It is always something special to be selected to ride a Nations Cup. To go to a show to represent your country, to be a part of the team. In the Nations Cups it is also about collecting points for the overall standings in your country's division which also brings more pressure to it. It is really exciting to be a part of it. I was very happy when they asked me to go with Fighter to do the Nations Cup in Järvenpää, Finland (outside of Helsinki). It is not only great to be given the chance to be a part of the team, but also a confirmation that Fighter has been developing really good lately and shown that he is ready for the big and important tasks.
I only brought Fighter with me to this show so I could really put all my focus on him. The first day I rode the 1.40 Big Tour. He jumped clear in the first and second fase and we got 10.th place. He was jumping so good so I decided not to jump more before the Nations Cup on Sunday. Then I had two days in between to ride him dressage and make him ready for his first Nations Cup and also his first 1.60 course in his life.
Then it was the day of the Nations Cup. Fighter was pretty fresh when I hand-walked him sunday morning, he was ready for the big day. There were a lot of spectators there, the tribune was full. This is one of the biggest events in Finland, and everybody wanted to come to see the Nations Cup. I walked the course, a pretty challenging one, I made my plan, and then I started to get ready. The warm-up went really well and everything was going according to my plan. When I got into the ring Fighter was excited to see all the spectators. He was on fire. Through the course he was jumping great, he was jumping it easy but also very focused on his job. Unfortunately I had the last fence down. But I am very proud how Fighter was jumping his first 1.60 course under the pressure of a Nations Cup. I think we showed that we can be counted on in the future.
During the break after the first round it started to rain really heavy. It was only supposed to be a 30 minutes break between the two rounds, but they had to make the break longer because of the rain. When it finally stopped raining we could all see that the whole arena was flooded with water. There was no chance to jump there anymore. The risk of an accident would have been too big. This was of course really sad for the organizers who really had done everything to make a nice show, how can one be so unlucky? Then the decision came - the second round is cancelled.
Since the second round was cancelled only the scores from the first round was counting. 3rd place to Norway!!! I would of course have liked to ride one more round to try to be even better than in my first round. But I am happy we got third place and both me and Fighter got such a good experience in our first Nations Cup together.