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 Sunday’s top four final in Caen:
“As I am Dutch I was of course shouting, screaming and dancing as Jeroen won!
It was a little bit as I said earlier on; Jeroen would have an advantage with his horse Zenith SFN. It was the least experienced of the four, very sensitive and proved to be quite difficult for two of the three other riders. Jeroen came well prepared in there, and this format speaks to his strong sides. When we had the Best of Champions with horse swapping in Aachen he won it four times. Jeroen stays calm, and uses his feeling on the horses. He just has everything a complete rider should have, and was in my opinion a very worthy World Champion.
Beezie’s Cortes ‘C’ is a crack of a horse! Jumping four clear rounds with four different riders, that says everything. I already knew it as a youngster though, and it was a really good horse already then.
Orient Express jumped amazing with Jeroen. It does not always look so easy with Delaveau, but the other riders got along better with him than I expected. And with all the pressure that was on Patrice as a home rider, I must say he did an amazing job in there with all the horses he was on.
Casall I felt gave up a little bit in the final, I think his opinion was that the championship should have had its last day on Saturday. He just found the Games one day too long.
Regardless of the results and medals – for me Rolf is a top horseman and rider.
I must also say that it was well organized in the collecting ring for the horses; it was all calm and easy. It was a lot of horsemanship on display.
The track was again very good. The faults came mostly in the triple combination, which by the way was very nicely built with an oxer in and two verticals going out. That way it does not get dangerous with horses that the riders don’t know. The time allowed was easily do-able, but still ended up as a factor. I think Frederic Cottier did an unbelievable job – all my respect to him for his work this week.
I also have to add, that because he did such a good job no horses were ‘killed’ from all the jumping. They don’t need six weeks of rest coming home. In two weeks they will all be ready for a show again.
We always discuss the format of the World Championships, and if it should be changed so we don’t do the horse swapping anymore. Yesterday I really think we saw its positives sides though with top riders in the final, and the one who really rode all four horses the best won.
And it really was a championship that was exciting to the last fence!”
As told to World of Showjumping by Piet Raijmakers
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