Oliva Nova, Spain – July 17, 2022 – The 2022 FEI Jumping European Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children concluded on Sunday in Oliva Nova, with the individual finals for Young Riders and Children.
Presented by CHG – Construcciones Hispano Germanas S.A. – the individual final for Young Riders was jumped over two rounds set at 1.50m. Santiago Varela’s (ESP) course counted 12 obstacles and 15 efforts in the first round, where the best 26 horse-and-rider combinations of the week were at start. Ahead of Sunday’s individual final, Belgium’s Thibeau Spits (BEL) held the lead on a score of 1.9, followed by Germany’s Henrike Ostermann (GER) and Hannes Ahlmann (GER) in second and third on 2.81 and 4.61 respectively, Ireland’s Max Wachman (IRL) on 6.54 in fourth and Belgium’s Thibault Philippaerts (BEL) on 6.66 in fifth.
In the first round, Henrike Ostermann and Air Force One 19 (Arpeggio x Conterno Grande) added eight penalties to their score, Max Wachman (IRL) and Quintini (Quintender 2 x Cassini II) four and Italy’s Giacomo Casadei (ITA) and Chargracon PS (Chacco-Blue x Grandino 25) only one penalty – which left them on a score of 10.81, 10.54 and 9.86 respectively, to sit 7th, 6th and 5th ahead of round two.
With a clear, Ireland’s Harry Allen (IRL) kept on his score of 7.42 with Over Lux (Lux Z x Padraic Egan) – climbing up to sit fourth ahead of round two, while Great Britain’s Grace Debney (GBR) and Boheme de La Roque (Kannan x Quick Star) was in third on a score of 6.75.
It was the Belgian boys that were leading the way though, as they have done throughout this Championship. Thibault Philippaerts (BEL) and Derby de Riverland (Kannan x L’Arc de Triomphe) jumped clear in round one, keeping their score on 6.66, while Thibeau Spits and Classic Touch DH also delivered a solid clear, keeping their lead on a score of only 1.9. However, to secure the individual gold medal, another clear was needed from Spits in round two – so there was plenty of pressure on the 21-year-old as the medals were to be decided.
In the last round, only seven pairs delivered clears. Two of these came from Harry Allen (IRL) and Thibault Philippaerts who with their performances secured themselves a place on the podium, but they had to wait for Spits to see which medal it was going to be.
Coming in as last to go, Thibeau Spits (BEL) and Classic Touch DH kept their cool, ending their Championship week without touching a pole – only recording one single time penalty to bring their total score to 2.9. It was a fantastic finish to the Championship for the Belgians, as Spits added individual gold to his collection after winning team gold earlier in the week, while Philippaerts secured the silver – and Allen the bronze for Ireland.
Spits, who already has two team golds from the Europeans in 2018 and 2021, as well as an individual bronze, was full of praise for his horse Classic Touch DH.
“My horse has been amazing this week,” Spits said after winning his second gold medal of the week. “In most of the rounds I could just enjoy it, because she felt so good. Going into the final, I could handle the pressure quite good. Especially in the first round today, I could jump a relaxed round. In the second round, I felt the pressure a little bit more, but at the end my horse simply jumped amazing. I already felt a few weeks ago that she is in great shape. I am really delighted with this result. This is my last year as a Young Rider, so it is nice to finish this good.”
“This Championship is at the level that we are used to, but there is a really big stress factor that comes in, and this is something you cannot prepare for,” Spits continued. “I think we have some really good combinations on the team, all of us have performed really well throughout the year,” he said about the Belgians that have dominated the week in Oliva Nova. “Both of us [Spits and Philippaerts] really aimed our horses for this championship, and I think it worked out really well.”
“I was not so happy at the beginning of the week, but when I came into the final sitting fifth, I thought that maybe, if I am double clear, I can end up on the podium,” Thibault Philippaerts (BEL) said after claiming the individual silver. “However, I knew it would be hard – because I know how strong Spits is! My horse jumped unbelievable today, and I think I had luck on my side.”
Ireland’s Harry Allen (IRL) was happy with his individual bronze, saying: “I had a good week, my horse jumped brilliant. I had one down during the first round of the Nations Cup, it was my fault. My horse jumped better each day and was brilliant today.”
Final Results – 2022 FEI Jumping European Championships for Young Riders – Individual Final Standings
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Final Score – penalty-points
1) Thibeau Spits (BEL) & Classic Touch DH – 2.9
2) Thibault Philippaerts (BEL) & Derby de Riverland – 6.66
3) Harry Allen (IRL) & Over Lux – 7.42
Source: Press Release by Centro Ecuestre Oliva Nova
Photos: © Hervé Bonnaud / http://www.1clicphoto.com.