Violanti threw down the gauntlet with victory in Thursday’s opening 1.25m Speed and Handiness Competition. Riding the 14-year-old bay Holsteiner, Fixdesign Lovestar, she pinned Frenchwoman Francoise Laporte and her 14-year-old mare Oceane du Vallier into runner-up spot by just over half a second while another Italian, Marcello Carraro, was just 0.12 seconds further adrift in third with Claudia.
Belgium’s Dirk Vlerick (Jaguar van T Oosteindeken) finished fourth, Italy’s Lorenzo Ginanneschi (Mariska) was fifth and Germany’s Udo Kloetzel (Wybren) lined up sixth while Portugal’s Antonio Conde-Ferreira (Maya Diamant) lined up in seventh place.
Friday’s competition was open to Teams and Individuals, with riders carrying their scores from the first competition which were now calculated into points. A total of seven teams lined out and Italy looked to have a distinct advantage with just 1.5 points to add to their running score as the competition began.
However they already lost their grip by the halfway stage when Lorenzo Ginanneschi kicked off with a 13-fault result from his bay mare. This ensured that the eight collected by Marina Scolari and Argento and the single error from Marcello Carraro and Claudia had to be counted while Violanti and Fixdesign Lovestar were foot-perfect once more. The Italian total moved on to 13.5, and in the end that proved too much when Team Germany added only four faults to their first-day tally of 8.4 for a finishing total of 12.4.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Germans because they were reduced to a three-member side when Manfred Villmann and Albasso didn’t start after retiring on course the previous day. Brilliant double-clears from both pathfinder Udo Kloetzel (Wybren) and second-line rider Ernst-Frieder Homberger (Cliff H) put them in a strong position however, and when Boris Miksa returned with just four faults from Qidam’s Rossini S then they would overtake their hosts for the title.
Team Belgium were in the lead as round two began having added just four faults to the 5.24 their team-members had accumulated in the first class. And although Ludo Dekkers and Biona made a superb recovery from their opening day elimination to post just a four-fault result in the Nations Cup second round, the double-error from Daniel de Belie and Dolly Dot de Paep Z also had to be counted despite a double-clear from Dirk Vlerick (Jaguar van T Oosteindeken) because Danny Stappaerts (Casca Belle 3 Z) also posted an eight-fault result. Their final tally of 21.24 was still good enough to take the bronze ahead of Great Britain’s Sandra Low-Mitchell (Eccosse), Sally Swiers (Millfield Long Socks), Keith Stockdale (Touareg D Ertaw) and Ian Wynne (Don Douglas) who missed out on the podium by just over five points at the end of the day.
France finished fifth on 37.65 and Switzerland lined up sixth on 43.99. The three-member Turkish side were eliminated.
Individual gold was decided by Sunday’s 1.30 Two-Round competition in which there were just three double-clears from 16 starters. And the eventual champion was not one of those, Susanna Violanti picking up just a single time fault in the second round.
Laporte, who had a fence down in the second round of the team event, climbed back up the leaderboard on the final afternoon when Oceane du Vallier, a daughter of the much-loved French team stallion Flipper D’Elle, jumped clean and clear over both rounds to leave the 56-year-old rider in bronze medal spot. Portugal’s Antonio Conde-Ferreira added nothing to his scoreline in the team event, so when his mare Maya Diamant, who posted wins at Le Mans and Fontainbleau (FRA) in March and April, left all the poles in place and added just two time penalties in the first round on the final day then their overall total of 3.76 was plenty good enough to clinch the silver medal.
Violanti, also 51 years of age and with some useful results with Fixdesign Lovestar at the Toscana Tour in Arezzo and at Norten Hardenburg (GER) earlier in the year, earned the gold when rounding up her weekend with just that single time fault.
FEI European Veterans Jumping Championship 2016
Team Championship: Gold – Germany 12.4: Wybren (Udo Kloetzel) 1.4/0/0, Cliff H (Ernst-Frieder Homberger) 4.6/0/0, Albasso (Manfred Villmann) Ret/NS/NS, Quidam’s Rossini S (Boris Miksa) 2.4/4/0; SILVER – Italy 13.5: Mariska (Lorenzo Ginanneschi) 1.1/13/Elim, Argento (Marina Scolari) 6.48/8/0, Fixdesign Lovestar (Susanna Violanti) 0/0/0, Claudia (Marcello Carraro) 0.4/4/0; BRONZE- Belgium 21.24: Biona (Ludo Dekkers) Elim/8/4, Casca Belle 3 Z (Danny Stappaerts) 2.46/0/8, Dolly Dot de Paep Z (Daniel De Belie) 2.13/4/8, Jaguar van T Oosteindeken (Dirk Vlerick) 0.65/0/0.
Individual Championship: GOLD – Fixdesign Lovestar (Susanna Violanti) 1; SILVER – Maya Diamant (Antonio Conde-Ferreira) 3.76; BRONZE – Oceane du Vallier (Francoise Laporte) FRA 4.34.