Thursday 23 November 2017

Equestrian: Kuerten needs 'two years' to get back to top

Louise Parkes

Jessica Kuerten says that she expects it will take her two years to return to the sharp end of the sport of international show jumping.

After her victory in the seven-year-old final at the World Jumping Championships for Young Horses in Lanaken, Belgium last Sunday, Kuerten was upbeat but not getting carried away with her success.

"I don't expect some super-sponsor to fall from the sky, so I just have to take these two years to get back to top level and that doesn't bother me," she said.

The Antrim-born, German-based rider, who will turn 42 next month, had a public falling-out with patron Lady Georgina Forbes earlier this year which brought their successful eight-year partnership to an end.

Most of Lady Georgina's talented string of horses have been redistributed to other riders. But Kuerten's most famous ride, Castle Forbes Libertina, has been retired.

The lack of top-class horses has seen Kuerten plummet down the Rolex World Rankings and she now lies in 60th spot, five places behind Cian O'Connor and a long way off the ninth and 12th places filled by Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey.

Kuerten showed her class when steering the stallion Cor della Rossa Z home for a win in the seven-year-old title.

The competition for the young horse titles at the annual high-profile championships in Lanaken is intense, but Kuerten planned her run over the jump-off track down to the finest detail.

"This summer I've shown Cor dela Rossa Z at CSI Two-Stars and in Young Horse classes all around Europe, but I never asked a lot from him. I felt we would stand a chance here, so we asked for a wild card which was kindly granted and here we are!" she said.

She sees the development of a string of young horses as her route back to the top end of the game.

"This horse belongs to a group of very fine youngsters in my stable. I'm building them up, and that's going to take another two years. I've developed all my Grand Prix horses from when they were young," she added.

Irish Independent

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