America’s Rich Fellers and the amazing Irish-bred stallion Flexible stormed to victory in a thrilling third-round jump-off at the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.
Only Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and his 11-year-old gelding, Nino des Buissonnets, were left to challenge the US partnership against the clock, but despite a superb effort, they had to yield to the pure determination of a horse and rider who, quite simply, never give up.
Flexible, a 16-year-old son of Cruising, was all but written off twice during his career due to severe injury, but overcame the odds to return to the pinacle of the sport.
Unorthodox in his movement and jumping style and the oldest horse in this year’s competition, Flexible has competed at all of the last five Rolex FEI World Cupâ„¢ Jumping Finals, but today it was his turn to stand under the spotlight.
The courageous stallion and his rider fought every inch of the way, bringing the packed stadium at the Brabanthalle in ‘s-Hertogenbosch to their feet after their amazing jump-off performance. Guerdat stood second on the podium, with fellow-countryman Pius Schwizer in third.
1. Rich Fellers (Flexible) USA 0/0/0 25.97
2, Steve Guerdat (Nino des Buissonnets) SUI 0/0/0 26.61
3, Pius Schwizer (SUI) 5
4, Philipp Weishaupt (GER) 10
5, Kevin Staut (FRA) 11
6, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE) 12
7, Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) 15
7, Marcus Ehning (GER) 15
9, Rik Hemeryck (BEL) 16
10, Harrie Smolders (NED) 17.