20 June - Team France completed their points-gathering campaign in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 series today with a superb victory at the fifth leg of the Europe Division 1 League in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. But they had to fight hard for those maximum points which have now earned them a qualifying spot for the much-anticipated second annual Furusiyya Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in October.

The host nation pushed them all the way, forcing a jump-off against the clock and keeping the packed stadium of spectators, including former Queen of The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, on the edges of their seats.  The dream of a long-awaited home victory was snatched away at the last moment however when Gerco Schroder and Glock’s London couldn’t match Penelope Leprevost’s clear in the jump-off with Flora de Mariposa.

It was a tension-filled afternoon, with much riding on the result in terms of qualification for five of the eight competing nations.  France, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands were all in the hunt for points, and it was the last chance for both France and Switzerland who have now used all four qualifying opportunities.  The French have been strong all season, coming into today’s contest at the head of the Europe Division 1 series, but sixth place for Switzerland today may have left them vulnerable.

There were surprises all the way, with Germany fielding a powerhouse of a team for their first points-gathering outing but having to settle for third place ahead of Great Britain in fourth and Brazil in fifth, while the Irish trailed the Swiss when slotting into seventh and the USA filled eighth place.

French chances rattled

And so it came down to a battle between the French and Dutch, although French chances were rattled when Leprevost’s second clear was followed by elimination for Patrice Delaveau when Carinjo HDC, foot-perfect first time out, paddled through the third element of the triple combination and fell with his rider.  Horse and rider left the arena unscathed however and the Frenchman said afterwards ““he rode really well in the first round, so I am really unsure about what happened. I think he got a bit spooky just before the triple combination, a pole fell between his hooves and he lost his focus. These things can happen but the horse is fine, he might be a bit stiff tomorrow but he’s fine.”

A clear from the reigning European individual gold medal winning partnership of Roger Yves Bost and Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois steading the French situation however and that meant that Kevin Staut’s single error with Reveur de Hurtebise HDC at the second element of the double at seven brought left them on a two-round total of eight.

Dutch anchorman, Gerco Schroder, had no choice to be clear if he was to force a jump-off now as both Jeroen Dubbeldam (Zenith SFN) and Maikel van der Vleuten (VDL Groep Verdi) had collected four faults while Harrie Smolders didn’t return to the ring with Emerald after they collected 17 faults first time out.  Despite all the pressure, Schroder produced the required result with the utmost of ease and a two-way jump-off would follow.

Leprevost was first to go, and her nerve never wavered.  Asked afterwards what she had planned before going first against the clock, she replied “I didn’t have a plan, I just trusted my mare and she goes naturally very fast and she’s very careful.  I just went in and let her do her usual great job!” Setting the target with a clear in 34.57 seconds, she then sat back while Schroder stepped up to the line.

You could hear a pin drop as the man who took individual silver with this same horse at the London 2012 Olympic Games returned for the third and last time, but when the second fence, previously the first element of the double, hit the floor it was all over and it would be France on the top step of the podium.

Great season

Reflecting afterwards, Leprevost said, “we have had a great season - two victories and one second place for the French team!” And she was elated about the performance of Flora de Mariposa today.  “I am very lucky to have such fantastic horses this year and today Flora was unbelievable! We bought her when she was a seven-year-old and now she is nine so I have been riding her for two years.  The first time she jumped a really big track was in Rome (last month) where she jumped double-clear in the Nations Cup and then finished tenth in the Grand Prix.  I’m so happy with her!” she said.

Talking about the course today she said “it was technical and the time was quite tight.  At the triple combination you had to turn short in order to make the time and some horses didn’t have balance and were not collected there which meant the poles came down”.

When asked if it was more difficult jumping in the first or second round today, Kevin Staut replied “actually, it was about the same. There was lots of pressure on our shoulders, five teams were competing for points here in Rotterdam and the results were pretty close, so the tension was very high during the whole competition.”

With only seven of the 10 competing nations making the cut to the Final from the Europe Division 1 League, the tension is indeed increasing with every leg of the series.  But the French don’t have to worry anymore.  They’ve done more than enough to qualify for the Furusiyya Final and, as defending champions, it seems unlikely they will give up their crown too easily.

Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat said “I am very proud of this victory” adding, “and I would also like to congratulate the home team on their results and also say that today France managed to take its revenge against the Netherlands who took a win away from France at La Baule last year - so now we’re even!”


 1.    France 8 faults/0 in 34.57 in Jump-Off: Flora de Mariposa (Penelope Leprevost) 4/0/0, Carinjo HDC (Patrice Delaveau) 0/Elim, Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulois (Roger Yves Bost) 4/0, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kevin Staut) 0/4.

 2.     Netherlands 8 faults/4 in Jump-Off: Zenith (Jeroen Dubbeldam) 0/4, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) 0/4, Emerald (Harrie Smolders) 17/DNS, Glock's London (Gerco Schroder) 0/0/Ret.

 3.    Germany 12 faults: Chiara (Ludger Beerbaum) 4/9, Codex One (Christian Ahlmann) 0/4, Cornet d'Amour (Daniel Deusser) 5/0, Cornado NRW (Marcus Ehning) 0/4.

 4.    Great Britain 16  faults: Utamaro D'Ecaussines (Joe Clee) 0/0, Wonder Why (Spencer Roe) 12/0, Touchable (Jessie Drea) 0/4, Zaire (Guy Williams) 26/9.

 5.    Brazil 17 faults: Ad Uutje (Doda de Miranda) 8/8, First Devision (Yuri Mansur Guerios) 0/0, Quintol (Eduardo Menezes) 0/9, Status (Rodrigo Pessoa) 4/5.

 6.    Switzerland 20 faults: Castlefield Eclipse (Paul Estermann) 0/11, Pablo de Virton (Jane Richard Philips) 4/4, Quorida de Treho (Romain Duguet) 4/8, Toulago (Pius Schwizer) 0/4.

 7.    Ireland 26 faults: Coulisa (Denis Lynch) 4/16, Antello Z (Cameron Hanley) 5/5, Quidam's Cherie (Cian O'Connor) 4/4, Loughview Lou-Lou (Dermott Lennon) 8/4.

8.    USA 27 faults: Barron (Lucy Davis) 4/4, Vindicat W (Jessica Springsteen) 8/12, Nougat du Vallet (Katherine Dinan) 1/6, Ohlala (Lauren Hough) 8/4.

Full result here 


Santiago Varela, course designer : “The riders were asked to find solutions during the first round to handle the long distances and then find the balance for the horses in the second round.”

Philippe Guerdat, Chef d’Equipe FRA when asked about the choice of Leprevost for the jump-off: “Penelope’s mare is very fast and since she won’t be competing in the Grand Prix on Sunday, it was an easy decision to make.”

Penelope Leprevost, FRA: “Now I look forward to doing my best for the WEG, and the horse I will choose for that is Flora”.

Standings after Round 5 of Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Europe Division 1 League 2014 at Rottedam (NED):

1.    France        -    345

2.    Switzerland        -    280

3.    Belgium        -    220

4.    Spain            -    202.5

5.    Netherlands        -    180

6.    Germany        -    160

7.    Sweden        -    130

7.    Ireland        -    130

9.    Ukraine        -    120

10.    Great Britain    -      70

by Louise Parkes

Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans. Penelope Leprevost and Flora de Mariposa sealed victory for France today in a two-way jump-off against the clock at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2014 Europe Division 1 leg in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.