Flanders Horse Event is top level sport in a wonderful setting, as all equestrians know. But the yearly event at Beervelde is far more than that. Flanders Horse Event is a social platform where friends meet. While horses and riders compete in the 1m30, we have a seat with Belgian chef d’equipe Dirk Demeersman. The coach is the ambassador of FHE and follows the performances of all the riders here closely. Dirk will leave for the Olympics in Rio on Monday, to help Jérôme Guéry and Nicola Philippaerts, but also eventers Karin Donckers and Joris Vanspringel. Some time later, in the stable area, we meet Hendrik Denutte, who scored yet another victory in the 1m30. His fourteenth victory at Flanders Horse Event. What a rider. Motivated and humble, just like we like them.
But there is more. On Friday’s program, the first qualification test for the Grand Prix for the Grand Prix on Sunday. The big game. 66 combinations and a Pieter Devos who takes control when the class is halfway, performing a time that is impossible to beat no matter how hard the other riders try. We meet a very happy winner after the prize giving ceremony.
Pieter Devos: “It is so very nice to win again, especially in Beervelde, one of the most beautiful competitions in our country. This is really great. I’m here for the tenth time now, I come to Beervelde every year. This time, I took three horses and believe me, I am very motivated. This is a fantastic arena, there is a lot of attention for what is going on there, so you really want to win.”
- You are in great shape, but so is Espoir.
“Yes, and that makes me very happy. Espoir just came out of a pause, he did well in Ascona, and I would like to get him on his way back to five star competitions here in Beervelde. He is fit for a good performance in the Grand Prix.”
- Your brother Wouter tried his best to beat you, but that didn’t go too well.
“Wouter rode too hard. I warned him not to begin too fast, there are some difficult fences to take. I told him to try and keep it cool and easy, but he didn’t lsiten. That happens to me too sometimes.”
- Espoir is ready for the Grand Prix?
“Absolutely. He is super competitive and in a great shape. He obtained a number of good results in the past few weeks, with a clear round in Chantilly amongst others. It’s a shame I didn’t start to ride him earlier, when he was younger. Things could have been different. But first things first, you can count on me on Sunday”.
Be careful riders, Devos is back!