Old time winner Anky to win first of 25th FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Odense
By Patricia Bakker, Kim Kreling and Claartje van Andel for dressagedirect
The FEI World Cup™ Dressage having entered its 25th season, the kick-off of the Western European league took place this weekend at the JBK Horse Shows in Odense, Denmark. With Odense, Lyon, Stockholm, London, Frankfurt, Mechelen, Amsterdam, Neumünster and Gothenburg to follow, the final will be held in Den Bosch, the Netherlands from 25th-28th March 2010, as such returning to where it all emerged 25 years ago. The series, created in 1985, today consists of 4 leagues being Western Europe, Central Europe, North America (including Canada) and the Pacific League (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World Cup™ Dressage qualifier includes a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to music competitions, 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 six nations competing this weekend at Odense were Germany, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland. Judges at work were Wim Ernes (Ned), Jean-Michel Roudier (FRA), Kurt Christensen (DEN), Jacques van Daele (BEL) and Gotthilf Riexinger (GER). Although the Dutch did make it to the first two places on the stage, they were not as overpowering as some had predicted after their recent success at the European Championships at Windsor.
In accordance with World Cup rules, fifteen competitors challenged each other in the Grand Prix Freestyle, be it that Katarzyna Milczarek from Poland with Ekwador had to withdraw for medical reasons. This first gold medal in the series was to go to old time winner Anky van Grunsven with Salinero scoring 81,450%. Anky van Grunsven with Salinero, who had already done wonderfully in the Grand Prix collecting 73,702% with near uniform points from judges, had at the time stated that she felt that “Sali” could have done even better, really needing two competitions to become fully focussed. As it turned out he had kept some for the Freestyle. Riding to her French Kür music Anky and Salinero performed nearly without any mistakes. They demonstrated some very good pirouettes, passages and transitions. This time the only lesser marks came from judge Gotthilf Riexinger. Anky has definitely made a good start for this World Cup series and although under the impression her Kür was as fine as at Windsor, was all in all very pleased with her first 20 World Cup points.
First gold medal in the series was to go to old time winner Anky van Grunsven with Salinero Pictures Ridehesten.com
Sisther surprises all
Edward Gal with Sisther de Jeu, having finished second with 71,659% in the Grand Prix, treated the public to their new rather appropriate Kür to music from the Pointer Sisters “Hey Sister, Go Sister”. Being a highly sensitive horse that is already very much tuned in to music in general, it was not certain how she would respond, but she turned out to be most surprising of all. Edward handled her very well at moments where she heated up and managed to bend the heat into fluently performed movements with a lot of expression and charisma. At her very first World Cup she proved to have gained confidence, relaxation and experience. No doubt we will be hearing from this combination again, although it is expected that Edward will enter the World Cup series with his black pearl Moorlands Totilas too. One is allowed to participate in this series with two horses, be it not at the same competition.
Sisther de Jeu surprises all
Although the Swedish entered with only half of their EC-team, third place was earned by Patrik Kittel on Watermill Scandic HBC, scoring 76,250%. Scandic showed a lot of expression and good imprint, be it that a little more hind leg use would have made their test even more impressing. Worth mentioning here is that Scandic is Dutch owned and the combination is in training with Dutch Sjef Janssen.
Patrik Kittel on Watermill Scandic HBC showed a lot of expression
Germany’s Monica Theodorescu aboard Whisper scooped the fourth place with a 71,404% and test components well ridden. Hardly any faults were made, even though some more rhythm and expression would have been welcomed by the judges. Nonetheless, she represented her country well and constant.
It is never easy to have to be the first to ride, the controversial honour given to Hans Peter Minderhoud with his Oldenburger Exquis Escapado here at Odense. However, in the Freestyle they showed a test with world of difference to their Grand Prix competition the day before, when they ended thirteenth. The test itself not having too high a level of difficulty was performed with pleasant expression and perhaps due to a carefully executed trot with only a few mistakes, resulted in fifth place with 73,950%.
Reining Danish champion, Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the Danish favourite had sadly withdrawn already after the Grand Prix, her Rigoletto having been startled by the curtain at the entrance and her not wanting to push her horse too much.
The FEI World Cup Dressage™ Champion does not earn points in his/her starts but is automatically qualified to the next Final with two FEI World Cup™ Dressage starts completed. Riders not belonging to the WEL or CEL cannot earn points in the WEL unless they have declared to compete in the WEL 2008/2009. These riders may however transfer the results in WEL qualifiers to their own League. Points earned by CEL riders will be transferred to the CEL points Standings list.
The next qualifier in the Western European league will be at Lyon from 28th October till 1st November.
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE RULES FOR FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE RIDERS FROM FEI WEBSITE www.feiworldcup.org
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More on the shuw in Odense on jbkhorseshows.dk