Hannah Erbe from Germany and Carlos. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)
Valencia (ESP), 24 July 2016 – Team Germany more than lived up to expectations at the FEI European Dressage Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children 2016 staged in Valencia (ESP) which drew to a close Saturday, when taking gold in four of the eight Championship categories. They completely dominated the Junior division, but once again had to yield to the Dutch in the Young Riders Individual and Freestyle in which Jeanine Nieuwenhuis held sway.
For only the second time in the history of these Championships there were also Team and Individual Championships for Children, and it was Russia that took both titles this time around. With a massive entry it was a hectic five days of competition in soaring summer temperatures.
For the third year in a row the Junior team medal podium remained the same, with Germany taking the top step followed by The Netherlands in silver and Denmark in bronze. However, the Dutch narrowed the gap this time, finishing less than four percentage points behind the champions.
Semmieke Rothenberger led the German assault with a great score of 77.351 from the nine-year-old mare Dissertation. The rider who will turn 17 next month was joined by Hannah Erbe (Carlos), Rebecca Horstmann (Friend of Mine 2) and Alexa Westendarp (Der Prinz 4) to post a team tally of 224.000.
Lisanne Zoutendijk and Kostendrukkers Ringo Star produced the leading Dutch score of 73.865, and joined with Esmee Donkers (Zaffier), Febe van Zwambagt (FS Las Vegas) and Diana van de Bovenkamp (Corvette) to post 220.136 overall. The Danish bronze medallists – Celine Rorbaek Silfen (Romo Hoejris), Camilla Andersen (Rafaella K), Caroline Eisner (Alskenz Firfod) and Karoline Rohmann (Noosa Melody) – racked up a final scoreline of 212.405. A total of 14 nations fielded Junior teams, and Sweden missed out on a podium placing by just over four percentage points.
Rothenberger had to settle for silver in both the Individual and Freestyle Championships, however, when Hannah Erbe reclaimed the Junior Individual title she took in 2015 before also going on to add Freestyle gold. Rothenberger’s lovely young mare didn’t sparkle quite as much as she had done in the Team event, finishing only fractionally behind Erbe’s Carlos in the battle for the Individual title while The Netherlands’ Lisanne Zoutendijk (Kostendrukkers Ringo Star) took the bronze here.
In the Freestyle Erbe and her nine-year-old Rhinelander gelding were outstanding when posting their gold-medal-winning score of 81.625. The judges panel of Francisco Guerry Diaz (ESP), Vincenzo Truppa (ITA), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Raphael Saleh (FRA) and Eike Ebert (GER) awarded Rothenberger a mark of 78.975 while Febe van Zwambagt pushed Dutch team-mate, Zoutendijk, off the podium this time when taking the bronze with a mark of 77.500 with the nine-year-old gelding FS Las Vegas.
Last year Sweden pushed Denmark off the Young Riders team podium, but the Danes reclaimed their spot this time around when lining up behind the Dutch in silver and the Germans in gold medal spot. Once again there were 14 nations represented in the team competition, and it was a close-fought affair with only just over a single percentage point separating the victors from their Dutch rivals.
It was the pure consistency of the German performances that clinched it for them, Jil-Marielle Becks (Damon’s Satelite) posting 74.816, Anna-Lisa Theile (Ducati K) posting 73.947 and Anna-Christina Abbelen (Fuerst on Tour) scoring 73.079 while Leonie Richter’s (Babylon) mark of 70.842 was not counted for the team total of 221.842.
The Netherlands’ Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and TC Athene produced the best score of the competition when putting 76.947 on the board, and when that was added to 72.026 from Jeanine Nekeman (Vlingh) and 71.579 from Jasmien de Koeyer (Esperanza) then Lotte Meulendijks’ 70.737 with MDH Ohio was the discount mark as they racked up 220.552.
The Danes had a final scoreline of 213.889 when Maja Andreasen (Kano) posted 73.026, Michala Mejlgaard Jensen (Uno lV) scored 71.290 and Caroline Aarosin (Daydream) earned 69.553, Marie Skov Olesen (Brizard) providing the discard score of 64.632. The Swedish team missed out on that podium placing by over four percentage points.
The Netherlands’ Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and TC Athene powered on to take both the Individual and Freestyle titles. Judges Kurt Christensen (DEN), Katrina Wuest (GER), Francisco Guerra Diaz (ESP), Alla Soubbotina (RUS) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED) awarded them 78.974 in the Individual Championship to leave them more than two points ahead of the German silver medallists Jil-Marielle Becks and Damon’s Satelite while Germany also filled third, fourth and fifth places, Leonie Richter and Babylon clinching the bronze on a mark of 72.842.
The Freestyle judges, Francis Verbeek von Rooj (NED), Clive Halsall (GBR), Katrina Wuest (GER), Freddy Leyman (BEL) and Christoph Limbach (LUX) gave Nieuwenhuis 81.000 for gold, Britain’s Halsall placing the Dutch pair second while the remainder of the panel all put them at the head of the scoreboard. Becks had to settle for bronze this time out when Leonie Richter really rose to the occasion with a fractionally better score than her German counterpart, and it was Switzerland’s Estell Wettstein who just missed out on the podium when lining up fourth.
Last year’s silver medallists from Russia clinched both the Team and Individual titles this time around, and their star performer was Anna Guseynova who steered the 11-year old Westfalian gelding, Lauda, to two excellent performances. The 14-year-old rider, who was a member of that 2015 silver-medal-winning side, posted 73.100 in the Team event in which her compatriot, Ekaterina Aristova (Shania) also produced an excellent mark of 70.800. When these were added to the 69.67 earned by Polina Ivanova (Norlunds Cartoon), the final scoreline of 213.667 gave Russia a significant advantage over France in silver while Spain claimed the bronze. With only four teams competing it was Italy that didn’t make it on to the podium.
Judges Raphael Saleh (FRA), Eike Ebert (GER), Christoph Limbach (LUX), Juan Carlos Eampos Escribano (ESP) and Freddy Leyman (BEL) awarded fourth-line Russian rider Taisia Rusakova (Terrano) 66.667, just 0.1 percentage points less than team-mate Ivanova. The overall Russian score was 213.667.
There were just three scores over 70 percent in the Team competition, two going to Russia and the third to French rider Jade Laborgne partnering Don Calypso who posted 70.500. French team-mates Eugenie Burban (Mighty Magic) and Mado Pinto (Rafale du Coussoul de la Gesse) scored 66.900 and 67.633 respectively, and fourth-line rider Enora de Vienne (Limerick) was close behind when putting 66.433 on the board for the discard as the final French tally stood at 206.083.
Spain’s Ainhoa Vera Arias (Mosquetero), Casida Rubio Breton (Daconte), Roser Serrano Pons (Sander) and Clara Munoz Roldan (Capricho) all scored between 64 and 69 percent to run up a team total of 202.700 for that bronze medal spot, and Ainhoa Vera Arias only just missed out on a podium placing in the Individual medal decider.
Posting 69.344 for a strong ride on his 17-year-old Spanish-bred stallion Mosquetero, he was squeezed off the podium by just 0.062 percentage points by Czech Republic’s Eva Vavikova riding Belle Ennie who earned the bronze. Silver went to Luxembourg’s Celia Giorgetti and the black gelding Decoeur who posted a smart 70.375, but it was Russia’s Guseynova who reigned supreme with Lauda whose mark of 77.438 reflected the top score awarded by all five judges, Alla Soubbotina (RUS), Tina Karkkolainen (FIN), Juan Carlos Campus Escribano (ESP), Kurt Christensen (DEN) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED).
Detailed results here
By Louise Parkes