Today we are very lucky to have CAVALOR present the WoSJ guest blog, and it is their ambassador Olivier Philippaerts – leading rider at the CSIO5* show in St. Gallen – who is our guest blogger. Olivier has had a fantastic season so far, and in St. Gallen he won Saturday’s 1.50 class on Zilverstar and ended fourth in the Longines Grand Prix on Cabrio van de Heffinck. Here’s how Olivier sums up the weekend in St. Gallen and his season so far;
“When we went to St. Gallen, I did not know what to expect as the show there last year was cancelled after terrible weather that again led to bad ground conditions. But, as Belgium was allocated to pick up points there in the Nations Cup it was an important event for us so there was no choice but to go. In the end it turned out to be a fantastic show. The ring was super to ride in, the footing was good – and the sun was even shining. This year there was nothing to complain about!
It started off well, as my dad won the 1.50 class on Thursday – where my brother Nicola also was in the jump-off and I had one time fault on Zilverstar. The result in the Nations Cup I cannot really say we were that happy about; it was quite good in the first round as Philippe Le Jeune and I only had a time fault each, but then in the second round we all had a pole down each and Philippe had two – and we fell down on the list. My fault came on the second last fence, and was a result of me trying to get inside the time allowed – it was really tight and I did not want another time fault. Still, Belgium is second on the overall standing of the Nations Cup Series and we are pleased about that.
Saturday was a very good day for me as Zilverstar won the 1.50 class. In the jump-off I knew I had to be quick, so I went for it. He jumped incredible – he has so much scope, and is so careful and on Saturday it all came together for us. We have had Zilverstar since he was a six year old, and he jumped the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken as a six and seven year old. As a youngster he was not so rideable, and he is a very big horse – which together is not the ideal combination. That is also why we gave him some time off when he was eight, and then my dad jumped a few five stars with him when he was nine before I got him to ride this year. Now he really starts to jump, and I think he can be very important for me for the future.
In Sunday’s Grand Prix Cabrio was fantastic, and ended fourth! He jumped so well, and the feeling was great. I already had a good feeling in the Nations Cup with him, but on Sunday he was even better. In the jump-off I was quite early to go, so I decided to do my own round and with many riders to go it was not fast enough in the end. That being said, I don’t think I could have gone a lot quicker with him that what I did and I am so happy to have Cabrio back at this level. During 2012 – where we were reserves for the Olympics and won the Grand Prix in Calgary – Cabrio was my only horse to jump in the really big classes, and I think in the end I used him a bit too much. After a while he did not jump that well anymore, and we put him in the field for three months last year. When we started him up again he was completely different; he was a horse again – and most important a happy one. This year I started him quietly up at the Sunshine Tour with a few 1.30 and 1.35 classes, and in the first Grand Prix I jumped him there he won straight away. He was back! In the Grand Prix in Lummen he ended eight and then we went to La Baule were he was double clear in the Nations Cup and really proved himself. It means a lot to me that he is back jumping like he does.
On a horse like Cabrio that can get a bit hot and nervous I always use the CAVALOR Take It Easy at the shows. I never travel without it. Also, I use the CAVALOR Pianissimo on daily basis – it is great for horses like him and it also has a high nutrition level which means that it is not necessary to feed a lot of additional supplements.
It was such a good weekend for me, my brother and my father in St. Gallen. We are all three going well at the moment and all have good horses to ride. I think we are really lucky, and we must also remember to enjoy that we can travel together and all three compete at top level – it is something special and it is not granted that it will go on.
The team spirit on the Belgian team is fantastic at the moment. I think it is actually an advantage that we have such a young team – we might not have all the experience, but we are extremely motivated and want to do well! As for myself I of course have the ambition to try to get selected for the World Equestrian Games this year, but it is a long way to go still and I just have to stay quiet and see how Cabrio goes!”
As told to World of Showjumping by Olivier Philippaerts
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »