SWEDEN once again proved they are the current superpowers in world show jumping when claiming the team gold medal in a dramatic team final on Friday night at the ECCO FEI World Championships in Herning, Denmark.

And they did it with room to spare, so much so that the gold medal was wrapped up after the third line of riders, but the battle for silver and bronze was much closer and went down to the wire with The Netherlands eventually coming out ahead of Britain to win silver while Britain held off Ireland by just 0.49 of a penalty to win bronze.

Ireland in fourth and Germany, who finished fifth, secured their qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Dutch course designer Louis Konickx build a big and bold course which tested riders throughout, particularly down the last line with a treble combination to a final tall vertical. The time allowed was influential and even more so with the new rule of one time fault per one second over the time allowed.

In the end, only six combinations managed to find the right rhythm and come home with nothing to add inside the 88 seconds allowed, including Bertram Allen with the Irish Sport Horse Pacino Amiro.

Sweden went into Friday’s night’s team final in the lead on 3.69 penalties and added just four faults to finish on 7.69. Henrik von Eckermann got them off to an ideal start with a clear round from his superstar 12-year-old gelding King Edward, before Malin Baryard-Johnsson added four faults with H&M Indiana.


Jens Fredricson, big brother of Peder and the only member of the team that wasn’t in Tokyo last summer, also jumped a wonderful clear with Markan Cosmopolit and, with the rest of the teams falling far behind, the Swedes knew the gold was in the bag before the second Fredricson brother even entered the arena.

When he did, Peder had a uncharacteristic 12 faults with his two-time individual silver Olympic medallist H&M All In which put him out of individual contention.

Sweden had never taken the World Championship team title before, coming very close with silver at Jerez in Spain in 2002 and then just pipped at the post at the last edition in Tryon, USA four years ago.

For Swedish chef d’equipe, Henrik Ankarcrona, it was mission accomplished. “It’s been an amazing year, to follow Tokyo we had a plan because we wanted to be on top of the podium here again and we were clear about that. We knew we had the capability, the power and skills to do it. But it’s one thing to say it and a different thing to make it come through!” he said.

Von Eckermann said it was “such a relief to get that clear round. It was not as smooth as yesterday but it was a clear on the board which was the important part.”

It was a special day too for the Fredricson family, with Peder and Jens on a championship team together for the first time. Asked how it felt, Peder said: “It’s fantastic, I think we are going to keep doing a few more as it was a good start here,” he said with a smile.

Bouncing back

The Netherlands went into the final in fourth place (13.31) and leapt to claim the silver medal when adding just six penalties in the final. Both Sanne Thijssen (Con Quidam RB) and Maikel van der Vleuten (Beauville Z N.O.P) added four faults before Jur Vrieling was clear with two time faults aboard Long John Silver.

Fourth last to go in the competiton, Harrie Smolders knew a clear round with Monaco N.O.P would secure at least a bronze medal and the 13-year-old gelding looked every inch a superstar when producing the goods to help the Dutch finish on 19.31.

“I think we came back very strong, we started in eighth place and yesterday we moved up to fourth and even halfway through today it didn’t look great for us. But we kept believing and I think this was a real team effort to go home with a medal,” Smolders commented afterwards.

Meanwhile the British, lying sixth overnight, were also rallying strongly. Olympic champion Ben Maher, who was forced to withdraw his Tokyo champion Explosion W from contention, had the first fence down with Faltic HB who then completed the course effortlessly, while Joe Stockdale and Equine America Cacherel knocked the second part of the double of oxers at fence for four faults.

When Harry Charles, who was bouncing back from a disappointing eight faults on Thursday, posted a brilliant clear round with Romeo 88, there was hope again for Britain. Anchor rider Scott Brash was the discard score when picking up eight faults with Hello Jefferson, a disappointing results individually which demoted him from second to 13th.


It was a disastrous day for France who added 21 faults to their score to finish sixth. They were in the hunt until the very last rider and a clear from Kevin Staut (Scuderia 1918 Viking d’la Rousserie) would have been enough for silver but the pair knocked the first fence and two more after that to finish with 12 faults. It was then the British team knew they had secured the bronze medal.

The Germans dropped from third to fifth place when they had to count 13 faults on the final day. The biggest shock of the competition came when the current European champions Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria parted company after a big jump from the mare. As a consolation, they secured their Olympic qualification alongside Ireland.