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Superb performance

Marie Valdar Longem and her 13-year-old Echo de Virton fly over the obstacle in the highlight of Sunday, OXER CSIO3* Grand Prix, 1.55m. Photo: Mette Sattrup.

Sunday's OXER CSIO3* Grand Prix was a brilliant conclusion to the four-day equestrian festival at Gjelsten Arena in Lier. The Americans claimed the first and third places, while Marie Valdar Longem and her talented jumper Echo de Virton secured a strong second place.

Out of a field of nearly 50 horses and riders, only seven made it to the jump-off, two of them being Norwegian. From the USA, Alise Oken and Gelvera were the third pair to go and delivered a clear round. Her teammate, Alessa Volpi, maneuvered Haya Loma N faster through the course but had one rail down. When Marie Valdar Longem and Echo entered the arena as the last pair for the jump-off, there was still only one clear round. Marie chose to play it safe instead of chasing the time. The rails stayed up, securing the second place. Therese Søhol Henriksen had four faults and finished in sixth place.

Deserved victory

– I truly felt that it was Marie's turn to win today because she rode so amazingly well and is a very strong contender whom we can be proud of and look up to. And Therese, she's also on the right track now and has performed strongly, both here in Drammen and in Uggerhalne last weekend - with an unfortunate rail in the Nations Cup on Friday, and today only with one rail and four faults in a good jump-off round, expresses Mikael Kolind, chef d'équipe and Norwegian team leader for seniors for many years, to NRYFs news site

Thanking the horse Marie Valdar Longem has nothing but praise for her Echo:

– He shows that he is in very good shape. He is consistent, delivers every time he enters the ring, and gives me a feeling that anything is possible. We may not be the fastest, but today I felt that it's better to play it safe because there was only one clear round. He is a gentle giant. He is truly special in every way. I feel like he does everything for me, always. Regardless of the class we enter, he gives 200 percent every time. I never doubt that, and it seems like he doesn't doubt me either. I am very proud of him, she says, a little moved. (photo: Mette Sattrup)

Fair course Course designer Terje Olsen-Nalum was responsible for the 570-meter long and demanding course with obstacles up to 1.60 meters. The course was a qualifier for the European Championships and Olympics.

The American riders agreed with Marie that it was a good course:

– It was a very nice course, built fair for the horses. It was nice to ride with a good flow. Some taller verticals created a few problems, but all in all, the faults were well spread out, so I think it was a very well-built course.

Both Alise and Alessa praised the event:

– As Americans, we are very grateful that the organizers invited us to the competition and gave us an opportunity to ride in the Nations Cup. We are very thankful for that, and very happy to be here. The footing on the main arena was fantastic, the event was incredibly well-organized, yes, we are very happy to have the opportunity to compete here. We've had an amazing time, they said unanimously at the press conferance.


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