Just a week after celebrating her marriage to fiancee Hansi Goskowitz, first in traditional Bavarian style and then in a fairytale white dress, newly-crowned showjumping world champion Simone Blum from Germany will compete at Jumping Verona. And what a reception she is likely to get as she rides into the arena with the wonderful mare DSP Alice whose performances at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA last month were nothing less than perfection.
Verona is a romantic place at any time, as home to Shakespeare’s timeless love story of Romeo and Juliet. No doubt Simone and Hansi will walk the streets of this beautiful Italian city that welcomes the world all year round, and which will be filled with equestrian fans and athletes over the coming days. The restaurants will be crowded, the shops will be packed and the stadium in Pavilion 8 will be filled with the sound of noisy spectators roaring encouragement to their favourite horse-and-rider partnership when the action gets underway on Friday.
The ease with which DSP Alice tackled the five tough rounds of World Championship competition in Tryon was astounding, but how will the brilliant mare perform in the much tighter confines of indoor competition? If Simone should succeed in winning Sunday’s feature Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier which is the third leg of the 2018/2019 Wester European League series, then she will be only the second lady rider to do so. The single previous female winner was Switzerland’s Lesley McNaught Maendli who came out on top with Dulf when the Italian leg of the series was staged in Bologna back in 1999.
But Simone is used to making new records. When she soared to success in Tryon she was also only the second lady rider ever to take the world title, following in the footsteps of Canada’s Gail Greenough who clinched victory with Mr T in 1986.
Simone’s new husband, Hansi, was the one who found Alice for her so no wonder she loves this man so much! It was four years ago when he spotted the chestnut horse that first put his wife-to-be on the German map when winning the National Ladies Championship in 2016. And after the pair were invited to compete in the 2017 Mens Championship which they won in fine style they continued to go from strength to strength, finally putting on the most breathtaking exhibition of jumping to take the world title just five short weeks ago.
So it’s a big Verona welcome to Simone, Hansi and Alice - wishing them all the best for this weekend and for their exciting future together!
Ph. FEI/Tony Parkes