Local rider Anja Ploenzke, from Wiesbaden, made a triumphant FEI World Cup debut in Frankfurt with her father's 12-year old Trakehner stallion Tannenhof's Solero, winning the first qualifier to be held at this show.
Ploenzke beat Ellen Schulten-Baumer and her mare Donatha S into second place by just half a percent, with Holland's Laurens van Lieren and Hexagon's Ollright third, again by a fraction. Drawn last to go, Ploenzke had seen Ellen Schulten Baumer's 74 per cent score posted. She said: " I thought, oh my, I'm really going to have to go for it. Then my first piaffe was not so good. But I really like riding freestyle and so does Solero, although I still can't believe we did it."
As she is not on the German 'A' squad, Ploenzke has found it difficult to get starts in FEI World Cup competitions. " All our top riders want to ride these shows" she said. " When our team trainer Holger Schmezer said I could ride here I was so happy. It really is my home show". Now with 20 points on her card, she is hoping for more this season. She rode to music by rapper Eminem, suggested three years ago by her son, who is now eleven.
Ellen Schulten-Baumer can enjoy Christmas knowing she has a clear lead in the Standings, with five points in hand over Laura Bechtolsheimer and Laurens van Lieren who share second place on 42.
Van Lieren is looking forward to riding at the next qualifier, CDI-W Mechelen, which begins on Boxing Day. "I won't have a laid-back Christmas, but I rode there last year and loved it." The Dutch rider was impressed by the Frankfurt crowd and was delighted with Hexagon's Ollright, commenting: " He was already very good in the Grand Prix, though there was some tension in the walk which he didn't quite lose until the last centre line, which I think was one of his best ever. In the freestyle he stayed relaxed and moved through his whole body. The crowd was amazing - it was a really good 'big show' atmosphere."
Italy's Valentina Truppa was thrilled to win the first ever FEI Young Riders World Cup. "I can't believe it, it's incredible!" she said after a clinching overall victory by a whisker from Germany's Jessica Werndl. " The World Cup is a great event and I'm so happy to win it. As Jessica is the European Champion I really thought she would win," she said of her rival since junior days.
Valentina is the daughter of FEI 'O' judge Enzo Truppa and had to contest Thursday's first leg of the competition on her own as her father and trainer was officiating at the Olympia FEI World Cup qualifier. She has ridden her 14-year-old Baden-Wurttemburg gelding Don Rico since '99 and competed at every Championship level every year with him since 2000, winning a silver medal at last year's Junior European Championships and a bronze this year at Young Rider level.
"He was best today", she commented after the freestyle final, in which she rode to a 50's themed programme. " He is a very, very good horse for the freestyle, he goes better than in the normal tests so I really think he likes music."
Photo copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage