Showjumping to the Fore to End August in Europe

The centre stage of our sport of showjumping was concentrated on Belgium and The Netherlands over the weekend. Recently, the final leg of the European Nations Cup was held in Dublin. At Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, the latest round of the Longines Global Champions Tour was run and in Brussels, the Belgians staged a 3, 4 and 5 star showjumping bonanza.

The Nations Cup – Dublin.

Back in action after three years – The  Dublin Show

The Nations Cup had seven teams competing over the 5 star course, some having hot footed it from Herning after the World Equestrian Games. There were 12 obstacles with 15 jumping efforts required over the two rounds in which each competitor jumped twice. The worst round of each of the four riders was to be discarded.  The United States with Lillie Keenan set the ball rolling riding Queensland E. She left the arena with 12 faults and was the discard score. The other American riders didn’t fare much better in the first round as Spencer Smith riding Untouchable 32 also collected 12. Katherine Dinan collected 8 faults giving the team a first round total of 20 faults. In the second round, the team collected no more faults as they all went clear. They finish in sixth place. Norway, the second team to go did not do much better. They collected 20 faults after their discard score and in the second round collected another 24 faults – leaving them with a total of 44 faults and in last place. The Brazilian team were next to go, and they finished the first round on 12 faults. In the second round, they did rather better, adding just 4 faults to the total score. All the Brazilian riders had fences down at some point during their two rounds. They ended the round in fifth place with a total of 16. In the first round for the Netherlands, all the riders had at least one fence down, and after the discard score had 12 faults to carry forward to round two. In round two, they had clearly got the measure of the course and like the United States had a clear round from all their riders, leaving them with a total of 12 faults. France was next to compete, and they ended the first round with just one fence down (4 faults) after the discard score. In round two, they ended with just another 4 faults meaning they ended on 8 faults and in second place.

Irish Team Winners on home soil for The Nations Cup

The penultimate team was the home team with Conor Swail to go first riding Count Me In. To the delight of the home crowd he went clear. Shane Sweetham riding James Kann Cruz and Cian O’Connor riding Kilkenny also went clear leaving the Irish team on zero after round one. In round two, Shane Sweetham and Max Watchman both had one pole down, so after the discard score, the Irish team were left in top place and winners finishing on just 4 faults. The Swiss and final team to go, ended the day in third place after collecting a fence down in each of the rounds. They ended with 8 faults. Martin Fuchs riding Connor JEI and Steve Guerdat riding Dinamix de Belheme both went clear in both rounds.

With just the Nations Cup final to be held in Barcelona in October, the standings after all the six European rounds were France in the lead with 370 points. They appeared in just four rounds as did all the teams. They won one of them and were second in the other three. The second in the standing was The Netherlands on 350 points. They won one round and were second in two others and fourth in this, the Dublin round. The third country was Germany with 330 points. They were the winners in Poland and were second at Hickstead and were fourth in the other two they went to. In the order of merit, the Irish were fourth followed by Switzerland, then Belgium, Great Britain, Norway and finally Sweden.

Valkenswaard

Course designer Uliano Vezzini set a very twisty course if 15 jumping efforts in a time allowed of 77 seconds for the first class for this round of the Individual Global Champions Tour. The top height of jumps for this round was 1.55m. Forty two riders took part. The top eleven all went clear so the clock became the deciding factor of who actually took the winner’s spot. That went to Andrea Schou riding Granate for Denmark, completing in 66.04 seconds. Omer Karaevli was second with 69.44 seconds riding Cheston de la Pomme d’Or for Turkey and the third was German rider – Hans Dieter  Dreher riding Vestmalle des Cotis. Riders from fifteen nations came forward.

Michael Pender win Grand Prix for Ireland

The Longines Grand Prix of Valenswaard had thirty one competitors to take on the 1.60m top jump height course, again set by Ulliano Vezzani. The time allowed was 85 seconds to complete the 16 jumping efforts. Nine of the runners went clear in the first round and went to the jump off. Edwina Alexander-Topps started them off for the jump off and had two poles down. As the rest followed, most had a pole down but one of the three to leave all the fences standing was Bliss Heers for the United States riding Antidote de Mars. She went round in 45.42 seconds. Michael Pender for Ireland riding HHS Calais came in a couple later; and he also went clear but in a faster time of 41.23 seconds. He was not to be beaten as there was only one other clear from the final to go, Philipp Weishaupt riding Coby for Germany. He didn’t quite manage to take the win, but ended in second with a clear in 42.71 seconds.

With just three of fifteen rounds to go in the Longines Champions Tour, the leader board remained unchanged since London, held a week before. Christian Ahlmann was in the lead on a total of 236 points for Germany with Pieter Devos for Belgium in second on 198 points. On 195, Ben Maher from Great Britain was in third closely followed by Edwina Alexander-Topps for Australia. The final three rounds are to be held in Rome, then New York and finally Riyadh.

Brussels

Brussels Arena – Stephex Events

The Rolex Grand Prix supported by Audi was the final class of the week in a week of FEI classes from 2 to 5 star. There were 44 to start in this final Grand Prix, representing fourteen nations from across the globe. Gregory Bodo from France designed a usual type of course for a Grand Prix with the top height at 1.6m with 17 jumping efforts required. The time allowed was 82 seconds. Steve Guerdat from Switzerland was the trail finder and came away with the first of only seven clears in the first round. In the jump off, six of the seven, including Guerdat jumped another clear. One of the last into the arena was Peder Fredricson for Sweden riding his World Equestrian gelding – Catch Me Not. The 16 year old Swedish Warm Blood completed the jump off in the fastest time of 32.61 seconds. Eduardo Pereira De Menezes a Brazilian rider who has been near or near about the top in Grand Prix recently was second riding H5 Chaganus in 32.91 seconds. The final podium place was taken by Harrie Smolders from the Netherlands, another rider in top form recently, riding Uricas V/D Kattevennen in 33.54 seconds. The winner received 65,000 euros in prize money along with a voucher of 100,000 euros from Audi. The other two double clear rounds were from Denis Lynch for Ireland and Nicholas Pizzaro from Mexico.

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