Host nation Belgium swept the gold medals at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Veterans, winning both Team and Individual gold at Hoogboom-Kapellen.
Staged at the St Hubert Horse & Country Club which was home to the Van Paesschen family some years ago, the event welcomed teams from nine countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland – and there was also a single representative from Portugal.
The equestrian centre, which lies north of Antwerp, was once a regular venue for FEI Nations Cup competitions, and continues to stage national and international shows. The region is home to a large community of Belgian horse producers and equestrian enthusiasts.
The Belgian side claimed the team title ahead of Germany in silver medal spot while Great Britain took bronze. And 2012 Individual champion, Belgium’s Jean-Jacques Lorquet, steered Quetsche du Breau to scoop the Individual honours once more ahead of Great Britain’s Ian Wynne, while Germany’s Boris Miksa took Individual bronze.
These Championships are open to female athletes 45 years of age and over and male athletes 49 years of age and above. Riders must not have participated in competitions for senior athletes at CSI2* events and upwards, and must not have competed in competitions with fences over 1.35m in the opening round, during the current year. The courses for the 2014 fixture were designed by the host country’s Marc Jozef Vygh.
Lorquet was joined by Ludo Dekker (Arizona), Pascale Trenker (Epi D’Or de la Cour) and Dirk Vlerick (Urona) to seal the team victory on Friday by a significant margin of more than nine points. Germany’s Bernhard Dorr (For Darc), Juergen Kapp (Paganini), Arnhild Luckmann (Accino) and Boris Miksa (Lanivia) completed on a total of 21.89 for the silver while the final British score was 30.33.
There were three lady riders in the British side, Anne Berry (Urio), Linda Birke (Kilrush Road) and Sally Swiers (Millfield Long Sock). However it was the fourth British team member, Ian Wynne, who came closest to Individual glory with a superb clear performance in the team event with Don Douglas.
Heading the Individual scoreboard going into the finale, Wynne was looking strong. But with five penalties to add in the last round he was forced to yield to Belgium’s Lorquet who carried just 2.18 points into the Individual event and added nothing more.
Germany’s Mirksa claimed the bronze on a final tally of 6.67, while Switzerland’s August Fuchs (Selona des Cinq Chenes) missed out on a podium placing by less than 0.5 penalties.
A total of 20 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the Individual Final, and it was Spain’s Eugenio Corell Sancho (Albatros de Katy) who lined up fifth, Germany’s Juergen Kapp (Paganini) who finished sixth, The Netherlands’ Hans Brugman (Mobily Lil Majd) slotted into seventh and Poland’s Bohdan Sas-Jaworski (Chacco) lined up in eighth place.
Lorquet was delighted with his haul of double gold and his second Individual Championship title in three years. The 54-year-old rider, whose younger brother Jose Lorquet competes in the Belgian Para-Dressage team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy this week, said: “my brother and I come from a family that has been involved with horses for a very long time and we have been riding together for 45 years now!”
Jean-Jacques made a last-minute change of horse before heading to Hoogboom-Kappelen. “Normally I would have chosen to compete with my horse who won the Championship in Dinard (France) two years ago, Standing Ovation. But my little mare Quetsche de Breau who I have had for three years now, she is jumping so well, we have had so many clear rounds this season, so I chose her instead. She is very fine and she is very beautiful and I am so happy with her!” he said of his 10-year-old Championship winning partner.
FEI European Team Jumping Championship for Veterans 2014:
GOLD - Belgium 12.32: Arizona (Ludo Dekkers) 4.36/0/4, Epi D’Or de la Cour (Pascale Trenker) 3.64/1/0, Urona (Dirk Vlerick) 1.5/16/4, Quetsche du Breau (Jean-Jacques Lorquet) 1.18/1/0;
SILVER - Germany 21.89: For Darc (Bernhard Dorr) 8.77/0/4, Paganini (Juergen Kapp) 2.37/4/0, Accino (Arnhild Luckmann) 4.85/8/4, Lavinia (Boris Miksa) 2/67/4/0;
BRONZE - Great Britain 30.33: Urio (Anne Berry) 8.08/10/4, Kilrush Road (Linda Birke) 7/57/13/4, Millfield Long Socks (Sally Swiers) 4.76/0/8, Don Douglas (Ian Wynne) 0/0/0.
FEI European Individual Jumping Championship for Veterans 2014:
GOLD - Quetsche du Breau (Jean-Jacques Lorquet) BEL 2.18;
SILVER - Don Douglas (Ian Wynne) GBR 5;
BRONZE - Lavinia (Boris Miksa) GER 6.67.