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

Wednesday, 06 September 2023
FEI Jumping European Championship 2023

The twelve best horse-and-rider combinations returned for round two of the individual final at the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 in Milan, Italy, and with the top eight sitting so close to each other anything could happen as the last and medal deciding course was to be jumped. Uliano Vezzani – who has received praise for his fantastic course design at Ippodromo San Siro – had put together a track that counted ten fences, with a triple combination as the penultimate challenge at 9abc, followed by a massive Longines oxer as the very last jump. 

Here, Ludger Beerbaum gives his expert advice on the course to Philipp Weishaupt who came into the last round on a score of 4.31, behind the leader Steve Guerdat on 0.43. 

The individual final was as thrilling as it gets, and kept the audience at the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end – and here we look back at the very last round of competition. 

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

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Two French riders made it to the very last twelve: Olivier Perreau and Julien Epaillard.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ World no. one Henrik von Eckermann discussing the course with his wife Janika Sprunger.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Philipp Weishaupt taking a moment in the shade with his colleague Christian Kukuk.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Ben Maher in deep thought.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Max Kühner mapping out a plan.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ First in the ring for round two was Dutch rider Willem Greve with the 11-year-old stallion Highway TN. The two had the front pole on the oxer at no. 10 down, plus a time fault, and finished 10th overall.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Greve thanks his Dutch fans for the support!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. German Chef d'Equipe Otto Becker had one man left in the last round: Philipp Weishaupt.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Eoin McMahon getting ready to go with Mila.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Ludger Beerbaum had three of his riders qualify for the individual final, and two made it to the very last round: One of them was Eoin McMahon on Beerbaum's former mount Mila.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ With two down in the last round, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Zuccero finished 11th overall after taking the team gold with Sweden.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ After an agonising four faults in the first round, Ben Maher and Faltic HB posted a clear in round two and the pressure was on for the remaining seven riders.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Maher thanks Faltic HB for yet another good championship.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Maher's groom Derren Lake all smiles by the in-gate.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Maher thanking his fans and supporters in Milan.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Olivier Perreau really impressed, and with GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly the French rider was in 7th position ahead of the very last round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ And the two were clear all the way until the very last oxer, where Perreau missed his distance and took it down to eventually finish 8th overall with the wonderful GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P had to see the plank on no. 7 hit the grass, and ended 7th on the standings after five rounds of competition.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Iliana clipped a pole on the upright at no. 3, which meant Henrik von Eckermann had to settle for an individual 6th place this time around after winning the team gold with the Swedes earlier in the week.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ The agony of four faults...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Before...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ....getting the job done...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...and after! Another clear round from Julien Epaillard and Dubai du Cedre put serious pressure on to the top three as he finished on a score of 4.61.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Philipp Weisshaupt and Zineday in full focus ahead of the decisive round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ With another clear round – his fourth of the championship – Weishaupt remained on his score of 4.31, and the pressure was at a max for Jens Fredricson and Steve Guerdat as neither could afford a rail down with Weishaupt and Epaillard breathing them in the neck.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "I thought he would learn and get experience here doing those five days, and I did it day by day – I had no expectations, I know the horse is super, I need to ride well and just keep him calm," Weishaupt said about taking the 9-year-old Zineday to his first championship.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. A happy Lisa Fundis, Zineday's groom.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit were in the zone for another medal, but the plank at no. 7 stopped Fredricson’s dreams of another medal at San Siro and the Swedish rider had to add a further four faults to his score – leaving him on a total of eight penalties and outside the podium.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Fredricson thanks the Swedish fans for their support at San Siro.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Crossing the finish line clear, Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme was the only pair that had managed to deliver five clear rounds and the Swiss celebrations could begin as the gold had been secured by the 2012 Olympic Champion.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Christian Kukuk congratulates Philipp Weishaupt.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Just like at the 2022 World Championship in Herning, Ben Maher ended outside the podium as no. 4 – but was still smiling.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Philipp Weishaupt hugs his groom Lisa Fundis.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Team Zineday for silver!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Emma and Lisa.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. A happy Philipp Weishaupt.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. And Team Dubai du Cedre for the bronze!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The medallists entering the ring...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. The usual champagne spray...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...did not go quite according to plan for Weishaupt...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...who had some issues opening his bottle.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. Congratulations Julien...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...Philipp...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. ...and Steve – a dream podium!

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