This week Maikel van der Vleuten does the WoSJ show review on the Longines Global Champions Tour in Madrid. Going from newly crowned Dutch Champion to win the Longines Global Champions Tour title in Madrid made the two last weeks something pretty special for the Dutch rider. Below Maikel sums-up his achievements the past two weekends!
"These two last weekend have been fantastic!
At the Dutch Championship last weekend I actually won with my 'third' horse VDL Groep Eureka, which was very nice. We wanted to save VDL Groep Verdi – he was competing the week before in Lyon, and was also coming here to Madrid and on VDL Groep Sapphire I don't have 100 % the right feeling at the moment. But Eureka has been in great shape the last weeks, so that is why I thought I would jump her.
I know Eureka very well by now, I had her since she was six years old when we did the 1.20 classes – now she is ten. We did not really know about her scope back then, but she always keeps on fighting and wants to jump clear rounds – she was like this her entire life. She is a natural fast horse, so I can win a class without over riding her – so as a supporting horse she wins a lot! That gives her a good confidence, and that is why like last weekend at the Dutch Championship where it maybe was one hole too big for her she still does it. She just really tries and gives everything!
As to Verdi he jumped very safe the whole weekend during the World Cup Final in Lyon, but luck was not quite on our side on the last day. That made my motivated coming to Madrid though, and as he feels really good at the moment the confidence was there. In the Global Tours you always do as best as possible anyway; I mean the horses have to jump a lot – but if it goes well it is worth it!
The tracks in the Grand Prix on Saturday were really something. The last two lines in the first round were quite tricky. It was ok until you came on the line with the water, but from there it was difficult! Many horses did not jump that last line from the oxer to the two combinations very good; that was a tricky end. The second round's difficulty lay in the really short time allowed and it was also a hole bigger than the first round.
But the course designer got a good result; I think it's perfect that it did not end up with more than two double clears – my opinion is that in a Global Tour the jump-off does not need five-six horses in it. Two-three is enough, because the horses have to jump so much that whoever reaches the jump-of deserves a place on the podium.
Verdi was fresh on Saturday, even in the jump-off. Earlier on this year he could become a little tired towards the end of a competition like this, and would not fight so much for me. But the last weeks he has been feeling so good and his fighting spirit is really there now! It gives me the feeling that I can go for it; the control was there but he was still sharp enough. And in a huge ring like in Madrid I can really gallop him, and to the last fence let him stretch out to win some time.
It was really nice to share the podium with my team-mate Gerco and Glock's London. Gerco was maybe a little sad that he could not do the jump-off, because he really wanted to. But he was happy with his third place, and having London back again!
It's a beautiful show in Madrid. Everything is close together – the stables, the warm-up, the main ring. The stables are nice and spacious, the ring is super nice to ride in and the warm-up is unbelievable as it is so big – you can jump on three rings! There is also a lot of atmosphere at the show with a great audience. And of course the weather makes it even nicer!
My next big show will be Rome, where I will be riding Verdi in the Nations Cup!"
As told to World of Showjumping by Maikel van der Vleuten
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »