30 July 2023

CAIO Beekbergen 2023: Bram Chardon & Francisca den Elzen Dutch champion

With a very strong final day, Bram Chardon became Dutch Champion in the Four-in-Hand for the second year in a row. In the international competition in Beekbergen, of which the Dutch National Championship was a part, Chardon came second behind Boyd Exell. Glenn Geerts completes the podium. The Nations Cup was won by Belgium, the drivers of TeamNL came second and France finished third.

Bram Chardon started his championship with a third place in the dressage. In the marathon, Chardon posted a top three time on obstacles 1, 5 and 6. Unfortunately, a ball fell in three other obstacles, which resulted in six extra penalty points. In the cone on Sunday, Chardon showed what he excels at this season. He left all the balls up and finished with the fastest time. Chardon was flanked on the podium by Koos de Ronde who won the silver and by Antonie ter Harmsel who narrowly snatched the bronze in front of Mark Weusthof.

The Nations Cup was also held in Beekbergen. Dutch National coach Ad Aarts had included Bram Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Mark Weusthof in his team. Because the differences were extremely small, the team competition remained very exciting until the end. At the start of the cones, Germany was still in the lead, ahead of Australia and the Netherlands. The tricky cones course in which the time was especially sharp, threw the rankings upside down. The Netherlands rose to second place as a result of the clear round of Chardon, at a minimal distance from the strong driving Belgians.

Dutch Championships Para Driving

Francisca den Elzen won the Dutch National Championships for para driving in Beekbergen. In the international standings she finished second behind the American Tracy Bowman. Jacques Poppen won the silver and the bronze medal went to Ingmar Veneman.

Francisca den Elzen became Dutch Champion
Photo: Bianca Douwes

European Championships Exloo

Bram Chardon was happy with his second gold medal in a row. “You have to be satisfied with a result like that, but I definitely have homework for myself before the European Championships in Exloo, especially in dressage and the marathon. I know what needs to be improved and I’m glad those mistakes happened here and not in Exloo.” Bram was a bit disappointed about the second place with the team. “Despite the fact that my father didn’t start, we still had a strong team, but there was just one too many balls this weekend. Soon, in Exloo, we will go for double gold.” In the coming week, national coach Ad Aarts will announce which four-in-hand drivers he will take to the European Championships in Exloo in the last week of August.

Bram Chardon
Photo: Wilco van Driessen

Pair driving

Martin Hölle (HUN) was once again head and shoulders above his competition this weekend. He won the dressage, was fourth in the marathon and one ball fell for him in the cones. He could afford the latter, because he was thirteen points ahead of Dennis Schneiders (GER), the number two. Ewoud Boom completed the podium with minimal difference over Francois Duttiloy (FRA), which put the Frenchman into fourth place.

Reigning World Champion Tracy Bowman wins

Reigning World Champion Tracy Bowman put in an excellent performance this weekend. She won the dressage and cones, and finished second in the marathon with 0.06 penalty points more than Francisca den Elzen. As a result, she managed to win the competition with just over four penalty points over Francisca. Jacques Poppen was third.

The para drivers are preparing for the World Championships this year. They will compete for the world title at the end of August in Exloo, together with the European Championships for Four-in-Hand horses.

Volgend jaar

Despite the weather conditions, a large audience came to Beekbergen. The organization is already looking forward to the next driving event in Beekbergen: 25 to 28 July 2024.

Click here for the results of the CAIO and the Dutch Championships

Source: KNHS/Hoefnet

Martin Hölle
Photo: Wilco van Driessen