Saturday, Jun. 8, 2024

Germany Makes It Seven FEI European Jumping Championships

Sept. 16, Madrid, Spain

Germany scooped team gold for the seventh time in the history of the FEI European Jumping Championships with a superb final-day performance at the Club de Campo in Madrid, Spain.

As the overnight leaders from the Netherlands faltered, eventually dropping to a disappointing fourth, the Germans flexed their not-inconsiderable muscle with three great clear rounds to snatch the title, while France moved up to seize silver, and the British claimed the bronze.

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Sept. 16, Madrid, Spain

Germany scooped team gold for the seventh time in the history of the FEI European Jumping Championships with a superb final-day performance at the Club de Campo in Madrid, Spain.

As the overnight leaders from the Netherlands faltered, eventually dropping to a disappointing fourth, the Germans flexed their not-inconsiderable muscle with three great clear rounds to snatch the title, while France moved up to seize silver, and the British claimed the bronze.

An Olympic qualifying spot was some compensation to the Dutch riders, who always looked like they’d be taking one of the three coveted spots available to non-qualified nations and, following a game of fluctuating fortunes today, it will be Switzerland and Sweden who will join them in London next summer. The Spanish also became contenders as the competition progressed, but their chances faded, as did those of the Irish whose only possibility of representation now lies in the Olympic rankings list.

Demonstration of Solidarity

The day began with a demonstration of solidarity in the sport as, following agreement by all concerned, the water fence, which caused so many faults yesterday, was altered. The gray wall used in the first round was replaced with the darker frontage that had been used for the opening speed competition.

“I am very happy that, even under championship conditions when everyone is really under pressure for the medals, there is still the possibility to make decisions based on common sense and horsemanship,” said Ground Jury President Stefan Ellenbruch. “When the discussion came up, we really tried to find a solution that would make everyone happy without giving advantage to any single team or rider. The solution we found was the right one. We had a normal result at the water today with eight horses getting penalties at it. The way we all worked together shows that we are all sitting in the same boat and rowing in the same direction in this sport!”

Meanwhile the number of competing teams was reduced to nine when the 10th-placed Portuguese were obliged to withdraw. Already only fielding three horse-and-rider combinations, an injury to the 14-year-old stallion Coltaire Z put paid to their prospects of advancing any further.

The Italians, who finished 11th yesterday, hoped they might be permitted to line out in their place. But the rules were clear and, despite a written request and an unsuccessful protest, the decision of the Ground Jury held firm.

Already Looking Strong

The Dutch grip on the gold began to loosen when pathfinder Eric van der Vleuten (VDL Groep Utascha) faulted at the second element of the triple combination and the oxer two fences later, while his son, Mikael (VDL Groep Verdi) returned with three mistakes.

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The Germans, meanwhile, were establishing their authority with fabulous clears from pathfinder Marco Kutscher, whose stallion Cornet Obolensky was at his most extravagant best, and from individual championship leader Carsten-Otto Nagel and his adorable grey mare Corradina, who has been simply in a class of her own all week.

The French, lying third, solidified their position when Michel Robert (Kellemoi de Pepita) and Penelope Leprevost (Mylord Carthago) were also foot-perfect, and the British, lying fourth, were strengthened by another exciting clear from Nick Skelton and Carlo, which was followed by a highly-impressive round from Guy Williams and Titus who collected just a single time fault.

As third-line German rider Janne-Frederike Meyer came into the ring with Cellagon Lambrasco, victory was already within her country’s grasp. She could afford a fence down and a time fault, but she used up just one of those lives when the second element of the troublesome penultimate double hit the floor. No matter what the Dutch did now, it would be Germany at the top of podium.

And when Ludger Beerbaum completed the German effort with a great clear from Gotha, that just sealed the victory in the best possible way.
Gerco Schröder’s clear with Eurocommerce New Orleans would boost his personal ranking but couldn’t rescue the situation, and when Jeroen Dubbeldam’s BMC Vans Grunsven Simon put a foot in the water and also fell foul of the final double, the Dutch slipped to fourth and out of the medals, even after discarding the 12 picked up by Maikel van der Vleuten.

“It is an honor for me to be in this team,” said Kutscher. “We had a little discussion before the championships. I wanted to take Cash, but we had three down in the Grand Prix in Rio, and I was a little depressed. We had a hard week because Marcus’ horse went lame, but Otto [Becker, German chef d’equipe) trusted my feeling and that was that Cornet was better over his last shows.”

British Benefit

It was the British who would benefit from the Dutch slide as, with anchorman John Whitaker (Peppermill) providing the 8-fault drop score, they had just the 4 faults from Ben Maher’s mistake at the oxer at fence 5 to add to Williams’ single time fault—their final tally of 23.42 seeing them climb to take bronze.

The French were in fine form as they celebrated their silver medals. Kevin Staut and Silvana de Hus had rounded up the treble of foot-perfect performances so that Olivier Guillon’s error at the wall—his “bete noir” during these championships as the same fence saw him lose his position as first-day leader 24 hours earlier—could be discounted to leave them with nothing to add to yesterday’s tally of 15.95.

“We have been really motivated after bad results at the beginning of the year in the Nations Cup—in the last round of that we were fighting to stay in the top league. The first day here was good, and we were leading, but yesterday we had no clear rounds. So last night we talked about what we should do—we were in a Japanese restaurant actually and a few of the French were sick afterwards—but we woke up this morning really motivated to stay on the podium and, already in third, we would have been happy with bronze,” he said. “Well done to the course designer by the way,” he added. “He did a super job. But we will be changing restaurants this evening!”

Complimented Course

Whitaker also complimented Santiago Varela’s course. “After yesterday we knew we had a chance, and as the day went along today we were going well, but so was everyone else, so at one stage I thought it was slipping away from us, but it didn’t. We’re very happy with the bronze, and I want to add too that this was a really good course.”

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Speaking for the British, who will host the world at next year’s Olympic Games in London, teammate Maher said: “This result has boosted the spirit of our team looking ahead to next year. I hope we can go two better [take the gold] than we did today! We’ve been struggling lately with a lack of medals, so I hope we can use this result to push ourselves forward for the future.”

The final word went to Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, who has now collected two individual and four team gold medals at the Europeans during his long and successful career. “Overall we had a really exciting three days so far. Yesterday we thought Holland would win because they looked so dominant and so strong, but this competition was open right to the very end. Because of good course building we ended up having great sport.”

Leading going into the final clash, and with only fractions of penalties between them, are Germany’s Carsten-Otto Nagel at the top of the leaderboard followed by Britain’s Nick Skelton in second and Holland’s Gerco Schröder in third.

Result:
Team Championship

1. Germany 10.41
2. France 15.95
3. Great Britain 22.46
4. Netherlands 23.42
5. Sweden 34.73

Individual Standings:

1. Corradina (Carsten-Otto Nagel) GER 0.69
2. Carlo (Nick Skelton) GBR 1.04
3. Eurocommerce New Orleans (Gerco Schröder) NED 1.54
4. Winningmood (Luciana Diniz) POR 4.98
5. Ninja La Silla (Rolf-Göran Bengtsson) SWE 5.77
6. Mylord Carthago*HN (Pénélope Leprevost) FRA 6.55
7. Cellagon Lambrasco (Janne-Friederike Meyer) GER 6.99
8. Kellemoi de Pepita (Michel Robert) FRA 7.16
9. Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillon) FRA 8.00
10. Gotha FRH (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 8.23

Full results are available at www.scgvisual.com/2011/ec-jumping/

 

 

 

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