Stuttgart Stage World Cup Qualifier while Charlotte Fry Becomes Equine Athlete of the Year

As the unusually warm autumn continues towards winter, the equine sporting schedule starts to show signs of coming to an end in Europe. Stuttgart staged their annual World Cup Qualifier for dressage and show jumping. Charlotte Fry of Great Britain has been named as the FEI Equine best athlete of the year at the FEI Annual Meeting, this year in Cape Town – South Africa.

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The dressage at the Stuttgart Grand Prix did not have the quality of horses that is usual for this show, although the top German riders were out in force. There were sixteen combinations for the Grand Prix and Freestyle for the five judges to view. Six of the riders were from Germany including the recently returned Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl who started the ball rolling riding Ferndinand BB. She and her 13 year old Hanoverian gelding left with 72.565% and finished the class in a rather lowly spot for her, seventh place. The next six in were all from countries other than Germany, the best of which was Dinja Van Liere riding Hartsuijker who scored 72.587%, leaving the pair in sixth place.

Isabell Werth take the Grand Prix

The final horse before the break was back to Germany and Frederic Wandres riding Bluetooth OLD, who took the first session with 74.109%. In the second session, there were four riding for the home nation who blew away all the others. The first of the German riders to go in was Ingrid Klimke riding Franziskus  who left with 74.391% and finished the Grand Prix in second place behind Isabell Werth riding DSP Quantaz, who was the last but three to compete. Werth left the stage with 77.217%, some way ahead of the rest of the field. Apart from these two, the rest of the German contingent were below the early leader Frederic Wandres who ended in third.

In the Freestyle to Music Grand Prix, the Austrian rider, Renate Voglsand did not compete leaving the field down one to fifteen. Going in reverse order of merit with the best in the Grand Prix going last, Estelle Wettstein was the first to go riding Great Escape Camelot for Switzerland.

Ingrid Klimke wins GP Freestyle in Dressage?

She left with 75.570%. Emma Kanerva riding Greek Air for Finland achieved a personal best score of 78.830%, but even so did not bother the leaders too much. The top six competitors were all quite close. Two from the Netherlands, both who obtained over 80%, Dinja Van Liere and Emmelie Scholtens riding Indian Rock came sixth and seventh leaving the top five places for the home team. Finishing in third was Benjamin Werndl riding Daily Mirror, up from fourth in the Grand Prix and Isabell Werth came second with 82.030%. The winner was Ingrid Klimke with 83.440%. It was a personal best for Ingrid as she seems to be turning her attention more to dressage these days than eventing.

The leader board for the top three in dressage for the World Cup finals in Omaha in April, where eighteen riders will compete is German top heavy with Benjamin Werndl in top position having ridden in three qualifiers and Ingrid Klimke in second after just two rounds. Third is Isabell Werth, who has also ridden in just two. The first non-German on the leader board as it currently stands is Patrik Kittle for Sweden, who has also run twice.

Showjumping

Christa Jung designed the course for the Showjumping Grand Prix of Stuttgart sponsored by BW Bank and Walter Solar. With 13 obstacles and 17 jumping efforts required over the 450 meter course, the time allowed was just 72 seconds. Fourteen nations had representatives in the class with ten out of the thirty nine starters from the home nation. In the first round, there was one elimination and three who retired. There were thirteen runners who cleared the first round with no faults. In the jump off, nine went clear again to get double clears. The top four had less than two seconds between them to decide the winner. The winner was from Germany – Richard Vogel riding United Touch S in 35.35 seconds. Second on the podium was Denis Lynch from Ireland riding Brooklyn Heights with 36.80 seconds and very close behind him was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland riding Dinamix de Belheme.

Having ridden in four of the five possible outings for the 2022/23 World Cup Qualifying rounds, Henrik Von Eckermann is at the top of the leader board with 34 points. He is very closely followed by Keven Staut for France who currently has 32 points and has this far ridden in all five of the qualifiers. Jur Vreiling from the Netherlands stands in third with 30 points having just ridden in three of the qualifiers to date.

FEI Conference in Cape Town.

Charlotte Fry wins Athlete of the Year for her wins at Herning

In other news, the good and the great of the FEI have been in Cape Town, South Africa for a little sun and business. Charlotte Fry from Great Britain was voted the ‘Athlete of the Year’ following her dynamic rides in the World Equestrian Games this year, ending with two Gold Medals and a team silver.  Ingmar De Vos has been re-elected to be the FEI president for a third and final term. He was first elected to the post following three high profile female presidents in 2014. He will serve for another four years. He is also an International Olympic Committee member and is the thirteenth president of the FEI since its inception in 1921. Apart from De Vos’s re-election, the FEI Hybrid General Assembly has been occupied with making horse sport more transparent with the general public, particularly on the subject of the welfare of the horse. There is a perception in some of the wider public that horses are not treated correctly and even with cruelty. In our opinion, there will always be some who believe that horse sport is cruel and un-natural for the horse. Whether through jealousy or sheer bloody mindedness and wanting to have something to protest about, most of these people have absolutely no idea about horses, their natural instincts and never mind all the rules and regulations already in place for the protection and welfare of the horse in whatever discipline it competes in. While there is no place, and nor should there be, for any mal treatment of horses, we believe that to tighten rules further regarding horse welfare would be a mistake as the rules and penalties for breaking them are already very stringent and effective.

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