It was a National Dressage Championship weekend from June 25 to 27, 2004. In The Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland, national Grand Prix riders were challenging each other in a race to win the national title.
At the Dutch Dressage Championships in Nijmegen, Edward Gal (pictured right) became the 2004 Grand Prix champion. In the absence of Anky van Grunsven's Gestion Salinero -- who sustained a minor injury on Wednesday -- Gal had free rein to capture his first Champion's title. Aboard Gestion Lingh (by Flemmingh) Gal dominated his competitors with immense supremacy, outbesting them with an overall 10% point difference. Van Grunsven finished second on Gestion Krack C while Sven Rothenberger landed into third position aboard Brentina's full brother Barclay II (by Brentano II).
After the Championships, Dutch Chef d'Equipe Bert Rutten announced the Dutch Team for the CDIO Aachen and the Olympics: Anky van Grunsven (Salinero), Edward Gal (Lingh), Antoinette Falandt (Jarwo) and Sven Rothenberger (Barclay II).
At the Danish Dressage Championships in Gumde, Denmark, two riders were the protagonists of the weekend. Per Sandgaard and Andreas Helgstrand were in a neck-to-neck race for the title, but it was Sandgaard on Zancor (by Calimero) who took the gold. Helgstrand finished in silver position aboard the licensed stallion Blue Hors Don Schufro, Lone Jorgensen and Ludewig G earned bronze.
Sandgaard (pictured left) and Helgstrand have already been nominated Danish Olympic team members, along with Jon Pedersen. Chef d'Equipe Rudolf Zeilinger will decide on the fourth Danish team member after the CDIO Aachen. Lone Jorgensen seems to be the strongest candidate for the spot.
At the Swiss Dressage Championships in Gruningen, Switzerland, Daniel Ramseier produced a hattrick, winning all three championship classes on his 9-year old Westfalian Palladio. Ramseier was joinedon the podium by two ladies. Finishing second overall was Sylvia Iklé on Salieri CH and placing third was Jasmin Sanche Burger on Mr G. De Lully. The Swiss Olympic Dressage Team will be announced July 13, 2004.