Today we are very lucky to have CAVALOR present the WoSJ guest blog, and it is no other than their ambassador Nicola Philippaerts – winner of Sunday's Longines FEI World Cup in Gothenburg – who is our guest blogger. Here's how Nicola sums up his amazing weekend in Gothenburg, where he won both international classes on Sunday – first on Casana and then Donatella-N:
"When I walked the course for yesterday's World Cup I said to my father that I thought it was big, and as the ring is quite small the fences come really fast. My mare Donatella has a very big stride, and all the lines were coming quite short – so I thought I would have a quite exciting time in there with her as it was also her first World Cup ever.
Donatella I have not been riding for that long; I took her over in July last year. When she was younger she was quite hot, and not the easiest. Now she has calmed down a lot, and is much more focused than what she used to be when she is in the ring. It is a horse that always is thinking forwards, and that's why it also sometimes can be a problem to get her back together. Donatella has such a fantastic character though, and just wants to jump clear! And she always keeps fighting to the last fence. She still needs to get a little used to the height, but on Sunday she was just fantastic – she has all the quality and scope needed to make it at top level.
I maybe don't really realize yet that I actually won a World Cup. It feels amazing to achieve something like that at my age, and I am so happy to have a fantastic horse like her. The win was just very special for me. Now I am ready for the World Cup final in Lyon – it will be my first one – and that was not really something I was expecting as I had to go in the top three in Gothenburg to make it there. It was my first season with quite a few World Cup qualifiers – I did Mechelen, Leipzig, Zürich, Bordeaux and this weekend Gothenburg – so, it came as a little bit of a surprise to make it to Lyon. I think I will probably take Donatella to the final, her next indoor show will be in Den Bosch and then we will see as I also do Dortmund and Doha with my other horses before that.
My father Ludo was in Gothenburg helping me, and it is always good to have him there. It is nice to go together on the shows, and with me, my brother Olivier and my dad we are a team and that is a good feeling. Then we can always share our thoughts and help each other out. The moment we are in the same class together though, it is a competition and we all want to win – but that is normal I think.
My father has meant everything for my career. He taught me how to ride, taught me the details and about the management of the horses – not to forget he gave me the horses to ride. I owe him and my whole team at home, as well as my other horse owners, a huge thanks.
It was a perfect Sunday. It's not every day you win two classes like that. Casana – who I won the speed class on in the morning I just had the ride on for 1 ½ months; I took over the ride on her from one of the boys I train. She is a very careful horse, and this was only her second international show. So, it looks really good for her.
We use most of the CAVALOR products on our horses, they are all very good. I like to use the CAVALOR Pianissimo, it's good for the hot ones like her - they calm down a lot. I also like supplements such as CAVALOR Take It Easy, Muscle Fit, Freebute as well as SoZen on all my horses.
I have to say that the show in Gothenburg was great. The atmosphere was really something special – there are not so many World Cup shows were you can win in front of such a huge crowd. The facilities were super as well; the warm-up paddock was nice and big, the ring was good with quality footing – it was not heavy for the horses to jump these heights on that surface. The schedule and times were nice as well, so I think the show organizers did a very good job!"
As told to WoSJ by Nicola Philippaerts
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