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Jos Verlooy: “It is difficult to plan at the moment"

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
“Obviously, my horses have done a lot less compared to other years but this I believe it is the same for everyone," Jos Verlooy says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping


As predicted by many, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit Europe with a second wave. With measures and restrictions being tightened in most countries as cases are surging, indoor show after indoor show is being cancelled. Traditionally the highlight during the winter season, the Longines FEI World Cup Western European League has been cut down dramatically over the last months – with only three legs currently remaining in the calendar for 2020/2021. World-wide there are three CSI5* events scheduled from October to December, compared to twelve last year – two of them are indoors. The number of CSI4* shows in the same period is now six – two of which are indoors – compared to thirteen last year. 

What plans are the riders making for the winter season with so much uncertainty and so few indoor events? World of Showjumping asks some of the top riders how they schedule for the months ahead.

Jos Verlooy – current Belgian Champion and ranked 18th in the world – is cautiously optimistic when it comes to showing for the rest of 2020. “It is difficult to plan at the moment, I am just waiting to see which shows are actually going to run,” Verlooy comments to World of Showjumping.

For Verlooy, the 60th edition of CHI Geneva – planned for December 10th to 13th – is the main goal at the moment. “For now, I am making a plan towards CHI Geneva. That seems to be one of the few bigger shows that still has a small chance to take place,” he says. “At least I really hope so! After that, I think we have to look forward to the new year to see what will be possible.”  

“All in all, I have to feel how the horses are jumping ahead of Geneva. I hope to do a smaller show just before and have the horses happy and fresh at Palexpo.”

“I was lucky to ride at the Hubside Jumping in Grimaud, otherwise we would have had nothing,” Verlooy tells about his outdoor season.

Obviously, my horses have done a lot less compared to other years but this I believe it is the same for everyone.

"If the lack of shows has been a plus or a minus, depends on the horse – mostly their age and experience," Verlooy says. "The older ones might have been ready to deliver good results, while the younger ones would have needed more mileage. It has been a trying year, but I think we have to look at it from both sides – not only from a negative angle.”

Even with all the current uncertainty, Verlooy is sure of one thing when it comes to the future: The Olympic Games are going to take place in 2021. “I have Tokyo at the back of my mind,” he says. “While it is very far at the moment, it is definitely in my head. I have no doubts about the Games happening and from January on I will plan accordingly. Even if we might still have fewer events in 2021 than before, I will plan the best possible way towards competing in Tokyo.” 


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