Switzerland claimed team gold, while Belgian riders clinched two of the three Individual medals on offer at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Veterans 2012 staged in Dinard, France.
Open to female riders of 45 years and older, and male competitors of 49 and above, these Championships are restricted to senior athletes who have not competed at CSI 2-Star events and upwards in the current year, and who have not jumped over 1.30m this season. Horses must be six years old and over, and the maximum height of obstacles over the three days of competition is 1.25m.
The 2012 fixture took place at Dinard Equestrian Centre which has hosted many of the world’s top riders including legends such as Pierre Durand from France and Brazil’s Nelson Pessoa along with British stars Michael and John Whitaker. International riders Fabrice Lyon and Constance Menard are coaches at the equestrian centre, and Fabrice shared the post of Event Director for the Championships alongside Philippe Balsan.
A total of 27 horse-and-rider combinations lined out, with representatives from eight countries – Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey. Switzerland’s August Fuchs (Selona des Cinq Chenes), Hans-Peter Rub (Stargate), Annemarie Hachler (Olympia VD Worfthoeve) and Yasmin Wuest (Tamela CP) claimed team gold with a combined score, calculated into points, of 10.96.
The German side of Alfred Konzag (Rhuna), Heike Willenberger (Stargate), Franz-Josef Heitzer (C’est la Vie) and Martin Steiger (Cosca) finished close behind with 11.8 in silver medal position while Belgium’s Danny Stappaerts (Esperanza), Jean-Jacques Lorquet (Standing Ovation), Ludo Dekkers (Arizona) and Dirk Vierick (Urona) claimed the bronze with 12.38 points.
The host nation side of Eric Loin (Lychee du Clos), Guy Rohmer (Pagny du Fleury), Christophe Legue (Windy du Pachis) and Alain Lorre (Hattolas) were well-adrift in fourth place with 22.12 points while the British, despite good performances from Nadine Warwick (Kelso Lady Joycie) and John Williams (Ramiro), went out of contention when both Laureen Evans (Silvano) and Sarah Whitney (Inca) were eliminated.
Switzerland’s August Fuchs was leading the individual rankings after the team competition concluded, but his score of 0.93 points left him just 0.01 ahead of Belgium’s Jean-Jacques Lorquet, while fellow Belgian Danny Stappaerts was less than a point further behind with Bulgaria’s Gunter Orschel lying in fourth place.
But Fuchs lost his grip on gold medal spot in the Grand Prix finale, leaving Lorquet and the aptly-named Standing Ovation to take the Individual title while Stappaerts and Esperanza claimed the silver and Orschel steered Oscar to take the bronze.
Ground Jury President, Ireland’s Susanne Macken, praised the enthusiasm and generosity of the Championship Organising Committee, Asso Emeraude Jump. “This was a fantastic few days and a very happy show at a beautiful location. We were very lucky with the weather, with the rain holding off until the last morning, and everyone really enjoyed a weekend of great sport” she said.
FEI European Jumping Championships for Veterans 2012 – Team:
GOLD – Switzerland 10.96 points; Selona des Cinq Chenes (August Fuchs), Stargate (Hans-Peter Rub), Olympia VD Worfthoeve (Annemarie Hachler), Tamela CP (Yasmin Wuest); SILVER – Germany 11.8 points: Rhuna (Alfred Konzag), Eastman 5 (Heike Willenberger), C’est la Vie (Franz-Josef Heitzer), Cosca (Martin Steiger); BRONZE – Belgium 12.38 points: Esperanza (Danny Stappaerts), Standing Ovation (Jean-Jacques Lorquet), Arizona (Ludo Dekkers), Urona (Dirk Vierick).
FEI European Jumping Championships for Veterans 2012 – Individual:
GOLD – Standing Ovation (Jean-Jacques Lorquet) BEL; SILVER – Esperanza (Danny Stappaerts) BEL; BRONZE – Oscar (Gunter Orschel) BUL.