Tag Archives: Dressage Ch.

Huge Haul of Gold for Greece at Balkan Dressage Championships

(L to R): Bulgaria’s bronze medallists Stephanie Neseva, Irina Nikolva, Mirela Raikova and Katerina Tvetanova; the newly-crowned Greek champions Elisavet Maika, Lavinia Macropoulou, Eleni Retsou and Theodora Livanos; and Turkey’s silver medallists Dila Akbackaloglu, Iren Kaplan, Derin Lara Ekici and Lara Tumay. (FEI/Alexis Valilopoulos)

Athens (GRE), 5 July 2016 – It was a glorious weekend for Greek athletes as they claimed gold in nine of the 10 categories at the FEI Balkan Dressage Championships 2016 on home ground in Athens (GRE). However, Vanda Ljolje ensured it wasn’t all one-way traffic when taking the Children’s Individual title back to Croatia following a stunning final performance with her brilliant Belgian-bred pony mare, Ashen Dew Drop.

Judges Orsolya Hillier (HUN), Yang Chamg-Kyoo (KOR), Natalia Rubashko (BLR), Fouad Hamoud (ALG) and Anne Prain (FRA) had a busy time of it, with a full-on three-day programme of competition. The event was staged, for the second time, at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Markopoulo, with competitors from Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey taking on the host nation contenders.

The FEI Balkan Dressage Championships celebrated their 49th anniversary this year.

First medals

The first medals of the 2016 edition were presented on the opening day last Friday, when the Junior and Senior team results were confirmed.

Greek athlete, Theodora Livanos, was impressive here when leading her team to victory with a mark of 67.014 partnering her 12-year-old grey Lusitano stallion Zidane. And the Greeks did well to come out on top after Eleni Retsou was eliminated with Fairytale. However, team-mates Lavinia Macropoulou with Widoc Timbre and Elisavet Maika with Sir Kavalier scored 67.014 and 62.297 respectively to leave the hosts on an aggregate score of 63.437 percent. And this gave them just over a single percentage point advantage over the silver medallists – Dila Akbacakoglu (Amore E Gloria), Irem Kaplan (Zayson) and Derin Lara Ekici (Polygraf) – from Turkey. Bronze went to Bulgaria’s Katerina Tsvetanova (preslav), Mirela Raikova (Ludrecia), Stephanie Nesheva (Don Corleone) and Irina Nikolova (Marc Antony Z).

The highest score of the Junior Team competition was posted by Serbia’s Bojana Stojanov with Hamlet VD Stuyver, with Livanos next best on that occasion. But the Greek rider reigned supreme in Saturday’s Individual medal decider and then came out to add Sunday’s Freestyle honours in convincing style. Livanos steered Zidane to a mark of 74.600 to finish more than three points ahead of Stojanov who claimed individual Freestyle silver, while a score of 66.104 was good enough to put Turkey’s Dila Akbacakoglu and Amore E Gloria into bronze.

Privilege

“To be a competitor at the Balkan Championship here in Athens at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre has been a privilege for me as a member of the Hellenic Dressage Team!” said 14-year-old Livanos. “The organisation of this event has been impressive and the support shown to me by fellow Greek team members has been overwhelming.

“The culmination of many months of hard work by my support team came together and the results Zidane and I achieved in the Team, Individual and Freestyle tests have been an outstanding success. It has been an honor for me to finally compete as part of the Greek team and I hope it is the start of more events together in the future.

“I would like to add that clearly this is a team sport; however, as a rider the hours of dedicated work and the partnership between horse and rider is invaluable. The key to a successful dressage rider is the total union between rider and horse, not only in the competition but before and after. I believe that relentless hours preparing before and during the event are critical to a successful programme,” she said.

And she added, “I would like to thank the Greek Federation, our Chef d’Equipe Eleni Myrat and the FEI for their continued support and to all the organisers, stewards and vets at the Markopoulo Arena. I look forward to competing here again in the future.”

Senior Team

An average score of 63.367 secured the Senior Team title for the host nation also, with the 65.105 posted by Christina Sachinoglou and Rafaello 4 topping the leaderboard. Team-mates Evangelia Koupenou (Huligan), Stelios Stavroulakis (Baiao) and Antonio Tsamandoura (Hope for the Future) rounded up the solid Greek result which left them with a significant three-point advantage over Bulgarian silver medallists Raiko Ganukov (Ambrozia), Veselina Sokolova (Haga) and Boriana Kroumova (Riverdance) while bronze went to Turkey’s Sarkis Mura Saricoban (Santos), Melda Alaluf (Clockwork) and Ebru Adas (Pluto 79). There was very little between the Bulgarian and Turkish sides who performed extremely well considering they were fielding only three riders as opposed to the four on the winning Greek team.

Sachinoglou had to yield to fellow-countrywoman Angela Sklavounos who posted a strong 67.842 to win Saturday’s Intermediate 1 for the Individual title. Sachinoglou’s 65.921 clinched the silver here ahead of team-mate Evangelia Koupenou who posted 63.368 for the bronze, but Sachinglou turned the tables once more in Sunday’s Freestyle when seeing off all her rivals with the winning mark of 68.725. And it was Koupenou who claimed silver this time out while Sklavounos had to settle for Freestyle bronze.

Very satisfied

“I am very satisfied with the result and the performance of my horse, Rafaello,” said the 27-year-old Freestyle champion. “Each day our results were consistently better, culminating in the Freestyle. To receive such positive comments and scores from recognised international judges is a very important recognition. Rafaello is a very proud horse and without him I would not have accomplished so much.

“This year’s Balkan Championship, however, was a challenge and I put a bet to myself to manage a very good appearance, in both the team and the individual competition. Therefore the hard work and preparation for months before proved that success was our only option. I want to thank my trainer Anthony Vragkos for his dedication, my club, Rhodes Equestrian Center, which always supports me and my family who are on my side and support my choices. Also a big thank to the whole group of people who support me such as doctor, farrier and my sponsor,” Sachinoglou said.

Young Riders and Children

There were only three Young Riders in contention for medals, and the host nation’s Isabella-Nina Ravini first scooped the Individual title before returning to also earn Freestyle gold.

Her opponents in the Individual competition were Turkey’s Merve Ozgundogan who took silver spot with Di Cabrio and Bulgaria’s Krassina Krusteva who claimed the bronze with Cerano. However, Ravini was the only one of the three to score over 60 percent, her mark of 61.158 therefore putting her through to Sunday’s Freestyle as the sole contender. And she claimed the Freestyle gold medal with a mark of 61.450.

It was only in the Children’s category that the tables were eventually turned on the Greek hosts, but not until they had already acquired four more gold medals thanks to the great team victory posted by Despoina Sidira (Nocsley), Eirini Retsou (Grace), Goivi Algiannaki (Cassian) and Natalia Fragiadaki (Odysseas) whose combined average mark was 60.733. This left the Greeks almost three percentage points ahead of their only rivals from Bulgaria – Yasna Sredkova (Fantastico), Ivet Georgieva (Capuchino), Ava Hristozova (Roccabella) and Madlin Naydenova (Living on the Moon) whose combined average mark was 57.889.

Colossal score

The Greeks took three of the top four places in the Individual Children’s Final but came nowhere near the colossal score of 73.438 posted by the winning Croatian pair. Vanda Ljolje and her lovely mare, Ashen Drew Drop, were simply in a class of their own as they left Greece’s Sidira and Algiannaki almost 10 points behind in silver and bronze.

But Greek Chef d’Equipe, Eleni Myrat, was understandably delighted with the performance of her squad throughout this extraordinary weekend. “It was a very successful championship for us,” said the multi-medalled Greek athlete.

“Greece won first place in all team competitions, and in the individual – gold in the Juniors all three first places in the Seniors, gold in the Young Riders and silver and bronze in the Children’s class – I am extremely proud of all my riders! They all gave their best and rode well. The team was very united, supporting each other wherever needed. I want to congratulate all participants. It was a great event!” she concluded.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

At Athens:

Anna Kotsiou
Press Officer
press@hef.gr

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Narrow Victory for Dujardin in Hard-Fought Freestyle

(L to R) Kristina Bröring-Sprehe from Germany (silver), Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin (gold) and Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (bronze). (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Aachen (GER), 16 August 2015 – It was double-gold for Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro when the British superstars added the Freestyle title to yesterday’s Grand Prix Special honours at the FEI European Dressage Championships in Aachen (GER) this evening. But today’s medal was particularly hard-won, with Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe only 0.25 percent off Dujardin’s winning score when taking silver with Desperados FRH, while Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat produced another sensation when claiming the bronze with Delgado.

Continuing the week-long theme of expecting the unexpected, the day began with the news that Britain’s Fiona Bigwood was withdrawn because her mare, Atterupgaards Orthilia, had a “slight skin reaction causing sensitivity.” And then, just before the competition began, it was announced that Anna Kaskpkrzak had also pulled out. The Danish rider is no shrinking violet and had climbed into the saddle to prepare for her early-afternoon start with Donnperignon. But the pain she has been suffering since she was kicked in the chest by her horse after the horse inspection six days ago was just too intense today.

Strong test

Newly-crowned European team champion, Patrick van der Meer from the Netherlands, got the competition underway with a nice test from Uzzo who set the standard at 74.375, and this was followed by the farewell performance of Morgan Barbancon Mestre’s 18-year-old stallion Painted Black who posted 73.375.

However, it was Karen Tebar from France who led the way into the first competition break. It is rare to see a rider smiling as they enter the arena, especially one as intimidating as the Soers in Aachen, but the 50-year-old who fits her competitive career around managing her own German-based company, looked equally as happy as her 10-year-old gelding Don Luis who, in his first year at international level, took over the lead with a score of 74.964.

The target rocketed up to 80.214 when German team bronze medallist, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, took her turn with Unee BB, their performance concluding with a dare-devil extended trot up the centre-line. And then Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven went out in front, the six-time Olympian and her 13-year-old gelding demonstrating their unique partnership based on a mutual understanding that allows them to ebb and flow with the rhythm of their test for a mark of 80.643.

A day to savour

This was a day to savour, with many young horses suggesting great future potential, including the nine-year-old Batuta ridden by Portugal’s Goncalo Carvalho (72.768) and Carl Hester’s 10-year-old Nip Tuck (79.571) for Great Britain. But it was the 82.482 produced by Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH that was the score to beat as the final four took their turn.

Werth is both a natural-born entertainer as well as an edge-of-the-seat competitor, and she had the home crowd right behind her as she swung her way through her musical score that included a newly-introduced excerpt from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” – the late, great Freddie Mercury singing “nothing really matters” – but of course it did. And the crowd went wild when the judges awarded 82.482. Still the excitement was far from over.

Only a chosen few knew that Beatriz Ferrer-Salat would shine this week. First, like Frenchwoman Tebar, she would steer her country into an Olympic qualifying spot and then go on to finish just off the podium in yesterday’s Grand Prix Special. As she started into her routine today it was clear the Spanish rider was upping her game even further, her chestnut gelding Delgado presenting a beautifully balanced, forward-going picture as they cruised through seamless transitions and presented a picture of lightness and harmony for a new leading score of 82.714. Quite an achievement for a horse that has struggled with unsoundness since he was a six-year-old and who, at 14 years of age, is only now getting the opportunity to show his true ability.

Close to perfection

But while that was lovely to watch, the penultimate performance of Bröring-Sprehe and her fabulous black stallion was close to perfection. The 28-year-old rider came to Aachen this week with a weight of expectation on her shoulders, and although she didn’t get the result she wanted in the team competition she was very impressive when taking silver in yesterday’s Grand Prix Special. Today, however, the horse-and-rider combination were in a different league altogether, lighting up the ring with spectacular passage and piaffe, the tiniest of pirouettes and breath-taking extended trot. The defending champions were chasing a big score of 88.804 as they set off, and it was difficult to know if they would beat that score.

Dujardin found the one-tempi changes something of a bug-bear this week and once again they let the pair down this afternoon, but even though her 13-year-old gelding was much less animated than in yesterday’s test, the quality of their work was such that they overtook their German rivals by a narrow 0.25 percent to round up their week with both of the individual titles.

Only the ones

Talking afterwards, the record-breaking rider said, “It was only the ones (one-tempi changes) that let the performance down. I think he’s got a thing with them now; he’s done it all week. Yesterday in the last one he made a mistake; outside he’s been really good with them. It’s only one movement at the end of the day and it has cost me, but I was really happy with the rest of it.

“The toughest part of being here is having to deal with the crowd; you know they are rooting for their nation, and when I walked in there was a huge atmosphere. Then her (Kristina’s) score came up just as I went in, and I had to deal with that as well. And then we had a shot of Isabell (Werth) stuffing her face with something, so as I went to start the crowd were laughing! So there was a lot in my mind to deal with at the very beginning. I think I handled it quite well,” she said.

Ferrer-Salat said of her bronze medal finish today, “When we came here I was expecting to qualify the team for Rio and I hoped to get into the Kur, but a medal? Never! I’m very happy for my horse; I’ve had him for years and he’s always been injured, but now we have rehabilitated him. It has taken a long, long time, but it’s been worth it!”

At the post-competition press conference, Freestyle silver medallist Bröring-Sprehe said, “Desperados was so fantastic, so good to ride today; he felt great in the atmosphere and we did our best Freestyle ever. Next year I hope,” she added, and then looked across at Dujardin and hesitated, “Next year, I want to do even better!”

Championships were tough

It sounded like a warning to Dujardin who admitted these Championships were tough. “Yeah, I knew it would be coming here. But in the end I’m going home with two golds and a silver medal, so I’m happy!” she replied. When asked about the narrow margin between herself and Bröring-Sprehe, she said, “That’s sport and it makes it more and more exciting… it would be really boring if I was winning by miles all the time. So the fact that Kristina is catching me up – everyone, even Edward in the Grand Prix – I think for me here I just had mistakes in my tests. I haven’t had one test which I haven’t had mistakes in, and that’s obviously expensive, but I know when I have a mistake-free test it’s a very good test. He’s (Valegro) going to have a holiday now for three weeks and I’ll work on it and hopefully get my changes back and go to Olympia… get ready for Rio. I’m not giving up easily!” she concluded.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit www.aachen2015.de.

Full results of FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here.

Facts and Figures:

13 horse-and-rider combinations lined out for today’s Grand Prix Freestyle at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.

There were two withdrawals – Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood whose mare Atterupgaards Orthilia was experiencing “a slight skin reaction causing sensitivity” and Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak who was feeling unwell. She was kicked in the chest by her horse, Donnperignon, during Tuesday’s veterinary inspection and rode in both the team competition and in the Grand Prix Special – she finished 11th in the latter.

8 nations were represented in today’s Freestyle final – Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The Netherlands and Germany each had three riders qualified for the final competition.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro claimed the gold for the second time – they also topped the podium at the 2013 FEI European Dressage Championships staged in Herning, Denmark.

Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe finished in silver medal spot with Desperados FRH and Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat took the bronze with Delgado.

96,000 spectators attended the Dressage competitions during the week at the Soers Arena while the full tally of spectators for all events to date iss 159,000.

Quotes:

Kristina Bröring-Sprehe GER: “I’m really happy; Desperados was wonderful today, so easy to ride all the time and the audience at the end – it was perfect!”

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat ESP: “I have the horse (Delgado) since he was six; he has been injured a lot… so I would go to a show, stop him, go to a show, stop him again, but every time he was really good, really good, so I just keep trying. Finally we got it solved, and I started in March in Spain and did a couple of shows in Spain and then my first international outing was at Hagen and then I came here. Our goal was to qualify for the Olympics, which we achieved, finishing fourth, and then when I saw I was in the top five I was really surprised, then yesterday I was fourth and today I was third. I got him sound thanks to a chiropractor and a masseur. No medicines, no nothing, just this and that’s the only way until now he has been sound. I had taken this horse to clinics, vets, everything, but there was no way to get him sound. We did it just naturally, a lot of rehabilitation, very slowly, slowly, slowly and now he’s really, really good. This is a hard week… because it’s a bit hot I have to ride him twice, once in the stadium when it was open; he’s really sound at the moment.”

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
nielsknippertz@chioaachen.de
+49 (0) 241 9171 182

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Dujardin Does a Special Double on Dramatic Day in Aachen

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Aachen (GER), 15 August 2015 – Defending champions, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and her much-loved superstar gelding Valegro, made it two-in-a-row when clinching Grand Prix Special gold at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER) this afternoon.

On a day of huge tension, sizzling excitement and wonderful entertainment in the hallowed Soers arena, the 30-year-old rider managed to lay to rest the memory of her only significant defeat in the incredible career she has enjoyed with the horse she calls Blueberry. All three medals were hard-earned, and the record-breaking British duo set yet another new FEI European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special target score of 87.577, overtaking the 85.699 they set in Herning (DEN) two years ago.

There was plenty for the host nation to celebrate too when Kristina Bröring-Sprehe recovered from a much less impressive test in the team event to really show what she is made of to claim silver with Desperados FRH. The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson TN took bronze, but it was bitter-sweet for the Dutchman, as his life-partner and team-mate, Edward Gal, who lifted The Netherlands to team gold on Thursday, was eliminated when last into the arena with Glock’s Undercover.

Set the standard

Perhaps the bravest performance of the competition was produced by Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak who set the early standard when 12th into the arena with Donnperignon. The 25-year-old was kicked in the chest by her 16-year-old gelding after Tuesday’s horse inspection. “I was in the hospital; nothing was broken but I have a lot of pain,” she said after posting a good mark of 73.473 this afternoon. “In the team comp it was difficult; it hurts to breathe, but today I am really satisfied; we really did our best.” And she was still out in front when Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH set the arena alight an hour later.

Werth’s popularity with her knowledgeable home crowd is second to none, but they gasped in disbelief when, instead of going into half-pass right, she asked Don Johnson FRH for walk and he obediently obliged. She corrected her mistake very quickly and then, demonstrating exactly why she has such a legion of fans who admire her sheer determination and consummate skill, the multi-medalled rider just carried on calmly with a big smile on her face.

She laughed about it after putting a mark of 75.924 on the board. “What happened? Maybe I’m too old or maybe I’m too blonde; you can choose whatever you want!” she said. “It was really stupid, but remember in Herning three of the medallists went the wrong way, and today I think maybe it was a bit of entertainment for the spectators!”

The second session ended with a lovely ride from Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, who raised the bar once again when posting 76.148 with the ever-elegant Don Auriello, but the medallists all came from the final group of 10 in which Carl Hester was first to surpass the Swedish rider’s target. His massive gelding, Nip Tuck, had turned intermittently shy on him during the team test, but today produced a much more confident performance.

“He was brilliant,” he said afterwards. “For such a big horse, I have to be able to make quite a lot of adjustments to keep him balanced at the moment, but he absolutely did everything I asked; he let me help. I’m smiling from ear to ear… he’s gone and nailed it for me today.”

Topped the leaderboard

His score of 77.003 topped the leaderboard until Bröring-Sprehe set off with Desperados FRH who produced one of the few flawless tests of the competition. Hopes had been pinned on the fabulous black stallion and his 28-year-old rider to retrieve the situation when things didn’t go Germany’s way in the team competition. It didn’t happen then, but the pair was completely in tune today, floating through extended trot and presenting a really attractive picture. When a massive 83.067 went up on the scoreboard the cameras swung to German Chef d’Equipe, Monica Theordorescu, and the tears of joy were clearly visible in her eyes.

“They looked so beautiful together, and I’m so very proud,” Theodorescu said afterwards. “I train Kristina at home and she is such a nice and quiet person. I knew what a nice job they could do, and today they were so harmonious; it made me very happy!” the three-time Olympic team gold medallist said.

The German’s advantage didn’t last long, however, as Dujardin, looking nervous but determined, strode down the centre line and set about the business of wowing the crowd with Valegro’s trademark piaffe, passage and extravagant extended trot. All of the Ground Jury had placed Bröring-Sprehe in pole position a few minutes earlier, and they were in total agreement once again when coming up with a final mark of 87.577 for the British duo, who took over at the head of affairs despite a mistake at the end of the one-tempi changes.

Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat has enjoyed a fantastic week, ensuring her country’s berth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a brilliant performance in the team event. And once again today she produced a sparkling test from the 14-year-old gelding Delgado who posted 77.395 to temporarily take bronze medal spot. But the penultimate partnership of Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson TN edged them out when scoring 79.034, and now only his Dutch counterpart, Gal, was left to challenge for gold.

Feeling ill

It had been an uneasy 24 hours in the Dutch camp leading up to today’s competition, however, with team gold medallists Gal and Minderhoud both feeling ill. And Gal was clearly having problems with Glock’s Undercover, who was reluctant to even enter the arena to begin his test this afternoon. The Dutchman persevered, but the gelding was so over-excited he piaffed instead of doing his first halt, and the tense test was finally drawn to a premature close when the Judge at C, Andrew Gardner, rang the bell and stepped into the arena to tell Gal that he couldn’t continue because of blood in the horse’s mouth.

Bronze medallist, Minderhoud, admitted afterwards that he was feeling weak during his test. “My legs felt a bit like spaghetti,” he said, but although he was deeply disappointed for Gal, he was delighted to have picked up his very first individual European medal. Silver medallist, Bröring-Sprehe, said she enjoyed herself much more today. “It was easy to ride,” she said. “On the first day there was a lot of pressure, but today Desperados was very concentrated and I had such a good feeling in passage and piaffe!”

A bit laid back

Gold medallist Dujardin talked about her determination going into the arena today. “On Thursday (team competition) I was a bit laid back and I was just going in there for a clear round, but because I made mistakes on Thursday I was like right, that’s it; I’m sick of this, and I wanted to go in there and better my performance. I know Valegro can do much better than that. I think the whole thing of last year coming here, it wasn’t really great for me and I worried about the heat for Valegro as well. But today he felt in great form and I thought, I’ve just got to ride it, and I did – I felt I just had a good ride from start to finish.”

Her friend, trainer, fellow team-member and mentor, Hester, described his protégé’s success as “another great moment. I’m really happy for Charlotte and I want people to love the horse as we all love him, and it’s great to see him back at his best!”

Now all the focus is on whether Valegro can produce a second back-to-back European Championships double by topping tomorrow’s Freestyle, in which he and Dujardin are drawn last to go.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit www.aachen2015.de.

Full results of FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here.

Facts and Figures:

The top 30 horse-and-rider combinations following the team competition – less one withdrawal – went through to today’s Grand Prix Special at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.

Germany’s Totilas and Matthias Alexander Rath, lying in sixth place, withdrew yesterday.

All four members of the gold-medal-winning Dutch and silver-medal-winning British teams made the cut into today’s Grand Prix Special.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro won the title for the second time in succession with a new European Grand Prix Special record score of 87.577.

They previously set the record at the Championships in Herning, Denmark in 2013 with a mark of 85.699.

The silver medal went to Germany’s Kristina Broring-Sprehe and Desperados FRH, with The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson taking the bronze.

Judges marked 12,600 movements. The Judges Supervisory Panel changed 35 marks = 0.278%.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix Freestyle will bring the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 to a close.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro are also defending the Freestyle title.

Quotes:

Isabell Werth GER, about smiling during her test: “What should I do? It has not been the championships we wanted to have, and in the end maybe now we can have another story for the show!” Did Johnny get confused? “No, he was super I’m so proud about the horse; he was much better than me and it was good to show him in a really good way – that was my goal – because I have no chance to be one of the best and that was really the goal to show him and work for his image.”

Carl Hester GBR, talking about Nip Tuck: “He has the perfect balance of what you want in a dressage horse. He wants to go; he really wants to work; he is a little bit nervous, but he tries his best to be on my side. I have such a great relationship with him.”

Charlotte Dujardin GBR: “It’s tough when you’re in front of a German crowd; you know they’re really behind them (the German riders); it’s like us when we were in London, it’s such a fantastic feeling to know you have all of the home crowd behind you. This crowd is fantastic here, not like your average crowd; they all know what we’re doing… after my first extension I must have gotten a good mark because I could hear Oooooh!”

Charlotte Dujardin GBR, talking about getting a standing ovation from the crowd: “It’s such a great feeling, to come out and know that they’ve really appreciated what I’ve done. It’s incredibly tough knowing you have to go in there and nail it, do your best, enjoy it – it’s tough to do all that and remember that this is a thing that I enjoy and I love and it’s my passion. You can get swept away, nerves kick in and everything else. Today I honestly did go in there and I did enjoy it.”

Carl Hester GBR, talking about Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro: “Of course you get a day like today the weather suits him (Valegro). It’s a little bit cooler; he’s fresher; he enjoys this sort of weather; he loves atmosphere anyway but when he’s hot and tired he’s hot and tired, and he doesn’t really lift to the situation whereas today he was back to full power and he had just that one tiny mistake. Charlotte rides at home for three months doing flying changes and never makes a mistake, and we go to a championship and she gets this ‘why is he making mistakes?’ and she keeps making the odd error and no. 15 (in flying changes) he went short behind. But we must not focus on one flying change; he really was at his best today… she’s happy, and I’m just relieved that for her Aachen is put to bed, so she’s come back and done what she can do anywhere else in the world!”

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
nielsknippertz@chioaachen.de
+49 (0) 241 9171 182

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Germany Holds the Advantage after Day 1 of Dressage

A super test from Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando NOP placed them top of the individual rankings and put The Netherlands in temporary silver medal spot when the first of two days of competition to decide the team medals at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 took place in Aachen, Germany today. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Aachen (GER), 12 August 2015 – Germany holds the lead after the first of two days of competition to decide the team medals at the FEI European Dressage Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany today. It certainly isn’t unexpected, as the host nation and defending champions are bidding to clinch the title for the 23rd time. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl got them off to the perfect start when posting a score of 75.200 when last to go before the lunch-break. “I had two little mistakes, but I’m really pleased… I think 75 percent is a good base for the rest of the team,” the 29-year-old said.

However, the Netherlands are in hot pursuit thanks to a super test from Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando NOP that put them top of the individual rankings. Fifth-last to go this afternoon, the dark bay stallion was smooth and rhythmic, maintaining a great shape to earn 75.800. And when added to the 72.400 earned by team pathfinders Patrick van der Meer and Uzzo, the Dutch score of 148.214 leaves them only 1.886 percentage points behind their hosts at the head of affairs. Van Silfhout was delighted that his young stallion showed such composure under pressure today. “He’s only 10, and how he has improved in one year; I couldn’t be happier! He’s a horse with a lot of potential and a big future if he stays safe and sound.” And he knew he needed a good result. “Patrick did a very good test but his points were a bit disappointing, so then you know you have to do a good test otherwise the medal is gone, so there was a little pressure,” said the 27-year-old rider.

Really challenged

Great Britain lies third, another 2.471 points further adrift after Fiona Bigwood really challenged for the individual lead when posting 75.800 with Atterupgaards Orthilia. The 39-year-old wears a patch over her right eye which was damaged in a fall from a young horse last year. As a result she has double-vision, and the patch helps her to focus. “It’s harder to judge the bend to the right, and I can’t always see where the horse’s neck should be,” she explained. It hasn’t affected her competitiveness, however. “I knew I had to pull out a mark to get a medal. It’s only the sixth international for this horse; she’s not that experienced, so how much do you ask? She was really worried the last few minutes before going in, so we are over the moon with her result!” she said. Added to Michael Eilberg’s 69.943 with Marakov, Bigwood’s score brought the British tally to 145.743, more than five percentage points ahead of Sweden in fourth place.

Swedish chances took a blow when their star partnership of Minna Telde and Santana had to settle for a relatively modest score of 68.714. The much-loved 14-year-old stallion lost an eye some years ago but has been enjoying one of the best seasons of his long career, taking three medals at the Nordic Championships and playing a key role on the winning team in the FEI Nations Cup™ at Falsterbo (SWE) this summer. “A big insect landed on his neck and I had to knock it off, but he was confused by it and then put his tongue over the bit,” Telde explained. Like Evelyn Haim-Swarovski whose mare, Dorina, also had her tongue stuck out during the test, marks were much more difficult to get as a result. The 60-year-old Austrian, whose competition hat is beautifully adorned by Swarovski crystals, said, “I’m disappointed; I know we lost of a lot of marks, but that’s the sport!”

Surprised

The last rider of the day was Germany’s Isabell Werth, who was surprised to receive a mark of 74.900 with Don Johnson FRH. “ I was really disappointed when I heard my result because I expected more – the horse was in really good shape, just a mistake in the one-tempis, but I think all the others I have seen they had mistakes as well. I was here to ride 76/77 percent!” said the most medalled competitor in the sport. However, her country is in the driving seat going into the second half of the team competition tomorrow when the two most talked-about dressage horses of all time will be in action – the black stallion, Totilas ridden by Germany’s Matthias Alexander Rath, and the record-breaking British partnership of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Dujardin’s mentor and fellow-team-member, Carl Hester, talked today about the excitement and anticipation just hanging in the air.

“It’s what everyone’s been waiting for! Unfortunately with Totilas’ injuries during the year these two horses don’t get the chance to come together as the two greatest horses in the world at the moment… they look like they really will have a good head-to-head, and that’s what people have been wanting to see. I feel sorry for the two riders; it can’t be easy and it can’t be nice to have to face each other like that in front of everybody, but that’s sport, isn’t it? They’ve both had world records; Valegro holds them at the moment, but it was Totilas that first really brought dressage to the world. Even people that didn’t understand it could appreciate what this horse is doing for the sport, so it’s great. We all wanted to see him here; it doesn’t matter who really wins – it will be the best one, and I hope they both go well because then we really will know what the judges think, who they like the best. I think they already know who it is, but we just have to wait and see!” Hester said.

Score to settle

And of course there is a score to settle too. “It’s going to be quite fun because we have something to lay to rest here,” Hester said. “Probably 15 years ago I did my first Aachen and I’ve never had a good Aachen, I’ve never done well here and as everyone knows the only time poor Charlotte has been beaten was in Aachen as well. So both of us have come here very positive and pulled ourselves together and said it absolutely makes no difference that it’s in Aachen this year; we will do it!” However, his lack of luck at the German fixture struck again yesterday when he had a fall from his gelding, Nip Tuck.

“I finished my training and I thought I’m gonna go walk round the big grass field over there with the eventers and have a little chat with them. And, being a wimpy dressage horse, a waiter dropped a tray of glasses in front of me and my horse spun round and came down on top of me on the grass, left me flattened on the floor! And he shocked himself so much he didn’t even bother to run off which was the great news, because if he got out in that field I don’t think we would ever have caught him… so you could quite safely say I haven’t had the best start to the week!” He’ll be hoping his luck takes a turn for the better tomorrow as the final stages of the FEI European Team Dressage Championship plays itself out.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit www.aachen2015.de.

Results FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 here.

Facts and Figures:

The FEI European Championships 2015 began in Aachen, Germany this morning with the Dressage Grand Prix.

35 horse-and-rider combinations came before the judging panel of : At K, Susanne Baarup DEN; At E, Katrina Wuest GER: At H, Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus SWE: At C, Eduard de Wolff van Westerrode NED: At M, Jean-Michel Roudier FRA: At B, Anne Gribbons USA: At F, Andrew Gardner GBR.

Team Germany took the lead after the first day of Dressage, but only 1.772 percentage points separate the hosts from The Netherlands in second place while Great Britain is another 2.471 points further adrift in third.

The highest individual score in the Grand Prix, which is both the team competition and first individual qualifier, was posted by Diederick van Silfhout from The Netherlands who posted 75.814 with the 10-year-old stallion Arlando NOP.

Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood and Atterupgaards Orthilia lies second going into tomorrow’s second half of the competition which will decide the team medals.

A total of 18 teams started in today’s Grand Prix.

Quotes:

Fiona Bigwood GBR: “My goal was a mistake-free test and to try and not have any lower marks. At the end (of the test) I could ask for the extended trot, it’s a little bit like – do you go for the 9 and then end up with a four or do you go for a 7/8 – so in the end I just let her go.”

Diederick van Silfhout: “I was really happy because last year was his (Arlando NOP) first big championships; he was only nine and now – this year he’s really strong enough to be here.

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER (when asked if she was nervous before competing today): “Actually I was for the last few days, but today I just felt happy to be allowed to go in there because it’s the result of so many years of hard work, and it’s an honour to be able to represent your own country in your own country.”

Patrick van der Meer NED: “I made one mistake in the flying changes; it was my mistake. To beat the Germans, that will be a hard job, but we will do our best. I had a very good season with a lot of good results. I was here in Aachen before, in May, so that was already a good preparation and I had some nice other shows. Aachen is the most wonderful show to ride at!”

Emilie Nyrerod SWE: “It was so much fun; the audience was fantastic. (Coming into the test) “I was quite cool, more cool that I thought I would be! Of course I was a little bit nervous when I walked in here, but when I got to the arena it all disappeared!”

FEI YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5gtzrprzHw

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
nielsknippertz@chioaachen.de
+49 (0) 241 9171 182

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Double-Gold for Bulgaria and Turkey

On the podium: Yagmur Ozturk, Debora Haviyo, Irem Kaplan and Siraz Bayburtluoglu with Ground Jury President, Austria’s Thomas Lang. (FEI/Turkish NF)

Istanbul (TUR), 5 August 2015 – Athletes from the host nation and Bulgaria dominated the podium when the FEI Balkan Dressage Championships returned to Istanbul, Turkey last weekend. These Championships were first staged in Istanbul in 1968 and have since become a developmental opportunity for athletes in the region. This year they gook place at the Kemer Golf and Country Club which boasts the largest indoor equestrian centre in the country.

The 2014 Championships, which were held in Serbia for the first time in 31 years, saw Greek riders resume their traditional position of dominance. But this time around Greece was not represented as riders from Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Turkey battled it out for the medals.

The Ground Jury for this year’s fixture consisted of Austria’s Thomas Lang, Russia’s Irina Maknami, Hungary’s Orsolya Hillier, Bulgaria’s Nataliya Petukhova and Eva-Maria Vint-Warmington from Estonia.

Children

The Children’s Championship began with a Preliminary competition in which the Turkish parnership of Yagmur Ozturk and Theo Diablo first threw down the gauntlet with a winning score of 72.462. Their Turkish counterparts Debora Haviyo (Sim Salabin 2), Irem Kaplan (Zayson F) and Siraz Bayburtluoglu (Wanadoo) filled the next three placings, with Bulgaria’s Ilina Ivanova (Razvigor) claiming fifth place, and this would give a strong indication of how things would play out over the following days.

With a combined score of 203.300, the four Turkish riders joined forces to clinch the team title by a considerable margin ahead of the silver medallists from Bulgaria – Ivanova, Olivia Petrova (Living on the Moon), Alexandra Pancheva (Vrangler) and Nur Sharaf (Aida) who posted a final tally of 186.433. Romania took the bronze, hampered by elimination for Sandra Takacs (Olimpia) but Alexandru Ghita’s 56.700 with Leonar and a strong 60.767 from Darius Comanescu and Magnolia who were members of last year’s silver-medal-winning side, brought the Romanian total to 117.467.

And Ozturk, Kaplan and Haviyo filled the three steps of the individual podium to cement Turkey’s supremacy in the Children’s category, Ozturk claiming the gold with a mark of 69.844 while Kaplan posted 64.875 for silver and Haviyo was close behind with 63.594 in bronze medal spot.

Juniors

There was no Junior team competition this year, but there was plenty for the Bulgarian contingent to celebrate when their riders filled all three steps of the individual podium.

Katerina Tsvetanova steered her 2014 individual bronze medal-winning partner, Preslev, into individual gold medal spot on this occasion. The consistent 16-year-old who also won Junior team silver in 2013 and 2014, posted a mark of 62.737 to finish almost three full marks ahead of Stephanie Nesheya with Dagestan, while Zdravko Trenev and Silver boy clinched the bronze.

Seniors

There was no team competition in the Senior category either, and it was 2014 team silver medallist, Raiko Ganukov from Bulgaria, who topped the podium in the Senior Freestyle Championship.

Ganukov has enjoyed considerable success with the 13-year-old grey mare Ambrozia, lining out in every FEI Balkan Dressage Championship since 2009. And the 44-year-old rider pinned fellow-Bulgarian Stephanie Gatcheva and Forever into runner-up spot in last week’s individual qualifier in which 27-year-old Tatiana Antonenco from Moldova finished third with Polygraf.

When it came to the Freestyle medal decider, Ganukov and Ambrozia reigned supreme once again while Turkey’s Semih Ersoy claimed silver with Clockwork and Moldova’s Antonenco, who finished fourth in the CDI3* Grand Prix at Kaposvar in Hungary last September, clinched the bronze.

Results:

FEI Balkan Dressage Championships 2015:

Senior Freestyle Championship: GOLD – Ambrozia (Raiko Ganukov) BUL 64.875 ; SILVER – Clockwork (Semih Ersoy) TUR 62.000; BRONZE – Polygraf (Tatiana Antonenco) MOL 61.700.

Junior Individual Championship: GOLD – Preslav (Katerina Tsvetanova) BUL 62.737; SILVER – Dagestan (Stephanie Nesheva) BUL 59.789; BRONZE – Silver Boy (Zdravko Trenev) BUL 56.474.

Children’s Team Championship: GOLD – Turkey 203.300: Theo Diablo (Yagmur Ozturk) 71.800, Sim Salabim 2 (Debora Haviyo) 66.100, Zayson F (Irem Kaplan) 65.400, Wanadoo (Siraz Bayburtluoglu) 62.767; SILVER – Bulgaria 186.433: Razvigor (Irena Ivanova) 63.500, Living on the Moon (Olivia Petrova) 61.833, Vrangler (Alexandra Pancheva) 60.667, Aida (Nur Sharaf) 54.800: BRONZE – Romania 117.467: Leona (Alexandru Ghita) 56.700, Olimpia (Sandra Takacs) Eli, Magnolia (Darius Comanescu) 60.767.

Children’s Individual Championship: GOLD – Theo Diablo (Yagmur Ozturk) TUR 69.844; SILVER – Zayson F (Irem Kaplan) TUR 64.875: BRONZE – Sim Salabim 2 (Debora Haviyo) TUR 63.594.

By Louise Parkes

Greeks Back on Golden Form at Balkan Dressage Championships

(L to R): Katerina Los (silver), Eleni Myrat (gold) and Angela Sklavounos (bronze). In the foreground (L to R) Dejan Dragojevic, President of the Federation for Equestrian Sport of Serbia for Olympic and FEI disciplines; HRH Princess Haya, FEI President; Milos Vucevic, Mayor of Novi Sad and Vanja Udovic, Minister for Youth and Sport of the Republic of Serbia. Photo: (c) Alexis Vassilopoulos/FEI.

Novi Sad (SRB), 2 July 2014 – Greek riders returned to their familiar position of dominance at the FEI Balkan Dressage Championships for Children, Juniors and Seniors 2014 which took place at Novi Sad in Serbia last weekend. Traditionally the ones to beat, they had to share the top step of the podium with Bulgarian and Turkish athletes when the spoils were distributed more evenly at the 2013 Championships in Yagodovo, Bulgaria last summer. However, normal order was restored this time around, with a hat-trick of team gold, all three medals in the Senior Individual Championship, gold and silver in the Children’s Individual category and Individual silver in the Junior Championship all going to Greek competitors.

The 2014 Championships attracted entries from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Serbia, and the host nation had plenty to celebrate when Bojana Stojanov claimed Junior Individual gold. It was the first time in 31 years for Balkan Championships in any FEI discipline to take place on Serbian soil.

It was also the first time for an FEI President to visit Serbia. While attending the event, HRH Princess Haya said she was really honoured to be amongst “lovely people in a beautiful country!”

First staged

The FEI Balkan Dressage Championships, which were first staged in Istanbul, Turkey back in 1968, have developed into an essential component for the development of equestrian sport in the region, with different countries specialising in varying disciplines but working well together on a regional basis.

Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia, lies on the banks of the River Danube and is known regionally as Serbian Athens due to its strong cultural links and values.

The Ground Jury for this year’s fixture consisted of Slovenia’s Maja Stukelj, Germany’s Ulrike Nivelle, Italy’s Barbara Ardu, Bulgaria’s Maria Zvonimirova Todorovska-Omari and Elisabeth Koffmahn from Austria, while Foreign Technical Delegate was Belgium’s Jacques van Daele.

Children

The Greeks topped the Children’s Team Championship by a considerable margin when racking up a score of 198.033. Melina Zografou-Alexiou and Nocsley really boosted their country’s chances with an individual score of 69.034, the best on the day, and when Markella Metaxa and Golden Eagle scored 65.275 and Eleni Retsou and Grace posted 63.724 then the 61.759 awarded to Evdokia-Lida Agnesti and Nonchaloir was the discard.

Daria Maria Paliciuc (Zaina), Darius Comanescu (Magnolia) and Iustin Nacu (Sharif) claimed silver for Romania on a total of 170.069 while Serbia, also only fielding three riders, took the bronze on a score of 160.999. Serbia’s Anja Markovic produced the second-best score of the Team Championship when posting 65.586 with Mango, while team-mates Nikoleta Zidisic (Celine) and Anastasija Pavkovic (Haya) scored 52.034 and 43.379 respectively.

And Anja Markovic was back on the podium when taking bronze in the Individual Children’s Championship. Melina Zografou-Alexiou and Noxley were defending champions and proved untouchable for the gold here again when posting a strong mark of 70.179, while her Greek counterpart, Markella Metaxa, took silver with a score of 66.570.

Juniors

The Greeks also had a significant victory in the Junior Team Championship when posting a combined score of 190.351 ahead of the silver medallists from Bulgaria with 174.081 and the bronze medallists from Serbia who finished close behind with 173.108.

Highest score of the day was achieved by Isabella-Nina Ravini and Djona’s Figaro who led the Greek assault with a mark of 66.459 while Konstantina Katsiti steered Chiron to a mark of 62.162 and Kyveli Tzortzaki and Highnessy Newland rounded up the Greek total when putting 61.730 on the board.

Bulgaria was the only four-member team in this competition, and Katerina Tsvetanova and Preslav – members of the silver-medal-winning Junior team in 2013 – produced their best result with 62.568. Martin Dimitrov and Whanyano scored 56.486, Krassina Krusteva and Diogen who were also on last year’s silver medal winning side scored 55.027 and Iva Todorova and Gigantik earned a mark of 53.459.

Bojana Stojanov posted Serbia’s top score in the Team event with a mark of 63.351 while team-mates Sara Poparic (Quincon Z) and Julija Ribnikar (Lord of the Dance) posted 58.865 and 50.892 respectively to leave the host nation in bronze medal position.

But in the Junior Freestyle to Music which would decide the Individual medals it was Serbia’s Stojanov who impressed the judges most for a winning score of 67.550. The Greeks had to settle for silver here when Isabella-Nina Ravini was awarded 66.825 and Bulgaria’s Tsvetanova claimed the third step of the podium for her mark of 65.925.

Seniors

The gold-medal-winning Greek Senior team included three of the four riders who also clinched the FEI Balkan Dressage Team title in 2013. Eleni Myrat (Solon Hit) and Angela Sklavounos (Quanderas) were riding the same horses as they did last year, but Katerina Los partnered Sir Eon this time around and these three were joined by Evangelia Koupenou and Huligan to complete the Greek line-up.

Myrat produced the top score of the Team competition when posting 69.526, and with 65.474 from Los, 63.395 from Koupenou and 62.947 from Sklavounos their total of 197.395 left them more than 14 marks ahead of Bulgaria in silver medal spot.

Stepanie Gatcheva led the way for Bulgaria when posting 63.158 with Breyv Izabel and that was backed up by 61.105 from Raiko Ganukov and Ambrozia and 59.105 from Velelina Sokolova (Neptune).

The bronze medallists from Serbia were more than 20 marks further in arrears with their team total of 161.105 consisting of 58.447 from Aleksandar Dansin (Quinta), 54.763 from Simonida Simic (Legolas) and 47.895 from Nora Pocek (Dzeronimo).

Sklavounos and Quanderas were the defending individual champions, but their score of 66.700 was only good enough for bronze this time around as Greek team-mate Katerina Los scored 68.725 for silver and 37-year-old Myrat, individual silver medallist in 2013, reigned supreme with the consistent Solon Hit when posting 69.950 for Individual gold.

FEI Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage attended the FEI Balkan Dressage Championships for the first time and said he was “impressed with the number of nations participating in all three age categories. A regional championship is an excellent opportunity for athletes from different nations to come together and learn and get inspiration from each other,” he pointed out.

Results:
FEI Balkan Dressage Championships 2014:

Senior Team Championship: GOLD – Greece 197.395: Solon Hit (Eleni Myrat) 68.526, Sir Eon (Katerina Los) 65.474, Huligan (Evangelia Koupenou) 63.395, Quanderas (Angela Sklavounos) 62.947; SILVER – Bulgaria 183.368: Breyv Izabel (Stephanie Gatcheva) 63.158, Ambrozia (Raiko Ganukov) 61.105, Neptune (Veselina Sokolova) 59.105; BRONZE – Serbia 161.105: Quinta (Aleksandar Dansin) 58.447, Legolas (Simonida Simic) 54.763, Dzeronimo (Nora Pocek) 47.895.

Senior Individual Championship: GOLD – Solon Hit (Eleni Myrat) GRE 69.950; SILVER – Sir Eon (Katerina Los) GRE 68.725; BRONZE – Quanderas (Angela Sklavounos) GRE 66.700.

Junior Team Championship: GOLD – Greece 190.351: Djona’s Figaro (Isabella-Nina Ravini) 66.459, Chiron (Konstantina Katsiti) 62.162, Highnessy Newland (Kyveli Tzortzaki) 61.730; SILVER – Bulgaria 174.081: Preslav (Katerina Tsvetanova) 62.568, Whanyano (Martin Dimitrov) 56.486, Diogen (Krassina Krusteva) 55.027, Gigantik (Iva Todorova) 53.459; BRONZE – Serbia 173.108: Hamlet VD Stuyver (Bojana Stojanov) 63.351, Quincon Z (Sara Poparic) 58.865, Lord of the Dance (Julija Ribnikar) 50.892.

Junior Individual Championship: GOLD – Hamlet VD Stuyver (Bojana Stojanov) SRB 67.550 SILVER – Djona’s Figaro (Isabella-Nina Ravini) GRE 66.825; BRONZE – Preslav (Katerina Tsvetanova) BUL 65.925.

Children’s Team Championship: GOLD – Greece 198.033: Nocsley (Melina Zografou- Alexiou) 69.034, Golden Eagle (Markella Metaxa) 65.275, Grace (Eleni Retsou) 63.724, Nonchaloir (Evdokia-Lida Anesti) 61.749; SILVER – Romania 170.069: Zaina (Daria Maria Paliciuc) 61.034, Magnolia (Darius Comanescu) 55.414, Sharif (Iustin Nacu) 53.621; BRONZE – Serbia 160.999: Mango (Anja Markovic) 65.586, Celine (Nikoleta Zidisic) 52.034, Haya (Anastasija Pavkovic) 43.379.

Children’s Individual Championship: GOLD – Nocsley (Melina Zografou-Alexiou) 70.179 GRE; SILVER – Golden Eagle (Markella Metaxa) 66.750 GRE; BRONZE – Mango (Anja Markovic) SRB 62.607.

By Louise Parkes

Dujardin Makes It Individual Double Gold with Fabulous Freestyle Victory

(L to R): Freestyle silver medallist Helen Langehanenberg (GER), gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and bronze medallist Adelinde Cornelissen (NED). Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

Herning (DEN), 25 August 2013 – Olympic double gold medallists, Charlotte Dujardin and the wonderful gelding Valegro, produced another magical performance to win Freestyle gold at the Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships 2013 in Herning, Denmark today.  It has been quite a week for the 28-year-old rider who began by breaking the world record Grand Prix score to help the British to team bronze on Thursday, before coming out the following day to clinch the individual Grand Prix Special title.

The buildup to this afternoon’s Freestyle was an emotional one, and expectation was at an all-time high.  It certainly didn’t disappoint, with quality work from all 15 of the qualified riders and a breath-taking winning ride from Dujardin during which she and her wonderful horse held everyone under their spell.

Holding the Lead

Dujardin’s trainer and mentor, Carl Hester, was holding the lead before the final group took their turn.  His score of 81.696 with his London 2012 Olympic team gold medal winning ride, Uthopia, reflected a test that lacked some of its usual sparkle, but the horse’s amazing trot extensions were still very much in place as he overtook Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak and Donnperignon.

It wasn’t only Danish supporters who had a tear in their eye a little earlier when, during the first break, the horse that has brought so much success to Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the 16-year-old Digby, was officially retired.

This pair set the target as the first group of riders took their turn when posting a score of 79.554, and would eventually finish in ninth place.  Looking as fresh and well as ever, Digby got a standing ovation from the crowd who waved him and his rider out of the arena for the very last time.  But before they left, zu Sayn-Wittgenstein pointed out, “I’ll be back even though Digby won’t!”  And the rider’s mother, Princess Benedikte of Denmark who bred this wonderful horse, was as tearful as everyone else.

Final Five

The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival were first to go of the final five, and the defending European Freestyle champion, and her horse whose life has been more than a little interesting this year, set a big new target when putting 86.393 on the board.  All Parzival’s trademark bounce and energy seems to be back following his fantastic recovery from treatment for a heart condition, and, earning 9.5 for piaffe amongst his many high scores, he ensured the rest would have to be on their toes.

Edward Gal’s Glock’s Undercover was much more relaxed today than he was in Friday’s Grand Prix Special, and this Dutch duo produced more of their seamless transitions and strong piaffe and passage which earned a mark of 9.1.  But their score of 84.911 left Cornelissen still out in front until Dujardin entered the arena.

The softness of Valegro’s slow and deliberate piaffe, the power of the trot extensions, the athletic quality of the lateral movements and the wonderful passage had everyone enthralled.  Dujardin coordinated every movement with the stirring musical score she used at last summer’s Olympic Games in London.  The precision with which she arrived on queue for each of the pirouettes that were executed to the sound of the ringing of London’s Big Ben was awe-inspiring.  Today’s performance was possibly just as spine-chilling as the one that earned them Freestyle Olympic gold 12 months ago. There was just one significant glitch.  “In the last pirouette I caught him with the spur and it made him jump.  Other than that it was brilliant!” as Dujardin said afterwards.

Germany’s Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH were second-last into the ring and posted 81.875 for an impressive test, but the last threat to Dujardin’s dominance lay with reigning Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage champions Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill from Germany.  Their performance wasn’t perfect and they lost their rhythm toward the very end, but there was some fine work shown for a mark of 87.286 which would be more than good enough for silver, ahead of Cornelissen in bronze.

Fantastic Ride

“I had a fantastic ride today.  A lot was down to the fact that Grandad (Dujardin’s friend and mentor Carl Hester) told me to give Valegro a day off yesterday because it would be good for him so that he would be fresh today – and he was right!  He (Valegro) felt really great when he came out today,” Dujardin said.

Langehanenberg was very happy to be on the podium, having missed out by the narrowest of margins at last summer’s Olympic Games. “In London I was so close to a medal, and here I have succeeded twice,” she said with a big smile. “I had a great feeling again today, and I’m proud of him (Damon Hill).  I made a slight mistake but it is as it is.  It has been a brilliant week and so full of fun!” she added.

Cornelissen said she was “extremely happy.  We came for the team, and to go home with two individual medals is just great!”  Her delight stems as much from the knowledge that her gelding is feeling happy and well again after his ill-heath earlier in the year. “I’m still building him (Jerich Parzival) up, and I have such a fantastic team around me – I owe these medals to them,” she insisted.

Dujardin was asked why she doesn’t wear a top hat like many of the other riders. “I wear a crash hat – I don’t wear a top hat because I had a really bad fall and fractured my skull.  I was knocked out for about ten minutes and I would never take the risk again.  I don’t feel safe in a top hat, and I don’t think it’s an issue that I don’t wear one,” she said.

She did have a top-hat on when coming into the ring for the prize-giving, however, because she borrowed the one that had been sported throughout the day by flamboyant and hugely popular ringmaster, Pedro Cebulka, whose colourful attire makes him something of a legend on the international equestrian circuit.  It was all in the way of fun, something that has permeated the top-class competition enjoyed in all three equestrian disciplines in Herning over the past week.

Talked about Test

The newly-crowned gold medallist talked about her test today. “I’m very, very happy; I didn’t want to risk too much and make a mistake. You don’t want to be frightening your horse; I felt he was with me all the way and that he enjoyed it and we danced our way through it.”  She said she had initially decided to do a new Freestyle for the European Championships but changed her mind about that.  “People at home were wondering why I wasn’t using the Olympic Games music.  I only ever did it three times and everyone loved it so much.  I didn’t want to use it again because I felt it belonged to London 2012, but everyone likes it, including the judges, and it is technically difficult, so I thought I’d do it again,” she explained.

Ground Jury member, Leif Tornblad, said that the progressive excellence of the sport of Dressage has created challenges not only for the competitors, but also for the judges. “Now the challenge is to know that you may see the best you can ever imagine!  It’s not easy for the judges, and we are as excited as the public and the riders! We don’t know the marks that the other judges give; it’s not so easy to be always in unison.  Maybe Charlotte didn’t break a record today but she broke my record – I’ve never given marks as high as that!” he pointed out.

Relief and Satisfaction

There was a sense of relief and satisfaction as this great week of Championship competition drew to a close, and there was a bit of silliness in the air as well.  British rider, Richard Davison, took the opportunity during this evening’s press conference to tease Adelinde Cornelissen about bursting into tears when asked about Jerich Parzival’s health scare following Friday’s Grand Prix Special.  “I have a question for Adelinde,” Davison said. “Can you talk us through how emotional it has been?” But the rider was ready for him, and told the press conference, “He has a bet that I’m going to cry again, but I’m not going to cry!” to which Davison replied, “Well then that’s just cost me ten euro so!”

Langehanenberg was happy too. “The most emotional moment for me was after the Grand Prix (team competition won by Germany) when I just rode in and everyone was clapping and crying – that was perfect and the most emotional moment – it was really special.”

Frank Kempermann, Chairman FEI Dressage Committee, put the ECCO FEI European Championships into perspective.  The entire event was like a piece of carefully-crafted theatre with plenty of drama alongside the best of good sport.  “On behalf of the FEI I’d like to thank the artists – the riders and the horses – and also a big thanks to the organiser and sponsors for giving us all a fantastic time in Denmark,” he said.

Result: Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Freestyle Championship – here.

Facts and Figures:

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin became the first British rider to win European Freestyle gold when victorious on the final day of the Blue Hors European Dressage Championship 2013 today.

It has been a spectacular week for the 28-year-old who took double-gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. This week she once again broke the world record in the Grand Prix to help earn team bronze for her country, before clinching individual gold in both Friday’s Grand Prix Special and today’s Freestyle.

A total of 15 riders lined out in today’s Freestyle in which Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW took silver ahead of The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival in bronze medal position.

Digby, the 16-year-old gelding ridden to great success by Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, was officially retired after competing for the very last time in today’s Freestyle at the Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships in Herning.

Quotes:

Helen Langehanenberg GER, Freestyle silver medallist: “It has been brilliant fun to be part of these Championships.”

Jens Trabjerg, Event President: “We had 61,500 visitors this week.”

Charlotte Dujardin, Freestyle gold medallist: “The Grand Prix felt amazing.  I can’t say I came here to do as well as I’ve done – I thought I’d try to get as many golds as I could but it has been such a fantastic week!”

British Chef de Mission, Will Connell MBE, talking about the achievements of British riders this week: “Following the successes of London (Olympic Games) was always going to be very challenging, but I think that Herning has demonstrated London was certainly not a flash in the pan. Perhaps one of the most pleasing aspects has been the success of those rider/horse combinations that were not in London.”

FEI YouTube: http://youtu.be/ebFqaMesPo8

For further information on the ECCO FEI European Championships 2013, go to website: http://european-herning.dk/GB.aspx.

FEI Online Press kits

Extensive information on the P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships, Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships and JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships, can be found in the FEI’s Online Press Kit Zone: www.feipresskits.org. Each press kit includes an event preview, athlete biographies, competition timetable, Championships history and key contact details.

FEI TV

The P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships and Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships will be live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official online video platform, starting on 20 August at 16.45 local time – see the complete live schedule here: www.feitv.org/live. Key performances and interviews with medal winners will be available as video-on-demand from the JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Herning:

Britt Carlsen
Press Officer
bc@wiegaarden.dk
+45 96 570 580

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Green Light for All Horses in Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships

Reigning Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage title-holders Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill from Germany. Photo: FEI/Kit Houghton.

Herning (DEN), 20 August 2013 – It’s all systems go for the Blu Hors FEI European Dressage Championship in Herning after all horses passed this morning’s first veterinary inspection. A total of 65 came before the veterinary panel at the Danish venue, and only one was sent to the holding box.  However, the grey stallion, Norte Lovera, passed on re-inspection so will compete for Spain’s Jose Garcia Mena when the event gets underway tomorrow afternoon.

A total of 18 nations will be represented over the next five days, while 14 countries will battle it out in the team competition.  The Germans are defending champions and are chasing their 22nd team title, while The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen will be hoping to record her third consecutive victory in the Grand Prix Special, and a back-to-back win in the Freestyle.

Headline-catchers

The British have been the headline-catchers in recent times.  They followed their rise to prominence when scooping their very first team title at the last FEI European Dressage Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 2011 by taking Olympic team and individual gold in London (GBR) last summer. And although they arrived in Herning without key team-members Laura Tomlinson and Mistral Hojris they are expected to keep the opposition on their toes.

Gareth Hughes was called up with DV Stenkjers Nadonna at the last minute when Mistral Hojris sustained a slight injury.  Tomlinson was not prepared to take any risk with the 18-year-old horse that has achieved so much for her during his sparkling career.  Michael Eilberg, son of Ferdi Eilberg who has been so instrumental in putting British dressage on its road to recent success, completes the British foursome alongside Hester and Dujardin.

But Hester has only ridden his Olympic horse Uthopia occasionally since last year’s golden summer and relatively little has been seen of Olympic individual and team champions Dujardin and Valegro either.  Whether the British can return another European team success remains to be seen.  And it’s wide open for the Individual medals too.

Fully Focused

Helen Langehanenberg said today that the German side is fully focused as they set off in pursuit of that 22nd team success – “We will all do our very best and we will fight to the very end.  We are all in great shape,” she pointed out. And, when asked if she personally felt under a lot of pressure following her victory in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April, she replied, “I’m freeing myself from expectations, I will go and do my best, and once my test is done I cannot change anything.  The last decision is with the judges,” she said.

The expectation is that the battle for the Individual medals will be played out between Langehanenberg, Dujardin and defending champion Adelinde Cornelissen. But Langehanenberg will be very much within her comfort zone in Herning’s impressive MCH Arena.  Her stallion, Damon Hill, thrives in the spotlight and really enjoys the big moments.

“Dami (her stallion Damon Hill) likes a big stadium,” Langehanenberg said this afternoon.  “Yesterday he gave me a good feeling in there; I think he really likes it.  It’s a bit like London (Greenwich Park, venue for the equestrian events of the London 2012 Olympic Games) – he goes in and he says ‘oh, this is pretty nice in here!’ and he stands even taller and feels proud and good about it,” she explained.

Unpredictable

She said the sport of Dressage has become much less predictable, and that this is a good thing. “It’s so important that people can no longer look at the starting order and say ‘well that will be first, and that will be second and that third’ and so on. There was a time when you knew what to expect, provided the rider didn’t fall off or something you could tell how it would work out! But it’s not like that anymore, it’s very different  these days and it’s great for the audience, and for the sport, because we have real competition and you can’t possibly know what the outcome will be,” she said.

She has come to Herning with a fresh horse and in good form. “At the German Championships we won all three tests and it was the same in Aachen (in June).  Dami had a three-week break after that but he’s in really great shape and we are all ready for action!” she pointed out.

The Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships begins tomorrow (Wednesday 21 August) at 14.30 with the first part of the Team competition which concludes on Thursday with the awards ceremony at 14.25.  The Grand Prix Special takes place on Friday and the Championships draw to a close following Sunday’s Freestyle.

President of the Ground Jury for the Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships is Denmark’s Leif Tornblad.  Foreign Judge is Sweden’s Magnus Ringmark, Foreign Technical Delegate is Germany’s Gotthilf Riexinger and the Ground Jury Members are Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), Dietrich Plewa (GER), Gustav Svalling (SWE), Isabelle Judet (FRA), Francis Verbeek (NED) and Andrew Gardner (GBR).  There is also a Judges Supervisory Panel consisting of Eric Lette (SWE), Henk van Bergen (NED) and Dieter Schule (GER).

Facts and Figures:

18 nations represented: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, Spain.

14 nations fielding teams: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Sweden.

65 competitors.

4 nations represented by individual riders: Ireland, Russia, Spain and Ukraine.

This is the 26th edition of the FEI Dressage Championships and the fifth time for the event to take place in Denmark.

The Danish capital city of Copenhagen hosted the first two Championships in 1963 and 1965.

Germany has won the FEI European Dressage Team title on 21 occasions, undefeated between 1965 and 2005.

The defending team champions are the British who made history with their very first victory in these Championships at Rotterdam (NED) in 2011.

This year The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival will be chasing their third consecutive title in the Grand Prix Special and a back-to-back win in the Freestyle competition.

The British team includes Charlotte Dujardin who took team and individual gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Carl Hester who was also on the gold medal winning side.

For further information on the ECCO FEI European Championships 2013, go to website: http://european-herning.dk/GB.aspx.

FEI Online Press kits

Extensive information on the P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships, Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships and JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships, can be found in the FEI’s Online Press Kit Zone: www.feipresskits.org. Each press kit includes an event preview, athlete biographies, competition timetable, Championships history and key contact details.

FEI TV

The P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships and Blue Hors FEI European Dressage Championships will be live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official online video platform, starting on 20 August at 16.45 local time – see the complete live schedule here: www.feitv.org/live. Key performances and interviews with medal winners will be available as video-on-demand from the JYSK FEI European Para-Dressage Championships.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Herning:

Britt Carlsen
Press Officer
bc@wiegaarden.dk
+45 96 570 580

At FEI:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey Share the Spoils at Balkan Dressage Championships

Angela Sklavounos and Quanderas from Greece scooped Senior Individual gold at the FEI Balkan Dressage Championships 2013 in Yagodovo, Bulgaria.

Lausanne (SUI), 6 August 2013 – Greek dominance was not quite so apparent at the 2013 FEI Balkan Dressage Championships at Yagodovo, Bulgaria recently where Turkish and Bulgarian riders also showed their strength.  At the 2012 Championships, staged at the former equestrian Olympic stadium at Markopoulo in Athens (GRE), the host nation swept the boards when claiming all the gold medals on offer as well as Senior and Junior individual silver and bronze.

This time around, however, a double for Turkey in the Junior Championships and victory for the home side Children’s team saw the Greek contenders having to settle for a relatively modest hat-trick of gold.  Nevertheless Angela (Kelly) Sklavounos was highly impressive when lifting the Greek Senior side to team glory before pipping team-mate Eleni Myrat in the battle for the 2013 Senior Individual title.

Seniors

Myrat and her black mare, Solon Hit, registered a good mark of 67.868 to put Greece in a position of strength in the Senior team competition.  Katerina Los (Largos) and Emmenouela Moushama (Indy de St Gatien) added 60.974 and 60.789 respectively before Sklavounos took her turn. And Ground Jury members Irina Maknami, Peter Hanshagy, Slawomir Pietrac, Jo Graham and Alain Franqueville gave the German-based 21-year-old their highest score of the team competition when awarding 69.105 which clinched the result.

The Greek team finished with a combined score of 197.947, while Bulgaria took silver medal spot with 190.053 and Turkey took bronze with 116.079.  The best score of the Bulgarian side was posted by Odrey Caix and the dark chestnut mare Fantastico who scored 64.632.

Sklavounos then returned to do the double in the Senior Individual Championship.  Her mark of 74.30 left her more than four marks clear of her nearest rival and Greek compatriot, Myrat, in silver medal position while Bulgaria’s Iana Zafirova and Gizel took the bronze. Sklavounos first began to make an impression in 2007 with her black mare Dynastie with whom she competed successfully for four years at national and international level.  Her next horse, Palatino, took her through Juniors and Young Riders and then she found Quanderas, whom she calls her “dancing partner” and the mare which has successfully brought her to Senior level.  Together they blazed a trail through the Greek Championships in May of this year, winning the Prix St Georges with a score of 67.76, the Inter 1 with a mark of 71.18 and the Inter 1 Freestyle with a mark of 72.209. They also competed in their first international show at Senior level at Vidauban, France in February where they finished fifth in the Inter 1 Freestyle final and fourth in the Inter 1.

Sklavounos seems to have all the hallmarks of a true champion.  Despite a life-long struggle with dyslexia she is now an under-graduate in Business Management at Deree College in Athens.  Her inspirational motto is: “Anyone can do ANYTHING as long as he/she wants it strong enough!”

Juniors

It was the Turkish team that came out on top in the Junior Team competition thanks to strong rides from both Karla Nahmiyas (Waterloo) and Rotem Ibrahimzade (Risander).  Scoring 67.54 and 66.11 respectively this pair were joined on the winner’s podium by Defne Morova (Mirakulix) who earned a mark of 62.46 and Pia Alara de Marci (Neptun) who scored 59.05.  They headed the silver medallists from Bulgaria by almost 15 points, but there were only three team members on the Bulgarian side.  Katerina Tsvetanova (Preslav) registered a mark of 63.27, Alexander Krasimirov (Silver Boy) scored 62.03 and Krassina Krasteva (Diogen) received 56.43.

Turkey’s Nahmiyas was the definitive winner of the Junior Individual Championship when steering Waterloo to the leading score of 74.58.  The silver medal here went to Fotini-Nepheli Georgitsou from Greece riding Koliante – this pair last year took individual bronze.  And Rotem Ibrahimzade ensured Turkish dominance at this level when securing Junior Individual bronze with Risander with a mark of 66.88.

Children’s Championship

The host country had plenty to celebrate when Bulgaria claimed the Children’s Team title. Iva Todorova produced the best Bulgarian result when posting an impressive 67.00 with Gigantik and when team-mates Zdravko Trenev (Venus), Boris Raychev (Sekreto) and Liubomir Ivanov (Don Carlos) each registered 64 percent scores their final tally of 196.724 would be the winning one.

Turkey’s Lara Turnay (Nick), Neslihan Esen (Primadonna), Selen Skalin (Chiara) and Semih Sarimehmetoglu (Adamo) finished more than seven points behind to take the silver while Serbia’s Jovan Grujic (Szeplak Donci), Nikoleta Zidisic (Galja), Anja Markovic (Ferdynand) and Sara Poparic (Quincon Z) were another 14 points further adrift when taking bronze.

However the Greeks were back on top when taking Children’s Individual gold.  A superb score of 74.54 put Melina Zografou-Alexiou and Nocsley in pole position ahead of Bulgaria’s Todorova in silver with 69.00.  And Greece rounded it up with Children’s Individual bronze for Lydia-Evdokia Anesti and Nonchaloir.

Results:

FEI Balkan Dressage Senior Team Championship:  GOLD – Greece 197.947: Solon Hit (Eleni Myrat), Largos (Katerina Los), Indy de St Gatien (Emmanouela Mousama), Quanderas (Angela Sklavounos); SILVER – Bulgaria 190.053: Beyv Izabel (Stefani Gacheva), Fantastico (Odrey Caix), Ambrozia (Rajko Ganukov), Gizel (Iana Zafirova); BRONZE – Turkey 116.079: My Dundee (Cetin Altin), Clock Work (Osman Hazinedaroglu), Otto (Ella Irene Gursoy).

FEI Balkan Dressage Senior Individual Championship Championship:  GOLD -Quanderas (Angela Sklavounos) GRE 74.30; SILVER – Solon Hit (Eleni Myrat) 70.08; BRONZE – Gizel (Iana Zafirova) BUL 63.60.

FEI Balkan Dressage Junior Team Championship: GOLD – Turkey 196.11; Waterloo (Karla Nahmiyas) 67.54, Risander (Rotem Ibrahimzade) 66.11, Mirakulix (Defne Morova) 62.46, Neptun (Pia Alara de Marci) 59.05; SILVER – Bulgaria 181.73, Preslav (Katerina Tsvetanova) 63.27, Silver Boy (Alexander Krasimirov) 62.03, Diogen (Krassina Krasteva) 56.43.

FEI Balkan Dressage Junior Team Championship: GOLD – Waterloo (Karla Nahmiyas) TUR 74.58; SILVER – Koliante (Fotini-Nepheli Georgitsou) 71.38; BRONZE – Risander (Rotem Ibrahimzade) TUR 66.88.

FEI Balkan Dressage Children’s Team Championship: GOLD – Bulgaria 196.724: Venus (Zdravko Trenev) 64.931, Sekreto (Boris Raychev) 64.724, Don Carlos (Liubomir Ivanov) 64.793, Gigantik (Iva Todorova) 67.00; SILVER – Turkey 189.344: Nick (Lara Turnay) 59.103, Primadonna (Neslihan Esen) 63.448, Chiara (Selen Skalin) 65.793, Adamo (Semih Sarimehmetoglu) 60.103; BRONZE – Szeplak Donci (Jovan Grujic) 53.759, Galja (Nikoleta Zidisic) 56.931, Ferdynand (Anja Markovic) 54.379, Quincon Z (Sara Poparic) 63.138.

FEI Balkan Dressage Children’s Individual Championship: GOLD – Nocsley (Melina Zografou-Alexiou) GRE 74.54; SILVER – Gigantik (Iva Todorova) BUL 69.00; BRONZE – Nonchaloir (Lydia-Evdokia Anesti) GRE 65.61.

By Louise Parkes

Greek Riders Claim Lion’s Share of the Medals at Markopoulo

(left to right ): Kyveli Tzortzaki, Vassilili Voltairou (partially obscured), chef d’equipe Emmanouella Mousamas, Melina Zografou Alexiou and Lyda-Evdokia Anesti. (Alexis Vassilopoulos/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 19 October 2012 – The Greek hosts of the Balkan Dressage Championships welcomed five visiting nations to Athens, but kept hold of all of the gold medals on offer, as well as claiming all three individual medals in both the junior and senior championships.

Staged at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre, site of the equestrian events at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Balkan Dressage Championships ran alongside last month’s Balkan Jumping Championships, in which Greek riders also dominated.

While the Dressage Championships attracted a smaller field than the Jumping Championships, there were still 42 riders and horses from six nations to battle it out for the honours, so competition was hot.

Awarded top marks by four out of the five judges, Kyveli Tzortzaki led the home side to gold in the children’s team championship with the impressive six-year-old Hannoverian mare Highnessy Newland. This new partnership, which has only been together since the summer, then went on to take individual honours as well, with all five judges this time putting them in first. Next in line was team mate Vassiliki Voltairou with Chiron, who held on for silver by a slim margin from Lina Uzunhasan and Sjonie, members of the Turkish silver medal squad in the team championship.

Continue reading Greek Riders Claim Lion’s Share of the Medals at Markopoulo