Germany has won a third FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing title in five years, beating Great Britain, the winners of the ninth and final leg at Boekelo by 20 points.
The two countries have been close rivals since the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing started in 2012, with Britain heading the final leader board in 2013 and 2015, and both teams have scored three wins each this season.
Germany could only manage fourth place at Boekelo but the best seven scores in the series count and, therefore, Britain, which has contested eight out of nine legs this year, including the new competition at The Plains (USA), had to drop their lowest score: 55 points for a sixth place at Fontainebleau (FRA).
France, which has also shown great consistency over seven legs of the 2016 Nations Cup™ Eventing season and won at Vairano (ITA) last month, finished third in the table. The Netherlands, which has contested five legs, was fourth, and Australia, which scored a memorable win in Aachen (GER), was fifth.
Britain was third after Dressage at Boekelo but soared into a clear lead with three brilliant cross-country performances, all inside the optimum time of 10 minutes 50 seconds. The day’s trailblazer Oliver Townend was eventually third on Cooley SRS; Laura Collett rose from 33rd to fifth place on the eight-year-old Mr Bass, and FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing regular Izzy Taylor was seventh on Trevidden, a ride she has temporarily taken over from the injured Simon Grieves.
“It’s been a long season and we’ve been all over the world, so this is a great way to finish – I couldn’t be happier,” said British team manager Philip Surl.
Boekelo is many riders’ favourite event for its end-of-season atmosphere and big, enthusiastic crowds. Course Designer Sue Benson’s course provided its usual excellent challenge, a varied and horse-friendly track but with several accuracy questions that proved influential and made for an exciting day’s sport. Fence 7, three skinny brush fences on a curving line caused several problems: Britain’s Flora Harris and Australia’s Sammi Birch were both unseated when their horses ducked out. New Zealand team members Blyth Tait on Xanthus III and Jesse Campbell on Amsterdam 21 had run-outs here.
Australia led the Dressage phase but was out of the reckoning after Birch’s departure as Paul Tapner, third after Dressage on Bonza King of Rouges, had a fall in the water at fence 9.
The home side, the Netherlands, was in second place after Cross Country, but slipped to third with Jumping faults, behind New Zealand, which was led by Sir Mark Todd in sixth place on Kiltubrid Rhapsody.
Germany scored a one-two in the individual rankings, with 23-year-old Stephanie Böhe and Haytom notching up their second international win in a fortnight, after Waregem, and the experienced combination of Andreas Dibowski and FRH Butts Avedon finishing second.
“That was incredible. That was Steffi’s first CCI3 *, but she is incredibly cool and simply is not nervous,” said German coach Hans Melzer.
“Yet again, the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing has provided a brilliant and exciting competition to follow and it’s great that so many teams are using it to bring on up-and-coming riders to prepare for championships – there has been much to celebrate, look forward to providing another great season in 2017,” said Catrin Norinder, the FEI’s Director of Eventing and Olympic.