It’s all in the family: horses front and center. Above left, all Dutch: Grandfather Hector van Coehoorn van Sminia and his son Arent (who tragically died at the age of 23 in a flying accident): admiring their trophy won for breeding the best warmbloods, right the Grandfather on his horse at his estate, below Grandson John on his Arabian in the mountains near Petra in Jordan, and below the great-granddaughter (American born!) Samantha Schwartz, jumping with Beau at her Virginian Misty Farm stable. (A left click on the pictures will enlarge most except those taken from internet sources, then click the back space at the top left and you are back in the blog).
Those were the images floating through my mind when we watched the World Cup jumping concours at the Washington International Horse Show at the Verizon Center last night, October 24.
It was a marvelous display of beautiful horses with excellent riders, and a prideful winner: Dutchman Harrie Smolders, who won the competition just ahead of American Callan Solem (riding a Dutch warmblood!) and Belgian Nicola Philippaerts (Credit to TimeLine Photos) It was a challenging but intelligent course designed by Anthony d’Ambrosio (USA), to ensure riders and horses would qualify for the next steps to win the World Cup (Madrid and next year’s prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) on 23-28 March 2016). Even the best horses found it hard to master it to perfection.
EQWO.net writes: D’Ambrosio purposefully set a demanding course to ensure that the right horse-and-rider combinations would earn the valuable points toward qualifying for the culminating event in the spring.
“I strive to design a course that rewards the riders who are capable of going to the World Cup Final,” D’Ambrosio said. “World Cup Qualifiers have to have a standard that is somewhat similar in consistency. It’s to prepare the horses and riders to have the accuracy to jump the dimensions. That’s an important part of my job.”
All in all it was a delight to see them flying over the obstacles, one after one, in a mighty show of athletic strength. But it was a good feeling to see Dutchman Harrie Smolders fly faultless over them twice with his wonderful horse Emerald (and an emerald he is!). Emerald is from famous French jumping blood Diamant de Semilly, whose father, Le Tot de Semilly was a legend in France. Harrie had won at the Washington Horse Show already in 2006 and had the honor to have his name inscribed on the gold cup for a second time.
Fotos Arnd Bronkhorst (www.arnd.nl)
EQWO.net writes: “This show suits me,” Smolders said. “I don’t know why, but the results are always good. And for our stable, it’s been very successful this week. My student Jos Verlooy (BEL) was fourth in tonight’s class and won the Puissance on Friday night, and is the leading rider of the show. It’s a bit busy with the classes going on and telling my students all the information that I know, but it really worked out.”
Interestingly, Harrie Smolders rides at the Belgian stable Euro Horse, run by Axel Verlooy, whose 17-year old son Jos just lost out (finishing 4th) in the finals of the Washington Horse show but as Smolders says above, he won the Puissance on Friday.
It is interesting to know that Harrie Smolders is Jos’s personal trainer. So Belgian Euro Horse did very well. Note that the other two riders, Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts of the Belgian Philippaerts stable both made good points at the Horse Show as well, but Olivier’s Legend of Love ended 13th in the World Cup exercise due to two faults in the first round. This was Legend’s first World Cup show and Olivier said Legend needed a bit more experience to win.
All in all: a wonderful evening for horse lovers like me and daughter Samantha! And some good Dutch pride on top of that.