FRANCE (by Adriana van Tilburg) Longines Jumping International La Baule is a wonderfully organized event on the Atlantic Ocean in Brittany, France. The horses are able to enjoy good weather with a ride along the beach and dipping their toes in the sea. The only negative factor this year was the rain that played a key role in the Nations’ Cup. La Baule was the first Nations’ Cup for this year because the Nations’ Cup of Lummen had already had to be cancelled because of the heavy rainfall.
However, the two rounds of the Nations’ Cup in La Baule were not as testing as normal following some changes to the course because of the condition of the jumping surface. Surprise The biggest surprise was the KWPN-bred Big Star (Quick Star - Jolanda xNimmerdor, bred by Cees Klaver) who jumped a double clear round after being out of sport for two years, thanks to Nick Skelton’s sensitive and expert handling of this amazing horse. Also a great surprise was the Holsteiner Cassionato (Cassini I - Perle x Quidam de Revel, Stamm 3558, bred by Günter Böning) who has been absent from showjumping since the European Championships in Aachen last year, having enjoyed a well-deserved break in a field at Michael Whitaker’s stable. Cassionato demonstrated the amazing scope that he has inherited from Cassini I (Capitol I) under Whitaker’s saddle, but was a little tired in the second round, incurring two rails down the final line of fences. The family of Cassionato’s breeder is very happy that he is once again competing. Janina Böning said, “We are very happy that he is competing again, we hope that Cassionato will go to the Olympic Games this year in Rio de Janeiro”.
Victory for the Dutch
The Dutch team was very strong, although they also had a surprise member in Aquila SFN (Ovidius - Maxime O x Lauriston), an 11-year-old KWPN bred gelding who jumped the first double-clear round of his career, showing his fantastic form with the hugely experienced Wout Jan van der Schans. VDL Groep Zidane NOP (Heartbreaker - Colanda x Calando I, stamm 776, bred by Frank Kok) also posted an outstanding performance when this KWPN-bred gelding had just one time fault over the two rounds. This gelding is showing really progression with Leopold van Asten having started his international career four years ago with Eric van der Vleuten when he was a far-from-easy ride. The Heartbreaker x Calando I combination is dynamite, and three years ago Zidane came under saddle of Leopold van Asten. With an outstanding mother line, his full sister, HG Heartbeat, is jumping at 1m55 with Fritz Kogelnig Jnr. Colanda also produced the AES approved stallion Citizen Kane EBH (Canturo) and the stamm 776 mother line has also produced, for example, the stallions Ramiro (Raimond) and Acorado (Acord II). Frank Kok says: “Colanda is an outstanding mare and the combination with Heartbreaker (Nimmerdor - Bacarole xSilvano) worked really well with her. I wasn’t afraid for the character, and this combination produced two top class showjumpers.”...