The Netherlands took the team gold today (21 August) at the FEI European Showjumping Championships, moving up from second overnight.
Their first two riders in today, world champion Jeroen Dubbledam (SFN Zenith NOP) and Maikel van der Vleuten (VDL Groep Verdi TN NOP), jumped clear. Had their third pair, Jur Vrieling on VDL Zirocco Blue NOP, also been fault-free, they could have secured the gold even before the final tranche of team riders.
But Jur had a time-fault, leaving the way open for the Germans to take the gold if their last rider, Daniel Deusser on Cornet D’Amour jumped clear. But the pair hit the red oxer at fence eight, handing gold to the Dutch. The Germans collected silver.
Chef d’equipe Rob Ehrens said: “There’s no magic formula, but we’re a small country and we work well together. It only takes half a minute for me to make the call to get them in position for a Nations Cup or championship. I’m honoured to work with such amazing riders, horses and people behind the scenes. It makes life easy for me.”
Pathfinder Jeroen said: “It was a really tough course today, as you could see from the individuals [none of whom jumped clear]. Three or four went clear before me, which makes the pressure more. You know if you have one down you’ll already be behind.
“But my horse gave me a lot of confidence to start off with a clear round and then I could give confidence to my team-mates.”
German rider Ludger Beerbaum, who had fence 5b down today with Chiara 222 and so dropped from second to seventh individually, said: “It couldn’t have been closer. You have to accept a day like today can change things and you end up second. Congratulations to the Dutch — they deserved to win.”
The Swiss continued their ascent, moving up from fifth overnight to take the team bronze. Their effort today was spearheaded by clears from pathfinder Romain Duguet (Quorida De Treho) and anchorman Paul Estermann (Castlefield Eclipse).
The French, leaders on the first day, ended up going home without a team medal, finishing fifth behind Britain (who collected their Olympic qualification in fourth). None of the French riders could complete the course without faults today. Penelope Leprovost lost her individual lead with two fences down on Flora De Mariposa.
Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya now leads the way individually on Carlo 273, the grey previously piloted by Britain’s Nick Skelton. He has jumped three clear rounds so far.
Ukrainian Cassio Rivetti sits second on Vivant, with Jeroen Dubbledam in third.
The top 25 riders jump again over two rounds on Sunday for individual honours. Two Brits have made the cut, Joe Clee on Utamaro D’Ecaussines (eighth) and Ben Maher on Diva II (10th).
Full report on the European Showjumping Championships in H&H next week, out Thursday, 27 August.