The German team produced yet another first-rate performance to win at Boekelo (NED), the final leg of the inaugural FEI Nations Cup Eventing, and rounded off what has been an outstanding year for the country’s senior riders with a comfortable victory in this new series.
Germany’s talented squad, which included two members of the Olympic gold medal winning team in London – Michael Jung and Ingrid Klimke – beat the chasing New Zealanders by just 6.6 penalties.
Boekelo, which is always a great favourite with riders for its end-of-season atmosphere, drew a record-breaking 12 teams for the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup Eventing series.
Germany, the only nation to have competed in five of the six legs of this exciting trial series, has dominated from the outset, scoring its fourth win in Boekelo following victories at Fontainebleau (France), Strzegom (Poland) and Aachen (Germany).
This gave them a 24-point winning margin on the FEI Nations Cup Eventing leaderboard over the Netherlands, which has made a well-orchestrated effort in this new series, and finished fourth at Boekelo, with ninth-placed Elaine Pen taking the national title.
But Germany did not have it all their own way. Olympic champion Michael Jung showed a rare moment of vulnerability in an otherwise flawless performance, hitting two jumping rails on his young horse Halunke FBW, and handing individual victory to Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Quimbo, who finished on their dressage score.
Nicholson, who led the New Zealand team to second place at Boekelo, is another rider having a great 2012 season. It was his third consecutive international win in six weeks, following Burghley CCI4* (GBR) and Blenheim CIC3* (GBR), also on the exciting nine-year-old Spanish-bred Quimbo, and he currently leads the HSBC Rankings.
The cross-country course, produced by London 2012 Olympic designer Sue Benson, jumped well despite the wet weather. Nicholson was one of the last to go, but he commented: “Quimbo is a very good jumper and he coped very well. He’s also amazing in the jumping ring for an eventing horse, so I knew I had a good chance of winning.”
Nicholas Touzaint (FRA), who finished third on Princesse Pilot, led the French team to third place at Boekelo and helped to secure their number three spot on the FEI Nations Cup Eventing leaderboard ahead of Spain.
Britain’s all-female quartet finished fifth in Boekelo, with Piggy French and West Side the highest-placed individual combination in sixth. The British team contested three FEI Nations Cup Eventing competitions, winning the home event at Houghton Hall (GBR) in May to finish fifth in the overall standings, three points clear of sixth-placed New Zealand.
“It’s been a very pleasing first year for the FEI Nations Cup Eventing and I’m delighted to see how many nations have really bought into the concept,” said Guiseppe della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee.
“We deliberately started the series off quietly to see how it worked, and it seems that riders, team trainers and federations are really prepared to get behind it because it’s such a great opportunity to give different combinations of riders team opportunities.
“We are now planning the 2013 series and considering adding more dates to the calendar.”
The final classification of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing series is made by the accumulation of points obtained in each competition.
The brand new six-leg series, which took place on a trial basis this year, was open to all nations fielding one team composed of three or four riders at each leg.
FEI Nations Cup Eventing Final Standings (after 6 events)
1 Germany 52 points
2 Netherlands 28
3 France 28
4 Spain 28
5 Great Britain 26
6 New Zealand 23
7 Sweden 18
8 Switzerland 17
9 Australia 13
10 Italy 12
11 Poland 5
12 Brazil 5
13 USA 5
14 Ireland 4