5a has been particularly troublesome! It caused heartbreak for several American riders- Mclain, Katie, and Leslie-
This is the fourth and final round of the World Cup (unless there's a jump off, of course!) and Mr. Rothenberger definitely didn't take it easy on anyone! It's just as big, challenging, and connected as the first round, although it does have one less combination. The time allowed is also proving to be quite tight! Most of the first few riders (the top 20 overall from the first three legs were invited back and 18 chose to participate) were over the time allowed. There seems to be a bit more room to breath in this course, but the fact that it is the fourth round of the weekend and the second round today is definitely taking a toll on both the horses and riders. Rails are coming down left and right! The first jump, which is a big vertical tight off the corner, has caused a lot of problems, as well as the triple (5abc- a vertical-oxer-vertical one to one), and jumps 11, 12, and 13 (the last line- set right against the rail and featuring a very wide oxer, four strides to a tall vertical with a liverpool set slightly behind it, and another four strides to another very wide oxer jumping straight into the corner). 5a has been particularly troublesome! It caused heartbreak for several American riders- Mclain, Katie, and Leslie- as well as Maikel Van Der Vleuten (without this rail, which gave him a grand total of 10 faults, he would have jumped off against Scott Brash for the bronze medal position). Steve Guerdat also fell victim to 5a, dropping him from second place to fifth. The paragraph above is what I wrote while watching the final round yesterday! It was really an incredible experience. I had to catch a ride with Thomas and Renata Fuchs to Geneva immediately after and there was no internet connection inside the stadium, so I wasn't able to update the blog immediately or attend the press conference with the tops riders afterward. However, I did get to ride a few hours in the car with Steve Guerdat on the way to my hotel! Thomas is Steve's trainer, so he was hitching a ride with Fuchs family back to Switzerland as well. Understandably, Steve wasn't feeling particularly perky after the final! He started on a score of zero at the beginning of the day and finished with a total of 8 faults, just two tiny mistakes away from perfection! His rail in the final round at 5a seemed to be caused mostly by his horse, Nino des Buissonnets, being a bit unrideable after so many rounds. It is very tough to maintain rideability in a sensitive horse through so much jumping over such a short period of time! Daniel Deusser proved he could handle the pressure when both Scott Brash and Ludger Beerbaum jumped clear rounds (leaving Scott with a total of 5 faults and Ludger with a total of 4). He knew while walking in the ring that even a single rail would cost him the gold medal, and he certainly rose to the occassion! Daniel's horse, Cornet d-Amour, kept the crowd on their feet by lightly rubbing the first jump. Major horse shows now have microphones set on the jumps, so you can easily hear every little tick and cluck! The whole stadium gasped very loudly at the sound, but Daniel and Cornet were not fazed. They completed a faultless round to successfully become the champions of the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Final! It was really an exciting day and an exciting weekend overall. It's amazing to see how much can change over the course of a championship competition... show jumping is certainly a very humbling sport! Congrats to Daniel Deusser and his wonderful horse on a spectacular weekend!!! They both fought very hard and earned their spot at the top!