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The WoSJ expert comment; Marc Houtzager - "Jeroen is just from another planet”

Monday, 24 August 2015
European Championships Aachen 2015

Jeroen Dubbeldam
Jeroen Dubbeldam is according to his team mate Marc Houtzager 'from another planet'. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“It has been very exciting sport during these championships. 

The course builder can not have had an easy job, I mean what can you build today on such an occasion with so many good riders and horses? I think he did a good job throughout the week though, and we saw no bad incidents or nothing taking too much out of the horses. The thing I perhaps missed a little during the championships were some new fences, and that the course builder could have played a bit more around with this. 

Yesterday’s first round track was really something though. The joker was defiantly the triple combination. You had to ride forwards from the beginning of the round, and then with the water as the jump ahead you of course came into the triple with quite a lot of pressure on. The broken line was difficult in itself, in the beginning most did seven strides but towards the end more and more did eight to survive. It was extremely delicate build with the two light planks - that also were optical difficult - with a short distance and then the big oxer out. You needed to come slow in and then put leg on to get out over the second pole of the oxer. The second round was really big, and there the time allowed played a part too which made it exciting to the end. 

Jeroen is just from another planet, he is such an amazing rider. Usually you get your heart rate a bit up during a final like that, but he makes it all look so safe and relaxed. It was 200 % perfectly ridden in both rounds, he gave his horse the best possible distance everywhere - and even when he did not want to enter the ring Jeroen stayed completely cool. In situations like this, Jeroen is just at his best - he just does not get nervous at all. 

Jeroen is a rider that has always been focused on the championships, and he still is. That is the most important thing for him, during the entire year. That is his motivation, and what he works towards - you will not see him every weekend at a show like many of the rest of us. 

Gregory on the other hand is a rider we see almost every weekend at a show, and with a much bigger string of horses than what Jeroen has. They might be different in this regard, but they are both amazing riders in my opinion. Gregory is somebody you see win on almost any kind of horse, and he is always fast. He is one of the best riders in the whole world in my eyes. I also have to say he managed his horse extremely well before the championships here in Aachen, and made a good program - he is simply a top rider. 

Simon Delestre’s horse Ryan des Hayettes has everything needed for the modern sport we have today; quality, scope, enough blood and a super mind. In my opinion he jumped better and better through the championships, and the best on the last day - he has everything you could wish for in a horse.

You could see yesterday that the most important thing in high pressure situations such as a championship is to keep control over yourself, and keep your cool. That is the best you can do as a rider and also for your horse and the three that got the medals managed this very well. 

For the sport here in the Netherlands what happened in Normandy was amazing, and now this in Aachen. It’s good for the riders, and for attracting more sponsors to our sport. Still, we need to be sure that we put our sport out to the general public and make it get more TV coverage than it does. 

These gold medals are also a proof that the SFN is doing something very right. Their plan is the same as it is for most riders with limited funds though; find a good youngster, build it up to top level - and keep it. It’s a long way to go, but fantastic when it works out like it has done for them!"

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