At Last! Major International Shows Start Again in Europe
Delight was taken with the first major international show of the year in Europe – at s’Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands as the Paralympics end in Beijing. Once again we have marvelled at the shear guts and determination of the athletes. Sadly, we continue to see the horrific daily atrocities in Ukraine, delivered without any morals whatsoever from tyrannical Putin. There is plenty we could say about this but perhaps comments are better left to those more qualified?
The first major European dressage Grand Prix and World Cup qualifier of 2022, saw sixteen riders come forward, mainly from The Netherlands but also others from a further six nations including the current world number one ranked dressage rider – Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl from Germany. This was a Short Grand Prix for the Dutch Master’s Title. The top three in this class were well out in front of the others in terms of scores. Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl took the class with a score of 84.026% the only score of over 80% from all the combination. Her fellow German compatriot Isabel Werth coming in second with 79.083% and Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry came in third with 76.477%. Jessica rode her Grand Prix favourite TSF Dalera BB with Isabel riding DSP Quantaz with Charlotte competing Dark Legend. The best of the home team was Dinja Van Liere riding Hermes.
In the Grand Prix Freestyle, (there was no Grand Prix Special at this meeting) the top two again triumphed with Von Bredow-Werndl taking the class with 90.555%. Isabel Werth took second once again with 84.870% and the third podium spot for this class was taken by Patrik Kittel from Sweden riding Forever Young HRH with 82.500%. Third in the Grand Prix – Charlotte Fry dropped from third to fourth in the Freestyle, and was the only other rider to gain over 80% in the class.
This was the fifth time that the 15 year old Trakehner mare Dalera BB collected over 90% for her freestyle since her Gold medal victory in Tokyo last year. Afterwards, Jessica confirmed that she was expecting her second child. And so her competing days would be curtailed in the near future.
Although this winter has seen a nearly complete annihilation of competition for World Cup dressage qualifiers, the finals are set to go ahead in Leipzig in April. As a result, the FEI have issued invitations to riders to compete in Leipzig based on their rankings and of course based on those results from the few World Cup qualifiers which did take place. Both Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl and Isabel Werth secured their places with Werth automatically invited to compete as she is the current world cup champion and of course Jessica gets an invite as she is current world number one. The latest FEI dressage athlete’s rankings recently published show Charlotte Dujardin from Great Britain ranking in the second spot with Cathrine Dufour from Denmark in third place. Isabel Werth is sitting on fourth place.
In s’Hertogenbosch, the showjumpers were also out to compete at the top level. Thirty eight lined up for the start of this 5 star CSI Grand Prix. The class was part of the Rolex Grand Slam series. Louis Konickx from The Netherlands set a 13 obstacle 17 jumping effort course with the treble at fence 10. The top height and spread was 1.60m. The third horse in, Harry Charles riding Casquo Blue started the run of 13 combinations to leave all the jumps up in the first round. Unfortunately, for Harry, he collected 1 time fault so was unable to go in the jump off. Of the twelve left to jump in the second round, there were seven countries represented. Six of those completed a second clear round, 4 from the Netherlands and one each from Belgium and Germany. The fastest round, but alas with one pole down was from Scott Brash riding Hello Jefferson on 37.02 seconds. Of the six left,
Daniel Deusser from Germany was one of the earlier competitors to go and who set a fast time of 37.90 with no faults. He saw off all the other riders with a superb round as none of the others could catch him in the time. He was riding Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z and took the 231,000 euro first prize. In second and third were a pair from the home nation in the shape of Harrie Smolders riding Monaco and Willem Greve riding Grandorado TN. Their times were very close with only a third of a second between them. Bart Bles, also from the Netherlands, Pieter Devos from Belgium and another from the Netherlands Jack Ansems were the other double clear rounds.
Harping back to the Ukrainian crisis, we were pleased to note that two major show jumping stallions, Comme Il Faut and Obolenski, originally based in The Ukraine have been successfully moved to Germany.
Once again and ominously, Equine Herpes, EVA is doing the rounds. There have been recorded cases in both Europe and the USA and the virus has caused the cancellation of some shows in the United States. Riders and owners have been advised of the outbreak and horses are having to undergo several more longer and stringent tests before being allowed to compete at the major international events.
In Wellington, Florida, the continuation of the spring festival saw another 5 start CSI for showjumping. Co-incidentally, in this class there were again 12 clears in the first round. This was another truly international class with five countries represented in the jump off. There were 41 original starters. The winner won by an impressive 2 seconds from all his rivals, gaining a second clear, Abdel Said, now riding for Belgium on board Arpege du Ru. He beat American Kent Farrington riding Orafina into second place, who also had a clear second round in 40.42 seconds. In third, another rider from Belgium – Nicola Philippearts riding Katanga Dingehof completed in 41.65 seconds. The only other double clear in the class came from American Katherine Dinan.