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The WoSJ guest blogger from Falsterbo Horse Show; Alexander Zetterman

Monday, 14 July 2014

"It has been an unforgettable week in Falsterbo.

It started with Flecu's great result in the 1.50 Grand Prix qualifier on Thursday, where he ended second. I thought I would try and go for it, as a good result would be quite important for the rest of the weekend – and I was very happy about the outcome. Cafino jumped the 1.45 on Thursday, and he felt relaxed – which is quite difficult to achieve with him the first time he is in a ring that is new to him. So I was happy with our start.

The Nations Cup on Friday was of course very exciting! This was my second Nations Cup on home soil, my first time was in 2009 on Isaac. I was clear in the first round, and it was a good one – but he touched a few poles and as I was well within the time allowed we agreed to try and give him a bit more time in the second round. I felt I rode really well in round two sticking to my plan, but I came a bit slow into the triple combination and had to push a little coming in – then the a-element fell. It felt like Cafino had a double clear in his body though, so the mistake I will take on me. To end second on home soil was a great result though!

Our win in the Grand Prix was of course fantastic! As the ground was a bit heavier on Sunday after some rain I had a few concerns though, and after riding my eight year old in the morning we had a second thoughts about riding or not. But, Cafino coped well with the ground in Geesteren two weeks ago – and that was heavier than in Falsterbo. Cafino also felt really good when I rode him in the morning; relaxed and soft – so I had a good feeling and we decided to jump him.

Cafino did a great job jumping two clear rounds! For the second round I thought it was quite hard to come up with a tactic – with ten other good riders in you want to go fast, but you don't want one down either and as I was early out I decided to go fast but without taking all the risk. The track was hard enough, and nothing to go flat out at – you had to ride properly. When I left the ring I hoped it would be good enough for the top three with those coming behind me.

To win was such a special thing! In the morning I was thinking about the fact that I had never won an international Grand Prix class before, and – that – after our good results lately, also in Geesteren where the conditions were not the easiest, we had a good chance. I had the hope of winning in my mind, and thought that I would let Cafino do what he is the best at.

I have watched so many Grand Prix classes in Falsterbo. You always see others win – and you never think it will happen to you. So, when it did there were a lot of feelings going through me. The Swedish crowd also makes it even more special. I think the foreign riders sometimes envy us Swedes when we enter the ring on home soil, there are so many fans – and it's incredible how big the sport has grown in Sweden! I think many riders agree on the fact that the Swedish audience is among the best in the world.

Cafino I have had since September last year. Before he came to me he had done very well on international junior and young rider level, jumping three junior Europeans and one young rider championship as well. He had seen a lot, and we knew he was good – but the question was still if he had that last scope to make it to the top of the international senior level. Now I think he has proved himself!

Cafino is a real fighter! He has a lot of own opinions though, and we have had to take things progressively with him. He is also a little bit spoiled by now I have to say; he will bang his door and ask for attention and carrots. Cafino is also really smart; sometimes I have to ask myself if he actually understands what we are talking about – he's a little like he is half human. This was the thing that hit me when I first met him as well – his cleverness and intelligence. Cafino might not be the flashiest when he jumps, but he knows exactly where his legs are. He is also up to mischief – especially when travelling. Then he will escape his head collar on the truck, no matter how we tie him up or if we put an extra head collar on – he will get out of it!

After a result like this I did what I could with the World Championships in mind, now I just have to wait and see if this is good enough. We have some strong and experienced riders in Sweden, so it's difficult to be selected.

Last night was celebrated with our staff and friends, watching the soccer final and eating pizza. In other words what most others did – there were no wild celebrations!"

As told to WoSJ by Alexander Zetterman

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