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Watershed Win for Langehanenberg as She Pips Double-Champion Cornelissen in Amsterdam

By on January 19, 2013

Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW receiving the Reem Acra Trophy from Heather Schmidt of Reem Acra. Photo: FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst

Amsterdam (NED), 19 January 2013 – Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW pipped defending double-champions Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival at the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League in Amsterdam (NED) today. There were eight Dutch competitors amongst the start-list of 15, but Germany claimed two of the top-three placings when Isabell Werth and Don Johnson slotted into third ahead of Italy’s Valentina Truppa and Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno in fourth.

Langehanenberg’s form in recent months had suggested that it would not be long before she and her lovely stallion would find the key to finishing ahead of the Dutch duo who have dominated the prestigious indoor series over the last few years.  At last year’s Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) where Cornelissen came out on top for the second successive season, Ground Jury President, Great Britain’s Stephen Clarke, told the German rider that she had only a little more polish to find in order to improve from runner-up position, and Langehanenberg has worked hard to bridge that gap ever since.

At the World Dressage Masters in Mechelen, Belgium last month she beat Cornelissen in the Grand Prix only to fall victim to a problem with her music, which stopped during her Freestyle, but it was clear she was now a real threat. Today she showed that result was no fluke as she produced a sparkling test on an afternoon when many others failed to show their very best in the electric atmosphere of the Amsterdam Rai arena. It was a watershed win for Langehanenberg, marking another turning point in her steady march to the very top of her sport.

Personal Best

Sweden’s Minna Telde and Santana went into the lead with a new personal-best Freestyle score of 77.700 with just six horses left to go, but Cornelissen swept that aside when next into the arena with Parzival who racked up 85.425, receiving a colossal 94 per cent artistic score from the Judge at C, The Netherlands’ Ghislain Fouarge.  The big chestnut gelding produced lovely, rolling one-time changes on his third start in the current Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage season but was tight and tense at times, his trademark pirouettes not always coming off as smoothly as usual, and it was clear Cornelissen was working to keep his attention.

Despite a couple of naughty moments from Eremo del Castegno, long-time league leader Valentina Truppa from Italy then posted 80.775 to slot into second, but Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH immediately relegated them with a lovely performance that demonstrated the growing strength of this partnership.  Werth looks like she is really enjoying her riding these days, and harnessed her horse’s natural power to great effect with deliberate passage, athletic half-pass and a great walk for a mark of 82.050.

Second-last into the ring, things didn’t go quite so smoothly for Dutchman Edward Gal and his relatively new ride, the stallion Glock’s Romanov who never really settled as they put 79.200 on the scoreboard for eventual fifth place.

But Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW were super-cool when bringing the class to a close, the 13 year old stallion really rising to the challenge and helping his rider snatch the opportunity they have both been waiting for.  “Before I went in, I knew it wasn’t impossible for me to beat Adelinde, but I also knew that I could not afford to lose one point.  I had to focus on my ride, to be strong and to think forward.”

Following her instincts to the letter she did just that, never pushing for too much yet producing work of the highest calibre, always balanced and correct and a joy to watch. Spectators held their breath as the judges marks were gathered, and even the home crowd couldn’t resist a gasp of delight as the German lady clinched it with a score of 86.025.

Not Disappointed

Cornelissen was not disappointed however. “Parzival was good, but very spooky, yet I could handle him during the test although I had to work more to keep him focused,” she explained.  The horse has matured dramatically over the last two years, having often been overwhelmed by excitement during prize-giving ceremonies in his early career. Yesterday however he took fright after winning the Grand Prix, in which Langehanenberg and Damon Hill lined up second, and today he still seemed to be a bit unnerved by the atmosphere of the ring. “He didn’t settle,” Cornelissen admitted afterwards.

Langehanenberg was quietly delighted with her result.  “We were here to try to win, and it’s a really good feeling,” she said, adding with typical modesty, “and it’s an honour to finish ahead of Adelinde.  She has really dominated our sport over the last years and has won so much.  Now to be able to be in the same league and to be even better is really great!”

When asked if she had been worried that the atmosphere might blow her chances, Langehanenberg replied, “Luckily he (Damon Hill NRW) really always like a big noisy arena and a lot of audience – he feels quite good with that!” she pointed out.  And when asked if she realised that she has earned herself a big fan-club in recent times, she said, “I didn’t notice it until after London (Olympic Games). It is incredible how many people talk to me and come to me to ask for an autograph now, and it’s very nice.  I enjoy my sport and my horse, and if that gives other people some pleasure then that’s even nicer!” she added.

Langehanenberg plans to compete in the penultimate qualifying round of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2012/2013 Western European League at Neumunster, Germany on 17 February next. “After that it’s Gothenburg!” said today’s winner whose sights are now clearly fixed on the very top step of the podium when the Final takes place in Gothenburg (SWE) in April.

For further information on the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2012/2013 series in Amsterdam (NED), go to website www.jumpingamsterdam.nl or contact Press Officer Charlotte Gunnink at Email media@jumpingamsterdam.nl or Tel +31 205 445 720 / +31 638 325 326. The next leg takes place at Neumunster (GER) on Sunday 17 February. For details on the German fixture, check out website http://pst-marketing.de/index.php/home-vr-classics.html or contact Press Officer Andreas Kerstan, Email andreas.kerstan@comtainment.de, Tel +49 4307 827973 / +49 3416 786 012.

Result: 1. Damon Hill NRW (Helen Langehanenberg) GER 86.025; 2, Jerich Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) NED 85.425; 3, Don Johnson FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 82.050; 4, Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno (Valentina Truppa) ITA 80.775; 5, Glock’s Romanov (Edward Gal) NED 79.200; 6, Santana (Minna Telde) SWE 77.700; 7, Glock’s Tango (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 76.225; 8, Toots (Imke Schellekens-Bartels) NED 75.300; 9, Luxform’s Popeye (Diederik van Silfhout) NED 72.075; 10, Biggles (Kristian von Krusenstierna) SWE 71.350; 11, BMC Miciano (Marlies van Baalen) NED 71.275;12, Weltzin (Hannah Biggs) GBR 69.050; 13, Uzzo (Patrick van der Meer) NED 68.300; 14, Donnerfee (Claudia Fassaert) BEL 67.875; 15, Unlimited (Stephanie Peters) NED Ret.

Full results at www.jumpingamsterdam.nl.

Facts and Figures:

Today’s victory gave Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill their first Freestyle victory over the defending double Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage champions Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival from The Netherlands.

Amsterdam presented round 6 of the eight-leg Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League 2012/2013 qualifying series.

The competition took place in the Amsterdam Rai arena.

The top-class start-list included the riders that filled the top three placings at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) last season, the 2011/2012 champion Adelinde Cornelissen (NED), runner-up Helen Langehanenberg (GER) and third-placed Valentina Truppa (ITA).

The Ground Jury for the sixth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier in Amsterdam was: At E, Elizabeth McMullen (CAN); At H, Jacques van Daele (BEL); At C, Ghislain Fouarge (NED); At M, Gustaf Svalling (SWE); At B, mariette Sanders van Gansewinkel (NED).

Italy’s Valentina Truppa continues to lead the Wester European League of the 2012/2013 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series.

Quotes:

Helen Langehanenberg – “My test felt safe today; I didn’t want to do too much because I didn’t want to lose the positive side of the test.”

Ground Jury President, Ghislain Fouarge – “I was the only one of the five judges to put Helen second. She was not always with the music but I liked her test very much”.

Helen Langehanenberg – “We have more improvement to make; there was a slight mistake today in the transition from passage to walk.”

Ghislain Fouarge – “The competition we have had here in Amsterdam is the best we have seen all season.”

Reem Acra FEI Hub http://www.fei.org/reemacra gives you access to useful information, including all news releases from the current and past Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series (see “News and Press”).

FEI World Cup Dressage, the only worldwide series in this discipline, has entered its 28th season. The series, created in 1985, comprises four leagues: Western European, Central European, North American (including Canada) and Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier consists of a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to music competition, where league points are accumulated towards places in the Final. Judged on both technical and artistic merit, the FEI World Cup Dressage combines art, sport and partnership between horse and rider at the highest level and consistently proves a winning formula with audiences all over the world.

The complete rules, calendar, updated ranking and results are available here.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations. Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. In 2012 equestrian sport will celebrate its centenary as an Olympic sport. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes – horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:
At Amsterdam
Press Officer: Charlotte Gunnink
Email: media@jumpingamsterdam.nl
Tel: +31 205 445 720 / +31 638 325 326

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

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33

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