Falsterbo has been another “super league” Nations Cup where we were unlucky to finish down the placings considering we jumped some good rounds.
Five penalties left us in fifth, while four teams on four faults went through to a jump-off — a situation I don’t think I have ever seen in a Nations Cup.
You might see two teams going against the clock but rarely this many — and it meant the jump off was crazily fast, almost motorbike-style. If we’re going to get more finishes like this then maybe all chefs d’equipe will be making sure they have at least one horse on their team who can go that quickly. On the plus side, it did make it exciting for the public.
At the end of the first two rounds we thought we’d collected fourth place — which would have gained us a very useful ten points for the league [Britain is currently lying bottom alongside Italy] — but the Netherlands appealed Maikel Van Der Vleuten’s foot in the water with IDI Utopia.
The ground jury weren’t able to produce any evidence, so the faults were removed and the Dutch ended up winning. It was a bit unexpected as the change in scores wasn’t announced until right before the jump-off.
Britain has some strong combinations to choose from at the moment and we had some good horses on the team in Sweden who were jumping well.
William Funnell produced two clears on Billy Buckingham, who popped round like it was cavaletti, and just collected a time fault in each round. You had to be on it with the time — it was a tricky course with a lot of turnbacks.
Michael Whitaker (JB’s Hot Stuff) and Harriet Nuttall (A Touch Imperious) both put in clears, as did I with Happydam — although my experience turned out to be the reverse of what happened on our super league team debut in St Gallen.
That time, he was a bit too fresh in the first round and we had 17 pens but went on to jump a clear. This time, he was clear on his first trip but in the hot weather, he gave so much that he was a bit tired for the second round and we had 12 late faults.
It’s all about finding that happy medium and unfortunately we were still finding it here. On reflection, there wasn’t much I could have changed — maybe not jumping the grand prix the day before would have helped but at that point he still felt like he needed another round.
I was surprised to find out how popular showjumping is in Sweden. Falsterbo is a massive arena and there was a lot of support from the crowd, particularly for the home side.
The show is one of the biggest events in the country and thousands of people turn up and camp there for the week.
There was some novelty entertainment there, too — including rabbit jumping. They also had some in-hand showjumping for Shetlands.
My next stop will be Samorin for a couple of weeks, where I will be taking two batches of horses. I don’t get back home to the UK much when we’re on the road, but it looks like we’ll be sending a good team for our home Nations Cup at Hickstead.
Scott Brash (Hello Shelby), Holly Smith (Heart’s Destiny), Amanda Derbyshire (Luibanta BH), William Whitaker (Utamaro d’Ecaussines) and William Funnell (Billy Buckingham) are on the squad, so I wish them luck. It would be great to take a win on our own soil.
Ref Horse & Hound; 19 July 2018