Combined Team Success in Belgium
The event kicked off on Friday morning with first round dressage where the Irish Squad put in a strong performance which saw Suzie Cave, Sara Glynn and Alex Donohue each progress to the next round. Alex was unfortunate to be narrowly beaten by eventual finalist Christine Fredericke from Germany but impressive displays from both Suzie and Sara ensured that they would both be competing in Sunday’s final rounds.
The show jumping phase was next on the cards where the Irish did not disappoint with Natalie Quinlivan, Cave and Glynn returning with clean score cards in both the first and second rounds. The Belgians threw a spectacular Gala Ball that night where the semi finalists were announced. The Irish were in a celebratory mood when it was made known that Natalie and Suzie were going forward to Sunday’s final show-jumping rounds in addition to our representation dual in dressage.
The semi finals format sees six riders drawn on two horses with three riders riding one horse each. Suzie faced strong opposition when drawn against Canada’s Susan Horn and Germany’s Hendrich Klein. As each rider jumped clear it was Susan Horn’s very fast round which progressed to the final decider. Natalie was up against Daan de Cleene from Belgium and Ben Murray from the UK. A fall by the Brit meant elimination and a dropped pole at the 3rd and 4th jump by Natalie meant that Belgium’s 4 faults were enough to grant them a place with Canada in the final round. Daan de Cleene continued his show of form by beating Susan Horn in fine style to take the winner’s wreath and the final line up saw Suzie and Natalie in 4th and 5th place respectively. Much to the delight of the home crowd, Belgium’s strong performance resulted in them taking the team title also, pushing Ireland into 2nd and Great Britain in 3rd.
The final rounds of dressage saw both Sara and Suzie give foot perfect performances but tough competition in the form of the German team meant they had to settle for eventual 3rd and 6th place respectively. The final was an entirely German affair with Jan Theymann riding a polished technical test and test to music which saw him take top spot over his team mate, Christine Fredericke.
Ireland’s strong performance in each discipline resulted in them not only securing the Overall Leading Nation title ahead of Germany and France but also saw Suzie Cave take the over all individual title with Sara Glynn in 3rd. This success was bolstered by the Irish supporters coming out on top by winning the Survivors Cup for best Nation with most team spirit.
The next outing for the Irish Student Riders will be the SRNC being held in De Mortel, Netherlands from the 27th to the 30th of May.