It was the Dutch team that won the opening leg of the Europe Division 1 of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in La Baule on Friday. Switzerland ended second while Ireland, Great Britain and France shared third place. Dutch Chef d'Equipe Rob Ehrens’ crew consisted of Albert Voorn on Tobalio, Hendrik Jan Schuttert on Cerona HS, Frank Schuttert on Winchester and Leon Thijssen on Tyson. After the first round Holland was in fifth position with Spain – both teams carrying seven faults. Germany and Belgium were in joint with six penalties, the French were in second with five faults and the Swiss in the lead with a single time penalty.
Switzerland really seemed to head for the victory after round one, with clears from Janika Sprunger aboard Palloubet D’Halong and Pius Schwizer on Powerplay. With only a single time penalty from Steve Guerdat on the lovely grey mare Nasa – Paul Estermann’s four faults on Castlefield Eclipse could be discharged. The Swiss couldn’t keep it up in round two though, as only Sprunger produced a second clear on the super bouncy Palloubet D’Halong. With five penalties from both Steve and Paul in the second round, and Pius’ Powerplay having two down and a time penalty which ended up being discharged – the Swiss team ended on a total score of 11 penalties after two rounds.
The Dutch team was on a roll in round two, and Albert Voorn and Tobalio collected just a single time penalty in this round as well – while the super talented Schuttert brothers, 23 year old Hendrik Jan and 19 year old Frank improved and left the ring with clear rounds in the bag. Leon Thijssen’s five penalties could thus be discharged, leaving the team at a total of eight faults – securing the win.
The 57 year old Albert Voorn – the oldest rider on the Dutch team – said this on the win; “We had a great spirit on our team. When one person is not doing well then, at this moment, we are not thinking about failing, we are thinking about what we can do to help.” He described the talented young Schuttert brothers as “two cool guys”, and talked about the challenges of today’s competition. “I’m in favour of time faults because then the best horse wins. My own horse spooks and also jumps from left to right so I have to take care of him. Janika’s horse is a top horse, she can ride forward from fence to fence much better than my horse and so can make the time allowed” he explained.
Hendrik-Jan Schuttert was just enjoying the moment and the super result achieved for his country with the help of himself and his brother. “This is our first Nations Cup together so it’s a super feeling that we can compete together in the Nations Cup at the highest level – to win the first time for us, its amazing!” he said. His brother Frank commented; “I got five penalties in the first round. I too always after my first round watch my video a lot of times to see what I can make better in the second round. There were for some things I could do better, for sure the time, two and a half seconds outside the time was a lot, so in the second round I started a lot more aggressive and you saw my horse jumping better and better – I thought my second round was perfect and I was easily inside the time”.
Under the new rules of the Furusiyya series, just four of the teams staring in today’s competition - France, Ireland, Great Britain and Switzerland - were seeking points towards the final in September and it is the Swiss who gained the highest number of points.
The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Europe Division 1 series now moves on to the beautiful Piazza di Siena in Rome next Friday.
1. Netherlands 8 faults: Tobalio (Albert Voorn) 1/1, Cerona HS (Hendrik Jan Schuttert) 9/0, Winchester HS (Frank Schuttert) 5/0, Tyson (Leon Thijssen) 1/5.
2. Switzerland 11 faults: Castlefield Eclipse (Paul Estermann) 4/5, Nasa (Steve Guerdat) 1/5, Palloubet D'Halong (Janika Sprunger) 0/0, Powerplay (Pius Schwizer) 0/9.
3. France 13 faults: Topinambour (Penelope Leprevost) 1/4, Obiwan de Piliere (Marc Dilasser) 8/0, Lord de Theize (Olivier Guillon) 0/8, Estoy Aqui de Muze (Kevin Staut) 4/4.
3. Great Britain 13 faults: Big Star (Nick Skelton) 0/0, Celia (Ben Maher) 4/0, Hello Sanctos (Scott Brash) 4/8, Voila IV (Robert Smith) 5/5.
3. Ireland 13 faults: Amaretto Darco (Shane Sweetnam) 0/8, Balloon (Shane Breen) 0/4, Ballymore Eustace (Shane Carey) 8/1, Tinka's Serenade (Billy Twomey) 9/0.
6. Germany 15 faults: Cavity G (Holger Wulschner) 9/4, Carlson (Katrin Eckermann) 1/4, Lacan (Patrick Stuhlmeyer) 0/8, Leonie W (Lars Nieberg) 5/1.
7. Belgium 19 faults: Bufero Vh Panishof (Dirk Demeersman) 1/4, Cor van de Wateringhoeve (Donimique Hendrickx) 1/9, Cabrio van de Heffinck (Olivier Philippaerts) 12/0, Denver van T Goemanshof (Ludo Philippaerts) 4/9.
8. Spain 21 faults: Coriana van Klapscheut (Pilar Lucrecia Cordon Muro) 1/0, Bonaire 5 (Manuel Fernandez Saro) 5/9, Prunella D'Ariel (Paola Amilibia Puig) 1/9, Qlamp D'Ivraie (Manuel Anon Suarez) 17/5
Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup - Europe Division 1 leaderboard after first leg in La Baule:
1. Switzerland - 90.00
2. France, Ireland, Great Britain - 75.67
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