It was tough to predict who the final winner would be throughout the sixth leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ in Arville (BEL). There was a leaderboard shake-up in each phase but eventually the home side saved the day with some masterful cross-country riding, to finish on a score of 131.2 ahead of Germany on 148.5. Italy finished in third place on 193.00 and Team GB, who had been in first place after the jumping phase but had a number of cross-country faults, had to settle for fourth. This was the second time in a row that Belgium claimed this prestigious Nations Cup prize in Arville.
This young Belgian team of Lara De Liedekerke-Meier, Jarno Verwimp, Julien Wergifosse and Maarten Boon, look exciting team prospects for the future - all four putting in strong cross-country performances. They were dressage leaders but after some mixed fortunes in the jumping (which took place on the second day), dropped down to third going into the final test; with Great Britain in front and Sweden in second. Yet the story was not over. The cross-country proved to be a tough track which required bold but accurate riding, as well as endurance to cope with the hilly terrain. There were five eliminations and a further eight retirements on the course.
Lara De Liedekerke-Meier who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last year, was best of the Belgians overall. She stormed around the cross-country on her 12 year old Hannoverian gelding Ducati d’Arville, to finish 4th individually in this CCIO4*-S competition. Her final score helping the overall team score significantly. “It’s fantastic. Last year was a historical win for Belgium but to win the cup again and keep it here, was just fantastic. My horse was amazing. My teammates were a younger squad than before, so I had to be the anchor a little bit.”
Speaking on the cross-country track which caused the demise of the British and Swedish teams and many other individual riders, she said: “I had a wonderful round, the cross-country was really tough and hilly. My horse kept running until the end. This was a fantastic day for Belgium and a fantastic day for eventing and I am so proud of my team. Arville was a fantastic edition.”
Belgium's Jarno Verwimp was another rider to make his mark and finished 5th individually in the CCIO4*-S on Kyba van de Jomaheide. The 22 year old rider was delighted with his selection and team win: “To be in the team for a Nations Cup is already a big honour but to take gold with the Belgian team makes it complete.”
The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ action now moves to Ballindenisk (21-25 September). This will be the eighth and penultimate leg of the Series. Germany continue to lead with 380 points overall.
Final scores from Arville can be found here
FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2022 Calendar & Team standings can be found here