FEI World Cup™ Driving 2013/2014: Newcomer Daniel Schneiders Triumphs on Home Turf

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 Germany’s Daniel Schneiders made the most of his first points-gaining FEI World Cup™ Driving start to win on home turf in Stuttgart. (Karl-Heinz Frieler/FEI)
Germany’s Daniel Schneiders made the most of his first points-gaining FEI World Cup™ Driving start to win on home turf in Stuttgart. (Karl-Heinz Frieler/FEI)

Newcomer Daniel Schneiders (GER) thrilled the enthusiastic crowd in the atmospheric Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart (GER) with victory in the third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving 2013/2014 series, leaving his compatriot Georg von Stein and top favourite Boyd Exell (AUS) behind him.

Stuttgart was Daniel Schneiders first proper FEI World Cup™ start and he made the most of it by collecting maximum points. After he switched from driving ponies to horses two years ago, his goal was to compete in the FEI World Cup™. He received a wild card in Hannover in 2012 and 2013 and qualified for the FEI World Cup™ Driving season 2013/2014 after his compatriot Christoph Sandmann and Chester Weber (USA) pulled out.

Thrilling To The End
Schneiders, a farrier by profession, had one knockdown in the first round but was very fast, to go through the winning round. Driving the same team of horses with which he was less successful in Hannover several weeks ago, Schneiders put down a very fast time again in the winning round, which took place over a shortened course. The difference between Schneiders and Von Stein was only a little over one second and when Von Stein knocked a ball and was one second slower, Schneiders moved up to second place.

Last man in and top favourite Boyd Exell started at full speed, using his new leader horse Knight Templar. In the first marathon obstacle, Knight became too strong, which cost a knockdown and precious seconds. An element also fell, blocking the way to the finish, which caused another ball to fall, much to the excitement of the spectators in Stuttgart, who then knew their home driver Schneiders would be declared the winner. With 10 points for victory, Schneiders has moved straight into equal third in the series standings.

Recovered
Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) drove a clear round, but wasn’t quite fast enough and had to settle for fourth, ahead of Michael Brauchle (GER), whose horses were clearly fully recovered from a tip-up the night before. The 23-year-old wild card driver from the Stuttgart area put down a steady performance around the course, designed by Stuttgart’s new course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf (GER). Jozsef Dobrovitz junior knocked one ball and became too eager after that, resulting in another two knockdowns for sixth place at the finish.

World Champion Trainers
Daniel Schneiders is trained by Boyd Exell, during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. “That stops now,” laughed Exell at the post-competition press conference. Exell had helped Schneiders put together this special indoor team and also advises Schneiders during the course walks. Schneiders is also trained by double World Champion and multiple FEI World Cup™ champion Michael Freund (GER) and the German national trainer Karl-Heinz Geiger.

Schneiders used the big “ponies” Cabus and Costa in the lead. Cabus was previously part of Schneiders’ pony team, while Costa was used by his brother Dennis in single harness. Both horses are part of Schneiders’ outdoor team. Schneiders also uses the Dutch gelding Twister, formerly owned by Theo Timmerman (NED) and Boyd Exell, and the thoroughbred gelding Jumpingjackflash in the wheel of his team.

New Course Designer
German O-course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf was making his Stuttgart course design debut, taking over the reins from Falk Böhnisch, who retired last year. Asendorf has been a course designer for over 20 years and has designed many World Championships, FEI World Cup™, national and international events. Next year’s CAIO Aachen will see Asendorf in charge for the 13th time. After the first competition in Stuttgart, Asendorf decided to change gate A around in the second marathon obstacle to make the course more fluent, which was much appreciated by the six drivers.

Quotes:
Daniel Schneiders (GER): “My goal in the winning round was to drive just as good and fast as in my first round, but without knocking a ball down. It is just amazing that I won during my first start in Stuttgart. In Hannover I noticed that my horses were not fit enough, so I worked on that in the past weeks and this has paid off. They are super fit now. I just love the FEI World Cup Driving. If I could, I would do nothing else!”

Georg von Stein (GER): “I drove the same horses as in Hannover and in Verona and they are getting better every time. At first when I saw the course plan, I did not like it very much, but it turned out very well and we have seen good sport.”

Boyd Exell (AUS): Laughing: “I have to blame Michael Freund for my faults today! Michael always told me that if you can’t hold them, let them run. I did let them run, but I wasn’t able to take them back in time. My new leader horse Knight became too eager and we changed the bit settings after the first round to get more control. We came into the first obstacle too fast and Knight did not want to wait. It was a team mistake that we did not see the element that we knocked down, blocking our path, which forced a second ball to fall. This was avoidable, so I am a little disappointed with that.”

FEI World Cup™ Driving, Stuttgart (GER), 16 November 2013:
    Daniel Schneiders (GER) 233,49
    Georg von Stein (GER) 238,16
    Boyd Exell (AUS) 242,59
    József Dobrovitz (HUN) 124,21
    Michael Brauchle (GER) 126,97
    József Dobrovitz jnr (HUN) 144,27

FEI World Cup™ Driving, standings after 3 of 9 events:
1  Boyd EXELL  AUS   22
2  Georg VON STEIN  GER  12
=3 Koos DE RONDE  NED  10
=3 Daniel SCHNEIDERS  GER  10
5  Jozsef DOBROVITZ jnr  HUN  9
6  Jozsef DOBROVITZ  HUN  6
=7 IJsbrand CHARDON  NED  5
=7 Michael BRAUCHLE  GER  5
8  Theo TIMMERMAN   NED  2




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