During the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, World of Showjumping will have Piet Raijmakers as our expert commentator. Piet Raijmakers has gold medals from the Olympic Games, the World Championships and the European Championships. This is what Raijmakers had to say after the last individual qualifier for Sunday's top four final in Caen:
"Again I think the course builder, Frederic Cottier, did an unbelievable job. In the first round, the line with the triple combination at eight abc with a vertical-oxer-oxer followed by a line to a vertical at fence nine was definitely the hardest part of the course. The triple was away from the in-gate and the vertical following it was a very skinny one, so it was not only about the triple combination but what was coming after. The time allowed was also doable, but there was no time to think.
In the second round, the last line with the triple combination to the final big oxer gave some last excitement. You could jump the triple clear, but still you were just almost there with that last big oxer to come. It could come down easily. How he build this week really separated the less good riders from the very best ones, and I can only say congratulations to the course designer on the job he has done.
I think that everybody was sitting on the edge of their seats yesterday when they were watching. It was so close in the top, and in the end neither Beezie nor Rolf could afford anything to happen to them. If you had one mistake yesterday it would be very expensive.
The riders we see in the top ten of the result list are among the very best in the world, which is great. Unfortunately a few horses I would have liked to see a bit more up there gave up a little bit yesterday, and were tired – but that is how it is sometimes.
All the four riders for the final – Patrice, Beezie, Rolf and Jeroen – are top jockeys. They are all very consistent riders, and they all love the sport.
I am really happy for Jeroen, he is a great horse man and an unbelievable good rider who works so hard. He did few big shows this year, but in the end everything was about this championship for him – that was his one show that he focused on. I don't think anybody thought about him and Zenith SFN before they came here, and now they are in the top four. Jeroen stuck to his plan the entire year – and here in Caen – and that is why he is now in the final.
Patrice I thought was fantastic yesterday with his double clear. He really proves himself as a top rider here. He wanted it and believed in himself, and came into the top four a little bit from the outside. What he has done here with the pressure and expectations that is on for a home rider is amazing.
In today's final we will have four very good horses, and four very rideable ones. I think all of the riders watched a few rounds of the different horses last night to prepare for today. In my opinion the most difficult one will be Jeroen's horse as it is the one with the least experience, so I think that also gives him a little bit of an advantage. In the end though it will be hard for the last rider on their last horse, by then the horses will be quite tired. All riders are capable of doing it though and it will be very exciting to watch.
As for this entire championship, it's been top sport and tough sport!"
As told to World of Showjumping by Piet Raijmakers
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