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The WoSJ show review; Joe Clee on Indoor Brabant

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

This weekend Joe Clee does the WoSJ show review on the fantastic event Indoor Brabant in Den Bosch. Clee has been on fire lately, and this weekend he continued his superb form to end forth in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix with Diablesse de Muze. And as Joe concludes after a weekend in Den Bosch; this is one of the nicest indoor shows there is!

"I had a great weekend in Den Bosch, and my horses Diablesse de Muze and Utamaro D Ecaussines were both on form.

Diablesse has been going well lately, and I knew she was on form. I rode her on Sunday morning before the Grand Prix, and she was loose and light – so I had a very good feeling with her. The Grand Prix track on Sunday is one of the biggest I have ever jumped, but it suited Diablesse very well – especially the first part of it. The line with the turn back to the VDL oxer at fence nine – which was very wide – with the long six strides to the wall and then the four short to the oxer was hard for her though, but that went for all of us I think. The six strides were very long for her and I really had to push to the wall, and then of course the following four got very short and I came really deep into the oxer. Diablesse had to work hard there! But as soon as I had done that line, I knew I was home.

In the jump-off I had the first down. It was a very untypical fault for her, and I have watched the video a hundred times to figure out what happened. But she jumps it great and it's nothing but a light rub – that's just how the sport goes sometimes. Would I have gone faster if I didn't have that one down – that's hard to answer, and I am nevertheless delighted to be fourth in a company like that even though I of course prefer if I was in front of them.

For me it was extra special as my sponsors were there, and also my wife! It was one of the greatest achievements of my career, so to have them all there with me was a fantastic feeling.

Both Diablesse and Utamaro I have had since they were four, and brought them up from grass root level to where thy are now. To bring them on all the way like that you get to know your horses very well, and I think that's a huge advantage. This is the case of all the horses in our stable; we have had them since they were young and build them up ourselves. I started working for Ludwig Criel and his wife Jasmin seven years ago, and their dream was exactly this; build up a stable of young horses and match them for the top sport in the end. They are both such good people, and they gave me the time and confidence with these horses – and never pushed me to go against the clock at a too early stage. As both Diablesse and Utamaro are extremely careful horses I believe that had this been done, they would not have been as good as they are now. So, I have to pay credit to Ludwig and Jasmin for what we are doing now, without them this would not be possible. It's been a long way to go – and we have worked our own way up – and it's something we are all very proud of!

It was my first time competing at Indoor Brabant. I was there twelve years ago, watching the event as I had just moved to the Netherlands. I remember thinking 'This is really something I want to do one day' – the show was already great back then. So to compete there was a little bit of a dream come true, and I think it is one of the nicest shows I have ever been to.

The course designer did a great job in every class. Each class was competitive, and really good for the public to watch. The jump-offs just went faster and faster! On Friday I was quite early in for the winning round in the 1.50 class on Utamaro, and although I did quite a conservative round I still believed I would be in the top five. In the end I was number nine – that is how fast it was going!

The warm-up rings there are three of, which is rare in itself – and all had nice ground. It doesn't get a lot better than that... And with the organizers friendly, everything under one roof including the stables next to the last warm-up ring there is nothing but positive things to say about this show!"

As told to World of Showjumping by Joe Clee

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