Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Helen and Annabelle Turn On the Magic in Madrid

Helen Langehanenberg and Annabelle. (FEI/Stefano Grasso)

It was a very particular triumph for German star Helen Langehanenberg when topping the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. The 39-year-old athlete is a former winner of the prestigious series, an Olympian and this summer became a European team gold medallist. But her success was all the sweeter because her brilliant but sensitive mare Annabelle really showed what she can do when she settles to her job.

“She is such a very special horse, full of talent but with so much temperament that she is not always easy, but I’m very happy today. I was last to go and there was plenty of pressure but that’s good for me; it means I just have to go for it! And today she allowed me to support her and it felt really good,” Langehanenberg said.

Chasing

She was chasing the score of the very first of the 12 athletes into the ring, Spanish superstar Beatriz Ferrer-Salat who set a really tough target for the rest when posting 79.220 with the 12-year-old mare Elegance, and who stayed out in front until the very last pair overtook her. On an afternoon of great sport, the home crowd had plenty to cheer about with five Spanish starters and two of them finishing in the top three when Juan Matute Guimon steered the 15-year-old gelding, Quantico, into third place.

Ferrer-Salat is a five-time Olympian and six-time national champion, and with the 12-year-old Elegance was a member of the Spanish team at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Putting her strong score on the board as the action got underway, she could then sit back and let the rest try to better it.

Compatriot Juan Matute Guimon was the first to come really close when scoring 78.160 with his 15-year-old gelding who put on a lovely show without ever looking under any pressure when third-last to go. The quality of the horse’s one-tempi changes down the centreline were a joy to watch, as was the athlete’s smile as he cruised to a great finish in piaffe/passage. At just 24 years old, the highly popular and super-talented Matute Guimon is already a legend, making a remarkable recovery from a brain bleed in May 2020 to bounce back to the very top of the game.

Grand Prix

Second-last into the ring was Germany’s Frederic Wandres who won the Short Grand Prix with Bluetooth OLD, but their mark of 77.230 would only be good enough for fourth spot when Langehanenberg and the extravagant mover Annabelle soared out in front with a score of 80.500.

Annabelle’s reach in the lateral movements is extraordinary, and she showed moments of real flamboyance. But for her rider it is always a case of getting the balance right in order to maintain control and to keep her confidence.

“When she was young, she was a real mare – when you touched her there wasn’t a centimetre between too much and not enough; it was so difficult to find the perfect aids for her, but I’m so happy with what we have reached now,” Langehanenberg said.

“It’s still only the beginning. I feel there is so much more we can do if she allows me to support her.  The more she does the more relaxed she becomes. She always has enough expression, but she doesn’t always have enough relaxation but routine will bring relaxation so I’m working on that. She’s easy to train, but she almost tries to be too perfect,” she explained.

Retirement

Runner-up, Ferrer-Salat, couldn’t attend the post-competition press conference because she was busy with a retirement ceremony for her great old campaigner, the 20-year-old Delgado. Third-placed Matute Guimon, meanwhile, was proud and honoured to be in the prizegiving ceremony with his compatriot, and with winner Langehanenberg.

“It’s such a cool feeling after my comeback in Lyon,” he said, referring to his eighth-place finish at the French fixture that hosted the second leg of the 2021/2022 Western European League four weeks ago. Until making such a successful return to the series, he had been intending to head for the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, USA in January, but now he may change his plans. “I might join Helen in Amsterdam (NED) or Den Bosch (NED) instead,” he said.

He’s delighted to be back in partnership with Quantico. “When I got back to the barn the first time after my accident, he looked at me as if to say, ‘Is that really you?’ He is such a special horse, not the easiest but such a nice horse and we have a unique bond – we are two hearts together,” the young Spanish star said.

Final

This result leaves him lying tenth on the Western European League leaderboard from which the top nine will make the cut to the series Final in Leipzig, Germany next April. Langehanenberg’s win moves her into the fifth spot when adding the maximum 20 points to the 13 she collected for fourth place at the opening round in Herning, Denmark last month. However, it is Wandres who continues to head the standings going into the next round in London (GBR) in three weeks’ time.

For German athletes getting to the Final is a really tough task, because so many of them are vying for places and only three per country are permitted to compete. As Langehanenberg explained, “Isabel (Werth, defending champion) is going anyway and Jessica (von Bredow-Werndl) will try as well – and if she goes with Dalera, then nobody can beat her! Frederic (Wandres) has good points already and he will try to qualify too, but we will for sure try out best and we will see if we can make it.”

The Western European League action will resume at the London International Horse Show, with the Short Grand Prix taking place on Thursday 16 December followed by the points-deciding Freestyle on Friday 17 December.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Charlotte Dujardin and Gio Headline Stellar Dressage Lineup for London International Horse Show

Organisers of The London International Horse Show have confirmed that Charlotte Dujardin, Britain’s joint most decorated female Olympian, will have the ride on her Olympic partner Gio to headline a fantastic line-up of Dressage stars at the Show, which runs from 16-20 December 2021. Dujardin, currently ranked as No. 3 in the world, will be taking part in the Show’s opening event, the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix, which will take place on the morning of Thursday 16 December, and the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which is part of the evening performance on Friday 17 December.

Dujardin will take centre stage aboard her Tokyo Olympic partner, Gio, and will be looking to retain her title in both competitions following her double victory in 2019. The combination, who claimed individual and team bronze medals in Tokyo – and in doing so took Dujardin’s tally of medals to six – will be firm favourites to reign victorious when they are reunited in December.

They will be joined by her Olympic teammate Lottie Fry, aboard her own and van Olst Horses’ Dark Legend. The 25-year-old, who is based in the Netherlands, has had a successful 2021 campaign with a string of impressive top-level Grand Prix results, including individual bronze and team silver at the European Championships, and Olympic team bronze.

Another member of that silver medal-winning European Championship team, Gareth Hughes, will be joining Fry and Dujardin at ExCeL London. Hughes, who won the Grand Prix at the British National Championships, will be looking to retain that form as he heads to The London International Horse Show.

Olympian Richard Davison strengthens the British contingent taking part at the Show. Riding Bubblingh, the horse that he rode to victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music in the CDI3* at Hartpury earlier this year, Davison will be sure to put in a competitive challenge. He will be joined by Fiona Bigwood, riding Hawtins Delicato, the horse which was runner-up in both competitions at The London International Horse Show in 2019, when ridden by Carl Hester. Compatriot Lara Butler will also be hoping to bring her recent form to the Show with Kristjan, having won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI3* at Keysoe last month.

Challenging the British hopefuls will be Nanna Skodborg Merrald from Denmark, part of the Tokyo Olympic team which were pipped to fourth place by Great Britain, and Singapore’s Caroline Chew. Sweden’s Antonia Ramel and Frederic Wandres from Germany will also feature.

World’s Best Carriage Drivers Head to London

The afternoon of Friday 17 December will mark the return of the FEI Driving World Cup to London, featuring the world’s leading Carriage Drivers. 2019 London International Horse Show winner, and former World No. 1, Boyd Exell (AUS) will return to the Show fresh from victory in the FEI Driving World Cup at Lyon. The five-time World Four-in-Hand champion and nine-time FEI World Cup Driving Champion will take on Ijsbrand Chardon, a multiple World Champion and the current World No. 2, who will be looking to improve on his third-place position at the 2019 Show. The Dutchman will be full of confidence following success at the FEI World Cup qualifier in Aachen.

Koos De Ronde’s second place finish split Exell and Chardon at the 2019 Show, and the Dutch World No. 3 will return to London looking to go one step further. Another who is sure to bring some excitement to the action is home favourite, Dan Naprous, who is famed for his stunt Driving and always has the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Dries Degrieck (BEL), buoyed by a successful World Cup at Lyon, Mareike Harm, part of the German team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, and Jérôme Voutaz from Switzerland complete the line-up.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’re delighted with this list of entries for The London International Horse Show and are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world to ExCeL London. It is set to be a fantastic competition, providing British fans the only opportunity in the UK to see so many quality athletes under one roof.  We can’t wait to see how the action unfolds.”

The London International Horse Show is the only UK Show to host all three FEI World Cup qualifiers in Show Jumping, Dressage, and Driving. The FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music will take place on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 December, with the FEI Driving World Cup taking place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 December. Top international Show Jumping competitions will also take place throughout the week, including the sell-out Puissance, The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup, and the unmissable London International Grand Prix, which wraps up the Show on Monday 20 December.

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Tryon International Three-Day Event Dressage Days Results

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – November 11, 2021 – The Dutta Corp/USEF CCI 4*-L Eventing National Championship kicked off at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) with two days of Dressage competition as part of The Dutta Corp Tryon International Three-Day Event. The week features CCI 1*-4*-L competition alongside CCI 4*-S competition and the Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge East Coast Finals. In the chase for the national title, Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic HS hold the lead going into Cross-Country, dancing to a score of 26.0. The remainder of the podium is also all-American at the moment: Woods Baughman (USA) and C’est La Vie, the 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Aarking xx) owned in partnership with James Baughman Jr. and Kim Baughman, scored a 29.4 in the sandbox for second, and Sharon White (USA) sits in third with Claus 63, her own 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Catoo x Levisto), after their 29.9-point performance in Dressage.

Coleman and the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud LLC) are contesting their third-ever Advanced competition, so he’s aiming for an educational yet competitive experience. “He’s a very talented young horse,” Coleman detailed. “He’s very green for this kind of competition, but we feel that he’s ready. He showed some of his greenness in his test, but he has so much quality that he can get away with it. I feel fortunate to be where we are and recognize I’m riding a really good horse in that phase.”

Since it’s Chin Tonic’s third run at the Advanced level, Coleman is proceeding with caution but is excited to contest the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) course design on the White Oak Cross-Country Course Saturday. “The main thing we want to think about is just giving him a good run for his future and development, but we’re here to be competitive as well,” Coleman shared. “We’re formulating a good plan for him, and then we’ll go out there tomorrow and try our best to execute it.

“It’s been great here as always,” Coleman commented on the venue. “Tryon is first-class. The horses get a sense of the atmosphere that you might encounter at big-time events around the world. I think it’s wonderful that we’re able to compete here.” he concluded, “Fingers crossed for tomorrow. I hope everyone has great runs and that we have a great day of sport!”

View all results from the Dutta Corp Tryon International Three-Day Event here.

Full schedules and viewing information, including live stream links, are available at www.Tryon.com/eventing.

For more info, visit www.Tryon.com.

Werth Steps Back into the Lyon Limelight

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

For the fifth time in a row, German supremo Isabell Werth won the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League qualifier in Lyon, France. She did it with the 16-year-old mare Weihegold OLD with whom she claimed the last three series titles.

Twelfth to go in an exciting 15-strong field filled with many rising stars, the pair earned a score of 84.910 and that couldn’t be beaten. But Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia came close when putting a personal best 83.695 on the board for a test that oozed consistency and class.

This 16-year-old mare, formerly competed by Danish compatriot Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, and before that by Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood, and before that again by Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour at Young Rider level, just keeps on giving and, in the hands of this talented 28-year-old Dane, continues to thrive in the ring.

New series

Dufour, who has risen to the very top of the game and who won the first leg of the new series last weekend with her 18-year-old super-hero Atterupgaards Cassidy, competed the nine-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos this time around. The young horse showed remarkable maturity in a test that included lovely passage/piaffe work to take the lead with 81.135 when the action resumed after the halfway break.

That proved good enough for fourth place at the end of the day, behind Werth at the head of affairs, Nanna Skodborg Merrald in second, and Germany’s Frederic Wandres who slotted into third when last to go with Duke of Britain FRH.

Wandres has been enjoying a good year, collecting the maximum 20 points for a win at the Central European League leg in Samorin (SVK) in August which, when added to those collected at the first two legs on the Western European circuit, leaves him heading the league table going into the next qualifier in Madrid, Spain in a month’s time.

Currently, Dufour lies second on the leaderboard ahead of The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra in third and Nanna Skodborg Merrald in fourth place. But there’s a long and winding road leading to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, Germany next April to which the top nine finishers on the Western European leaderboard will be invited.

Defending

Werth earned no points for her win, as defending champion she is automatically qualified for the Final with a horse of her choice which must have competed in the Freestyle to Music in at least two qualifiers. But it looks like Weihegold won’t be the one fighting that fight in 2022.

The athlete who has collected a mountain of medals during her spectacular career said that she was “super happy” with her horse but “not super happy with my own management! I made a mistake and she was then not as good as she can be!” Her self-criticism is one of the characteristics that has kept her at the very top of the game for so many years, always wanting to do better.

Outlining her plans for the coming months, she said she would take Weihegold to the Top Ten dressage final in Stockholm, Sweden in November, and then to Frankfurt in December “for what will be her last show, because that’s where it all started!”

It was with Weihegold that her back-to-back run of victories at the Lyon qualifier began in 2016. Riding Emilio, she won again in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and Weihegold showed she can still do all the fancy footwork. The mare’s staggering record includes the FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019 along with team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and five European gold medals.

Delighted

Meanwhile, Nanna Skodborg Merrald was delighted to find herself in runner-up spot. “I really like the pressure and it’s great to ride in front of an audience again after nearly two years without shows and the public,” said the 28-year-old who, partnering Blue Hors Zack, was a member of the fourth-placed Danish team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.

Winner Werth agreed with that. “The atmosphere here was great; it felt like we are nearly getting back to normal life, so well done to the Organising Committee for what they have done!” she said.

Show Director Sylvie Robert was very happy. “We really suffered with no event for nearly two years, so it is a great achievement to be back and to have the crowd with us again this year!” she said.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Mr & Mrs Price Have the Reins Well in Hand at 5 Étoiles de Pau

Jonelle Price & McClaren (C) Solène Bailly Photos.

Couples (in real life) are few and far between at this level, and Jonelle and Tim Price belong to the world elite. Not only do they produce quality performances, but a competitive spirit drives them both, and has spurred them on to the top of the provisional leaderboard in one of the most prestigious eventing competitions in the world. Spectators enjoyed watching a wonderful day of sport where the Anglo-Saxon contingent easily dominated the dressage test, with half the British riders in the top 20. In the French camp, Sidney Dufresne didn’t come off too badly, ranking eighth. However, it’s highly likely that the cross-country event will shake up the leaderboard.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Isabell Werth Takes the Lead

Dressage fans had the opportunity to enjoy the FEI Dressage World Cup Short Grand Prix presented by CREARA in the international arena of the Longines Equita Lyon, International Equestrian Competition. A great line-up of riders took part in this second stage of the Western European League of the World Cup circuit, under the watchful eye of the five international judges, presided over by Francis Verbeek from Holland.

The German rider Isabell Werth was the second to last rider to take to the arena, but it was almost no surprise to see the “queen” of the discipline win the class on her faithful and elegant Weihegold OLD, considering she has won so many medals in her career, was the reigning title holder, and is a regular participant in the Longines Equita Lyon event. The duo’s smooth performance won over the judges with a score of 78.421%. “It was quite exciting because we were competing in a new Grand Prix format for the first time. I am really delighted with my mare; she was a little bit nervous with this new routine, but she did her job really well. I am so happy to be back at Longines Equita Lyon. This is really one of the most wonderful indoor competitions in the world, so it’s just fabulous to be able to compete here again,” said the champion after the awards ceremony. In second place, the German rider Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain FRH presented a very impressive routine with a score 75.947%, their personal record. Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaads Orthilia also achieved their best score in this exercise with 75.342%, taking third place.

One of the most eagerly awaited pairs was the Danish rider Cathrine Dufour (world number 2) and her young nine-year-old Vamos Amigos, who were competing in Lyon for the first time. A great first at this level for the young horse, which was perhaps a little nervous at the beginning of the routine, finally scoring 73.895% and finishing in sixth place on the day. Having already won the Lyon stage in 2015, Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat presented her Tokyo Olympic horse, Elegance, taking fifth place with a score of 75.026%. During the morning, the spectators also had the pleasure of seeing the young Spanish trainer Juan Matute Guimon, riding his fifteen-year-old Quantico, finishing this regular Short Grand Prix with a score of 71.842%. As the first Moroccan rider to represent his country at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the World Championships in Caen in 2014, Yessin Rahmouni was competing for the first time in Lyon on All At Once (the horse he rode at the Tokyo Olympics), achieving a score of 69.526%.

As regards the French riders, Anne-Sophie Serre and Actuelle de Massa were the first out, scoring 69.605%. The second French couple – and bronze medallists at the last French Championships – Pierre Volla and Silvermoons Mariechen, presented their first routine at this level of competition, scoring 68.184%. Marie-Émilie Bretenoux and her faithful Quartz of Jazz posted a total of 68.553%. Finally, Sir Donnerhall II OLD and Morgan Barbançon put in a fine performance with a score of 72.079%, the best French result of the day, giving them an honourable 8th place finish.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Cathrine and Cassidy Are the Show-Stealers at Herning

Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

They were billed as the superstars that everyone wanted to see, and the brilliant Danish partnership of Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy didn’t disappoint. In a field sprinkled with both blossoming and established talent they reigned supreme to win the exciting first leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League on home ground at Herning.

They had to work hard, however, because compatriots Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera put on a spectacular performance to finish second, while the Dutch duo of Dinja van Liere and Hermes were sensational when slotting into third.

Young horses were really impressive, showing so much promise for things to come. But the crowd went wild when the old boy of the pack, the 18-year-old Cassidy, showed that he still has all the moves when stealing the limelight.

Opened

The action opened with Jennie Larson and Zircoon Spring Flower, the sole Swedish representatives when Patrik Kittel was withdrawn as his ride, Fiontini, was sold.

It was German Eventing idol, Ingrid Klimke, who led the way at the halfway stage when posting 78.750 with Franziskus 15. And when the action resumed after the break, Denmark’s Lone Bang Larsen went out in front with a lovely test from the 11-year-old mare Thranegaardens Rostov that earned 79.525. But then Van Liere and her fabulous nine-year-old stallion Hermes, who took the sport by storm when winning the Grand Prix in Aachen (GER) last month, forged a massive lead when putting 84.360 on the board.

With three left to go. Cassøe Krüth bettered that with a beautiful Freestyle from her 10-year-old mare that, despite a mistake in the one-tempi changes, earned a massive 86.395. So, second-last to go, Dufour and Cassidy had to do something special. But they’ve done it many times during their many years together and this was no exception. Posting 87.115 they bagged victory and brought the Danish crowd to their feet.

Crying

“I was crying my heart out; it was really fantastic!” said Dufour afterwards. With her younger horse, the 11-year-old Bohemian, she earned silver and bronze at the FEI Dressage European Championships last month, not long after returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But achieving what she did with Atterupgaards Cassidy, who carried her to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and who has collected 12 European Championship medals, including Young Rider gold and double-bronze at Senior level, during their hugely successful career together was just so very special. It’s about 18 months since he last appeared at an international event, but he showed he still loves every moment of it.

“He is turning 19 in one month and he’s just one of a kind. He’s been with me for 11 years and I have really had enough, but he hasn’t yet! I brought him here so that he could feel important again and he could show the crowd that he still wants to do it, so I’m over the moon!” Dufour said.

He had already made it clear he’s still very much in the game when winning the Grand Prix. He posted his Freestyle victory with apparently effortless ease.

Fit

Dufour says the horse she calls “Cassie” keeps himself fit. “You don’t have to do too much at home. I ride him once, maybe twice a week in dressage and the other days he’s just stretching and jogging or doing pole-work or hacking, so I think that’s why he’s so super healthy. “He’s just clever; he’s never using himself too much; he gives that much extra in the competitions, but back home I never ask for that. I just keep my fingers crossed when I bring him out and hope that he will do it, and he shows me again and again that he will!”

She insisted that she came out with no huge expectations. “I said at the beginning of this competition that there was no pressure; I wasn’t going to ride to win. I didn’t want to push Cassie to win; everything he offered me I took, but I wouldn’t have pushed him to do any more than he wanted,” she said. Will this be his last public appearance before going into well-earned retirement? Possibly not, it seems.

“We’ll see what this season brings, and I might do one more show with him, but he will be the one who decides, not me!” said the 29-year-old Dane who will take another horse, Vamos Amigos, to the second leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at Lyon, France next week.

Cheer

The Danish crowd had plenty to cheer about, and for runner-up Cassøe Krüth, it was an extra test for her 10-year-old mare when they clapped loudly as the pair progressed up the final centreline. But Danciera seemed to enjoy it, “and she has never felt so good!” said the 37-year-old Dane.

“When they started clapping, I thought Ohh, we still have a long way to go! But she stayed focused, and it was okay and actually I think she liked it, so now they can do it any time!” she added.

Dutch 31-year-old Van Liere was delighted with her result with Hermes. “Yesterday we had a couple of mistakes, but it was our first Short Grand Prix and of course he still lacks experience. I’m riding him since he was three years old, and I hope I will be able to ride him for many more years. I plan to do more World Cups, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him because he is still young,” said the athlete who hopes to bring him to the qualifiers on her home turf in Amsterdam in January and ’s-Hertogenbosch next March.

Show Director at Herning, Jens Trabjerg, was also very pleased. “It’s always nice as an organiser to have such fantastic sport as we had today. We have tried for the past five years to get the audience to stay for the prize-giving and I have to say we have been quite successful,” he pointed out. Not too surprising perhaps when the home-side contenders steal all the glory in front of their home crowd.

Results here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

The First Day of Dressage in Baborówko

Baborówko, 30 September 2021 – The dressage trial for the CCI3*-S for the prize of Kuhn and the first part of the dressage for the CCI2*-S presented by the Wielkopolskie voivodeship Local Government have played out in Baborówko.

The best result in the CCI3*-S after dressage belongs to Felix Etzel (GER) with Promising Pete TSF. Antonia Baumgart (GER) with Lamango is second, and third place for now belongs to Caro Hoffrichter (GER) with Lucky V/H Trappersveld. The best Polish athlete is Julia Gillmaier, riding Red Dream Princes, currently in the sixth position.

The best round in the first part of the CCI2*-S dressage goes to Pia Munker (GER) riding Cascablanca. Caro Hoffrichter (GER) lies in second with Just Jacques, and Katharina Frahm (GER) is third with Liberty and Independence. The highest-ranked home athlete is Agata Piskadło with Broadway, who currently occupies the fifth position.

The organisers have prepared a livestream of the main classes, available at the show’s website (www.equestrian.baborowko.pl), the Baborówko Equestrian Facebook profile (https://www.facebook.com/baborowko.equestrian), and Świat Koni.

Germany Takes All Gold in U25, and a New Dutch Star Shines

Semmieke Rothenberger and Flanell. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

German U25 riders matched their Senior counterparts when claiming all the gold medals in the FEI Dressage European Championship U25 at Hagen (GER) where a new Dutch star was born.

Semmieke Rothenberger (Flanell), Raphael Netz (Elastico), Ellen Richter (Vinay NRW), and Ann-Kathrin Lindner (FBW Sunfire) grabbed Team gold, pinning The Netherlands’ Devendra Dijkstra (Hero), Febe van Zwambagt (Edson), Jessica Poelman (Chocolate Cookie RDP), and Jasmien de Koeyer (Esperanza) into silver medal spot.

Sweden took the bronze when Nathalie Wahlund (Cerano Gold), Jennifer Lindvall (Midt West Casino), Elin Mattson (Beckham), and Lina Dolk (Languedoc) pipped Denmark by a narrow margin.

Germany’s Rothenberger and Netz and The Netherlands’ Poelman posted the three highest scores in the team competition and continued to be locked in battle for the individual and Freestyle titles over the last two days.

Grand Prix

In Saturday’s Grand Prix which decided the Individual medals, Netz squeezed Rothenberger off the top step of the podium by just 0.052%. This a young man with a remarkable story. His family had no connection with horses, but he was born with a passion to ride.

“When I was four, I was allowed to get on a horse for lunging lessons; they lunged me for over one year and then my father said if he’s tough enough to do it for a year without reins, then he really wants to do it! So we rented horses a lot and when I was nine they bought me my first pony. They had no idea what they were doing and neither did I, so they bought a three-year-old Haflinger! We grew together, we learned together, and then when he was seven and I was 13, we did our first Small Tour together and got our first Prix St George placement,” Netz explained.

He was talent-spotted by Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl when he was just 17. “She sent me an email asking if I wanted to ride for her – I thought it was a fake! But we ended up having a call and I took the train to Bavaria and stayed there for four days. And I just fitted in perfectly. So I finished school, packed my things, and moved,” said the young rider who has been working for the German star for the last five years.

Partnered with Elastico, who is owned by Japanese rider Akane Kuroki, Netz’ career is blossoming. He describes the stallion as “a cool dude! It’s a great feeling just to enter the arena on a beautiful horse like this. Growing together with him wasn’t that easy because he was used to different training, but we did our first competition one year ago and we finished third,” he explained. Kuroki saw the special relationship the young German was building with her horse and generously offered to let him ride it.  “I’m very thankful to her. She said go for it and we went for it and here we are!” Netz said.

Freestyle

Rothenberger had her day to shine when taking Freestyle gold. Netz’s end result was a score of 81.210 while Rothenberger’s mare Flannel posted 81.955 for a brilliant performance.

This 22-year-old rider, who hails from a family steeped in the Dressage world, already has a lifetime of Championship experience, winning multiple titles over the last decade at Pony, Junior, and Young Rider level and she is continuing in the same vein in U25.

“This has been such a perfect Championship; it’s super organised here and the Kasselmann family did an amazing job!” Rothenberger said.

She was thrilled with her mare. “I’ve always believed that Flanell has no limits and I still do. This horse is absolutely incredible. I’ve never had anything like her and it’s such a blessing to go in there with such a horse knowing that as long as I, the rider, don’t make a mistake, this horse can go for it. She’s shown it in this Championship; yesterday we had a rider mistake, but I’m incredibly happy with how she’s done at her first European Championship.

“I got her in May last year and due to Corona, we had a lot of time to get to know each other. But the show season didn’t quite get going, so this is only her fourth competition with me, and she just keeps getting better!” she added.

Bronze went to Poelman whose Freestyle ride was a pleasure to watch, filled with lightness and harmony.

A big surprise

“I never expected a medal – it’s a big surprise even to ride here!” said the 20-year-old who hails from close to Amsterdam. “I have this horse only since November last year and we only went to one international show together before. I rode international in Ponies and Juniors but never at a really high level; this is my very first Championship,” Poelman explained.

She says her sudden rise to stardom is all due to the lovely gelding Chocolate Cookie RDP, which was previously competed by Dutch counterpart Dana van Lierop. Poelman’s trainer Lotje Schoots put the pair together and it’s clearly the perfect partnership.

“He is really nice and very easy to ride, and I have a great connection with him. He is always very willing,” said the young rider who produced wonderful piaffe and passage from the 14-year-old gelding.

She only competed for fun until last year when she was invited to ride in an observation trial by Chef d’Equipe Monique Peutz. “We had winter training for riders and Jessica told me she had Chocolate Cookie and I said bring him along, and it looked so nice. First she was thinking she’d start slowly, but I said no, there’s an international competition in Exloo, so just give it a try, and she did and she did very well – now she has one silver and two bronze European U25 medals!” said the Dutch team manager.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Fairytale Finish in Freestyle for von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera

(L to R): Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (silver), Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (gold), and Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (bronze). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was filled with emotion after clinching her third gold medal of the week when topping the Freestyle at the FEI Dressage European Championship 2021 in Hagen (GER).

“It’s like a fairytale; the ride today was the best I ever felt!” said the 35-year-old athlete who also swept all before her at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. “It may not have been the highest points ever, but for me it was the best feeling I ever had with Dalera. I was very emotional after finishing. No matter what points or what place I got, I was so happy!” she added.

Scoring 91.021 when third-last to go, she finished almost three percentage points ahead of Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who took silver with Bohemian, and it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Gio who grabbed the bronze.

Going fifth from last, Dujardin put 87.246 on the board, and she might have expected that would not be enough for a podium placing with the final German partnership of Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD still to come. But second-last into the arena, Werth’s multiple medal-winning mare was clearly lacking energy and power, and their score of 84.896 left them in fourth place.

Pleased

Dujardin was hugely pleased with her result. At only 10 years of age, Gio is still very much on a learning curve, with little exposure to top sport other than his sensational results at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he won double-bronze. This performance was even more impressive.

“I’m so proud of him; it’s only his second time through that music and as you could see the degree of difficulty is immense. The Olympics was the first time I rode it and it was mistake-free there; unfortunately I made a mistake in the ones on the centre line today – rider error, not horse error – and I thought that would have cost me a medal. It’s still frustrating that I made that mistake and I’m so cross with myself because he tried so hard – but obviously we have medalled!” said the 35-year-old athlete.

She really pulled out all the stops, including taking all the risk in extended canter. “All week I hadn’t pushed him full out because he is a young horse and I want him for the future and he did the Olympics. He tried for me every day here; he did a great Special (on Thursday where the pair finished fourth). I was so proud of him, and we just missed out on a medal. So I thought today, I’ll just put that extra bit in,” she said.

Competitiveness is in Dujardin’s DNA. “I went in there wanting a medal for sure. I wasn’t going down without a fight! And being the first of the last five combinations, you know you have to give it a good go, set the standard. I felt we did that, even with a mistake. We got 87 percent with those mistakes; without those mistakes, who knows what it might have been? I asked him to step up and he sure did! she added.

And having finished his test, the little horse, whose rider calls him Pumpkin, was completely relaxed as he left the ring.

“That’s the thing with him: he just gets more and more confident and that’s his first time in an arena with that atmosphere; he’s not used to crowds. He’s just brilliant; he switches on and does his job, and then he switches off and off he goes home!” she said.

A joy

Dufour was equally pleased with Bohemian, whose test was a joy to watch, filled with energy and power.

‘I’m really happy, first because I had a super ride – almost flawless – we had a tiny mistake in the ones at the end and that was totally my mistake. We have grown a lot since Wednesday this week and today he felt so happy, so ready to deliver. It was just so super-easy going. I was back to no pushing, no forcing, just enjoying and dancing with him!” said the dynamic 29-year-old Dane.

Her emotional music from Les Miserables added a poignancy to her performance. “It expresses something about where I am in my life. It delivers a kind of message – that I’m really enjoying life and I’m in a good place now and that my horse and I have found our path together. I feel really comfortable with what I’m doing with my team, with the people I have around me. I have a super family, an extra family, and it feels fantastic!” she pointed out.

But the new European Freestyle gold medallist was happiest of all.

Talking about Dalera’s magical Freestyle performance, von Bredow-Werndl said, “She was 100 percent focused, she was light, she was on fire, but not too much. Two days ago (in the Grand Prix Special) she was a bit too hot so I couldn’t ride for example the extensions fully, and then it looked a little bit tense sometimes, but today it was a perfect, perfect kind of energy.

“She loves what she does, and I feel it in every second and every movement. Even my collected walk felt super today. The feeling was the best I’ve ever had so far, in my whole life, on any horse!

“That’s why I was pretty emotional when I finished because this is not normal – that a horse improves during a competition. Today she had no wet hair (sweat), either in the warm-up or after the competition, and that’s crazy!” she said.

Atmosphere

The spectators at Hagen certainly added to the great atmosphere and the new European triple champion, who also has two Olympic gold medals in her trophy cabinet after this extraordinary summer, commented on the difference it makes to have them there.

“It’s so great to ride in front of an audience again; it feels completely different; we were carried by them I think, and they were so supportive of all the riders during the week. I hope it will stay like this; it’s so good to have this back!”

Von Bredow-Werndl has led Germany to a glorious summer of gold, and now has next year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in her sights. However, Dufour gave her fair warning that she and her Danish compatriots will be ready and waiting when the action begins on their home ground in front of their home crowd in Herning next August.

She intends narrowing the gap between herself and the German star over the next 11 months.

“Right now, we can only aim at Jessica’s marks, and congratulations to her on a great season this year. It’s exciting with the WEG next year in Denmark. I’m sure the Danish audience will put pressure on the Germans!”

For now, however, the Hagen hosts can continue to bask in a golden glow.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media Scontact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46