By Kate Green
Great Britain has won the 2013 FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing by just one point after an epic battle with last year’s champions, Germany.
The series went right to the wire at the final event, Boekelo (NED), at which Germany scored an emphatic team victory, but the British have run a well-orchestrated campaign with a pool of up-and-coming younger riders and, with the best five results to count, they just secured the win.
The two countries, the only nations to contest all six competitions in the series, have been neck-and-neck all season.
Britain started slowly with fifth place at Fontainebleau (FRA) in March, but this was the score they would drop in the final calculations. They then established a pattern of consistency with wins at Houghton Hall (GBR) in May, and Montelibretti (ITA) and Waregem (BEL) last month, plus second places at Aachen (GER) in July and at Boekelo.
“We made a big effort with the series this year, so we’re absolutely thrilled to come out on top in what was a very exciting finish to a successful concept,” said Britain’s team manager, Philip Surl.
“The Germans have been brilliant and taken some beating, but I think we’ve shown consistency with our younger riders who have all worked hard and got into the spirit of the competition, and I hope it will give us plenty to build on for the future.”
Germany, the gallant runners-up in the 2013 FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, won at Fontainebleau and Aachen as well as at Boekelo, and were second at Houghton Hall (GBR) in May, but they had to count one of their third places at Montelibretti and Waregem in the final tally, and that was enough to give Britain the edge.
“We knew that the series was going all the way to the wire, so we put as good a team together as we could from the riders entered at Boekelo,” explained German team trainer Christopher Bartle.
“We have certainly been riding the wave this year, but we know that nothing lasts forever and we don’t have that big a pool of riders to choose from, so we’ve been experimenting with different combinations in our teams this year.
“We had Peter Thomsen and Horseware’s Barny as our anchors at Boekelo, but it was very pleasing to see how well Michael and Ingrid’s young horses went and to have a younger rider, Julia Krajewski, coming up through the ranks.”
As anticipated, the popular Dutch fixture at Boekelo, the only CCIO3* of the series (the other legs are CIC3*s) was the most hotly contested of the season, with 13 nations sending teams, including Russia for the first time.
Ireland finished third, France fourth and Italy fifth, with only the top five teams managing to finish with three or more riders and avoid incurring a 1,000-point penalty.
The three-rider New Zealand team finished in last place as none of them completed the competition, but Lizzie Brown, took the individual honours with her non-team horse, Henton Attorney General.
A combination of wet footing, the result of torrential rain, and course designer Sue Benson’s (GBR) clever twists, turns and endless variety of accuracy tests, made for an exciting and challenging day’s Cross Country at Boekelo.
Germany was the only nation to have all four riders complete, with Peter Thomsen, riding Horseware’s Barny, finishing best, in individual second place.
Olympic, World and European Champion Michael Jung, on an exciting new young horse, the eight-year-old mare FischerRocana FST, was eighth, and European silver medallist Ingrid Klimke was ninth on Hale Bob 3.
Both riders achieved the optimum Cross Country time of 10 minutes 30 seconds but subsequently picked up 12 faults apiece in the Jumping phase. However, Germany was far enough ahead of Britain for it not to affect the team standings.
Britain was only five penalties in arrears after Dressage, but began to slip behind as Cross Country time penalties piled up.
Kitty King was the highest placed of the quartet, finishing fifth on the stallion Persimmon, and Laura Collett (Allora 3) was 17th. Izzy Taylor (KBIS Starlet), who had been the discard score after Dressage, was one of only four riders to achieve the optimum Cross Country time for 19th place.
Anchorwoman Gemma Tattersall, who could have closed the gap with Germany, was eliminated for a Cross Country fall when Chico Bella P landed steeply at the drop into the second water complex at fence 18.
Sweden was third after Dressage, but Niklas Lindback, the individual leader on Cendrillon, fell at fence 16 and Anna Hilton parted company from Matrix W at fence 18.
Alice Naber-Lozeman (NED), a member of the ninth-placed Dutch team, finished 13th on Peter Parker and took the Dutch national title.
Once again, the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, which began in 2012, has proved to be an incentive and inspiration for team managers as a way of giving both experienced and up-and-coming riders championship practice.
The FEI’s Eventing Director, Catrin Norinder, confirmed that the series will continue in 2014 and that the FEI is hoping to announce the arrival of a sponsor in the near future.
“Congratulations to the British and German teams for well-planned campaigns and for travelling to all six events to make it such a thrilling finish,” she said. “Several other nations made great efforts to enter into the spirit of the competition and it was an exciting contest this year. The series is clearly working as well as we hoped it would, and we are already planning for next season. We will have news of next year’s calendar and hopefully a sponsor soon.”
Results from Boekelo
1 Germany, 148.6
Peter Thomsen/Horseware’s Barny, 44.2; Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST, 51.0; Ingrid Klimke/Hale Bob, 53.4; [Julia Krajewski/Lost Property, 79.6]
2 Great Britain, 171.0
Kitty King/Persimmon, 48.0; Laura Collett/Allora 3, 60.0; Izzy Taylor/KBIS Starlet, 63.0 [Gemma Tattersall/Chico Bella P, EL Cross Country]
3 Ireland, 222.0
Camilla Speirs/Portersize Just A Jiff, 50.6; Sarah Ennis/Stellor Rebound, 58.0; Austin O’Connor/Balham Houdini, 113.4 [Katie O’Sullivan/Cooley Blue Flame, EL Cross Country]
4 France, 222.8
Eric Vigeanol/Qatar de Puech Rouget, 64.2; Karim Florent Laghouag/Qualson de L’Ehn, 74.8; Caroline Chadelet/Kadessia, 83.8; [Geoffrey Soullez/Madiron de Liot*HN, EL Cross Country]
5 Italy, 308.6
Marco Biasia/Neptune de Sartene, 94.4; Arianna Schivo/Quefira de l’Ormeau, 100.2; Evelina Bertoli/Leitrim Orient Express, 114.0 [Stefano Brecciaroli/P’tit Paul de Terry, EL Cross Country]
6 Sweden, 1129.6
Viktoria Carlerback/Volt af Kallstorp, 65.20; Hannes Melin/Piccadilly Z, 64.40; Niklas Lindback/Cendrillon, EL Cross Country [Anna Hilton/Matrix W, EL Cross Country]
7 USA, 1,159.4
Boyd Martin/Trading Aces, 68.0; Elizabeth Halliday/Fernhill by Night, 91.4; Lauren Kieffer/Veronica, EL Cross Country
8 Belgium, 1,172.0
Rik Geirnaert/Zaferlina MH, 81.0; Stephanie Andrimont/Ulano de Slozen, 91.0; Jarno Debusschere/User Friendly, RET Cross Country
9 Netherlands, 2,057.2
Alice Naber-Lozeman/Peter Parker, 57.2; Tim Lips/Concrex Oncarlos, EL Cross Country; Florinoor Hoogland/Captain Henessy, EL Cross Country; Althea Bleekman/Ziomf, RET Cross Country
10, Australia, 2,076.6
Emma Dougall/Belcam Bear, 76.6; Christopher Burton/Graf Liberty, EL Cross Country; Paul Tapner/Wickstead Didgeridoo, EL Cross Country [Andrew Hoy/Cheeky Calimbo, WD before Dressage]
11, Switzerland, 2,083.4
Ilona Ludi/Apart lll CH, 83.4; Felix Vogg/Onfire, WD before Jumping; Sebastien Poirier/Tarango de Lully CH, EL Cross Country [Jasmin Gambirasio/That’s It, EL Cross Country]
12, Russia, 2,080.0
Igor Atrohov/Indigo Pyreneen, 84.0; Alexander Markov/Kurfustin, EL Cross Country; Elnira Nabieva/Chabanak, EL Cross Country
13, New Zealand, 2,101.0
Mark Todd/Up n Go, WD before Jumping; Lizzie Brown/Playtime, EL Cross Country; Blyth Tait/Xanthus lll, RET Cross Country
Full individual results on www.military-boekelo.nl
FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing Leaderboard 2013
1 Great Britain 51
2 Germany 50
3 France 29
4 Italy 23
5 Netherlands 20
6 New Zealand 18
7 Australia 15
9 Sweden 13
10 Belgium 12
11 USA 8
12 Spain 4
13 Switzerland 0
13 Russia 0