At the picturesque Hardenberg Klassika CDI in Nörten-Hardenberg, Germany, Guenter Seidel, Lisa Wilcox and George Williams were the representatives to defend America's honor at this first "big" international competition of the season. The Hardenberg Klassika CDI was the first show in Europe, where the Spanish WEG team gathered again since the 2002 World Equestrian Games and competed against the top riders from Germany, Denmark and the U.S.A. Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Rafael Soto exhibited that their domination on the scene has not been changed this 2003 show season.
Winning the Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle with top scores was Rafael Soto aboard his Andalusian Invasor. Scoring 69,44 % in the Grand Prix, Soto beat Dutch rising star Antoinette Falandt on Jarwo (68,00%) and German Martin Schaudt on Loesdau's Loriot (67,68 %). Guenter Seidel and his number two Grand Prix horse Aragon, a Bavarian gelding by Abydos, finished sixth with 65.16%.
Soto maintained his reign in the Grand Prix Freestyle and won the class with 76.28%, while Falandt settled again for the second spot with 75.17%. Falandt is trained by Coby van Baalen and rides the Dutch warmblood Jarwo (by Ferro). Guenter Seidel and Aragon put in an extra effort and moved up the ranks to a third position with 74.55%.
In the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, Spanish Beatriz Ferrer Salat excelled aboard the Hanoverian Beauvalais (Bolero x Grande). Scoring 71.89%, Ferrer Salat scored the highest Grand Prix score of the day. The Spanish diva, who is trained by Belgian Jan Bemelmans, beat American Lisa Wilcox on Relevant (by Rubinstein) with only a miminal difference, as Wilcox got 71.48% from the panel of judges. George Williams and Rocher (by Rolls Royce) could not top the performance of their team mate Wilcox and followed in 14th position with 64.32%.
In the Special, Ferrer Salat kept her hold on the number one position and with a magical 75,36 % she received the trophy and blue ribbon. In this class Ferrer's competition came from the German Martin Schaudt who seems to have found a new hit in Weltall VA. With 74.88% and a second place, Schaudt made his break-through once again on the international scene. In third were Nadine Capellmann on her second Grand Prix horse Gracioso (by Grundstein II). Wilcox followed in sixth position with 71.80% while Williams placed 12th with 68.52%.
In the small tour, there was one rider who wielded the axe of power and that was Holga Finken. Winning the Prix St Georges Nurnberg Burgpokal qualifier, the S-test, the Prix St Georges, the Intermediaire I, and Intermediaire II, Finken never before had such a great string of success at one show. His trophy-snatching partners-in-crime were Konkorde, Wanesco, Liberty Largo and Duvalier.
Without a doubt winning the Nurnberg Burgpokal qualifier aboard the chestnut Wanesco, was his best small tour achievement of the day. With 72.94%, Finken wowed the crowds on his Bavarian Wanesco (Weltmeyer x Warkant). The horse's owner, Paul Sprehe, said, "it's outrageous how Holga does it time and time again." Wanesco is a renowned prize-beast, already having won the 2001 and 2002 Bundeschampionate, as well as the silver medal at the 2001 World Young Horse Championships in Verden.
In second place in the Nurnberg Burgpokal qualifier was the Danish Fie Skarsoe aboard the German owned Trakehner stallion Münchhausen (by Hohenstein). With 71,89%, Skarsoe beat the Australian Kristy Oatley-Nist on Rosemount Quando-Quando (by Quattro B) who got 71,50 %.
text by Astrid Appels
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