Falsterbo horse show

 

Fabulous

 

Falsterbo

 

The fabled Falsterbo meeting attracts people from all over the world. It is also the home turf of the Swedes who traditionally show a super form. 

 

Text and photos Camilla Alfthan

 

Nestled in a natural reserve of wild heather and just a stone’s throw away from the pristine beaches opposite the Oresund, the Falsterbo Horseshow is not just Sweden’s top outdoor show – it is also the most beautiful meeting of the summer with great cuisine, after parties and charming hotels in traditional wooden houses such as the Gässlinge.

 

“Falsterbo is a place where you ride and go to the beach,” said Patrik Stühlmeyer of the German team who captured the Swedish qualifier of the Nation’s Cup – his third in Falsterbo after winning it in 2013 and 2011.

Since the show was founded in 1920 it has grown immensely. Over 63,000 paying guests visited the venue which was packed with various show jumping classes, dressage classes, a driving competition and races with Pasu Peruanos and Icelandic tölters.

With nine days of competitions and a total of 7 million Swedish kroners of prize money, the show jumping highlights were Friday’s Furusiyya Nation’s Cup, Saturday’s Derby and the Longines Falsterbo Grand Prix on the final day of the event. For those who had come to watch local talent it was a great place to be.

“Riding in Falsterbo is the best thing there is. As a rider one of the most honourable tasks is to represent your home team in the highest division of the sport and with the best athletes. As Swedes we’re dangerous on our home turf – we’ve won it four times in the past decade,” said Jens Fredricson who ended up leaving the task to his brother, Peder, who finished second with team mates, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Douglass Lindelöv and Alexander Zetterman in what was a clever combination of older, experienced riders and the younger generation.

With 120 Swedes competing on an international level the disciplin has seen tremendous growth in the past years. Some of the riders were portrayed in the television documentary, Rider’s Elite on the national network, SVT.

Even if they did not take home the Swedish qualifier, one Swede was nevertheless a part of the Nation’s Cup victory – Meredith Michaels Beerbaum’s new Swedish warmblood; Fibonacci 17  who was “more famous here than a rock star”.

“This is his first Nation’s Cup and he did very well. He’s a delight to ride, with a great sensibility and an incredible ability to jump. He also has a fantastic mind – he’s very positive and very cool. This was the right ambiance for him – there was pressure and a lot of excitement with the Swedish crowd. We have some high goals for the future,” she said about her snowy white, Swedish companion.

While Holland’s Jur Vrieling captured the Derby for the second time – a grueling, 1,200 meter course with 20 obstacles that he first won in 2009 – Sweden’s emerging talent, Alexander Zetterman closed the deal in the final Grand Prix.

“The support of the crowd, the fantastic weather..everything made up for the greatest feeling that you could possibly have in this sport,” said the 24-year old who collected the honours on his 11- year old Swedish warmblood,  Cafino both basking in an electric atmosphere with standing ovations.

 

“Watching a Swede win in Sweden was pretty amazing. Seeing the crowds I was thinking; Jesus Christ – he must be feeling really good right now.”

 

“I’m so tired and I’m so exhausted..It’s been a long week and a long preparation where everything had to go perfect in every class. It was my goal to win and it didn’t happen until today but at least I won the main prize!” smiled Zetterman with a sigh of relief.

“This was my first Nations Cup and my first Grand Prix, and being able to make a double clear..It’s just amazing. It shows how talented the horse is. His heart is so big. When I ask him to do something he just does it.

I was here five years ago riding a double clear in the Derby.  Up until today that was one of my major achievements. I knew I always wanted to come back with a good horse and a top score at the end.  As the years have gone by you mature. After a tough week like this I was quite relaxed riding the Grand Prix.  I was motivated but I did not have the energy to be nervous. I knew what I had to do and it all fell into places,” said Zetterman who captured a Swedish victory for the second year in a row

Germany’s Stühlmeyer was a happy second.

“I though I was fast – but then I saw that I was in the second place and I was a little sad until I realized that he’d been three seconds faster. There was no chance of getting him today so I was happy right after. Watching a Swede win in Sweden was pretty amazing. Seeing the crowds I was thinking; Jesus Christ – he must be feeling really good right now,” he smiled.

 

The Swedes were also strong in the dressage classes where Patrik Kittel assured the biggest wins.  The 38- year old discovered the sport through a girlfriend and quickly decided to go for the highest level after he saw a photograph of Anki van Grunsven winning Olympic gold. Today, he is one of Sweden’s most solicited riders with yearly prize money that total between 1-1,5 million kroners while he also runs the successful Outstanding Stables in Nottuln, Germany.

In the World Dressage Masters, the Swede took home the CD 13* Grand Prix including Sunday’s  CD 15* Kür with a total score of 78,30 % on his top horse Deja followed by Nathalie Zu Sayn Wittgenstein (78,18%) and Patrick van den Meer (74,40%) who won the 7-year old championship the previous day.

Beaming with confidence even before the judges had even cast their votes Kittel aptly summed up his ride as ”perfect”.

 

Champagne

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