CAI3* Valkenswaard 2017
Team Verheijen again ranked in the Dutch Top 3 at Driving Valkenswaard International
Located at the beautiful show grounds of world four in hands champion Boyd Exell a world level competition was organised again with a nice dressage arena and eight beautiful – but also challenging – marathon obstacles. An impressive total of 50 pairs and 23 four in hands have been battling for that one top position.
On Thursday the pairs were invited to present themselves in the dressage arena. On 11:50 hrs the bell rang for Tristan and his groom Jitske to start their test. Tristan was not satisfied afterwards: “The horses were sometimes not concentrated causing a sloppy performance, which was a pity.” Team Verheijen was ranked at a 12th place with 53,92 penalty points.
After a rest day at Friday, the spectacular Marathon took place on Saturday. “It was a beautifully built but also very tough trial,” Tristan says. In one of the obstacles the horses had to climb an extremely steep slope, that required them having courage and trust in the driver. The trial also included two water obstacles and a wooden bridge. In sum: a marathon with all the trimmings. “We considered these challenging obstacles as a perfect training towards the world championships in Slovenia”, Tristan says.
Unfortunately their marathon did not go as Team Verheijen has wished for. The new horse Basilia still found it difficult to keep top speed in tight turns, causing too wide turns. This costed Verheijen precious seconds. Looking back, Tristan says that he knows how to deal with this problem. “Fortunately this is something that can be improved by training and we will take care that this will go better next time.” With a 12th place after the marathon and a 10th position in the intermediate results, Tristan was not entirely dissatisfied.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the top 10 pairs horses were going to compete for the highest rank in the cones trial. As always Tristan aims to complete the course without any penalties. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. At Valkenswaard he had one of his good days and drove flawlessly through the cones! “The horses listened immediately to my aids and were nice on the bit, enabling me to drive to win,” he explains. Team Verheijen ended up on the third place in the cones trial. By this nice result they climbed to the fifth place in the final results, and a third place among the Dutch competitors.
Tristan and his team are very satisfied about their performance. The next event for Team Verheijen will be the Dutch national championship at Hulsberg in the region Limburg, taking place in the weekend of 7-9 July.