The small glitch of winning only the bronze individual medal instead of the gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, can easily be forgotten now. Ulla Salzgeber has reinstated herself as the leading dame of the dressage world by impressively winning the first qualifier of the 2002/2003 World Cup Series.
With dominating and overpowering presence, did Salzgeber compete at the Dusseldorf Masters in Dusseldorf, Germany. Rusty was his usual self again, showing fluent transitions, a strong piaffe passage tour and with delightfully light bit contact throughout his two tests. Scoring 76.60% in the Grand Prix and 81.01% in the kur to music, Salzgeber was in fact never abdicated as dressage queen. By winning the qualifier at Dusseldorf and with an early lead in the provisional World Cup ranking, Salzgeber is following the same show path as the year before.
Anky van Grunsven and Gestion Salinero, A Newly Acquired Duo
Ranking second in the freestyle was Anky van Grunsven aboard the recently purchased Gestion Salinero, a liver chestnut Hanoverian by Salieri. Receiving 72.40% and placing third in the Grand Prix, the sensitive Salinero needed some warm up time in order to score in the freestyle. Anky's highest ever score with Salinero, a 78.54% for her musical ride, put her in second place.
Her two top placings at Dusseldorf were very welcome for Van Grunsven because "we are running out of savings," Van Grunsven told Dutch reporter Claartje van Andel. Van Grunsven recently bought Salinero from American Tess Guilder, as Guilder considered the horse a better match for the Dutch rider better. "She didn't want to trade Salinero for Gestion Idool, but preferred Jeanine Fiechter's Bertolucci (by Equador) instead. So, I bought Bertolucci for her and exchanged him for Salinero", Van Grunsven explained.
Monica Theodorescu and Heike Kemmer, Come Back Kids
Making a strong come back at the end of the 2002 show season are Monica Theodorescu and Renaissance Fleur. Ever since she had to give up her ride on Tecrent Grunox in 1998, Theodorescu was never able to profile herself again as a German team rider. With her elegant Trakehner mare Renaissance Fleur (by Tuareg), Theodorescu has renewed chances to make an impression, but the competition is hard in Germany and it's highly unlikely that this dapple grey mare will give her a new ticket to success.
Nevertheless, at the CDI Dusseldorf Theodorescu was able to shine, escpecially in the freestyle. Her moderate Grand Prix ride of 70.28% (7th) was spiced up in the freestyle, clearly impressing the panel of judges who put 74.61% on the scoreboard and placed her third.
In fourth were Heike Kemmer and her Oldenburg gelding Albano (by Argentinus). While Kemmer was hot last year and got selected for the 2001 European Dressage Championships in Verden, Germany, the 2002 dressage season has became a real downfall for the duo from Celle, Germany. Kemmer and Albano sank from steadily scoring in the mid 70s range into a dip in which she was barely able to reach 65% per test. Her ninth place with 69.64% in the Grand Prix improved to a 74.02% and a fourth spot in the Freestyle.
Ingrid Klimke, Scoring High with Nector and Fiorissimo
Albeit, the biggest prospect for the World Cup Series and the 2003 dressage season is undoubtedly Ingrid Klimke with the Belgian warmblood gelding Nector van het Carelshof (by Randel Z). Taking a break from competition to give birth to Greta Klimke in August, 2002, Ingrid is now back in the saddle and ready to face the world. Aboard Christine Doan's Nector van het Carelshof, Klimke scored 72.48% in the Grand Prix, placing second behind Ulla Salzgeber. In the kur to music, the still inexperienced Nector got too temperamental and missed a few movements falling back into seventh place with 73.64%.
With only four dressage classes during the show jumping dominated Dusseldorf Masters, Ingrid Klimke, daughter of the late dressage guru Dr Reiner Klimke, rode three tests. The international Prix St Georges class was won by Klimke, this time aboard Fiorissimo, a nine-year-old bay Hanoverian by Werther. 72.30% gave her the right to take home the trophy and the blue ribbon. Ellen Schulten Baumer rode her upcoming talent Weltino, a chestnut Hanoverian by Weltmeyer, and finished second with 71.20%.
World Cup Series, Warm Up Shows for New Combinations
Placing last in that Prix St Georges class were interestingly enough Anky van Grunsven and Lucky Times. With 61.10% the pair got referred to a sixth place. This was Lucky Times' first outing under Anky van Grunsven. Lucky Times (KWPN, by Goodtimes) is the double Pavo Cup Dutch Young Horse Champion, formerly trained and shown by Anne van Uytert. The highly sensitive and almost crazy Lucky Times was once hailed as Holland's biggest talent. With Van Grunsven controlling the reins of Lucky Times, much is in store.
The 2002/2003 World Cup Series took off a good start for German Ulla Salzgeber. The Western European League for World Cup competitions includes 11 shows in total:
Düsseldorf, GER 17. - 20. October 2002
Berlin, GER 20. - 24. November 2002
Stockholm, SWE 29. Nov. - 01. December 2002
Mechelen, BEL 26. - 30. December 2002
Maastricht, NED 06. - 08. December 2002
San Patrignano, ITA 24. - 26. January 2003
Aarhus, DEN 06. - 09. February 2003
Neumünster, GER 13. - 16. February 2003
Paris-Bery, FRA 07. - 09. March 2003
's-Hertogenbosch, NED 20. - 23. March2003
FINALE Göteborg, SWE 27. - 30. March2003
The World Cup Final will take place in Goteborg, Sweden, April 2003.
by Astrid Appels
Images by Mary Phelps - Dirk Caremans - JJ Hathaway
CDI-W Dusseldorf, Germany - Scores at Eurodressage
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