After two weeks spent in New Zealand for a great holiday with bungy jumping and much more, nothing could stop the Olympian champion pair Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro owned by Loly Ruard and Carl Hester to win the Amsterdam FEI World Cup Freestyle. No less than 91,275% was rewarded for the Freestyle test Charlotte took 'from her old days'. "My new Freestyle for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final is not ready yet, my Olympic Freestyle I don't perform anymore. Therefore I took back this one", Charlotte explained. She admitted it had been a strange preparation for Amsterdam, spending a great holiday and leaving her horse nicknamed 'Blueberry' to 'granddad' Carl Hester to keep him fit and to train.
Carl Hester said he hardly had to train at all as a matter of fact. "It's more like guiding. Valegro continues to amaze us. He is getting stronger and seems to be even more capable of performing, if possible anyway. It's like you only have to tell him small things like, 'no, head a little more up please' and then he will have its head more up for the next six minutes. He is incredible."
Just like yesterday's Grand Prix, Edward Gal and Glock's Undercover became the runner up, marked with 85,125%. He felt his ride had been not that fluent and relaxed as in the Grand Prix, due to a costly mistake in one pirouette. His trainer Nicole Werner and he didn't have the best preparation anyway as Glock's Romanov and Hans Peter Minderhoud left the preparation area when Edward and Undercover entered. After the warming up in walk when starting to trot Romanov was very lame. "I hope it is only a minor problem like an abcess. We'll see next week", Nicole Werner said, "and yes, we were distracted by the fact Romanov was lame in our preparations, but had to bring our minds severely back to our job."
Danish Anna Kasprzak rode a great test. She moved up one place from Grand Prix and especially excelled in her great lines with a short diagonal with one tempi changes, followed by a circle with two tempi's followed by a diagonal with one tempi changes again (82,00%). Also her piaffe and passage looked easy and harmonious. Francis Verbeek, chair of the judges, remarked she has the feeling that that all competitors sincerely try to perform their piaffes more on the sport now, since from the first of January the qualifier 2 is added to the piaffe.
In today's Freestyle Isabell Werth and Don Johnson placed fourth (80,850%). Isabell Werth and owner Madeleine Winter-Schulze were happy with the improvements the horse had made.
Overall the quality of dressage improvements was shown by the first four combinations all from a different nationality Great Britain, The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Also the fifth combination Fabienne Lütkemeier riding D'Agostino did a very good job, showing a harmonious and fluent test with probably the most difficult freestyle pattern and choregraphy of all competitors.
In the group of the best eight, the audience was thrilled about the French pair Marc Boblet and his elegant lightfooted black Noble Dream Concept Sol, being rewarded with position seven (76,125%). "The more changes he showed, the more connected the horse became over the back", Francis Verbeek commented. She praised the trot work and passage.
German Jessica von Bredow-Werndl showed huge improvements with Gribaldi-son Unee BB owned by Swiss judge Beatrice Bürchler-Keller. "He is much more connected and sitting in the canterwork than he used to be", Francis Verbeek praised the horse (76,650 and 6th position).
Madeleine Witte-Vrees lost her prospect top horse Vontango almost two years ago, but now made her international debut with Donnerhall-daughter Vitana V with success. Her test was a pleasure to watch with a lot of selfcarriage and regularity (74,500%). The music could have been more cheerful.
Freestyle Seminar Wüst
n Saturday morning before the start of the FEI Reem Acra World Cup qualifier the Dutch equestrian federation had scheduled a course presented by Kathrina Wüst. A group of Dutch freestyle judges was educated and schooled by 5 star judges Kathrina Wüst. She gave a clear presentation which was well thought over about judging Freestyles. "We judges should be open to catch the good ideas of the riders that they have put in their Freestyle and it is helpful to divide the criteria and see how they work together", she emphasized. Her definitions and step by step explanations of the artistic criteria were clear and helpful. Also some small practical advices were given, for instance putting a point above a mark for a turning piaffe, to quickly see in the end whether the piaffe also is shown straight, or in turns only. In the end all visitors received the details in print. A welcome and practical idea to use a show like Amsterdam for schooling also.
Battle for places Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final
After Amsterdam three more qualifiers will be held, in Neumünster GER (February 13-16), Gothenburg SWE (March February 27 – March 2) and 's-Hertogenbosch NED (March 20-23). The nine best riders from the Western European League will be placed.
Edward Gal said he planned also to qualify his horse Glock's Voice in case something will happen to Glock's Undercover. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro have made up their mind to compete at the Indoor Brabant Horseshow in 's-Hertogenbosch.
Title-defender Helen Langehanenberg will be allowed to defend her title when having competed in two qualifiers. She did win Stuttgart and will have to choose one more show to have her card for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Final.
Standings Western European League:
1. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silven 74 (also reached by her win in Wellington)
2. Edward Gal 51
3. Isabell Werth 48
4. Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Marcela Krinke Susmelj 43
6. Charlotte Dujardin and Hans Peter Minderhoud 40
8. Anna Kasprzak and Fabienne Lütkemeier 35
The results of the Amsterdam Freestyle and Grand Prix have already been sent to you immediately when they were confirmed by the organisers.