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The Saturday WoSJ guest blogger from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games; Rob Ehrens

Saturday, 06 September 2014

Hi everybody,

It's been a long way to get here, and it takes a lot of effort to get a healthy team to a championship. It's difficult enough to get a top team here that is fit to compete, because we have a lot of shows in front of the championships. We started up with four good rounds in the speed competition on Tuesday, unfortunately Maikel had a mistake but he was still fast. The three best results brought us up to fifth spot. On Wednesday we had three marvellous clear rounds, from Jeroen, Maikel and Gerco. For Jur it did not work out – he had two down and a time penalty – so we had a conversation, watched the video of his round, spoke about it and analysed the round.

We were in a good position on Thursday, and were leading. It's better like that; defending and not work to catch up with the rest. It was an exciting day. Jeroen started with one down and a time penalty, Maikel had a fault on the last fence – then I thought 'Oh shit, this is getting difficult'. Then I went to motivate Jur one more time, and told him we had to fight – and he did an amazing job on VDL Bubalu to go clear. When Ludger had the fault for Germany, we got the gold but at this point I was busy helping Gerco in the warm-up so any celebrations had to wait. It was thrilling to win again, and to get a second gold at the World Championship as Chef d'Equipe – it's an amazing feeling.

To have Jeroen in the final four, is unbelievable. The horse has been jumping amazing here though, he was maybe a bit too fresh on Thursday so we gave him a little bit more work after that. There were only three double clears today, and Jeroen had one of them – so it was fantastic.

I have been with the Dutch team for ten years now, and by now we are very close. I am not a dominating kind of person in my way of working, but I am to the point though. I also like to socialise with our riders. On our team everybody is there for each other, we have a strong feeling for when we need to be there to support. As a coach it is important for me to make sure that the riders know that they should not do things exactly the way I want. We find our way together, and just that is a strength in our group.

We have really strong riders for the top four final tomorrow, all top professionals. The four horses are very different. Zenith is the least experienced, and came up last year in the World Cup in Mechelen so he is quite green but he is doing a great job. Jeroen is a real horse man, and now we have to look into the details for tomorrow. The most important thing tomorrow will be to stay calm, concentrated, focused and trust your capacity and feeling as a rider.

Best wishes

Rob

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