH Prince Bernhard competed at the fixture over a 10-year period and was honoured with a special award in 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