The first week of Spring MET II 2022 in Oliva Nova, Spain, concluded with the CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix presented by Dammann Reitplatz- u. Sportplatzbau GmbH. With 61 horse-and-rider combinations at start, this sunny Sunday afternoon was filled with exciting sport until the very end.
The course set by Gerard Lachat (SUI) counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts, with the time allowed set to 70 seconds – and the latter turned out to be the deciding factor. Bart Clarys (BEL) on Geste van de Vihta (VDL Zirocco Blue x Quite Easy) opened the class with a clear round and seven more followed: Jérôme Guery (BEL) on Grupo Prom Diego (Verdi TN x Gran Corrado), Julia Houtzager-Kayser (AUT) on High Five (Toulon x Burggraaf NV), Lars N Pedersen (DEN) on Boegegaarden Gladiola (Boegegaardens Grafs Stakkato x Boegegaardens Apollo), Sienna Charles (GBR) on Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato), Harry Charles (GBR) on Casquo Blue (Chacco-Blue x Carthago Z), Pilar Lucrecia Cordon (ESP) on Guust van den Katten Eeck (Zazu x Caesar van de Helle) and Philippe Rozier (FRA) on Le Coultre de Muze (Presley Boy x Vigo d’Arsouilles).
While Clarys opened the jump-off with one down, Guery delivered a clear round and clocked a time of 38.45 seconds – which in the end turned out to be unbeatable. The crowds gathered around the stunning Oliva Nova arena were held on the edge of their seats until the very last rider: As last to go, Rozier stopped the clock at 38.47, only fractions behind Guery – slotting into runner-up position and pushing Cordon to third, Pedersen to fourth and Sienna Charles to fifth spot finish.
“When I walked the course, I thought it was very easy compared to MET I,” Guery said afterwards. “However, I think the course builder was aware and therefore made the time allowed very short. In my opinion, it was even a bit too short, but for a class like this – not too big, not too difficult – he had to do it, otherwise we would have had twenty riders in the jump-off. I was in the beginning of the class, but I knew the time was short – today, it was the time that was the hardest part.”
“I am really happy with my horse, because he had a break of seven months without any shows and we came here to build him up again for the new season,” Guery continued. “During MET I in January, we only jumped a few small classes. Now, at MET II, we started in the ranking classes and he won directly on the first day – following up with this win in the Grand Prix. I had a good feeling on him, so I am very happy. Next week, he will be doing the CSI3* Grand Prix, and after that I think he will be ready to return to the five-star circuit.”
For Guery, the venue at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Oliva Nova has a special meaning; it is a place where his whole family feels at home. “I love to come here, not only because of the great facilities, but also because I can share my passion with my wife Patricia and my son Mathieu here,” he explained. “We love to come to Oliva to do our sport together. Here, I compete in the same classes with them and that is really special for us. At the same time, we can produce our horses, compete seriously but also really enjoy family time. For me, coming here is really special.”
“I will compete here next week and then I go to Doha, and after that the five-star season starts again with s’Hertogenbosch and Paris,” Guery – currently ranked number nine in the world – said about his plans for the coming months. “I often use the winter to bring my horses into shape ahead of the season, and I think we are on a good way this year. Here, the MET I in January was like a five-star show: All the best riders from Europe were here. For me, I am not focused on the ranking. I am not running after the points, I just try to do nice rounds and the best for my horses, and the points come if they come. I never rode for the points; if I am high in the ranking, it is because my horses are in great shape and me too.”
The Spring MET 2022 runs in four parts from January to April, gathering some of the world’s very best horses and riders under the Spanish sun. For more information, visit metoliva.com.