The FEI Jumping European Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2022 concluded on Sunday in Oliva Nova, with the individual finals for Young Riders and Children.
Presented by CHG – Construcciones Hispano Germanas S.A. – the individual final for Young Riders was jumped over two rounds set at 1.50m. Santiago Varela’s course counted 12 obstacles and 15 efforts in the first round, where the best 26 horse-and-rider combinations of the week were at start. Ahead of Sunday’s individual final, Belgium’s Thibeau Spits held the lead on a score of 1.9, followed by Germany’s Henrike Ostermann and Hannes Ahlmann in second and third on 2.81 and 4.61 respectively, Ireland’s Max Wachman on 6.54 in fourth and Belgium’s Thibault Philippaerts on 6.66 in fifth.
In the first round, Henrike Ostermann and Air Force One 19 (Arpeggio x Conterno Grande) added eight penalties to their score, Max Wachman and Quintini (Quintender 2 x Cassini II) four and Italy’s Giacomo Casadei and Chargracon PS (Chacco-Blue x Grandino 25) only one penalty – which left them on a score of 10.81, 10.54 and 9.86 respectively, to sit 7th, 6th and 5th ahead of round two.
With a clear, Ireland’s Harry Allen kept on his score of 7.42 with Over Lux (Lux Z x Padraic Egan) – climbing up to sit fourth ahead of round two, while Great Britain’s Grace Debney and Boheme de La Roque (Kannan x Quick Star) was in third on a score of 6.75. It was the Belgian boys that were leading the way though, as they have done throughout this Championship. Thibault Philippaerts and Derby de Riverland (Kannan x L’Arc de Triomphe) jumped clear in round one, keeping their score on 6.66, while Thibeau Spits and Classic Touch DH also delivered a solid clear, keeping their lead on a score of only 1.9. However, to secure the individual gold medal, another clear was needed from Spits in round two – so there was plenty of pressure on the 21-year-old as the medals were to be decided.
In the last round, only seven pairs delivered clears. Two of these came from Allen and Philippaerts who with their performances secured themselves a place on the podium, but they had to wait for Spits to see which medal it was going to be. Coming in as last to go, Spits and Classic Touch DH kept their cool, ending their Championship week without touching a pole – only recording one single time penalty to bring their total score to 2.9. It was a fantastic finish to the Championship for the Belgians, as Spits added individual gold to his collection after winning team gold earlier in the week, while Philippaerts secured the silver – and Allen the bronze for Ireland.
Spits, who already has two team golds from the Europeans in 2018 and 2021, as well as an individual bronze, was full of praise for his horse Classic Touch DH.
“My horse has been amazing this week,” Spits said after winning his second gold medal of the week. “In most of the rounds I could just enjoy it, because she felt so good. Going into the final, I could handle the pressure quite good. Especially in the first round today, I could jump a relaxed round. In the second round, I felt the pressure a little bit more, but at the end my horse simply jumped amazing. I already felt a few weeks ago that she is in great shape. I am really delighted with this result. This is my last year as a Young Rider, so it is nice to finish this good.”
“This Championship is at the level that we are used to, but there is a really big stress factor that comes in, and this is something you cannot prepare for,” Spits continued. “I think we have some really good combinations on the team, all of us have performed really well throughout the year,” he said about the Belgians that have dominated the week in Oliva Nova. “Both of us [Spits and Philippaerts] really aimed our horses for this championship, and I think it worked out really well.”
“I was not so happy at the beginning of the week, but when I came into the final sitting fifth, I thought that maybe, if I am double clear, I can end up on the podium,” Philippaerts said after claiming the individual silver. “However, I knew it would be hard – because I know how strong Spits is! My horse jumped unbelievable today, and I think I had luck on my side.”
Ireland’s Harry Allen was happy with his individual bronze, saying: “I had a good week, my horse jumped brilliant. I had one down during the first round of the Nations Cup, it was my fault. My horse jumped better each day and was brilliant today.”
Germany’s Tony Stormanns 2022 Children’s Champion
Presented by Dammann Reitplatz- u. Sportplatzbau GmbH, the Children’s individual final was jumped over two rounds set at 1.30m. With the best 31 horse-and-rider combinations of the week qualified for the final, ten pairs entered today’s medal decider on a score of zero. In round one, Germany’s Tony Stormanns and Dia Nova (Diamant de Revel x Cardento 933), Finland’s Aida Hämäläinen and Calico Z (Calvados Z x Hold Up Premier), Sweden’s Nathalie Wennerhorn and Kenneth du Petit Vivier (Nonstop x Éclair des Bois), Italy’s Anna Ruggeri and Dakotah 2 (Diarado x Laurin), Belgium’s Brent de Schrijver and LIV Good vd Kattevennen Z (Levisto Z x Action-Breaker) as well as France’s Melina Bouillot and Canabis d’Albain (Baloubet du Rouet x Kannan) all delivered clears, moving on to the second and deciding round in shared pole position.
In round two, only Stormanns, Ruggeri and De Schrijver produced another clear, making it an exciting jump-off of three to decide the last medals of the FEI Jumping European Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2022 in Oliva Nova.
First out in the jump-off, Germany’s Tony Stormanns and the lovely Dia Nova stopped the clock on 32.05. When Anna Ruggeri on Dakotah 2 crossed the finish line in 32.89 and Brent de Schrijver had one fence down in 32.85, the last champion in Oliva Nova could be crowned: Stormanns took gold, Ruggeri silver and De Schrijver bronze.
“It was already a great feeling having a gold medal with the team,” 14-year-old Stormanns said after his victory. “But it is a very nice feeling to have a second one around my neck. I came here to win the one for the team, this is what my mother [Helena Stormanns] always taught me: Always for the team. Now that I have two medals, I am very happy, and mostly, I am very proud of my horse.”
Event Director Bettina Pöhls was delighted on behalf of all the medallists and said: “We have had a week of fantastic sport, and the Belgians have really impressed taking team gold for the Juniors and Young Riders, individual silver and bronze for Juniors, individual gold and silver for the Young Riders, and finally the individual bronze for Children. A huge congratulations to all the medallists this week, and to their support teams. It’s been great to have all these rising stars competing here in Oliva Nova, and we look forward to seeing them back in the rings here in the future for more success.”
Full results HERE