This afternoon some unexpected turns decided the Grand Prix contest of the 28th FEI Reem Acra World Cup Final Dressage in Goteborg, which was won by German Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill. Surprises were all over and it happened to be not only nice ones. Despite her working on the basics including relaxation with her former and now actual trainer Johan Hamminga, title defender Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival were not able to show the reward for this. Jerich Parzival totally took Cornelissen by surprise when seriously spooking in a piaffe, turning twice and going backwards, resisting to go forward in the beginning. The disastrous spooky episode in one of their trademark strong points piles on the pressure ahead of Saturday's Freestyle decider. Too bad that all the work was not rewarded today.
But let's go back to the start of the competition. Bad luck already occurred when German Kristina Sprehe had to withdraw her Olympic teamsilver winner Desperado due to lameness in the light morning session. First starter compatriot Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill rode a fluent and sparkling test. The elegant and harmonious pair looked self confident and secure. However stallion Damon Hill could have showed the piaffe more to its advantage as apart from the good rhythm, they were all very forward performed. Also the one tempi changes were not ok. Two judges Markowki and Svalling had the pair not on first spot and they probably were right. However her score of 79,863% would happen not to be improved!
The weaker points of Langehanenberg were improved very well by The Netherlands' Edward Gal with Glock's Undercover. The pair showed their amazing skills to their best. Piaffes on the spot, relaxation, a faultless ride, it all was there. However three fold World Champion Gal said this was not his easiest ride. "But I have the great feeling Glock's Undercover likes to do it for me and has its trust in me, which is great", Gal commented on his runner up position.
There was plenty of drama as the tension got to many of the leading contenders. It all fell apart for Marlies van Baalen whose chestnut gelding, Miciano, became increasingly agitated and uncooperative. The young Dutch rider showed just what she's made of when riding through it all to finish with a disappointing score of 63.070 but with the satisfaction that she had completed the test.
Swedish Patrik Kittel's performance with Watermill Scandic HBC was quickly spoiled by a double-take in the corner of the arena as they executed their first extended trot and, once unnerved, the chestnut stallion never settled to his work for a score of 69.559 which would leave them in 10th place in the final analysis. His chestnut stallion simply was too tensed to be more open in the front and didn't shine as normal.
In the end FEI dressage director Trond Asmyr informed all that a protest had been made due to the fact that the show arena when open for practicing had not been the same as when opened for the competition. More flowers etcetera had been added which might have caused the spookiness of several horses.
Second-last into the ring, Isabell Werth's Don Johnson FRH also did a double-take early in their test, but the German ace showed the benefit of her extensive experience by simply riding with even greater determination for a good result of 75.015 that placed them fifth as the competition drew to a close. Isabell was happy with her horse but regretted her own mistake when counting 17 one tempi changes instead of the desired 15.
Not only Cornelissen and Werth but all competitors had been chasing Langehanenberg's opening score of 79.86. A very good ride also had Denmark's Anna Kasprazak and Donnperignon being awarded with 74.894. Italy's Valentina Truppa and Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno led the way in the second half with a score of 71.778. They are looking forward riding a completely new Freestyle next Saturday. Norway's Lillann Jebsen and Pro-Set scored 68.146 despite losing their way as they started to do the one tempi changes when the zig zag had to be performed first. An expensive mistake.
Last into the ring, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello finished third for the host nation. Swedish Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven competed her horses in Florida until the end of March. She brought Don Auriello home six weeks ago to get him adjusted and ready to come at the WC Final. A very lucky decision indeed!
The Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2012/2013 Freestyle will take place Saturday April 27 at 13.20 local time. Decide to watch all the excitement and subscribe on www.feitv.org
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