Odense, Denmark - The third and final day of the Nations Cup competition at the Odense Horse Festival sponsored by ECCO took place on Monday. Led by Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover, The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team of Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar, Susan Dutta and Currency DC, Jennifer Hoffmann and XXXL Rubinio NRW, and Beatrice Marienau and Stefano 8 had respectable performances throughout the competition. At the end of the three days of competition, The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished in fifth place on a score of 403.524.
"I was very proud of our American riders and horses here in Odense and thankful to them, their personal trainers, assistants, and supporters," Dover said. "They showed excellent horsemanship and great potential to produce super results as the season progresses. I wish them all the very best of luck in their upcoming European competitions! Go Team USA!"
The Nations Cup format determined team results by adding the three best results per team in the Grand Prix, the two best results in the Grand Prix Special, and the best result in the Grand Prix Freestyle. All combinations performed the Grand Prix on Saturday with Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar as the top U.S. finishers in eighth place with a score of 69.000%. Dutta and Tim Dutta Inc's Currency DC and Marienau and her own Stefano 8 competed in Sunday's Grand Prix Special, with Marienau finishing ninth on a score of 67.294% and Dutta in 12th on a score of 66.490%. The ECCO Grand Prix Freestyle was the final phase of the competition with Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar and Hoffmann and XXXL Rubinio NRW representing the U.S. in front of the Ground Jury of Kirsten Soegaard (DEN), Elke Ebert (GER), Francis Verbeek (NED), Jacques Van Daele (BEL), and Peter Storr (GBR).
Hoffmann (Duisburg, Germany) and her own XXXL Rubinio NRW performed a striking freestyle to dramatic music with an Arabian flair. The pair had several challenging movements including trot half-passes away from the judge at C to showcase their correctness in the movement, an extended canter to a one-and-a-half canter pirouette, one-tempi changes on the centerline, and a turn while performing the piaffe. Hoffman's music matched the 2003 Westphalian stallion well, highlighted by a lovely extended trot that paired perfectly with the music. Their great performance was marred only by a moment of resistance during a piaffe towards the beginning of the test. Hoffmann and XXXL Rubinio NRW were awarded a score of 67.800% to finish in eighth place.
"Karen Robinson did the music, with Vanessa Mae playing the violin in the trot music, and Sarah Brightman singing at the end. It had a little bit of a Middle Eastern flavor," Hoffmann explained about her freestyle. "It was a real challenge today; we have had our hands full with the weather. It has been super cold and windy with banners flapping and a lot going on. Today, I was really happy with how he held it together as well as he did. We all felt our scores didn't reflect how we had been doing lately, but we dealt with the circumstances the best we could."
Hoffmann made her Nations Cup debut at Odense and was delighted with the experience. "I loved the experience. The gals I was here with were so much fun. For [Marienau], it was her first time as well, with Katherine and Susie having been on teams before, but we didn't really know what to expect. It was super; there was a nice feeling of comradery with everyone watching each other's rides and helping each other out. We got along really well; there was a good harmony. Robert [Dover] was amazing! He was always there, always helping, answering any questions. It was wonderful to have him there."
Bateson-Chandler (Wellington, Fla.) with Jane Clark's Alcazar had entertaining funk music in her freestyle to songs such as "Uptown Funk," "Superstition," and "Play That Funky Music". She managed to produce several quality movements with the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding but struggled with tension in the blustery conditions. They performed a one-and-a-half canter pirouette and nice trot half-pass zig zags. Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar received a score of 66.000% to finish in ninth place.
Host nation Denmark claimed top honors in the Nations Cup with a score of 436.521. Sweden was second on a score of 435.204 and Germany was third on a score of 412.113. Therese Nilshagen (SWE) and Dante Weltino OLD won the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 75.425%, and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (DEN) and Jojo AZ were second on a 73.975% followed by Kathleen Keller (GER) and Daintree 3 in third on a score of 71.600%.
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