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 our expert had to say after the team final on Thursday:
"I don't believe in miracles, but I think I saw one yesterday! Jur's riding in there with Bubalu was unreal. I must say, after his round on Wednesday I think he motivated himself 24 hours until he went into the ring again yesterday. It was incredible the job he did for the Dutch team!
Jeroen's faults as pathfinder for the Dutch, I think were due to the inexperience of the horse. It is not something you see happen so often from Jeroen's side – especially not the time fault. It's also a lot of pressure going in as the first one for the team, you have to do good. Maikel was fighting for his life in there today – and did the entire week, but unfortunately had the last one down. Then I think they saw the medal go, but then Jur came in and saved the day with his round.
The Dutch team has four top riders; strong riders, that each take care of themselves and motivate each other – it's a great team. With this strategy, the Netherlands won a few medals already – like in Aachen.
Now, the pressure is a little bit gone for those who have a team medal. For Germany that missed out though, it's a different situation. It was maybe a little bit disappointing for them, but yesterday you could not afford any mistakes and that was not the case for them. The mistake Chiara made with Ludger I could not really see coming, it was just like she did not pay attention properly. In my opinion Marcus's round was not as nice and balanced as we usually see him riding, and for that he had to pay on the second last fence.
You had to ride really secure in there yesterday, like Penelope and Kevin did – they had a plan and stuck to it. It was simply unbelievable to watch; you know the pressure that is on and how difficult it is and still they go in and do it. I think out of the forty riders in there, only four made the mistake themselves. The rest came because the horses were not as good as the rest, or inexperienced at this level. It was incredible level on the riding in there. It was sport at the highest level.
The track required that you made your own plan, especially with the distances. And then some distances walked different than they rode, for example the distance from the vertical at three to the oxer at four – it walked five, but in the end 95 % went for the forward four. Then to the triple 90 % of the riders did seven – but some of them six. If you did six though, most of them had to pay coming out of the triple. The oxer-oxer double to the penultimate vertical was difficult, at the Rolex double the course designer was asking one more time for the power and then still then balance and the concentration from the rider and the horse to the second last vertical. And if you did not have that you would have the penultimate vertical down. And those who came too flat on five would have the last one down, and also had to pay. I think the course designer did a great job, and that the horses jumped really good in there.
After watching these three rounds, I must say Beezie and Rolf are looking unbelievable. They ride so convincing, as does Rodrigo. Also the Danish rider Sören Pedersen did a top job. They all had a plan with the speed on Tuesday, and did a fantastic job in the two rounds on Wednesday and Thursday. I think we are up for some great sport on Saturday!"
As told to World of Showjumping by Piet Raijmakers
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