Netherlands Win Vidauban Nations Cup, Belgium 2nd, Sweden 3rd

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The Dutch Nations Cup team victors. © 2014 FEI/Rui Pedro Godinho
The Dutch Nations Cup team victors. © 2014 FEI/Rui Pedro Godinho

VIDAUBAN, France, Feb. 28, 2014–The Netherlands on Friday won the second leg of the 2014 FEI Nations Cup series to repeat their performance in the inaugural pilot series in 2013.

The three-man side of Tommie Visser on Vingino, Laurens van Lieren on Ulysses La Haya and Diederik van Silfhout on Arlando edged out Belgium by almost a full five-point margin, while Sweden finished third ahead of Germany in fourth place.

The first leg of the global series at Wellington, Florida last week was an historic victory for the United States in the nation’s first year as part of the series aftr two years in which the team contest was aimed at developing a format for the Pan American Games.

Now, the series has become a global battle for the 2014 title.

Riders from six nations–Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Russia–lined up.

Scores over 70 percent for both Tommie Visser and Laurens Van Lieren put Friday’s result beyond doubt.

Tommie Visser has put his budding career as a singer and television host on hold while he concentrates on life in the saddle.

Riding the 12-year-old Vingino, he burst into the limelight last December when winning both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI3* in Roosendaal and said he was “quite pleased” with the Dutch-bred gelding Friday.

“I was experimenting a bit today, both in the warm-up and in the arena,” the 29-year-old rider said. “I only got him six months ago, and we are getting better and better but I am taking my time with him. There was a bit of tension in the canter, but otherwise it was really good.”

And he enjoyed a good laugh during the prize-giving, because Vingino is a very big horse. “When they put on the blanket for the winners it was very funny, because it was really short on Vingino–at least a half meter of him was not covered by it.”

The youngest team member, 25-year-old Diederik van Silfhout, was delighted with the result he achieved with the nine-year-old Arlando who posted 69.300 per cent, leaving him in seventh place individually.

“He’s really hot and wants to do too much most of the time, so we said we would come here and take it all very slowly and quietly to see how he would be. And today he was really relaxed and worked with me instead of doing his own thing!” van Silfhout explained.

“He’s a stallion, so he can get easily distracted but he has done 72.00 per cent in Grand Prix before, everything is there, he just needs more power and more strength, and he needs to piaffe on the spot. I want to get him to relax even more and to get more experience. He can do a lot more than he showed today. I believe he can go up six or seven percent from the score he got today.”

Laurens van Lieren, at 32 years old, was the oldest member of the Dutch team, and the rider who earned team gold and individual seventh place at the FEI European Championship in Turin, Italy seven years ago at the height of his partnership with Ollright, on Friday slotted into third place individually with Ulysses La Hayaby, posting 70.060 per cent.

The highest individual score of the day was recorded by Italy’s Valentina Truppa with her experienced Fixdesign Eremo Del Castegno, but they were not part of a team.

Lauren Van Lieren was a key player in the campaign that saw the Dutch clinch the inaugural FEI Nations Cup Dressage pilot series last year, competing with Ulysses La Haya at both the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany and Hickstead, England.

He said of his performance with the 13-year-old KWPN gelding Friday, “I was really happy. The test was very clear without mistakes. There was just a little hiccup at the beginning of passage, and the piaffe could have had more energy, but the rest was very safe and we did very good pirouette.

“I have been riding this horse for a year and a half now and competed here at Vidauban nine months ago when we scored 67.00. We improved by three percent on that today and the only thing we need to do now is to get more energy and higher collection. I have been working on the basics with him for the last six months and he has really improved.”

The Netherlands total was 209.820 while Belgium was runner-up with 204.880.

For Belgium, Claudia Fassaert posted the best mark of 69.540 per cent with Donnerfee while Francoise Hologne-Joux and Wodan scored 68.260 and Philip Jorissen and Le Beau were awarded 67.080. Julie de Deken completed the Belgian line-up with Lucky Dance whose mark of 65.040 was the team discard.

Cecilia Andren Dorselius and Lennox were the biggest scorers for Sweden with 69.340 per cent while Charlotte Haid Bondergaard and Triviant posted 67.880 per cent and Mads Hendeliowitz and Weihenstephaner put 67.400 per cent on the scoreboard. Jeanna Hogberg on Liza Minelli was eliminated. The final Swedish tally was 204.620.

Like the winning Dutch, the German team was also only three-strong but 22-year-old Sanneke Rothenberger produced 69.600 per cent with Wolke Sieben to help achieve fourth place, joined by Stephan Koberle and Darjeeling on 67.920 per cent and Bernadette Brune with 63.740 per cent for a team total of 201.260.

The French total was 200.100 and Russia posted a final total of 194.180.

The next leg of the series takes place in Rotterdam June 19.

Result:

1. The Netherlands 209.820–Vingino (Tommie Visser), Ulysses La Haya (Laurens van Lieren), Arlando (Diederik van Silfhout).
2. Belgium 204.880–Donnerfee (Claudia Fassaert), Wodan (Francoise Hologne-Joux), Le Beau (Philip Jorissen), Lucky Dance (Julie de Deken).
3. Sweden 204.620–Lennox (Cecilia Andren Dorselius), Triviant (Charlotte Haid Bondergaard), Weihenstephaner (Mads Hendeliowitz), Liza Minelli (Jeanna Hogberg).