The Spring MET has come half-way into its cycle, and next week the third part of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour 2017 spring-edition kicks off with another three weeks of world-class showjumping. The Spring MET 2017 will be featuring top names such as John Whitaker (GBR), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Gerco Schröder (NED), Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE), Julien Epaillard (FRA), Michel Robert (FRA), Marc Houtzager (NED) as well as Reed Kessler (USA). From April 11 to 23 the last part of the Tour takes place, with two weeks of competition closing off this year’s Spring MET that has a total of 1.351.800 Euro in prize money offered to the riders competing during MET 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The two previous parts of the tour – MET 1 and MET 2 – showcased top sport with Olympic gold medalist and reigning World Cup Champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Aachen Grand Prix winner Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmerman (GER) among some of the many famous riders competing in Oliva.
However, it was the young and talented Constant Van Paesschen (BEL) who turned out to be the 'King of Oliva' with two Grand Prix victories during MET 2 on Isidoor Van de Helle. “I come to Oliva every year, I think the facilities and the show in general are fantastic. Everything is close by and it is easy to work for everyone on the team. Having the beach so near is also fantastic. I really like the Tour!" Van Paesschen said after his Grand Prix victories in Oliva.
“It is really nice that the rings are so close, if not I wouldn’t have been able to ride seven horses myself,” Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER) commented on the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour. “If you have to move up or down on the start lists it is never a problem to adjust, the staff are all friendly and flexible. I also really like that you can rent a place to live just around the corner, and the conditions at the show ground are great. Another thing that I really appreciate is that the organization always has really good course designers so the tracks are very well build.”
With some of the world’s very best rider travelling to Oliva next week to join Van Paesschen and Meyer-Zimmermann, all is set for more action at the Spring MET.
The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour is proud to welcome back John Whitaker, a living showjumping legend – who at the age of 61 is in top form, competing at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio as well as winning the CSI5* Grand Prix of St. Tropez and the CSIO5* Nations Cup of Rome during 2016. At the Autumn MET 2016, John made his first appearance in Oliva and this year he returns for the spring edition of the Tour.
“The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour is a very good event. It is well organized, the stables are good and it is also nice to have a proper grass ring. Then there is of course the nice weather and environment,” Whitaker says. “For the Spring MET I will be taking seven horses, that are all at different levels. Four of them are new ones, then I have Cassini’s Chaplin that has had a bit time off so I will get him back into competition again in Oliva. I will also bring Echo of Light to try to win something,” Whitaker continues. “The Tour is great because it gives you the opportunity to get young ones and news ones going, as it is always a good range of classes. You can build the horses up or drop them down if needed, and meanwhile the older ones can have a bit of a break.”
Reed Kessler – who made history in 2012 at the age of 18 when becoming the youngest showjumper ever to compete at the Olympic Games – also returns to Oliva after visiting the Autumn MET last year. “The facilities in Oliva are beautiful,” Kessler comments. “It is very well kept and the rings are great. I also enjoy being able to take the horses to the beach and the ocean on their off-days.”
“I will bring two horses that are quite new to me; one arrived at the end of last year and one came to me only one and a half weeks ago. I think the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour has great facilities that will enable me to learn more about these two horses within a short time-frame. With several rings – both sand and grass, lots of variety in the fences as well as good course designs I can quickly get to know how they handle different situations. After, I hope they will be ready for the outdoor season and the bigger shows,” Kessler closes off.
Another rider that is happy to be returning to Oliva is double Olympic silver medalist from 2012 and Team World Champion from 2006 and 2014, Gerco Schröder. “This will be my second time at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour,” the sympathetic Dutch rider tells. “I will be spending the next three weeks in Oliva, and I am bringing six horses with me. A few of them are younger horses, that will benefit from being able to jump outside three weeks in a row to gain experience and get going. Others have more mileage, but for example one of the horses I am taking has had a longer break and is now back in training. For this horse, the Spring MET is ideal as I can start jumping the lower classes and then gradually build it up again to get it back in shape.”
“I like it at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour. With three main rings, you can still keep the overview and get to watch everything. It is also a very nice place for the horses, and of course being able to ride at the beach is a plus,” Schröder concludes.
For more information about the Spring MET 2017, please visit www.metoliva.com.
Photo credit: Photos © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.