Not Lisa Wilcox on Royal Diamond, nor Steffen Peters on Floriano, nor Guenter Seidel on Aragon won the Grand Prix tour at the CDI Hagen. No! It was outsider Leslie Morse who made a big statement by winning the two Grand Prix classes at the "Horses and Dreams" show in Hagen, Germany.
The CDI Hagen served as qualifier for the American Olympic short listed dressage riders. For Debbie McDonald and Robert Dover the dice has been cast, and Guenter Seidel only needs to decide which horse to pick (Nikolaus or Aragon). The fourth place, however, is still open for discussion. Peters, Morse and Wilcox are the candidates and it seemed normal that Wilcox would take the spot. But, as Relevant has not been out in the show ring since February 2004 and still has not showed his worth for the American team this year, Morse and Peters see light at the end of the tunnel.
In the Grand Prix, Morse scored 72.83% and won the class ahead of Seidel and Peters. In the Freestyle, the Paragon Farm pair reigned supreme with 76.175% leaving the number two ranked rider Carola Koppelmann (72.175%) far behind her. Steffen Peters and Floriano (by Florestan) were unfortunately eliminated in the freestyle after having ridden a triple pirouette.
Guenter Seidel and Aragon were on a roll in Hagen, placing second in the Grand Prix with 71.25% and third in the freestyle with 72.050%. It is striking to see that Aragon (by Abydos) is so much happier in his work than Nikolaus. The piaffe passage tour is very rhythmical and balanced. Seidel has proven at the trials and in Hagen to be solid low 70% scorer, which would make the combination a good asset for the American Team.
Next European stop for the American Olympic Dressage Team is the CDIO Aachen in two weeks. The rule stipulates that USEF team coach Klaus Balkenhol has to announce the Olympic team on July 19, 2004, the day after the CDIO Aachen.
Text and photos © Astrid Appels/Eurodressage.com