The third part of the Spring MET 2018 kicked off this week, and the six first days of competition were concluded with the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort that went to Katharina Offel. Riding the 9-year-old mare Elien (Carambole x Mermus R), the German rider took the top honours in this world ranking Grand Prix worth 30,000 Euro.
Coming straight from the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in Den Bosch, was world-class course designer Louis Konickx who build a thirteen-fence track in the beautiful grass ring in Oliva Nova – challenging the 61 horse-and-rider combinations in the competition with many technical questions.
“We were very lucky to have Louis Konickx here this weekend, he is one of the very, very best in the world and one of my favourite course designers,” Offel said after. “The track was technical, you had to have a plan today – especially with the related distances where you had to choose between a forward stride or collect, like into the triple combination where you had to go on either six or seven strides. Also, the last line asked a bit technique with the double and then the six short strides to the final oxer. It was really nicely and fair build, and we saw very good sport today.”
Fourteen riders managed to clear the track to move on to the jump-off, and it was bound to be a fast affair with several open stretches inviting the riders to let go of the brakes. For a long time, Yannick Jorand (SUI) held on to the lead but then came Offel who went all in with her tiny but super-quick mare Elien to shave off an incredible 1.91 seconds on the leading time.
Those to come gave it a really good go, but no one could catch up with Offel. Closest came Micky Morssinkhof (NED) who also rode a blistering fast round on Happy Girl 42 (Nonstop x Landetto) finishing 0.43 seconds behind to take the runner-up position. With Annelies Vorsselmans (BEL) on Wilandro 3 (Unistar x Ramazotti) in third, it was a ladies’ podium in Oliva today. Rene Tebbel (UKR) finished fourth, and Therese Søhol Henriksen (NOR) fifth.
“My horse jumped very good today, even better in the jump-off than in the first round,” Offel detailed after. “I knew that I had to go for it in the jump-off, it was a lot of stretches. Many of the riders had to come back a bit to the Oliva Nova-oxer that was placed in the middle of the ring, but I managed to get a really good turn there and could just keep on going. My horse was really fighting for me, and I am so happy with her!"
The winning mare Elien came to Offel last year, and the two made their debut together during the Autumn MET 2017. “Willem Greve and his father bred Elien themselves, and they thought I would fit good to her so they very kindly gave her to me to ride. They knew what they were doing because it was straight away a match! By now I am lucky enough to have very supportive owners – the Christiaansen-family who is behind Martrick Benelux Horses – and after the Autumn MET they bought her for me so I could keep her. Elien stepped up really nice during the winter, we did a few three-star 1.50 classes together. This is her first outdoor show after the indoor season, and she was third in the ranking class on Friday and won today so I am over the moon with her!” Offel smiled.
“I really enjoy being here at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, the facilities are great and it’s very well organized. We have come here every year for the last three seasons. The horses really enjoy being outside again – they have jumped fantastic all week. I hope we can continue the next two weeks like we started the first!” concluded the happy winner.
Photo credit © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.