The 2012 Rolex FEI World Cup Final came to an exciting conclusion Sunday afternoon at the Indoor Brabant (Hertogenbosch, Netherlands) in the final competition, held over two rounds. Louis Koninck once again challenged riders over two stiff courses. However, a total of four rounds of competition were not enough to crown a winner of the 2012 Finals. Rich Fellers of the United States and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat remained tied on one fault following the conclusion of the second round.
They would need to return to the ring for a final jump-off to decide a winner. When Fellers (Sherwood, Ore.) and Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Flexible entered the ring as the second combination in the jump-off the U.S. was amidst a 25 year drought of Rolex/FEI World Cup Finals winners. No more.
Fellers and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion scorched to a clear round over the short course in a time of 25.97; besting Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets by .64 seconds.
Chef d’Equipe George Morris summed up the thoughts of all in the U.S. camp when he reflected about how it felt to have a winner for the first time since 1987.
Heading into the final day of the championship, Fellers the runner-up in the 2008 Finals with Flexible, believed he could win with his partner of 10 years.
“I went in there thinking; I’ve got to win this. I may not get another chance with Flexible and he’s such a good horse.”
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