Jeroen Dubbeldam added European individual gold with SFN Zenith NOP to the world title they won last year this afternoon (23 August) at the FEI European Showjumping Championships in Aachen, Germany.

“Last year my horse was quite green, but we came home with two gold medals and you think how can I improve on that? You can’t, you just have to try to do the same thing,” said the Dutchman.

“Sometimes the year after such a great result is harder, but this horse is incredible, amazing, there are no other words for it.”

Jeroen Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith NOP claim the 2015 European Championship in Aachen. Picture by Peter Nixon

Jeroen Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith NOP claim the 2015 European Championship in Aachen. Picture by Peter Nixon

Jeroen lay second going into today’s Rolex final, but the overnight leader, Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya on Carlo 273, had a fence down in each round. He hit the difficult plank going into the combination at fence 7a in the first barrage and in the second, the back bar on the blue and white oxer at fence six came down. He finished sixth.

Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet jumped two clears today to move up from eighth to take the silver on Conrad De Hus.

“I knew I needed a double clear today and I said that if I did that I could get a medal, but you need to be a bit lucky too,” said Gregory.

Simon Delestre of France added just one time-fault to his tally today to rise from 14th to claim the bronze with Ryan Des Hayettes.

“The first round of an individual final is always the most difficult course of a championship and it was very big today, plus the horses are a little bit tired from the week,” he said.

Individual medallists at the 2015 European Showjumping Championships: the Netherlands' Jeroen Dubbeldam (gold), Belgium's Gregory Wathelet (silver) and France's Simon Delestre (bronze). Picture by Peter Nixon

Individual medallists at the 2015 European Showjumping Championships: the Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam (gold), Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet (silver) and France’s Simon Delestre (bronze). Picture by Peter Nixon

Disappointment for Brits

Britain’s championship ended on a slightly frustrating note.

Joe Clee and Ludwig Criel’s Utaramo D’Ecaussines, who were seventh going into today, made a mistake at the combination in each round. They finished 15th.

They hit the plank into the treble at fence 7 in the first round. Then in the second round, where the second two elements were over water trays, the horse tried to chip in a third stride when off the final element and was honest to even try to take it on.

“If you could built the most difficult combination in the world for him, that was it,” said Joe. “He jumps a bit to the left anyway and as we jumped in he was looking at the lake on the [right hand] side. He spooked and drifted left so the distances got longer. He really tried to get out, but he couldn’t make it.”

Joe Clee and Utamaro D'Ecaussines jump the individual final at the European Showjumping Championships 2015. Picture by Peter Nixon

Joe Clee and Utamaro D’Ecaussines jump the individual final at the European Showjumping Championships 2015. Picture by Peter Nixon

Ben Maher had fence 7b down in the first round, plus an “uncharacteristic fault” at the following oxer and elected not to jump Tatiana Korsakova’s Diva II in the second onslaught.

“I felt she’s done an amazing job this week and we were out of medal contention,” he said. “She’s only 10 and an exciting horse for the future, once she’s had a short rest. She has won big grands prix before, but she’ll come to the forefront even more now.”

One  other rider, Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar on Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot, withdrew before the second round, while Germany’s Daniel Deusser (Cornet D’Amour) was eliminated after his first performance for blood on the spur.

Full report on the European Showjumping Championships in H&H next week, out Thursday, 27 August.