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French Forge Ahead at FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Season Opener

Team Podium, la France, Maxime LIVIO, Mathieu CHOMBART, Luc CHATEAU, Benjamin MASSIE (FRA), FEI Nations CUP™ Montelibretti Italy 2024

Slick, quick cross-country performances gave France the winning edge in the opening leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™, which took place in the beautiful Italian setting of Montelibretti this week. Five nations came forward but it was France who took a decisive victory over Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Australia. They finished on an overall team score of 122.70 ahead of home nation Italy on 144.50 whilst Team Switzerland wound up in close third on a score of 145.30.

Benjamin Massie led his team to victory with the impressive French-bred gelding, Figaro Fonroy. He finished in first place overall in this CCIO4*-S competition on a score of 39.40 but only narrowly beat his teammate Maxime Livio into second who had a score of 39.60. Livio was riding his seasoned campaigner Vegas des Boursons, another French-bred gelding who was the fastest horse around the cross-country course and the only one to finish without time penalties in this phase.

Benjamin Massie (FRA) and Figaro Fonroy, FEI Nations Cup™ Montelibretti Italy 2024. Copyright ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

This is no doubt testament to a strong and long-standing partnership with his talented rider who is ranked 8th in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings and also trains the Thailand Eventing team. Livio and Massie were ably assisted by Luc Chateau who was the only French athlete to jump a double clear with horse Ego Des Cabanes and Mathieu Chombert with Big Boss Melo.

Massie was delighted with his young horse and summed up the cross-country phase “I think we all agree that the course was tough enough for the beginning of the season. It was not so twisty and quite fast. The ground was really nice but technically speaking it was tough for the first of the season.”

Chateau was in agreement that the team behind Montelibretti had struck the perfect balance. “I think Montelibretti is a good place for competition. We have a good cross-country on beautiful grass and the weather was very good all week- it was perfect.”

Maxime Livio (FRA) Vegas des Boursons, FEI Nations Cup™ Montelibretti Italy 2024. Copyright ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

36 year-old Livio has this year’s Paris Olympics firmly in his plan this season and was full of praise for the Nations Cup Series both for the teams and as an individual.

The rookie of the team was Chombert who picked an unlucky 20 penalties on the early part of the course but then set the record straight with one of the few clear in the final Jumping phase. “For me and my horse, it was the first Nations Cup. I was the novice of the team but my horse had a good weekend. Normally, I can be better on the cross-country, but today he was really fresh and confident in the Jumping. I am really happy. Normally I can do better but the other guys on the team were really strong and it was a great result.”

Emiliano Portale (ITA) and Scuderia 1918 Future, FEI Nations Cup™ Montelibretti Italy 2024. Copyright ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

The Italian quartet delighted their home crowd and received the biggest cheer of the day with their overall runner-up spot. With all four athletes jumping clear cross-country rounds, the nation is showing depth and strength at this level. Italy received the very last Olympic team qualification from their consistency in the FEI Eventing Nations CupTM Series last year and they will have a number of combinations to choose from.

The second leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ moves to Chatsworth (GBR) , which runs from 17 to 19 May 2024.

Full results can be found here. You can also view the live stream replays on the FEI’s YouTube channel here or in the videos embedded below.

Dressage Day 1:

Dressage Day 2:

Cross Country:

Show Jumping:

Elation for Italy after Claiming Final Olympic Ticket at Boekelo

Paolo Torlonia and ESI Bethany Bay during the Cross Country test at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup - Ermelo (Netherlands). Copyright Photo: FEI/ Libby Law Photography Paolo Torlonia and ESI Bethany Bay during the Cross Country test at the FEI Eventing Nations Cup - Ermelo (Netherlands). Copyright Photo: FEI/ Libby Law Photography

Italy’s persistence in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series proved worthwhile as they picked up the golden ticket for the Paris Olympics next year. Having competed at every one of the eight events in this popular competition, Olympic qualification was their primary focus and they made use of a large pool of talent to get them to this satisfying destination.

When Spain failed to enter here, Italy came to Boekelo knowing they had it in the bag, but it was still important to riders to prove to selectors that they were worthy contenders of an Olympic place. They finished third in the Nations Cup Series behind Belgium and France who were already qualified.

ITA-Umberto Riva rides Falconn Sunheup Z during the Showjumping. 2023 NED-Military Boekelo CCIO4* | FEI Nations Cup Eventing – Netherlands. Sunday 8 October 2023. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Umberto Riva was the highest placed Italian athlete at Boekelo. After storming around the cross-country clear inside the time on Flaconn Sunheup Z, he wound up in 27th place out of 112 competitors. “It’s a dream for our country to be able to present ourselves in Paris and we are very happy because it was our goal for the season and we achieved it. Knowing that we came had the qualification in the pocket was good of course but we wanted to do good, so there is always pressure in a competition. We are very happy to have lots of Italian riders to compete in the Nations Cup and that’s also why we achieved this result”, Riva said.

Riva was full of praise for the Series and the event here at Military Boekelo, which he felt was a great preparation for the Olympics, “I hope to go to Paris. I think my horse is a great fit for Paris. The atmosphere here was the reason we decided to come to Boekelo, it’s a great competition, great organisation and in the arena, you really feel the atmosphere and it’s a great exercise for big competitions like Olympics.”

ITA-Giovanni Ugolotti rides Billy Hennessy during the 1st Day of Dressage. 2023 NED-Military Boekelo CCIO4* | FEI Nations Cup Eventing – Netherlands. Thursday 5 October 2023. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Giovanni Ugolotti is a stalwart of the Italian team and a likely contender for the Italian team heading to Paris. He summed up what this result meant to his nation: “It’s amazing. It took a lot of pressure off us this weekend and for once we could enjoy the competition. It’s great for the country, to be qualified for the Olympics now we need to try to have the best possible horses to go there and try to do the best we can”.

We used the Nations Cup competition because it was very important to try to do as many as we could. We actually have a very large group of riders in Italy, and we just mix a little the riders, using younger and more experienced riders in the team. We did the Europeans (Championships) but obviously not good enough to qualify and so it was great to qualify here.”

Like many riders at Boekelo, Ugolotti used the event to qualify his individual horses for the Olympics to give him plenty of options. “After this weekend I have five horses qualified and that’s a very good position to be in.”

Ugolotti also views Boekelo as a great acclimatisation for the Olympics. “It’s an event I have come to for many years and it’s a good one to train the horses to get used to crowds and people and become hopefully championship horses in the future. We are expecting crowds probably even more than this in Paris. I am expecting the course to be strung quite tight because I know they don’t have a lot of room there and I am expecting people to be all over the place, so this will be good practice.”

Boekelo was the eighth and final fixture in the popular Eventing Nations Cup Series, which saw 16 nations compete for the prestigious title over eight fixtures. Italy join France, Germany, the USA, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Australia and China as the nations heading to Paris next year.

There will be one final chance for Olympic team qualification later this month for some nations including Brazil and Argentina. This will be at the Pan American Games 2023 in Santiago, Chile which takes place from 26-29 October.

FEI Eventing Nations Cup Final in Boekelo Promises World-Class Line-up and Olympic Ticket

Tim Price and Happy Boy, 2022’s Boekelo winners. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Boekelo has never failed to draw a high-calibre of international competitors through the gate, but this year’s FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ entry list offers the cream of Eventing stars from across the world. The line-up includes the Olympic, World and European Champions, as well as five of the top ten riders in the FEI Eventing World Athlete rankings. In addition, the Dutch event has taken on extra significance as the final opportunity for nations to qualify their team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Boekelo is by many considered the crown jewels of Dutch Eventing, and has played host to the FEI Nations Cup Final for several years. This year it has attracted over 110 riders from 15 nations and it is guaranteed to offer a masterclass of Eventing with leading riders from across the globe.

Tokyo Olympic individual gold medalist Julia Krajewski is competing with her exciting Holsteiner stallion Nickel 21, the horse who helped the German team win the last Nations Cup leg which took place in Arville in August. Julia previously won Boekelo in 2018.

World Champion Yasmin Ingham brings the ever-consistent Rehy DJ to the party, along with Olympic team gold medalist Laura Collett who won the prestigious Boekelo title in 2019.

Then there is European Champion and current leader in the World rankings, Rosalind Canter who has two horses entered. The British team lifted the title last year and whilst the Nations Cup Team has not yet been finalised, Phil Surl, their Chef d’Equipe will have 19 combinations to choose from.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

World #2 Tim Price, and his wife Jonelle Price are regulars and crowd favourites at Boekelo and it has been a happy hunting ground for Tim who won the individual title in 2017 and again last year. Australia is fielding an experienced group of riders including Kevin McNab, Megan Jones and William Levett.

The Americans are flying over a strong contingent of riders, many of whom hope to prove their worth of Olympic selection, with Chef d’Equipe and former Olympic Champion Leslie Law at the helm. The U.S. entries include several rising stars such as Hallie Coon (riding as an individual) and Jennie Brannigan (riding on the Nations Cup team), as well as team stalwart 60-year-old Phillip Dutton (riding on the Nations Cup team), a previous Olympic champion in Atlanta (1996).

James Alliston and Karma. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The entry list from France shows the strength and depth that the Olympic host nation offers in the discipline of eventing, with a number of medal winning riders amongst the group, such as Nicolas Touzaint, Maxime Livio and Christopher Six. Dutch National coach Andrew Heffernen has thirteen Dutch combinations entered, who will undoubtedly delight their home crowd at this popular event.

In terms of the Olympic ticket, the highest placed team according to the final team classification of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series 2023, who have not already qualified, will be allocated a place. Italy is the only team entered here, who have not already qualified, and are currently sitting in second place in the Series behind Belgium.

It was perhaps a surprise not to see Spain on the entries list, as they have not yet qualified a team for Paris and are currently lying fourth in the Series. Belgium are already qualified, after success at the FEI European Championships this year, but they will certainly not be resting on their laurels. They go into the final with 600 points so are almost certain of overall victory.

This is the eighth and final fixture in the popular FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series, which saw 16 nations compete for the prestigious title over eight fixtures. There will be one final chance of Olympic qualification later this month for some nations including Brazil and Argentina. This will be at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile which takes place from 26-29 October.

Military Boekelo CCIO4*: [Website] [Schedule] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage]

Olympic Champion Helps Germany Claim the Belgian Leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™

Gold medalists - Team Germany - Calvin Bockmann; Julia Krajewski; Libussa Lubbeke; Emma Brusseau at the prizegiving for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2023 - Arville (BEL)

Copyright Photo: FEI/Libby Law Photography Gold medalists - Team Germany - Calvin Bockmann; Julia Krajewski; Libussa Lubbeke; Emma Brusseau at the prizegiving for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2023 - Arville (BEL) Copyright Photo: FEI/Libby Law Photography

In a nail-biting cross-country finish Germany claimed The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ in Arville (BEL) by just 0.3 of a penalty over home side Belgium. Their victory was massively helped by a strong performance from Julia Krajewski, the individual gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics. The 34 year old was also the individual winner of the CCIO4* competition, after jumping a super double clear on her impressive nine year old Holsteiner stallion, Nickel 21. The German performed well as a team, leading throughout to achieve a score of 103.2. Although four very strong and fast cross-country performances left the Belgians breathing down their necks with an overall score of 103.5. New Zealand presented an experienced team of riders all of whom were established at 5*, to finish third on a score of 116.4.

Hans Melzer, chef d’equipe of the winning team was delighted with the German performance, particularly after a year that has been somewhat up and down for German riders.

“This year sometimes we were unlucky in Nations Cups and at Aachen but this one was important because we had three long-listed riders for the Europeans (Championships) which are all to go to Blenheim. It was good to show here because it’s a hilly event and we don’t have so many of those in Germany so it was good preparation for the rest of the season. What they showed today was very good cross-country riding.”

“Julia (Krajewski) was with her younger horse which was his third time at 4* and is a horse maybe for the future. He will go to the long (CCI4*-L) at Boekelo and the other three were all younger riders from our prospective group based in Warendorf, and it was good to see the younger ones competing here and really attacking.

12 national teams from three continents came forward to compete at the Nations Cup in Arville, which is one of Belgium’s most prestigious equestrian events. The event as a whole attracted riders from as far afield as India, Morocco and Australia. Melzer highlighted the significance of the Series and why the event had proved so popular with riders from all over the world.

“The Nations Cups are super events because every rider is proud to ride for their country. It’s a good competition and especially here we have 12 nations so it’s like a little championship. It’s really great with atmosphere and a super course. I think it’s important we keep these Nations Cups going the whole year in every country because when you have enough riders you can test riders in a team and the team order and everything that they learn being part of a team.

“It was a real four star. It’s not too big but it was very technical with many questions and the country is really hilly. The second part of the course is up and down and up and down. We had 114 starters here which was unbelievable but the facilities are super, we had good weather, the ground is perfect so you could go and try to ride the time because there was no risk. It’s very good here in Arville.”

With the electors weighing up options for next year’s Olympics, events like these become more significant and Melzer will continue to assess their performance as these German team riders will now head to Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials (GBR) in September. “I think Julia will have a definite Olympic chance and the others are good enough when they have a good result here and then Blenheim ahead and there is a chance to put them on the long-list.”

When asked if the Germans can rise once again as the dominant eventing nation, he responded “The Germans did very well at the FEI World Championships in Pratoni and now the Brits are the strongest team in all ways. Our team must work everything at 100% and maybe we have a chance. It’s important to give the younger rider a good plan, that’s how they have a chance to come to the top and where they ride, how they train, with whom they train. We have our very good system in Germany since 2002- our prospective group and three of our riders today came through this system. And in the past Julia Karajewski, Sandra Auffarth and Frank Ostholt, they all came out of this group and for the future this is a good thing we have as we train a group of riders always together and they get more experienced and more confident.

Our North American neighbors finished in 12th place, with Katherine Malensek leading Team Canada as the highest placed Canadian rider, finishing 53rd on a 52.9 after adding a handful of cross country and jumping time penalties and two rails. Hanna Bundy and Lovely Assistant scored a personal best in dressage, adding a cross country jump penalty, time, and a rail to their score to finish 73rd. Kendal Lehari and Mitchell additionally picked up cross country jump and time penalties, as well as three rails in the show jumping to finish 80th. Kendal Lehari and her second mount, Audacious, were eliminated after a rider fall. Jessica Phoenix and Wabbit incurred an automatic elimination in the show jumping for incurring 20 or more obstacles penalties. The Canadian team will still be looking for an Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ action now moves to the final event of the Nations Cup Series which will play out at Boekelo (NED) (4-8 October). The Belgians continue to lead the Series with 600 points overall.

Final scores from Arville can be found here and team standings here.

France Pulls Off Back-to-Back FEI Nations Cup Wins at Avenches

GOLD: Team France: Mathieu Lemoine; Raphael Cochet; Maxime Livio; Christopher Six, during the Prizegiving for the CCIO4*-S. 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup | Switzerland. Avenches. Sunday 23 July. Photo: Libby Law Photography

France achieved the rare feat of two back-to-back wins in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series, this weekend. This was the sixth leg of this popular Series, which took place at Avenches (SUI).

Fresh from their victory on home turf at Haras de Jardy (FRA) last week, this week saw a largely different but experienced team compete, with only Maxime Livio competing again on a different horse.

The team in Avenches, which also included Raphaël Cochet, Christopher Six and Mathieu Lemoine, were strong in all three phases, scoring 135.5 to finish with a comfortable lead over team Italy, who completed on 148.9. Italy were delighted with this, after climbing from sixth after the dressage phase. Meanwhile Switzerland, the home nation, had a less than desirable experience in the jumping test to drop from overnight second to third, with a final score of 155.0.

With all eyes on Paris, the French have shown much of the strength and depth they have to offer during this Series. If all continues to go to plan, they could be strong medal contenders at their home Olympic Games. This is their third Nations Cup victory out of just three attempts this season, having won at Chatsworth (GBR) in May as well as Haras de Jardy.

FRA-Maxime Livio rides Joel during the Showjumping for the CCIO4*-S. 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup | Switzerland. Avenches. Sunday 23 July. Photo: Libby Law Photography

Significantly, all three events presented particularly challenging cross-country tracks in terms of jumping efforts and making the time allowed, and the French have excelled in both jumping and cross-country phases in all their performances. Each French team has presented a different line-up of athletes and, in all cases, the individual winner was also a French team athlete.

In Avenches, it was time for Raphaël Cochet to shine, taking the CCIO4*-NC-S individually. He rode one of the fastest cross-country rounds of the day on his super Selle Francais mare Difda Du Very, and despite lowering one rail in the jumping phase, he slipped just ahead of Felix Vogg after the Swiss rider had two fences down.

Speaking after his performance, Cochet said: “I never expected to win here. I came here focusing on winning with the team but wasn’t thinking about an individual win at all. My mare Dijda du Very is a very complete mare, who is good in all three tests, but there are so many factors that play a role first with Dressage, then the cross country and Jumping phases, that winning here is really an incredible feeling and gives very special emotions.”

FRA-Christopher Six rides Totem de Brecey during the Cross Country for the CCIO4*-S. Interim-3rd. 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup | Switzerland. Avenches. Saturday 22 July. Photo: Libby Law Photography

The event took place at the Institut Equestre National d’Avenches (IENA) – also the site for the 2021 FEI Eventing European Championships, as well as the FEI European Pony Championships for Dressage, Eventing and Jumping in 2008. It is on the outskirts of Avenches, the former capital of Roman Helvetia, and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland. The riders were full of praise for this picturesque and well-run event.

“We discovered the venue here in Avenches during the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ last year and we really loved it. The care given to the cross country ground is amazing and so important for us and our horses, we will surely be back,” said Cochet.

There were eight nations competing in Avenches, all from Europe.This Nations Cup series is of particular significance to some nations this year, as the highest placed team according to the final team classification of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series 2023, excluding teams/NOCs already qualified, will be allocated a place for Paris 2024.

The Belgians still lead the Series at this early stage, with 510 points scored. This was very much their aim this season, as they have not yet qualified for Paris.

The seventh leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ moves to Bromont (CAN), which runs from 11-13 August. Bromont Horse Trials is one of the most important equestrian events in Canada and the only FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ leg in the Americas.

[Results from Avenches can be found here]
[Rewatch the Avenches live streams here]

France takes FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Honors on Home Turf

The home side dominated the French leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ from beginning until end. Their overall score of 101.5 put them well ahead of Belgium who completed on 142.8. Third place went to Great Britain who finished on 149.9.

This was the fifth leg of this popular series which took place for the first time at Haras de Jardy, in Normandy this weekend, and attracted nine European nations as well as Australia. The victorious French team was made up of experienced team members Maxime Livio and Gwendolyn Fer, together with up-and-coming talent, Julie Simone and Camille Lejeune. All four riders performed well enough to put them inside the top ten with Livio winning the CCIO4*-NC individually on the impressive grey, Api Du Libaire, and Lejeune finishing in second place aboard Dame Decoeur Tardonne.

Gwendolen Fer (FRA) rides Romantic Love during the Cross Country during the
FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2023 – Haras de Jardy (FRA) – FEI/Libby Law Photography

Speaking after the event the triumphant Livio summed up the result for his team and his own performance with his Selle Francais gelding. “It’s always a great feeling to have such a win, especially when we are in France for the French team. I am very pleased especially for this horse because he has come back at the high level just this week and he concluded with a win and I am so happy. It was his first big show of the season so the pressure was a little higher. It is always a pleasure to ride at Jardy because it’s a nice place for the horses and it was a pleasure to come back with one of my top horses and I was pleased. I really appreciated his mentality because he was really connected with me”.

FRA-Maxime Livio rides API Du Libaire during the Cross Country for the CCIO4*-S. 2023 FRA-Haras de Jardy – FEI Eventing Nations Cup | France. Marnes-la-Coquette, Paris. Saturday 15 July. Copyright Photo: FEI/Libby Law Photography

With world-renowned course designer Pierre Michelet in charge of the cross-country, riders knew they would face a tough test. The French designer has designed a number of championship courses, including the Rio Olympics, the 2014 FEI World Championships in Haras Du Pin and Pau CCI 5*. Whilst France led throughout, the cross-country course shook up the order beneath that. Germany, who were second behind France after the first phase, had only one rider complete the competition and therefore finished in 10th, the bottom of the table.

Camille Lejeune commented on the severity of the cross-country course, which proved to be particularly influential and saw a number of eliminations, retirements and both jumping and time faults throughout the day. “That was the first time for the Nations Cup in Jardy. It was a very tough course, very twisty, lots of fences and a lot of jumps. Something like 40 jumps in six minutes 38 so it was a very quick race. Everything was great with my horse”.

Livio was happy to be riding a more experienced horse on the cross-country. “The course was technical with many combinations and big angles and different striding with many choices for the riders but my horse is very experienced so I was quite confident. The time here is always difficult so I decided to go for the time at the beginning of the course and then just feel my horse. From beginning to end he was very motivated and focused on each fence so he finished inside the time and I think he enjoyed a lot, the course”.

Coming off of a recent elimination at Aachen, U.S.-based Rebecca (Bec) Braitling (AUS) put her experience to work to help secure a 4th place finish for Team Australia, moving up an impressive 42 spots to finish 31st after jumping clear around a challenging cross country track. After cross country, Braitling remarked, “[I’m] absolutely thrilled with Caravaggio – who was so honest today – just adding some time around the FEI Nations Cup leg Haras de Jardy! We moved up from 73rd to 39th… it was that kind of a day! The course was like nothing we’d seen yet, Pierre Michelet designed, very technical that required some really good decision making in the moment.”

The sixth leg of the Nations Cup plays out in Avenches, (Switzerland) which takes place from 20-23 July. The Series will conclude at Boekelo (NED) from 4-8 October, where the final Paris Olympics team place will be awarded to the highest place nation not already qualified. Belgium, who are one of those nations looking for a place in Paris, continue to lead the series on 440 points. They have targeted the Nations Cup for the purpose of helping their chance of qualification, and have sent a team to every one so far.

Full Results Here

Belgium Takes the Win in First Leg of 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup

From left Team Italy in second place – Chef D’Equipe Giacomo Della Chiesa , Matteo Orlandi, Fosco Girardi and Evelina Bertoli; Team winners Belgium – Jarno Verwimp, Karin Donckers, Lara De Liedekerke Meier, Senne Vervaecke, and Chef D’Equipe Kai-Steffen Meier; Third place Switzerland Felix Vogg, Roxane Gonfard, and Chef D’Equipe Dominik Burger Copyright ©FEI / Massimo Argenziano

It was a clean sweep for Team Belgium who claimed the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ held in Montelibretti (ITA). With consistent three phase performances by all four of their riders, they finished on a score of 93.7 penalties. The home nation Italy lagged some way behind in second on a score of 152.3, whilst Switzerland finished third on 192.1.

Jarno Verwimp (BEL) and Mahalia. Photo ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

Three of the four Belgian riders finished inside the top ten which gave them a healthy lead with almost a 60 point margin over Italy. Jarno Verwimp put in an exemplary display in all three phases with her Belgian bred mare Mahalia, and a double clear with just 1.2 cross-country time penalties left the athlete on a final score of 26.9, good enough for a second position in the individual ranking, just a whisker behind Austrian athlete Lea Siegl, who finished on 24.9 for Austria. Belgian Team mate Lara De Liedekerke Meier was fourth on Ducati D’Arville, whilst eventing stalwart Karin Donckers finished eight on Fletcha Van’t Verahof.

Karin Donckers (BEL) and Fletcha Van’t Verahof. Photo: ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

Both the jumping phases proved challenging to a number of combinations and shook up the leader board after both phases. The cross-country phase proved particularly influential with eight combinations eliminated or retiring and a further seven finishing jumping penalties. No combinations finished within the time allowed.

Evelina Bertoli (ITA) and Quick Joe. Photo ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

Riders and nations have just one season left to qualify for the Paris Olympics held next year and the Belgians are yet to qualify. Whilst they will have a chance at the European Championships held in Le Pin au Haras (FRA) later this year, the Nations Cup Series provides an opportunity for teams and individuals to gain qualification, through the FEI points allocation system. The nations qualified for Paris so far are: host nation France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Fosco Girardi (ITA) and Euphorie. Photo ©FEI/Massimo Argenziano

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series now moves to the prestigious venue of Chatsworth in Great Britain, which runs from 13-14 May.

Find full results from Montelibretti here.

Rewatch the action:

Dressage

Show Jumping

Cross Country