After the final Western European League World Cup Qualifier in Neumunster, Germany, last weekend, the FEI announced the winners of the Western European League World Cup Finals. Topping the ranking are Swedish Jan Brink and Dutch Anky van Grunsven and Jan Brink, who tied with 60 points. Eight Western European riders qualifiers for the World Cup Finals, held in 's Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, end of March 2008.
The title defender Isabell Werth from Rheinberg, Germany, who is automatically qualified and, therefore, not featuring in the league ranking. Several wild cards will still be attributed the upcoming weeks
Western European League Qualificants for the 2008 World Cup Finals
1. Anky Van Grunsven (NED) 60
1. Jan Brink (SWE) 60
3. Anders Dahl (DEN) 56
4. Nathalie Zu Saeyn Wittgenstein (DEN) 53
5. Kyra Kyrklund (FIN) 47
6. Andreas Helgstrand (DEN) 45
7. Laurens van Lieren (NED) 43
7. Jeroen Devroe (BEL) 43
Isabell Werth Wins Third World Cup Qualifier in Neumunster
No surprise that title defender Isabell Werth in Neumünster won her third FEI World Cup™ victory after having won in Odense and Frankfurt as well earlier in the season. The surprise however in the sold out Holstenhalle came from Scandinavian power, reaching for all the FEI World Cup™ tickets they could possibly get. “I suggest we will continue in having the last decisive qualifier in Neumünster, as it worked out as a really ‘Krimi’ here”, the chairman of the judges Mariette Withages enthusiastically commented on the rides. The seventh FEI World Cup™ Qualifier of the Western European League reached the climax when the last three riders entered the arena.
In the Grand Prix it had been like no riders and horse combination could avoid making mistakes. Especially the series of changes suffered from a lack of certainty. Isabell Werth had made mistakes in the two tempi changes and the one tempi changes as well. The most experienced horse, 17 year old Swedish master Björsells Briar, also made mistakes in both the one and two tempi changes and didn’t show to his advantage in Grand Prix. What a change one day can make. Although Jan Brink himself was influenced by a tight schedule combining the Swedish stallion test with riding three stallions there together with competing in the Neumünster FEI World Cup™ qualifier, nothing could be seen anymore from less good timing and a less perfect ride. Today Briar had a great test. Jan Brink commented: “Even a horse like Briar can just make mistakes after a pause in showing. But today he performed to his best. He was very fresh, motivated and willing to do everything he possibly could! I hope it will stay this way, as he not only is my hope for the FEI World Cup™ Final but still is my number one horse for the OG in Hong Kong as well.”
After Brink, Danish Andreas Helgstrand entered the arena with his young hope Gredstedsgard Casmir. Riding on well chosen pop music of the seventies he did a perfect job. “This no doubt was my best test ever”, Helgstrand agreed happily. He ended with the merest of a margin behind Jan Brink, something the audience didn’t agree with.
Isabell Werth was the last to go. Her test also went much better than the Grand Prix the day before. “A win is never decided before your ride”, Isabell Werth commented. “I know always the pressure is on and my Danish and Swedish friends really made me go for it. Yesterday’s mistakes in the changes I purely have to blame on myself. ‘Hannes’ has improved a lot since last year, especially in the piaffe and passage. I am happy it paid off in the arena and am looking forward to the Final.”
Title-holder Isabell Werth will be the only German competitor in the World Cup™ Final. Isabell Werth is looking forward to it: “I really prefer to do the big shows where I really can meet competition and challenges. I never have gone competition out of the way. That’s what makes the sport going, meet and compete!”
Fiona Bigwood Loses Mr G de Lully
Fiona Bigwood has lost her number one Grand Prix horse Mr G de Lully. The Swedish bred gelding had to be humanely put down after the bay incurably broke his fetlock bone yesterday. Mr G de Lully was turned out in the sand paddock where he accidentally shattered his fetlock bone. Despite wearing boots and bandages, Mr G sustained seven fractures between the hoof and fetlock.
"These horses give us so much in their lives and I just want to return some of their love back to them. Mr H is a horse that was so special to me and we were so in tune with each other," a bereaved Fiona said. "His loss is like losing a member of my family and my heart feels broken. I hope he rests in peace."
Mr G de Lully, a 1993 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Gauguin De Lully out of Acacia (by Ambassadeur), and owned Fiona Bigwood were member of the British Dressage Team that competed at the 2005 European Championships in Hagen, Germany, and at the 2007 European Championships in Turin, Italy. Fiona was preparing Mr G for team qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
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