Photo: Rich Fellers (USA) & Flexible. Kit Houghton/FEI
America’s Rich Fellers and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Flexible have won the coveted title of the World Cup Final.
In a thrilling jump-off between Fellers and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, Fellers performed to the highest level under tremendous pressure.
After 3 days of jumping, that is spread over 4 days, it was narrowed down to two riders who remained on 1 point until the very end. Guerdat’s compatriot Schwizer looked the most promising coming into the final day having been the only rider to not knock a fence before the final day. But after the second round of the final day, Schwizer had to settle for third place when he earned a heartbreaking four faults with Carlina and instantly knew that his opportunity to be named as World Cup Final champion was gone for this season.
Steve Guerdat was first to go in the 2-man jump-off. He had a super round with the unbelievable 11-year-old SF Nino des Buissonnets. The horse jumped around like it was the first day of competition. Nino was very fast but because he jumped so carefully and with such scope, he spent a little more time in the air and this gave an advantage to Fellers and Flexible who got around half a second faster. Flexible jumps quite unorthodoxly in his body but, jumps with the biggest heart and the bravest mind. Ultimately, this was the key to their success on Sunday.
Full results for the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals 2011/2012
Photo: Steve Guerdat (SUI), Rich Fellers (USA) & Pius Schwizer (SUI). Kit Houghton/FEI