LYON – Like each year, the Lyon Reining International Open lived up to its promises; the grandstands were full and the majority of top European riders were present.

There was suspense right to the end, since Bernard Fonck, a million dollar rider and the official holder of the NRHA World Champion title this year, for the fourth time in his career, set off last on his horse What A Wave (owned by Gina de Pauw and Steve Vannietvelt).

Two riders obtained the top score of 223 but did not want to ride again to decide the winner, and therefore shared the title. The Joint-Champions are therefore Cira Baeck, on Whizasunnysailor BB (owned by Zudieger Diedenhofen) and the Ausrian rider Rudi Kronsteiner, also a Million Dollar Rider, on Dr Lee Hook (owned by Glis Ranch), whom he rode at the World Equestrian Games in Caen in August 2014. The two riders will share 35,0000 dollars in prize money, numerous gifts and a van offered by Cheval Liberté.

3 Belgion riders shared third place with a score of 222 :

– the Joint Champion Cira Baeck on Shine N Whiz (owned by Chanay Sky Management)

– Ann Fonck on Ebony Spook (owned by Rosanne Sternberg), the NRHA Open World Champions in 2014, who won this Open class at Equita’Lyon last year.

– Bernard Fonck, her husband, on Smart N Sparkin (owned by 7 Heaven Reining Horses)
The French rider Fabien Boiron finished in the top 10, in the 7th place, with a score of 221 on Jac Whiz, owned by Philippe Castel. Alain Giraud and Bell Ranch Whiz took the 13th place with a score of 218.5

Consult all the results here

Twenty starters, ten qualifiers for the second round, and one winner! The Equita Masters presented by Equidia Life offered up an amazing show and top-quality sport this evening in the Competition and Show arena at Equita Lyon. In the second part of the class, all the riders went out to do a fast round and take risks to try and win the class and add their name to the list of winners of the Equita Masters presented by Equidia Life. In the end, it was the Swiss rider Paul Estermann who took first place on Lord Pepsi with a time of 39’21. “I took a good line in the second round. My horse jumped well yesterday, so I tried to do my best to win today. I knew there were riders who could possibly ride faster, but I took good corners and my horse was really great,” said the delighted rider afterwards. Tomorrow, he will be riding Castlefield Eclipse in the Longines FEI World CupTM presented by GL events, the third stage of the World Cup for the Western European League, and he will certainly be trying to repeat his performance.

The public held their breath and got right behind Kevin Staut during his round; he was the last to ride and the only French rider qualified for the second round. At a very fast pace, the Frenchman did everything to try and take first place in front of his home crowd. Tight corners, long gallops…while his time was fast, it was not enough to beat the Swiss rider. With a time of  39’44, he finished second in the class. “I’m very happy with Qurack, he jumped really well. It’s disappointing that I didn’t manage to gain those few hundredths of a second that would have given us the victory in front of our public, but it’s already good to have two clear rounds and to be part of this class’s history, even if I didn’t get the victory,” he said after his round, before confirming how Qurack de Falaise HDC has developed: “A year ago, he did this same class with two faults, so it’s a good way to compare. He did two clear rounds this evening, so he has improved over the year.”

The Belgian rider Peter Devos on Dream of India Greenfield was third with a time of 39’62.