In preparation of the CDIO Aachen, the entire American dressage team trailered their horses to the small CDI competition at Hof Kasselmann in Hagen, Germany. It was a good dress rehearsal for several of the riders, who now know what to work on if they want to ace in Aachen.
Leslie Morse proved that she's training in the right way. In the absence of leading American dressage dame Debbie McDonald, the California based Morse became the strongest U.S. pair in Hagen.
Aboard her 13-year old KWPN stallion Kingston (by Voltaire) she finished second in the Grand Prix with 73.54 % and won the Kur to Music with 76.52 %. On her Swedish stallion Tip Top (by Master), she was seventh in the Grand Prix (69.88 %) and in the Special (70.32 %).
"Leslie tried out some new music this time, keeping with a movie theme and again from a Johnny Depp movie," Morse's partner Laura Petroff said. "This time "Finding Neverland". So Kingston was "Living in Neverland", piaffing his way to the victory."
George Williams and Rocher (by Rolls Royce) put in a good ride in the Grand Prix (69.33 % - 87th), but fell behind a bit in the Special (68.12 % - 10th). Steffen Peters and Lombardi II improved their Grand Prix act (68.54 - 9th) in the Special by pushing the score up to a 70.88 % (4th).
Unfortunately for Guenter Seidel and Aragon, their Hagen show wasn't as successful as hoped for. 67.13 % in the Grand Prix was definitely far below Seidel's normal level and he could barely improve the score in the Special 68.16 %.
There was a fifth American rider in Hagen, but one who is not in Europe training with Balkenhol on a USEF Grant. Christine Traurig is permanently based in Voerde, Germany, at Johan Hinnemann's and she competed her sole Grand Prix horse, More Magic. She scored 67.88 % in the Grand Prix and 70.40 % in the Special.
"All of the USA should be proud of this very fine showing, a solid warm-up for Aachen, which is just 10 days away," Petroff stated.
Nadine Capellmann and her up and coming world class potential star Elvis VA (by Espri) won the Grand Prix and the Special with Olympic level scores: 76.00 % and 75.80 %.
Text and Photo by Astrid Appels/Eurodressage