Sweden’s Hannah Åkerblom and Chodec spoiled a Spanish party at the Centro Ecuestre Oliva Nova in Spain as the second week of Spring MET IV 2023 concluded on Sunday with the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort.
For Åkerblom – who is a regular at Oliva Nova – this victory was extra special. “This is my first win at this level,” she said. “I love Oliva Nova, this is my favourite show, that is why I have been coming back here year after year since the very beginning.”
Eleven horse-and-rider-combinations out of the 53 pairs at start cleared the first-round track set by Spain’s Isabel Fernandez De Cañete and joined the deciding jump-off, where Åkerblom and Chodec (Guidam Sohn x Centgraf) were the quickest. As the first pair out in the jump-off, the Swedish duo stopped the clock on 41.89 – a time that the other riders had to chase with such risk that none of those that were faster managed to leave all the fences intact. Mariano Martinez Bastida (ESP) and Elixir de Hus (L Arc de Triomphe x Fergar Mail) took the runner-up position with a clear round in 42.56, while his compatriot Santiago Nuñez Riva (ESP) and Valentino de Hus Z (Vivaldi du Seigneur x Trophee du Rozel) placed third in 43.72. Cyril Cools (BEL) and Cloe Gp Z (Corrdino x Takashi Van Berkenbroek) had to settle for the fourth place finish after one down in 40.57, while Tim Gredley (GBR) and Medoc de Toxandria (Der Senaat 111 x Kelvin de Sainte Hermelle) finished fifth with one down in 43.58.
“There were quite a few riders through to the jump-off, so I was a little bit unsure to begin with,” the happy winner said about her plan for the jump-off, where she was the first to go. “I was thinking about different plans… But my horse is very, very big and he has a huge stride, so in the end I just decided to go for it – see how fast we can gallop and how fast we can turn, and see how far that goes! That was basically my plan; just trying to be as fast as we could, because I knew I had so many good riders behind me. I did not do the inside turn to the combination; I went around, but I galloped.”
“He is a 14-year-old gelding, and I have had him since he was six,” Åkerblom said about her horse Chodec. “He is an amazing jumper! We have competed up to 1.60m level and done Nations Cups for Sweden as well. This is my first show of the year, and the first time I jump him since December – except for the qualifier on Thursday. I have not trained him at home, I just took him straight in here, so I had no idea how this was going to go. I don’t really have a plan for the season yet; I wanted to see how he was going to be here. I would want to try to ride as many big shows as I can and hopefully do some Nations Cups for Sweden as well – that is what I really like to do.”
“I have five horses with me here,” Åkerblom continued. “Three young horses and two of them are really green, doing the first show of their life right now. Then I have one pretty good 7-year-old, and another horse for the 1.45m classes and she is doing good, but she is not as good as Chodec – at least not yet!”
Spring MET IV 2023 continues next week with competitions up to CSI3* level and concludes on April 23rd.
For more information, visit metoliva.com.