The team medals of the show jumpers have been awarded at the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015: Gold in the Mercedes-Benz Prize goes to the team from the Netherlands, silver to the German host nation and bronze to the Swiss equipe. “It was a perfect day for me, full of emotions and with top sport – my congratulations to all teams,” said an impressed Dr. Carsten Oder, Chairman of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales Germany and Director, MBVD.
Top sport and lots of excitement! The reigning World Champions from the Netherlands won the gold medal with a lead of less than four faults in the Mercedes-Benz Prize. The tension rose among the 38,000 spectators in the Main Stadium in Aachen, the decision lay with the last rider of the German team. Daniel Deußer was the final rider of the German team. He picked up four faults with Cornet d’Amour. That meant the team victory went to the Netherlands. The Dutch love winning, especially in Germany. They won their last European Championships team gold in 2007 in Mannheim and World Championships team gold the year before at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen. So, it is no surprise that the Chef d’Equipe of the gold-winning team, Rob Ehrens, explained: “Aachen is the ideal venue for my riders. I can only say: Organise more Championships in Aachen!” ‘His’ riders in Aachen were: Jeroen Dubbeldam, who jumped double clear for his team with Zenith in the Mercedes Benz Prize. Jur Vrieling only had one time fault on his account after both rounds of the Nations’ Cup with Zirocco Blue. Maikel van der Vleuten, picked up four faults in the first round and jumped clear in the second round. The final rider, Gerco Schröder, jumped clear in the first round, but collected 14 faults in the second round. This means Ehrens travelled to Aachen with the same four riders, who competed at the World Equestrian Games in Caen last year – following the motto: “Never change a winning team!” However, only the Olympic gold medallist Dubbeldam and van der Vleuten had saddled the same horses.
As in 2013, the German show-jumpers won the silver medal. The Chef d’Equipe of the German silver-winning team, Otto Becker, admitted: “At first, I was a little disappointed. We tried our hardest, it was a tough battle and my team was super.” In the end, it didn’t quite suffice for gold. With a sidewards glance to the Dutch team, Becker added: “Incidentally, I am of the same opinion as my colleague, Ehrens: We should organise more Championships in Aachen.” And then he added with a grin: “Perhaps without the Dutch though…” Becker’s team comprised exclusively of experienced riders: Ludger Beerbaum, who competed at his eleventh European Championships here in Aachen, it was his twelfth European Championships medal. Christian Ahlmann, who was double European Champion in 2003 with Cöster. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who was the first lady rider to be nominated for a German Championships jumping team (1990 in Hickstead). And Daniel Deußer, who was part of the German team that won European Championships silver in Herning.
The last rider in the Mercedes Benz Prize, the French show-jumper Kevin Staut, decided who won the bronze medal. Up until then, the French team were still on course for bronze. However, Staut picked up eight faults, which meant his team slipped down to fifth place. If he had only knocked one fence, the French team would still have won bronze. So, the bronze medal went to the Swiss team, the European Champions from 2009. “We had a fantastic season,” explained Chef d’Equipe, Andy Kistler. “I was so happy after our last rider that we had succeeded in qualifying for the Olympic Games, that everything was decided for me and the jumping competition was over. So, I went away and was totally happy.” He was ultimately completely surprised that his team had won a medal. “For us this medal is a huge extra gift!” The Swiss team comprised of Romain Duguet with Quorida de Treho, Martin Fuchs with Clooney, Janika Sprunger with Bonne Chance and Paul Estermann with Castlefield Eclipse.
The competition for the show-jumpers continue on Sunday with the individual classification of the European Championships, the Rolex European Champion. The top 25 show-jumpers after the first three rounds qualify for this competition.
For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen visit www.aachen2015.de.
Martin Fuchs SUI:
“We went not so good the first day but the horses were jumping well. Our Chef, Andy Kistler, and our rider Paul (Estermann) had words of motivation. The big thing was that Steve (Oympic champion Steve Guerdat) was here to help us. It was sad he couldn’t compete with us and we wanted to fight hard so he can defend his title in Rio. He said on Wednesday that we had to be riding like it was the final and that we should do the same today.”
Jeroen Dubbeldam NED:
talking about moving up to third place ahead of Sunday’s individual final: “I have to let this sink in tonight, and tomorrow I will ride the horse and see that everything feels well. My horse feels really great, really fresh but it’s going to be a tough final with a lot of good horses and a lot of good riders. I’m feeling strong, but we will see what happens.”
Andy Kistler, Swiss Chef d’Equipe:
“There was so much pressure to qualify for the Olympics and for Steve and for the other Swiss riders who helped us get here. I was so, so happy with the Olympic qualification that I went away. And then Martin came and said we could get into the medals – we got two unbelievable gifts today!”