Cornelissen and Parzival Secure the Win, but Gal and Undercover Chase Them Home

Heather Schmidt from Reem Acra presents the Reem Acra Cup to defending series champions Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival.

‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED), 16 March 2013 – Defending double-champions, Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, won the last leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League 2012/2013 on home ground at the Brabanthallen in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands this afternoon. But Dutch colleague, Edward Gal, put them under intense pressure with a brilliant performance from Glock’s Undercover that brought the crowd to their feet.

Yesterday Gal and the 12-year-old gelding were 1.362 percentage points off Cornelissen’s winning score in the Grand Prix.  But Ground Jury members Katrina Wuest (GER), Hans Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Francis Verbeek van Rooij (NED), Jacques van Daele (BEL) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED) saw an even closer margin today , with just 0.8 separating the two.  Things could now hardly be more exciting ahead of next month’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, as Gal is quickly closing in on his team-mate with increasingly impressive performances, while Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill have already proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the battle for the prestigious title.

With another nice test from Don Johnson FRH, Germany’s Isabell Werth slotted into third ahead of Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak and the expressive Donnperignon while Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic claimed fifth place.  There was a big buzz in the aftermath of the competition, and while it was Cornelissen who stood top of the prize-giving line, the electricity was all emanating from Gal whose enormous grin said it all.

Today marked a turning point for his lovely black horse who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great stallion, Totilas, which carried him through one of the most exciting periods in the history of this sport as they set new standards until parting company after winning the FEI European Championship in 2009.  Together they changed the face of international Dressage, and Gal admitted this evening, in almost a whisper, “It’s not just because he’s a black horse; it’s about the feeling… riding a horse that doesn’t want to stop and wants to give everything and more… today was a little bit like the same wow feeling I got with Totilas back then!” he said.

Full of Quality

From the outset this last qualifier was full of quality, with Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj showing exactly why she was lying sixth on the Western European League rankings coming into this leg of the series as she produced a lovely opening test from Smeyers Molberg that oozed softness and harmony. And their score of 73.850 held the lead until surpassed, first by Sidsel Johansen and Schianto who notched up 74.950 and then by fellow-Dane Anna Kasprzak who really raised the game just before the half-way break with a mark of 78.650 for Donnperignon.

Not even the near-perfection of the passage and piaffe produced by Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic could oust this Danish pair who remained in front until Cornelissen took her turn with four left to go. And despite the fact that the title-defenders are still feeling their way into a whole new floor-plan and musical score, they forged way ahead when putting 85.900 on the board.

Germany’s Isabell Werth powered into the arena as the penultimate competitor and posted 79.475 to slot into runner-up spot with Don Johnson FRH, but that wouldn’t last long.  Because Gal and Glock’s Undercover kept the crowd spellbound with a last-to-go test that clearly has room for improvement but which had that distinct whiff of a little bit of magic.  The spectators couldn’t contain themselves when he left the ring, spontaneously rising to their feet to roar their approval, and when the judges’ marks were displayed there was an intake of breath, because Gal’s score was so very close to overtaking their other great favourite.  The Dutch are spoiled for choice once again.

Master the Movements

For Cornelissen today was a big one, as she still has to master the new series of movements that will, no doubt, come together to even greater effect over the coming months as both she and her lovely chestnut gelding perform her “Tribute to my Red Knight”.  She uses Parzival’s extraordinary expertise in canter pirouette to full effect in this new Freestyle which, although perhaps less majestic and dramatic, flows easily and will surely make an excellent replacement for the former Tchaikovsky-themed test that brought them so much success.

“I need to change some small things, and we are still getting used to the new test, but I’m very happy because with Parzival it is all getting much lighter and more harmonious,” she said.

While Cornelissen was being philosophical, Gal could hardly contain his excitement at having pushed her so closely.  “I was the most happiest rider today!” he said with a big smile at the post-competition press conference.  It is partly the speed at which his partnership with Undercover is coming together that is surprising him.  He brought the 12-year-old horse with him to ‘s-Hertogenbosch this time last year just to let him experience the atmosphere of a big show and all that goes with it, but only started riding the horse in January 2012.  “I had Totilas for four or five years before competing him like this, and I didn’t expect it would come together so soon.  Our last indoor competition was at Olympia (in London) in December and he (Undercover) was so hot there.  You need to have a hot horse to do a great test, but you have to be able to handle it and today I had a good feeling so I could let him go and do it, he was much more relaxed,” he pointed out.

Isabell Werth was well-pleased with her horse’s performance. “Johnny is always quite powerful, but he is still developing and I’m very happy with him. What Edward says is true: you have to deal with the power and the temperament, but my horse is still just 10 years old and when he plays in the right way he’s perfect!” she insisted.

In Context

Ground Jury President, Francis Verbeek van Rooij, put it all in context when she said, “For us judges it was an exciting afternoon. For me personally I couldn’t say after Edward’s test who was in the lead and in the end Adelinde finished just ahead of him.  These riders are riding the Freestyle test on the music really well, and I congratulate them all,” she added.

Frank Kemperman, Sports Director for Indoor Brabant and Chairman of the FEI Dressage Committee, confirmed that the nine leading riders on the Western European League 2012/2013 leaderboard have now qualified for the Final next month.  They are, in the following order: Kristina Sprehe (GER), Valentina Truppa (ITA), Edward Gal (NED), Helen Langehanenberg (GER), Isabell Werth (GER), Patrik Kittel (SWE), Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE), Anna Kasprzak (DEN), and Marcela Krinke Susmelj (SUI).  Defending champions, Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, are automatically qualified.

“We have to wait another week or so before some of the other leagues are over so we can finalise the start-list, but I believe we can look forward to a wonderful Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg in a few weeks’ time!” Mr Kemperman pointed out.


And emotions ran high in the Brabanthallen once again later in the day when the official retirement ceremony for Anky van Grunsven’s 19 year old Hannoverian, Salinero, took place.  The Dutch rider enjoyed enormous success with this horse whose career might well have been overshadowed by the memory of his revered predecessor, Bonfire who, together with van Grunsven, first brought Freestyle Dressage to centre stage.  Salinero however followed faithfully in those very famous hoofprints to become a star in his own right, taking Olympic individual gold in Athens in 2004 and again at the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympic Games in Hong Kong four years later.  And he helped van Grunsven to become the most prolific winner of the FEI World Cup Dressage title – she won it nine times over a 13-year period between 1995 and 2008.

Salinero first came to prominence in 2003 with victory in the Dutch National Championship and was part of the Dutch bronze medal winning team at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park last summer which brought his spectacular career to a fitting conclusion.

For further information on the eighth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2012/2013 series at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands on Saturday 16 March 2013, go to website or contact Press Officer Denise van der Net, Email, Tel +31 6270 31674.

The Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2012/2013 will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 24-28 April.  For details of the Swedish fixture, check out website or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin at Email, Tel +46 31 368 43 49.

Result: 1, Jerich Parzival (Adelinde Cornelissen) NED 85.900; 2, Glock’s Undercover (Edward Gal) NED 85.100; 3, Don Johnson FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 79.475; 4, Donnperignon (Anna Kasprzak) DEN 78.650; 5, Watermill Scandic (Patrik Kittel) SWE 77.775; 6, Hexagon’s Wellnetta (Laurens van Lieren) NED 75.575; 7, Miciano (Marlies van Baalen) NED 75.100; 8, Schianto (Sidsel Johansen) DEN 74.950; 9, Smeyers Molberg (Marcela Krinke Susmelj) SUI 73.850; 10, Unlimited (Stephanie Peters) NED 72.775; 11, Biggles (Kristian von Krusenstierna) SWE 72.725; 12, Axis TSF (Terhi Stegars) FIN 72.175; 13, Orion (PIa Fortmuller) can 70.025; 14, Vradin (Simon Missiaen) BEL 69.650; 15, World Performance Washington (Luis Principe) POR 67.375.

Full details here:

Facts and Figures:

Today’s Freestyle competition at ‘s-Hertogenbosch was the eighth and final qualifying round of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League series.
This was the first time for defending champion, The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen, to perform her new Freestyle floor-plan which she calls “Tribute to my Red Knight”.
Following today’s final qualifier, the top 9 riders on the Western European League leaderboard have earned a place at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2013 Final which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 24-28 April.
Defending champion and today’s winner, The Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen, is automatically qualified with Jerich Parzival.
This weekend’s Dutch event also marked the retirement of Anky van Grunsven’s Salinero who, during his sparkling career, twice won Olympic gold .
Between 1995 and 2008 the Dutch rider dominated the FEI World Cup Dressage series with 9 victories over that 13-year period.
This is the 28th season of the FEI World Cup Dressage series, and the third season of sponsorship by New York fashion designer Reem Acra who recently committed to a further three years of support.
In yesterday’s preliminary Grand Prix competition, Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival produced a winning margin of 1.362 percentage points over Dutch colleague Edward Gal with Glock’s Undercover while Germany’s Isabell Werth and Don Johnson FRH finished third.
The panel of judges for today’s Ground Jury was: At E, Katrina Wuest (GER), At H, Hans Christian Matthiesen (DEN), At C, Francis Verbeek van Rooij (NED), At M, Jacques van Daele (BEL) and at B, Adriaan Hamoen (NED).


Isabell Werth – “With Johnny (Don Johnson FRH) we are still on way and learning. He can be a bit tense and do too much, but today he did a good test, not perfect, but to be third here was my goal and it was great preparation for the Final.”

Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage 2012/2013 – Standings after Round 8 at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED):
1.    Kristina Sprehe GER            –    68
2.    Valentina Truppa ITA            –    67
3.    Edward Gal NED                –    66
3.    Helen Langehanenberg GER        –    66
3.    Isabell Werth GER                –    66
6.    Patrik Kittel SWE                –    63
6.    Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven         –    63
8.    Anna Kasprzak DEN            –    58
9.    Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI        –    50
10.    Minna Telde SWE                –    49
11.    Sidsel Johansen DEN            –    46
12.    Marlies van Baalen NED            –    40
13.    Kristian von Krusentierna SWE    –    34
14.    Pia Fortmuller CAN                –    33
15.    Imke Schellekens-Bartels NED    –    32
16.    Patrick van der Meer NED        –    30
17.    Anabel Balkenhol GER            –    29
18.    Lyndal Oatley AUS                –    23
18.    Silvia Rizzo ITA                 –    23
20.    Karin Kosak AUT                –    22

FEI YouTube:

Reem Acra FEI Hub,, 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 ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Press Officer: Denise van der Net
Tel: +31 6270 31674

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

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