Germany has taken out the Nations Cup team event at the Strzegom Horse Trials in Poland, with Kai Rüder winning both the CICO3* and the CIC2* classes.
The German team was 68 points ahead of Britain in the final standings, with Sweden another 70 back in third.
The event, in its 15th renewal, hosted entries from 18 countries, with 261 horses competing over six cross-country courses designed by Marcin Konarski, from short 1* to long 3* and the Nations Cup contest, jumping a total of 140 fences.
Here’s how the event panned out.
After the first day in the CIC2*, German riders managed 6 out of the 8 top positions with Kai Rüder both in 1st and 2nd, followed by Jan Kaminski in 3rd. The same trio kept their lead after the second day.
From the 48 riders in the CIC1*, Finland’s Noora Cederberg came out on top, with strong rides from Germans Rebecca Juana Gerken in second and Janet Wisner in third.
In the CCI3*, Swedish rider Therese Wiklund captured the lead riding Diabolique, with Karin Donckers from Belgium second and Marina Köhncke third.
Polish rider Julia Gillmaier took the lead on Quinton 14 in the CCI1*, with Germany’s Sandra Auffarth close behind in second on Daytona Beach 8, and overnight leader Therese Viklund third on Vesica.
The CCI 2* dressage had 27 riders starting, a variety of seasoned riders on younger horses, and younger riders on more seasoned horses. The day ended with national favorite and experienced rider Pawel Spisak in the lead, closely followed by another rider of great expertise Linda Algotsson in second. Alice Naber-Lozeman was third, but with only a few points separating the top five the contest is wide open.
In the Main Arena six teams lined up with the FEI Nations Cup 3* dressage. Germany, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy. Strzegom is the first leg out of the series of nine events, where the best seven scores will be counted as the final result.
Overall it was a close race between the teams, but Germany finished the day in the lead.
Be it the short 1* or the long 3*, horse and rider had to be on their toes as the fences turned up fast and there were many twists and turns.
As one of the jury members concluded – “it´s a proper test”. This cross-country was strong, solid, technical with lots of corners and demands a full focus from start to finish.
On Friday the CIC1* and CIC2* got under way.
Being a narrow course it proved a challenge to keep the horses focused on the task and not having them distracted by all that is going on around them. In both classes, there was some tension by the second water complex where the horses had to jump a log into the water followed by two corners directly after the water. That in itself can be tough question without adding the people, other fences, spectators and cameras just opposite the water complex. Some horses got a bit distracted before jumping into the water resulting in lost balance, rhythm and line. Others ended up in trouble after the first jump into the water as the horses lost speed and didn’t quite get their momentum and balance back. Overall both courses ended up with some very good rides for those who managed to keep their horses in a steady rhythm, focused on the task and keeping a good line towards the fences.
Finishing off the CIC1* we still have the same top three in the lead as after the dressage; Noora Cederberg/Tilda V in front, Rebecca-Juana Gerken and Day of Glory 4 second and Janet Wiesner with FST Golden Joy third. The difference between second and sixth places is fewer than four penalties.
In the CIC2* Kai Rüder stayed in the lead with Coin Toss and his second ride Charlie Weld in fourth. Merel Blom and The Quizmaster are in second, and Rebecca-Juana Gerken third.
The second day of cross-country was in stark contrast to Friday’s 25 degrees – so the chilly 14 degree day was a shock.
After the cross-country for the CCI1, overnight leaders Julia Gillmaier and Quinton 14 stayed in front, but Sandra Auffarth and Therse Viklund had a rough day and their second and third places were taken over by Miloslav Prihoda JR with Ferreolus Lat and Lina Forsberg on Caloj.
In the FEI Nations Cup class, quite a few riders had problems with runouts and the time, with only Alexander Bragg inside the time. The Dutch moved down to fourth after a team member jumped the wrong fence at the end of the course. Germany stayed in the lead by nearly 30 points, with Sweden second and Britain third.
Individually, Kai Rüder stayed in front, followed by three other German riders.
In the CCI3* Karin Donckers had a great day with two horses in the top ten (1st and 8th). In this class, there were plenty of changed in the top 10 with refusals and time penalties changing the scoreboard. But at the end of the day it was Karin Donckers and Fletcha van’t Verahof in the lead, ahead of Merel Blom and Rumor Has it N.O.P, and Eveline Bodenmüller and Waldmann third.
CIC1* overnight leader Noora Cederberg and Tilda V had one tiny fence down the last line leaving her in second, closely followed by Julia Elzanowska and Lucky Comeback Julia rode a clear round both in the XC and show jumping but nothing could touch the winner of the day, Janet Wiesner on her 16-year-old horse FST Golden Joy. Wiesner is just back in the saddle after the birth of her daughter only seven weeks ago.
In the CIC 2* the only riders who had a chance to beat the Germans to a victory was Jan Kaminski and Senior, and Merel Blom with The Quizmaster. But it was not meant to be, as Kaminski had one fence and Blom two, leaving the Germans to take out the top four spots, with Kai Rüder in first with Coin Toss and fourth with Charlie Weld. Elmar Lesch and Lanzelot 113 took out second place, with Rebecca-Juana Gerken third on Scipio S.
The German team came in as overnight leader in both the FEI Nations Cup team and individual class and even though there were some great rides, the German team proved unstoppable. Some horses came in strong in the jumping round but quite a few showed a bit of tiredness in the end of the course and the fences came falling down one by one.
Kai Rüder and Colani Sunrise took out the individual CICO3*, with Andreas Dibowski second on Butts Avedon, and Falk-Filip-Finn Westerich third on Gina K.
Karin Donckers had four horses in the 3*, and an impressive win in the CCI3* on Fletcha van’t Verahof, with Merel Blom second on Rumour Has it, and Swiss rider Eveline Bodenmuller third with Waldmann.
Sanna Siltakorpi won the CCI2* and helped her Finnish team to qualify for the European Championships for the first time in 28 years. Siltakorpi rode Bofey Click to the win with a clear jumping round, from Dutch rider Alice Naber-Lozeman and Zamzam, with local rider Pawel Spisak third with Admiral.
Czech rider Miloslav Prihoda moved up from fifth on Ferreolus Lat after the dressage to take out the CCI1*, with Germany’s Stephanie Bohe second on Classic Royetta, and Swedish rider Vendela Eriksdotter Rubin and Vienne Imperial third.