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Longines EEF Series Newsroom

Home Side Raise The Roof At Peelbergen
May 17, 2024

Image Matilde Tarchiani

Report by Eleanore Kelly

The Netherlands gave their home crowd a reason to celebrate after beating Canada in the jump-off at Peelbergen (NED), in what was the first qualifier for the Western region of the Longines EEF Series. Just the two nations came forward to jump-off who both finished on zero after the first two rounds but it was a fiercely fought contest throughout. Ireland and Spain wound up in third and fourth respectively, in this CSIO3* competition, which produced another thrilling afternoon of jumping action.

Three of the four Dutch riders produced double clears in the first two rounds and it was decided that Michael Greeve would jump-off for The Netherlands. 42 year old Greeve went out first to put in a lightning quick clear to set the standard. Partnering his own and Trelawny Farm’s nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding Denver they scorched around in a time of 32.05. That put pressure on Canada’s elected rider Kyle Timm but after his ride Casino Calvin lowered a rail, the victory belonged to the Netherlands.

Speaking after his round Greeve said: “My horse felt great both rounds, so I had good confidence going into the jump off. The lines were good, long lines and short turns which he’s good at, so I was very comfortable going in to put pressure on Canada”

The team were full of praise for Vincent Voorn Chef d’ Equipe of the Dutch team who has ridden at the highest level himself. Voorn explained why he chose Greeve for the jump-off challenge.  “We decided to take Michael as the lines were long in the jump off, and he’s a big striding horse, so we thought he could take some good strides round the track. Michael’s horse could rest a little bit [before the jump off], and Michael is a super strong jockey. He knows what he’s doing, so in this jump off, that horse suited it best”.

Aside from Greeve, the Dutch team included Lars Kersten, Henk Fredericks, and Mathias van Asten, with the latter two jumping double clears in the first two rounds. Frederiks was delighted with the consistent performance of his Dutch bred stallion Impian D, owned by H.K Van Doorn. The pair were regulars in the Series last year and have come back with the same show of form.  “I was very happy to be here with such a strong team, three amazing riders. I’m really happy with my horse, he jumped brilliantly”

The first round saw plenty of faults peppered around the course. Whilst the second round proved a true test of stamina and athleticism and the final line of fences with a sizeable oxer followed by a very upright double caused trouble for a number of combinations, including a number of the world’s highest ranked riders.

This was the first qualifier for the Western region and proved a popular event.  Thirteen teams from all over the world came forward to jump a challenging and technical track. Like last year, the course was built by German designer Bart Vonck and with Louis Konickx from The Netherlands joining as assistant builder. The competition welcomed several highly ranked riders from nations including Harry Charles for Great Britain who is ranked 13th in the FEI World rankings and Richard Howley who is ranked 33rd  for Ireland, many of whom were riding their younger horses. There were a number of up-and-coming riders putting in great performances, such as nineteen year old Jenny Billington (GBR) who put a refusal in the first round behind her, to jump a super clear in the second round.

Riders came from as far afield as the USA, Canada and Australia, highlighting the growing popularity of the Series around the globe. It has proved a valuable experience for both young riders and young horses, with the added pressure of jumping for your nation.

It was a historical event for Luxembourg who were fielding their very first time in the Longines EEF Series, now in its fourth year. It was also very much a family affair, three of the four team members were siblings- with Charlotte Bettendorff joined by her brothers Baile and Victor Bettendorf. Victor has an individual place for Luxembourg at this year’s Paris Olympics and also produced Preseldana, the ride of Odile Gierech who made up the quartet.

In this competition, teams of four riders jump an identical course twice, measuring 1.45m and if top teams end up on equal scores there is a jump-off. Course builder Vonks summed up the competition. “We had 13 teams, so we tried to build a course that was both technical and challenging for the riders. After the first round I thought maybe we would get 3-4 teams in the jump off, but in the second round it went well and we had two teams clear for a jump off plus a home team win which is great. We built the last line a little technical, which against the height of 1.45m, it was a good challenge for the riders”