The Spring MET 2017 resumed this week, with its third part of the tour and the first week of competition concluded on Sunday with the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by CHG worth 30,000 Euro. It was Germany’s Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann that stole the show as last to go in the jump-off, snatching the win from Belgium’s Constant Van Paesschen.
The 1.45m Grand Prix had 66 riders in it, and 16 of them produced clear rounds over the first round track set by Franz Madl to move on to the jump-off. And, with some of the world’s best riders on the start list the second round against the clock was bound to become a real race.
As second to go, Dominique Hendrickx (BEL) on Bacradi Les Hauts (Rexar du Houssoit x Cavalier) set the first clear of the jump-off. It was not until Gerco Schröder (NED) – double silver medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and team World Champion from 2006 and 2014 – came in the ring as fourth last to go that Hendrickx was overtaken. On the extravagant Glock’s Lausejunge (Ludwigs As x Cornet Obolensky), Schröder made light work of the shortened track – tightening the turns and then going all in on the last stretch to shave off 0.53 seconds on Hendrickx’s time.
One rider later, Schröder had to see himself pushed down by Constant Van Paesschen – winner of two of the three Grand Prix competitions during Spring MET 2. This time the 23-year-old rider was aboard Compadre Van Helle (Casall Ask x Concerto II), and with a proper race to the last fence the pair took over the lead with a time that was 0.35 faster than that set by Schröder.
However, it was not to last as Janne-Friederike Meyer Zimmermann – winner of the 2011 Aachen Grand Prix – was next in the ring on the impressive 11-year-old gelding Goja 27 (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker). The seasoned pair, that was a part of Germany’s winning team at the 2016 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona last year, set the pace from the very beginning. With Janne using Goja’s huge stride to her advantage on every open stretch the two were effortlessly covering a lot of ground. Already ahead on the clock to the penultimate fence, Janne set her chestnut gelding in top gear to the last – not once pulling back. When they crossed the finish line they had shaved the time down to an incredible 45.31 seconds, which was no less then 3.66 faster than that of Van Paesschen – receiving a standing ovation from the crowds that enjoyed the spring sun as they watched top sport unfold in Oliva Nova.
“He was just amazing,” Meyer-Zimmermann said about Goja 27 after their win. “I took him here not necessarily to win anything, but more as training to get him ready for the outdoor season. Then in this Grand Prix it was some really good riders and horses, and as I was watching the jump-off unfold they were going faster and faster. So, I thought to myself that I could either not ride the jump-off, ride the jump-off and be slow to end far down, ride the jump-off and go fast to end in the middle somewhere – or do something really crazy to try to win!”
“I took out one stride on the first line, and then made some tight turns. To the last fence I just thought ‘I have to let him go’. But, with Goja it really does not matter. He has all the scope in the world so even when I come far off like I did today it feels quite normal. However, it surprised me that I could go so fast on him!” smiled the winner.
“Goja is a special horse in every way. He does not like other horses, he can be a bit difficult in the warm-up, he is not a fan of prize giving ceremonies or music – he has his own way. But, there is no course in this world I would walk and think he could not do it. He is something really special,” Meyer-Zimmermann explained.
Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann visited the Spring MET I, and is now back for the third part of the tour with a total of seven horses. “We have had great weather so far, and are really enjoying being back here in Oliva!”
For the rest of her season, Meyer-Zimmermann will focus on the Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League as well as doing Nations Cups for Germany. “I hope I will be able to make it on the German team for the European Championships in Gothenburg,” said Meyer-Zimmermann. “That is my main goal.”
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto