FEI World Cup™ Finals 2016
May 11, 2016
Saturday, 26 March 2016, 11:55 a.m., Zurich Airport
The SWISS International Air Lines flight to Gothenburg took off. After a flight of just over two hours, we – KIM FUCHS (lucky winner of the ARIAT prize draw) and ALEXANDRA SUTER (lucky companion) – landed in Sweden’s second-largest city. Full of anticipation and a little nervous about the next two days, we checked into the Hotel Radisson Blu Scandinavia. After a short breather, we set off to the stadium, where we had arranged to meet Sue Kirby to collect our tickets. After our warm welcome, and still completely overwhelmed by our fabulous prize, we had no idea that we would actually see the inside of the stadium today.
Contrary to our assumption that we would only get tickets for Sunday and Monday, Sue told us that we would also have VIP access for the second qualifying round in show jumping. And this wasn’t all. We were able to enjoy a dinner in the VIP lounge with its delightful buffet and fabulous atmosphere, and take advantage of VIP seats in the middle of the SCANDINAVIUM Stadium. And there was even more to come. After being introduced to the ARIAT trade fair team, we were invited to choose some top-quality pieces of clothing to wear for the next three days. Outfitted with the very best and just a little sweaty, we quickly went back to the hotel so we could be at the VIP entrance in the proper attire promptly at 6:00 p.m.
“The trip was already almost like a dream, and, thanks to our VIP seats, we had the best view possible of the top riders in the world in the spectacularly decorated arena. Not to mention the delicious food. All of this was a fantastic kick-off to our little adventure.”
Swiss horse wins the dressage final
Our first night in Sweden was very laid back, probably because of our long and exhausting day of travel. Having barely noticed that the clocks had been set forward, we took our time and enjoyed the elaborate breakfast buffet to the fullest. Nevertheless, we show jumpers didn’t pass up the highlight on Easter Sunday – the freestyle final of the dressage riders. We were delighted that the winning horse was Swiss-bred Glock’s Flirt. Some of the performances really touched us deeply because we know just how much hard work and patience you need in order to be so successful. Hats off to these superb achievements! Having sat for quite a while at the dressage finals, we decided to stroll through the fair exhibition hall to stretch our legs. There were so many booths that it was hard to keep track and we almost got lost. We nevertheless still managed to do some shopping. We again took our excellent seats for the evening class and enjoyed the programme while munching on popcorn.
Show Jumping Final
We were back on the last day of the Gothenburg Horse Show. This was a big day for us – the Show Jumping Final. Nervous and tense, we followed the pairs in their well-honed routine, keeping our fingers crossed especially for numbers 13 and 26. Romain Duguet and Steve Guerdat were at the starting gate for Switzerland. Unfortunately, Romain (and Querida) messed up the third to the last jump, which meant that, in addition to the points from the first two qualifying rounds, he had to go into the second round with four penalty points. Steve did better with Corbinian. They finished the difficult course without penalty points and maintained the lead.
After some brief refreshments, the event continued with the second round. We were again sat directly at the finish-line jump and could almost touch the horses. This course wasn’t as tricky as the first one, but even this had a few hidden pitfalls. Gradually, the interim ranking list for the final materialised and we were really tense until the very end. Steve Guerdat was relaxed as he rode Corbinian onto the course and the commentator said: “He has to go clear to win this class.” The bell rang and, trembling, Alexandra began to film. With each jump, the roughly 11,000 spectators held their breath and the audience, which was always so loud, suddenly grew very quiet. Up to the beginning of the last line, you could hear every stride, and the fewer jumps remained, the more agitated the equestrians in the audience became. After the last obstacle, the crowd went wild and cheered the World Cup winner: STEVE GUERDAT. HEARTFELT CONGRATULATIONS, STEVE!
A fantastic finish
On Tuesday morning, we enjoyed the marvellous breakfast buffet once more and then did some sightseeing before our flight home. We hired bikes and rode around the city, and were even able to explore Gothenburg harbour.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to ARIAT! We were welcomed with such wonderful hospitality. You exceeded all our expectations and made it possible for us to have this unforgettable experience. THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH!
Kim Fuchs and Alexandra Suter