Last Saturday, the Belgian jumping team consisting of Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Extra), Pieter Clemens (Quintini), François Mathy Jr. (Uno de la Roque) and Yves Vanderhasselt (Jeunesse) won the Nations Cup of Calgary in Canada. It’s the very first time that Belgium could win this Nations Cup. The Belgian riders made history, as no other Belgian team won this prestigious Nations Cup ever before. Just like Pieter Clemens and Quintini, Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Extra stayed clear throughout the 2 rounds. The Grand Prix went a little less smooth. Olivier and H&M Extra got two fences down and ended up 25th.
It’s been 7 years since Olivier and Cabrio van de Heffinck surprised everyone with their stunning performance in September 2012 in the GP of Calgary. The then19-year-old Olivier then saw his name for the first time on ‘Wall of fame’ after his victory. Seven years later, Olivier can see himself appear again on that same ‘Wall of fame’, together with his team mates Pieter Clemens, François Mathy Jr. and Yves Vanderhasselt. The Belgium showjumpers seem unstoppable at the moment.
“Winning their first Nations Cup is an amazing achievement for Belgium” says Olivier. “Especially the way they did it is outstanding. Being 10 points ahead of the second one is exceptional. This indicates the very strong collective performance of our team on this level. I’m proud myself too of our double clear round and my cousin Pieter Clemes, who also rode double clear. H&M Extra was very strong.”
Olivier and H&M Extra kicked-off the GP of Calgary very good, but along the way it got a little hard. “H&M Extra had to go really deep during the Nations Cup. He wasn’t so fresh and energetic anymore, so we got 2 fences down. But let us remember all the positive. I’m very happy with the victory of the Belgian team. None of the riders nor the horses were part of the team that became European Champion. That says enough about our generation of riders. We have a broad team. This is an extreme great generation.”