Dutch rider Jeroen Dubbeldam won the jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games with four clear rounds in the final four on Sunday.
Dubbeldam, the Olympic champion at the Sydney Games in 2000, edged Patrice Delaveau of France by a point. Beezie Madden of the United States took the bronze medal.
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”I didn’t think I had a really big chance to come into this final,” Dubbeldam told Equidia Life television. ”My horse is quite green but he made an unbelievable effort for me.”
Meanwhile, Boyd Exell of Australia won the driving competition with a clear run at the obstacles test.
In the final four format, every rider jumps four rounds – one round on their own horses and then one round on each of their rivals’ horses.
At the halfway stage, only Delaveau and Dubbeldam had made no mistakes at Stade d’Ornano.
Delaveau, who qualified for the final with the best score, surrendered the lead to Dubbeldam in the third round by picking up a penalty point for exceeding the time allowed by 0.43 seconds aboard Casall Ask.
”He was the older of the four horses. He made mistakes with the first two riders,” Delaveau told Equidia Life television. ”That’s why maybe I didn’t dare go faster. I took as much time as I could and that’s how I got a bit tricked.”
Madden knocked down a rail in the triple combination in each of the last three rounds to wind up with 12 points. The American was competing in her second final four after finishing runner-up at the 2006 games in Aachen, Germany. She underwent surgery for a broken collarbone in May.
Rolf-Goran Bengtsson of Sweden, the fourth finalist with 14 points, quickly fell out of contention. The silver medalist at the Beijing Games in 2008 was the only rider who took out a fence with his own horse in the opening round.
Best horse honors went to Madden’s mount, Cortes C, who was the only horse to jump four clear rounds.
In the driving contest, Exell retained the title he won four years ago in Lexington, Kentucky, by edging top-ranked Chester Weber of the United States by 2.77 points. European champion Theo Timmerman of the Netherlands took the bronze medal.
The Netherlands won the team driving competition followed by Germany in second and Hungary.
Driving is made up of three portions: dressage, marathon and obstacles, which tests the suppleness of the horses and the skills of the drivers on a narrow track outlined by cones with balls balanced on top.
Exell was leading after Saturday’s marathon and was the last driver to start at La Prairie racecourse. The Australian was under pressure, knowing he had no room for error since knocking a ball down would have cost him three points and therefore the title.
”Hugely relieved after a week that went well but not perfect,” Exell told the event’s website.
Britain topped the medals table with seven gold medals and 15 overall, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Belgium.
The Canadian cities of Bromont and Montreal will host the next World Equestrian Games in 2018.