Keysoe and Dortmund – Coronavirus Takes Its Toll

The last two dressage events for the time being have been completed. Sadly now, as we all know, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, everything has been either cancelled or postponed to a later time. The equine calendar throughout the world has been completely mutilated.

At Keysoe, in the UK, the dressage CDI 3 star was the only weekend event to be completed. In Dortmund, Germany, most of the classes were completed, but the final day was curtailed at the last minute. At Keysoe, there was a full programme of dressage for the three days. The FEI backed show ran classes for the Ponys, Juniors, Young Riders, Prix St Georges and Grand Prix. Sadly, no doubt, because of the Coronavirus fears, there were virtually no spectators which meant that the show had rather a feeling of the ‘Marie Celeste’ about it.

First Day

Rebecca Bell – winner of the Young Rider Team Test

On the first day, the Ponys, Juniors and Young Riders competed in the Team classes. There were more judges than spectators to see winners and others strut their stuff. The Pony Team test winner was Shona Benner from Germany riding Der Kleine Sunnyboy with 72.571%. The Junior Team victor was Maddie Frewin from Great Britain riding Woodlander Rhythm ‘N Blues with 67.071%  The Young Rider list was headed by Rebecca Bell, also from GB riding Nibeley Union Hit with 60.608%. All three classes were well attended with 15 in the Ponys, 10 in the Juniors and 17 in the Young Riders.

Andrew Gould – Winner of the Prix St Georges

Later in the day, the small tour Prix St Georges was contested by 14 riders, a somewhat smaller field than normal. Andrew Gould riding Blue Hors Dexter won the class with 70.539% with the only other 70% plus score in second, Jess Bennett riding JB Dukaat. In the big tour, The Grand Prix, there was a big turnout, 24 combinations forward from eight individual countries. There were some decent horses in this class, the top two being Spencer Wilton’s Super Nova II who represented Great Britain in the Rio Olympics and received a team Silver medal.

Sonnar Murray Brown on Erlentanz

Also competing was Erlentanz, who was seen out at the Europeans with Charlotte Dujardin on board. As the best two horses in the class, it was no surprise that they occupied first and second places. Spencer Wilton with 75.652% and Sonnar Murry Brown, rider of Erlentanz getting 74.261%.  Super Nova II has been off for nearly two years and is now an eighteen year old horse, but he has returned and won both of his recent outings.

Day Two

Camille Audo – Winner Young Rider Individual

Day two, the Marie Celeste syndrome was still much to the fore for the day’s dressage, although it did liven up a bit for the evening session of the Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle. In the morning, like yesterday, the younger competitors were seen again, this time riding a different test, as individuals. The same riders appeared in their classes with much the same results in the Pony Test with similar scores. In the Junior Individual, much the same scores with the top two again keeping their positions from yesterday. The Young Riders Individual test proved to be a very close contest between the combinations. The positions were very different from day one. The winner was from France, Camille Audo riding a huge horse, Behroez with British riders Rebecca Bell and Catlin Burgess in second and third respectively. In the small tour Inter 1.

Andrew Gould – also winner of the Inter 1

Andrew Gould again took the top spot with 70.245%, the only one to go above the 70% mark. Jess Bennett again was second and third was Eider Klatzko from Great Britain riding Little Richard. The riders from the Grand Prix last night, split themselves into the Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle. Surprisingly there was quite a big field for the Special, ten runners and this class had the better horses in in from the Grand Prix. With a small but quite enthusiastic crowd, Thomas Goode riding Dior had a meteoric rise from yesterday to take the class with 75.872% ahead of Spencer Wilton who got 75.128%.

Spencer Wilton and Super Nova II

Lara Butler riding Rubin Al Asad came third putting yesterday’s second Erlentanz into fourth. In the final class of the day, or should we say night by this time – the Freestyle was taken by Gareth Hughes riding KK Woodstock with 76.35%. Emile Faurie was second riding Quentano 2 and Ulrik Moulgaard from Denmark was third. Spencer Wilton did enough to secure the title of Big Tour Champion.

The Final Day

Jess Bennett had a good show

This was a day of music freestyles for the Ponys, Juniors and Young Riders and a final music freestyle for the Inter 1. First up was the Inter 1 and Andrew Gould, who was clearly ahead in the overall small tour championship had a horrible time and came well down the leader board, but he did manage to retain the overall lead in the small tour and was declared Small Tour Champion. The winner of the class was Anna Wilson riding Le Docteur, second was Lily Hewitt riding Sir Charlie Chaplin and third was Daisy Crockley. In the Young Riders Freestyle, the winner was Angus Corrie Dean riding Tiny Tempur with Rose Hugh Smith riding Ulyssa in second. Neither featured in the line up for the first two days but were well pleased with their performances today. Rebecca Bell and Camille Audo were well down the page in this class! Again, in both the Ponies and Juniors, the score board was turned upside down with the winner from the first two day out with the washing. The pony winner was Betsy Smetham riding Amber and the Junior top spot was taken by Tarka Abraham riding Donna Summer.

Dortmund CDI dressage

Ingrid Klimke – winner of Grand Prix. Image courtesy Eurodressage

In Dortmund, the second CDI of the week took place. This was a 4 star CDI event. In the Grand Prix there were 22 starters. The winner was Ingrid Klimke, more noted for her prowess on the eventing field, with 75.218%.  In second on 72.717% was Henri Ruoste from Finland and third was Dorothee Schneider. Individuals from different ten nations took part. In the Freestyle, the last class to be held in Germany for the foreseeable future only seven of the original Grand Prix starters took part with Fabienne Muller-Lutkemeier winning with Isabell Werth in second. The class was curtailed half way through for some very extraordinary reason. If you decided to start the class, it seems odd not to finish it!!

What Now?

As we write this, sadly, due to all the world cancellation of all equine competition, this appears to be our last report on any shows until the end of April and may well be for longer. While it is right to protect people as best as we can, and now the situation is such that Governments and authorities have to act in the way they have, we cannot help thinking that this whole Coronavirus thing has been allowed to be blown out of all proportion. Many will disagree, but in the beginning what was it? As we are lead to believe it is a new form or flu with no vaccine to combat it. While this is serious in its own right, flu takes tens of thousands of lives every year naturally and in the fullness of time, this will go down as another form of flu along with all the other strains known about throughout the world. The media has to acknowledge that it has played a major part in the scare mongering, and has in many ways has encouraged panic buying and general fear in the world population, thus forcing governments and authorities to take draconian action which will inevitably put millions of people and businesses in financial peril. In conclusion, we do believe that the actions taken throughout the world is necessary, but had the authorities and media taken a more measured attitude in the beginning, a lot of the action now necessary may not have been required?

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