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All the thrills from the individual final of the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023, part one

Tuesday, 05 September 2023
FEI Jumping European Championship 2023

The individual final of the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 was as thrilling as it gets, and kept the audience at the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end. This year's Europeans offered fantastic sport, and the riders all praised course builder Uliano Vezzani for his phenomenal tracks at Ippodromo San Siro. "It was build absolutely spot-on," said silver medallist Philipp Weishaupt.

And Sunday's two last rounds were no exception. Set a 1.60m and judged under Table A not against the clock, the first round counted twelve fences. The two most difficult parts came at the double of uprights at 6ab with a blue slim plank on flat cups jumping out that got the riders in trouble over and over, as it followed on a forward six strides or a very short seven that few got just right as it came after the open water. The track also included a massive triple combination with an oxer on two strides to a vertical and one stride out over an oxer where many struggled, and poles fell again and again. 

Here, France's Olivier Perreau checks out the upright at no. 9 that followed on five strides from the triple combination.

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping, all rights reserved. If copyright violations occur, a penalty fee will apply. 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Big enough?

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Wilma Hellström walking the course with Angelica Augustsson.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Eoin McMahon checking out the track with his boss Ludger Beerbaum.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Hugo Simon measuring up the distance from the triple combination.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Willem Greve and Highway TN had one down in the triple combination, and finished the championship best of the Dutch in 10th.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Dutch Chef d'Equipe Jos Lansink following from the sidelines.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It started well for Jur Vrieling and Long John Silver 3 N.O.P. at San Siro, but after the two first rounds, poles started to fall and in the first round of the individual final the Dutch rider had two down to eventually end 18th overall.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ A few also had a splash in the open water.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The Spanish riders impressed in Milan. Manuel Fernandez Saro and Jarlin de Torres finished 16th individually after taking the 5th place with the team, with Armando Trapote just ahead of him and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar just behind on the individual standings.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Manuel Fernandez Saro's wife Deborah having the unbearable task of watching from the sideline...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...together with the Spanish team, as they had to see him have a fault on the open water and a pole on the very last oxer.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Eoin McMahon and Mila finished on four faults after a mistake in the triple combination.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Zuccero kept all the poles up, but a foot in the water put them on four faults and 11th on the overall standings.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Armando Trapote's wonderful Tornado VS stole many hearts at San Siro.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ James Kann Cruz showing all his power. With Shane Sweetnam, he finished 13th overall after eight faults in the first round of the individual final.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. As no. 15 in the ring, Max Kühner and Elektric Blue were the first to clear the course – advancing up from 10th to 6th ahead of round two.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Scenes of joy on the Austrian team.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Like so many others, Christian Kukuk and Mumbai had to see poles fall in the triple combination. The two, who competed outside the team for Germany, finished 14th overall – second best of the Germans.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Hats and sunglasses were a necessity at San Siro, with soaring temperatures.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ What's worse? Watching or riding yourself? Janika Sprunger, Wilma Hellström and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson watching Henrik von Eckermann go clear with Iliana.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. France’s Julien Epaillard and Dubai du Cedre followed suit, and with a clear round really put pressure on the top six.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ French celebrations!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ What a horse! Zineday is only 9 years old, but played with Uliano Vezzani's courses at San Siro. While Weishaupt came into the championship with no expectations, he knew he had an exceptional horse for the occasion. “I saw a lot of riders walking the courses here, sweating – but I still today, I did not figure out what his weakness is,” Weishaupt said afterwards about Zineday.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ A nervous wait for Philipp's wife Domenika and his groom Lisa...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...turned into relief as Weishaupt jumped his third clear of the championship.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Zineday is born and bred in Riesenbeck, and has been educated at Beerbaum Stables by Richard Vogel, Christian Kukuk and Philipp Weishaupt. You can read his story by clicking on the photo.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. An excited Ludger Beerbaum, Philipp Weishaupt's boss.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ When Ben Maher – 5th ahead of the first round of the individual final – had one down in the triple combination with Faltic HB...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...followed by Olivier Perreau who had one down on 6a with GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...and Michael Duffy who had two rails down with Cinca 3, they all dropped down the result list behind Kühner who advanced ahead of round two.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Meanwhile, Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme continued to impress and delivered their fourth clear of the championship to put all the pressure on to overnight leader Jens Fredricson.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Dynamix de Belheme playing with the massive Duomo di Milano planks.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Swiss celebrations!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Group hug between Michel Sorg, Fanny Guerdat Skalli and Emma Uusi-Simola.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Like a walk in the park...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Guerdat's clear piled pressure on to Sweden’s Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit who had held the lead since the championship kicked off last Wednesday. But, choosing the six to the double of uprights, Fredricson could not get the gelding quick enough off the ground and the plank at 6b fell – accompanied by a collective groan of disappointment from the Swedish fans who were hoping for another gold medal. Fredricson had added four faults to his score, dropping down to sit second behind Guerdat, followed by Weishaupt on 4.31, Epaillard on 4.61, von Eckermann on 4.70, Kühner on 6.16, Perreau on 6.79 and Maher on 7.13 ahead of the second round.

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