Orange gold, silver and bronze at Breda

By Cindy Timmer

BREDA, NETHERLANDS (FEI) – Dutch team members IJsbrand Chardon, Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde have continued their success story at the nations competition in Breda in their home country. The Dutch team not only won team gold again, but also claimed the complete individual podium. IJsbrand Chardon won, Theo Timmerman was the runner-up and Koos de Ronde made it a Dutch whitewash, having beaten Germany’s Christoph Sandmann by just 0.01 penalty points in the final cones competition.

The three Dutch drivers have made up the winning team at nearly every nations competition, European and World Championships since 2010. After the CAIO Aachen and the World Championships in Riesenbeck, they struck again in Breda, leaving the other teams trailing in their wake. Breda was also the second to last qualifier for the FEI World Cup™ Driving and the stage for the Dutch national four-in-hand Championships.

Dutch battle
Breda turned out to be a battle between the Dutch, with the clash starting in the dressage when Riesenbeck bronze medallist IJsbrand Chardon ended the day in first place with the same points as Theo Timmerman, wtih Christoph Sandmann in third.

Last man in, Chardon had expected to beat Timmerman’s score by several points. “I used my best dressage horse Darco in the lead and I felt I had driven a better test than in Riesenbeck,” Chardon said. “I had a few minor mistakes because of the wind, but the expression was very good.”

Theo Timmerman was pleased with his test: “I did have to work harder for it in the arena than I did in Riesenbeck where the circumstances were optimum. Now there was a lot of wind which made the horses quite fresh.”

Revenge
The marathon became the big goal for third Dutch team member Koos de Ronde, who took revenge for his somewhat disappointing score in the dressage. De Ronde used a different wheeler horse and Ultra was in the lead in all three phases of the competition. “I had a very good marathon,” he said. “I think it went even better than last year.” De Ronde set very fast times in the eight marathon obstacles of Dutch O-course designer Johan Jacobs and moved up to the fourth position in the standings.

Ijsbrand Chardon was the runner-up in the marathon. “We needed to get into the rhythm in the first obstacles, but after obstacle three I could drive whatever I liked.” Timmerman had a few hiccups in the marathon, dropping him to second place overall behind Chardon. Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson finished third in the marathon, ahead of Christoph Sandmann whose result was good enough to keep him in third place in the standings.

German team member Georg von Stein had bad luck in the marathon when his swingletrees broke in the first obstacle. Luckily his grooms were able to repair this and he could continue the marathon. Dutch individual Mark Weusthof tipped over in obstacle three, but nobody got hurt and Weusthof continued as if nothing had happened, setting the fastest times in the two following obstacles.

Tight finish
Koos de Ronde drove a double clear round in the obstacle driving competition and put the pressure on Christoph Sandmann, who was in bronze. Sandmann had a slight hesitation during the course, which cost him time penalties and the third place, as De Ronde had passed him with just 0.01 penalty points difference!

The difference between second placed Timmerman and leader Chardon was over five penalty points, and Timmerman put the pressure on Chardon by driving a clear round. Last starter Chardon made everybody hold their breath when he knocked one ball down. One further ball would have meant gold for Timmerman in both the international competition and the Dutch Championships. But Chardon knew what he was doing and crossed the finish line without any more faults to secure his individual victory and his 24th national title.

“I drove too pushy in the beginning and I made a mistake myself,” he said. “I was 11 seconds in time, so I lowered my speed when the ball fell. The horses were fantastic and I am happy with my 24th national title. Especially because the Dutch are so strong, I keep enjoying winning. Theo and Koos are world class drivers, you just can’t easily win from them.”

FEI World Cup™ Driving 2012/2013
With only the FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifier to go in Donaueschingen (GER) in two weeks time, the top of the rankings are getting quite clear. Ten drivers can qualify for the FEI World Cup™ Driving 2012/2013, which start in Hannover on 25 October. The calendar currently counts nine World Cup™ Driving events; Hannover (GER), Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Budapest (HUN), Geneva (SUI), newcomer London Olympia (GBR), Mechelen (BEL), Leipzig (GER) and Bordeaux (FRA). The Final is not allocated yet.