Sixteen combinations qualified for the jump-off in the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for 6-year-old horses. First to go in this jump-off was Jeroen Appelen with his stallion Nero de Semilly N (Diamant de Semilly - Breeder: Ludwig Neyt). They set a time of 43.54 seconds, which seemed unbeatable until Katrin Eckermann entered the arena as third last to go. “This was my first official show with Nero, we bought him only three months ago and only trained him a bit at home. And then we did a small test in a regional 1m15 class!” Jeroen talks about his horse. “I was already grateful that I had three horses qualified for this final. Being first to go in the jump-off is never easy but I don’t think I could have done it faster. My horse jumped amazing and I did my own round. I am really happy it worked out!”
The German Katrin Eckermann was the first to smash Appelen’s time, with an impressive jump-off finishing 40.64 seconds. “This is a really special victory. We’ve bred Chao Lee (Comme Il Faut) ourselves and I got her last year, at the age of 5. Immediately after we already won the Bundeschampionat as a 5-year-old, and this year we were second! She always does a fantastic job, she is a fantastic horse. I’m so happy to have a World Champion, and being the breeder as well. I’m really really proud for my dad because he is a really hard worker and for me this is the best horse possible. I think it is a perfect day!” Katrin says. “I really like Comme Il Faut, but we really try to look at what suits the mare. My father changes a lot with the stallions, to find out what works with the mare, so we don’t always use Comme Il Faut, but I am for sure a really big fan!”
People who saw the jump-off, couldn’t believe the speed with which Katrin Eckermann came down the last line. After fence 8, the upright, she was 1,3 seconds ahead of Jeroen Appelen at the time, but when she jumped the last fence, she finished three seconds faster. “When I started my jump-off, I didn’t have the best feeling to be honest. I have never rode her so fast so going to the last I was just thinking: ‘Come on!’ Luckily, in the end, I saw a distance to the last one really early. And I think she jumped that last fence amazing. She really came back and gave everything! That’s also the reason why, for me, she is not for sale. I’m convinced she is a horse that can bring me back to the top sport!”
Last one to go in the jump-off was Michael Pender, already good for Silver in the World Championship for 5-year-olds. All eyes were set on the Irish and he went full speed, making it very excited for the spectators. In the end, Pender and MHS Cardenta (Cardento - Breeder: Tom Brennan) fell one tenth of a second short, earning him another silver medal. “I am absolutely delighted with the mare. She jumped amazing and tried her best. Unfortunately it was not the win, but I am still very very happy. I want to thank my boss, Marion Hughes, very much to take over the reins. She already jumped super here last year, with Marion in the saddle, and it is amazing to ride her here today. She is a very special horse. She was only saddle broken last year, so I think we can say that it is a very big class for a horse that is under the saddle for only 1,5 years. I really wanted that gold, but to be able to take home two silver medals today, is amazing. Maybe I’ve let her drift slightly after the second last in the jump-off and maybe I should have done one more stride from fence 2 to 3 in the jump-off and took the inside turn to win that tenth of a second… But either way, I’m absolutely over the moon with silver!” Pender closed off.
Only two other combinations of the 16-rider jump-off managed to keep the 0 on the scoreboard in the jump-off. Those were Victoria Gulliksen and Ibiza (Cardento - Breeder: De Radstake) finishing fourth in 43.82 seconds and Harm Lahde and Oak Grove’s Desperado (Diamant de Semilly - Breeder: Elevage du Lys) closing the top five in 43.92 seconds.