American Catherine Haddad Gains Momentum for the World Cup
Although the starting field at Gothenburg CDI-W, Sweden was less imposing than last weekend's list at Neumuenster in Germany, this Western European League qualifier for the World Cup attracted it's own top ranked stars. Jan Brink and Kyra Kyrklund--placing first and second on both days respectively--dominated both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle with strong technical tests. Brink's Briar turned in a conservative yet precise test in the Grand Prix after a short competitive pause over the winter. Their freestyle, although punctuated with slight resistance in one movement, did not fail to bring the ever loyal 10,000 fans to their feet for a standing ovation in Gothenburg's Scandinavium stadium.
Kyrklund's Max looked particularly strong in the piaffe/passage tour after a series of less consistent tests at previous shows. With her second place finish in the Freestyle, Kyrklund now moves into the third ranked position in the Western European League. Tinne Wilhelmson (SWE) with Solos Carex finished third both in the Grand Prix and in the Freestyle.
Photo Credit - Lotte Gyllensten
Catherine Haddad riding for the USA and Maximus JSS turned in one of their best international results in the Grand Prix with a score of 69.458% for place fourth. "We have been working so hard on the piaffe over the winter," said Haddad. "I'm relieved to see our scores finally starting to respond to the improvements in strength and self carriage that Maximus shows." The 13 year old Danish gelding does indeed give a buffer, fitter appearance than last summer, sporting a well muscled topline that now brings to mind the gladiator he is named after. "I'm relieved to finally see consistent scores of '7' in the piaffe and a few judges also giving '8s' for the transitions in and out to passage. We will continue to improve."
Responding in characteristic good humor to an interview with Swedish national television after her somewhat less satisfying freestyle ride on Friday, Haddad said "Technically, we have seen better days! But the atmosphere in the stadium is astounding. It's a pleasure to ride for such an appreciative and knowledgable crowd." Haddad, who represented the US for the fifth time in a European WC qualifier this year, placed only sixth with 71.3% despite a strong dramatic and artistic impression that was well applauded by Gothenburg's dressage fans. Her serpentine of 25 one-tempis always brings a suspenseful delight to the crowd.
Another American rider, Heather Blitz finished 14th in the Freestyle riding Otto.
Haddad is now ranked 11th in the Western European League heading toward the final qualifier for Las Vegas at S'hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.
Provisional standings after 9 of 15 competitions (+ 5 in Central European League)
1. Imke SCHELLEKENS-BARTELS NED 77
2. Isabell WERTH GER 61
3. Kyra KYRKLUND FIN 60
4. Edward GAL NED 59
5. Ellen SCHULTEN BAUMER GER 56
6. Tinne VILHELMSON SWE 55
7. Laurens VAN LIEREN NED 54
8. Andreas HELGSTRAND DEN 49
9. Louise NATHHORST SWE 47
10.Marlies VAN BAALEN NED 44
11.Catherine HADDAD USA 41
12.Wayne CHANNON GBR 40
12. Jan BRINK SWE 40