Every horse lover experienced goose bumps when Marcus Ehning rode his jump-off aboard Cornado NRW this afternoon in the CSI5* 1.60m Rolex Grand Prix of Indoor Brabant. The German rider delivered the most skillful jump-off imaginable, and stopped the clock at 41.82 seconds. Ehning’s compatriot Hans-Dieter Dreher ended up second aboard Cool and Easy, while Dutch rider Willem Greve and the fabulous Carambole N.O.P. took the third spot on home soil.
Course designer Louis Konickx did a great job with the course that consisted of thirteen obstacles, and a time allowed of 72 seconds. However, some riders could not meet the time limit and ended with a single time penalty. In the end twelve combinations kept a clean sheet and some of them made the time allowed by over three seconds. The second and the fifth oxer resulted in many faults, both set at 1.50m height and a width of 1.60m and only a couple of strides out of the corner. Also the tricky triple combination set as fence eight turned out to be a difficult obstacle for many combinations, that mostly knocked down the second part.
Belgium’s Jos Verlooy was the first to deliver a clear aboard the powerful chestnut Sunshine (Diamant de Semilly x Hardi). Willem Greve showed off his amazing shape with his stallion Carambole N.O.P. (Cassini I x Concerto II) and rode the perfect clear round, easily within the time allowed. Three other Dutch riders pleased the crowd by delivering on a clean sheet: Leopold van Asten aboard VDL Groep Zidane (Heartbreaker x Calando I), Gert Jan Bruggink and Vampire (Marome NW x Voltaire) and Jur Vrieling on his powerful VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P. (Mr. Blue x Voltaire).
Germany was well represented in the jump-off as well: last year’s Rolex Grand Prix winner Daniel Deusser appeared to be in top form with Cornet d’Amour (Cornet Obolensky x Damiani), Hans-Dieter Dreher jumped massive heights with Cool and Easy (Contender x Riverman) and Marcus Ehning aboard Cornado NRW jumped the way we know them: Perfect.
With twelve riders in the jump-off, first to go Jos Verlooy had to give it a good try right away aboard Sunshine. By adding one extra stride on the second and two on the penultimate line, Verlooy stopped the clock at 44.37 seconds. As second to go, Willem Greve knew it would be tough to deliver the winning round but he came close. Carambole N.O.P. jumped outstanding, taking six strides on the first line, nine on the penultimate and six on the last. Greve left one door open though: He went around the Rolex gate.
“I knew it was not going to be the winning round, but I am very happy with the way my horse jumped. I knew it would be tough for the other competitors to beat me,” Greve smiled afterwards.
Dutch rider Leopold van Asten straight away did everything he could aboard his careful VDL Groep Zidane, but got two knockdowns in the penultimate combination stopping the clock in a spectacular time of 41.55 seconds. Gert Jan Bruggink, Jur Vrieling and France’s Pénélope Leprévost with Vagabond de la Pomme (Vigo d’Arsouilles x For Pleasure) could not deliver a clear in the jump-off, but Hans-Dieter Dreher had an amazing round. Cool and Easy showed his massive canter and turned inside the Rolex gate, but had to add one stride on the penultimate line. It was a close call, but Hans-Dieter Dreher bettered Willem Greve’s time with 0.04 seconds.
When both world number one Simon Delestre aboard Qlassic Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A) and Gudrun Patteet with Sea Coast Pebbles Z (Picasso Z x Flamenco de Semilly) got early fences down, all eyes were on Marcus Ehning.
From start to finish Marcus Ehning and Cornado NRW’s round could only be described as excellent. Everything just fell into the right place and no hitches could be found in the jump-off delivered by the German rider and his stallion by Cornet Obolensky. Riding the perfect jump-off – inside the Rolex gate, doing six strides on the first line, nine on the penultimate and six on the last line – Ehning earned the victory with a time of 41.82 seconds. “It was our day today, Cornado did an amazing job. I am really happy to win in ‘s-Hertogenbosch once again, because the last time was a long time ago,” Marcus Ehning said about his Grand Prix win back in 2008.
One thing is certain: Every rider in the world could learn a lot from the way Marcus Ehning rode his wonderful stallion Cornado NRW to victory today.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson
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