Belgium triumphs in Longines EEF Series Nations Cup of Luxembourg

Belgium triumphs in Longines EEF Series Nations Cup of Luxembourg

In a thrilling display of equestrian skill but above all teamwork, the Belgian team clinched victory at the Longines EEF Series Nations Cup of Luxembourg. The competition was fierce from the start, as both Belgium and Ireland kept building up the pace. The Belgian team maintained their composure and precision throughout, navigating Peter Schumacher’s challenging course with aplomb. The team’s overall performance navigated to victory.

The Belgian team made a flawless start in the first round, thanks to Jeroen Appelen. Riding the 11-year-old Monte Blue PS (Monte Bellini), he was the second to complete Peter Schumacher's course without faults, following the Spanish chef d’Equipe Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard Puma HS. Aaron Tijskens, the U25 rider for the Belgian team, struggled slightly with the Longines triple combination on Hurricange (Untouched), but the team remained faultless thanks to the clear rounds from his teammates Frédéric Vernaet on Orak d’Hamwyck (Tobago Z) and Yves Vanderhasselt with Merald van’t Zorgvliet (Emerald). Similarly, for Ireland, it was only their U25 rider Tom Wachman who faltered on Cathalina S (Catoki), with both Max Wachman and Michael G Duffy delivering clear rounds.


At the start of the second round, both Belgium and Ireland had a clean slate. France was trailing with four penalty points in third place, while Ireland was just two seconds behind Belgium. The second round continued to be a neck-and-neck race between Belgium and Ireland, with both teams incurring four penalty points.


The victory in the Longines EEF Series Nations Cup was decided in a two-rider jump-off between Belgium and Ireland. Cian O’Connor represented Ireland and entered the ring first on Fancy de Kergane (Berdenn de Kergane). The duo had not made a single mistake up to this point, setting high expectations. However, two rails came down during their round, slightly easing the pressure on Jeroen Appelen, who held the fate of the Belgian team. Despite the tension, Appelen and Monte Blue PS managed to secure the Belgian victory on Luxembourg soil.

 

Great Britain claimed the bronze medal, thanks to the strong performances of Mark Edwards (Flying Tinker II), Adrian Whiteway (Chacco Volo), Oliver Fletcher (Hello William), and Robert Murphy (Kannem J.A. Z).

 

Belgium’s Chef d’Equipe, Fabienne Daigneux-Lange: “Of course I am satisfied with the accomplishment of my team. It’s a great feeling to win for our country!” she stated.

 

Two of the Belgian riders, Frédéric and Yves, achieved double clears. Frédéric praised his horse Orak’s exceptional performance: “Orak felt really good today. The first round he jumped unbelievably well. The quality he has feels unlimited. In the second round, he once again gave it his all. I’m very happy with this performance today; he did an amazing job.”

 

Yves was equally pleased with his horse’s performance: “My horse did very well despite not having that much experience. For him, it’s his first Nations Cup season. The feeling was really good.”

 

The jump-off against Ireland saw Jeroen chosen to represent Belgium. Fabienne explained the decision: “We always discuss this together as a team. I think the horses from Yves and Frédéric are very good but maybe not the fastest. Aaron is a little too young to put so much pressure on his shoulders already. Jeroen is one of the fastest riders, so he was the chosen one.”

 

Reflecting on the venue and location, both Jeroen and Aaron were full of praise. Aaron commented, “It’s a very nice venue. The scenery with the woods is unbelievable. The organization did a really good job!”

 

TEAM LUXEMBOURG: “We will come back even stronger!”

 

Meanwhile, the Luxembourg team, featuring three family members, discussed their unique dynamic. Charlotte Bettendorf shared, “We have been riding together since we were little, so it all feels very natural. It’s amazing, even. Odile Gierech supports us the best she can, and we all did our best today. We will keep on improving and come back even stronger in the future.”

 

PETER SCHUMACHER: “It’s always a surprise how everything is going to turn out.”

 

Course designer Peter Schumacher also shared his insights on the event. Reflecting on the course, he said, “I think it went quite well. In the end, we had four double clears. As a course designer, it’s always a surprise how everything is going to turn out. You never know what will happen. The beginning of the course was ‘easy’ and meant to get into the feeling of it. After the water, the pressure was built up with the combination that followed quite fast. In the end, all was well.”


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