The Dutch Write History by Winning Team Gold at the 2007 European Dressage Championships

Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Posted by bossmare


Historic Team Gold Victory for The NetherlandsText by Astrid Appels/Eurodressage - Photos courtesy Ph. Grasso

The Dutch dressage team won team gold at the 2007 European Dressage Championships at La Mandria, near Turin, Italy, on August 31, 2007. Isabell Werth claimed individual gold in the Grand Prix Special and Anky van Grunsven won Kur Gold on the last day of competition, but the talk of the show was without a doubt Holland finally beating Germany, who has held a subscription to the team gold since the European Championships of 1965 (!!).

Anky van Grunsven won the Grand Prix with Salinero with a score of 77.458% and Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Sunrise placed fourth with 74.167%. These two Dutch riders contributed the most to the gold medal for Holland. Isabell Werth finished second with Satchmo on 76.708% but the second highest ranked German was Nadine Capellmann and Elvis in fifth place with 72.417%. Holland defeated Germany with almost a full two percent, landing on first place with a total of 222.083 while Germany totalled 220.792%. Sweden won team bronze with 208.000 in total, the best ride coming from Tinne Vilhelmson on Solos Carex (71.042%). With its third place, Sweden qualified as a team for the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Switzerland and Great Britain also obained a berth by finished fourth and fifth in the team ranking. Germany and The Netherlands already qualified for the Olympics at the 2006 World Equestrian Games.

"We arrived here well aware to have a chance to get a great result. We are a fantastic team and this gold medal pays us back for our hard work, which is an essential requirement to get such results. I’m really happy with this European Championship. It was the only medal I was missing by now," Van Grunsven said at the press conference.

Isabell Werth stated that, "I’m sorry we missed the gold medal. We have fought hard against the great Dutch team, which today has been the best. We congratulate them for their result, which is good for our sport. But tomorrow is another day. I have tried to do all my best riding Satchmo, who has been very generous and helpful. We risked a lot but this time it hasn’t been enough. Tomorrow we will try to make no mistakes."

Cesare Croce, president of the Italian Equestrian Federation, commented that, "a great team has been beaten by another great team. This is the law of he sport. I’m really happy of this European Championship because it has shown that nothing lasts forever. It seemed quite impossible to beat Germany, but this has happened and this is good for the sport."

The Dutch Write History by Winning Team Gold at the 2007 European Dressage Championships

Grand Prix Special Gold for Isabell Werth

Isabell Werth took the highest step on the podium for the medasl given to the top three in the Grand Prix Special. Aboard Madeleine Winter-Schulze's Hanoverian gelding Satchmo (by Sao Paulo), Werth scored 78.360% and stayed almost a full percent ahead of Anky van Grunsven on her Hanoverian gelding Salinero (by Salieri) who earned 77.480 % for their ride. Imke Schellekens-Bartels claimed her first international individual Championship medal by riding the Hanoverian mare Sunrise (by Singular Joter) to a bronze medal position on a score of 75,920%.

"Today’s result is very important and confirms the fact that I’ve always trusted Satchmo," Werth said at the press conference. "Even after the bad period we had four years ago due to some problem to his eyes. In the past two years he has been working very well. Last World Equestrian Games in Aachen represented a very special experience for this horse and me. I actually came back as a winner in front of my home-fans after many years. The atmosphere here is completely different, with a lot of pressure. After Grand Prix performance everybody had some expectation… but we made it. This Fei European Championship Dressage 2007 is therefore very important for both of us," she concluded.

1994 has been a top season for Hannoveraner dressage horse as all medallists were born in that year!

The Dutch Write History by Winning Team Gold at the 2007 European Dressage Championships

Kur Gold Medal for Anky van Grunsven

The scenario of the 2007 European Championships seemed to have been based on that of the 2006 World Equestrian Games. Anky van Grunsven won the gold medal by winning the Kur to Music with a score of 85.800%. Their ride was not entirely faultless with no halt at the end of the test and the typical buck/croup high hindquarters before the tempi changes, but the piaffe and passage was brilliant as well as the very fluent trot tour.

"I’m delighted with my result. Salinero was calm and relaxed in the training sessions as well as during competitions. In La Mandria we had a fantastic show and I’m very happy I came to Italy. The atmosphere was very good for the team too. I really hope we will be in the position to consolidate this result even if I perfectly know it will not be so easy," Anky stated.

Isabell Werth won kur silver by scoring 83,200% for her freestyle aboard Satchmo. "Satchmo was brilliant but I had to take some risks during our performance and in a few circumstances the horse was not perfect. Like in the pirouette or in the extended trot where he lost a bit uneven," Werth explained, adding that "We really have been fighting hard but this time we’ve lost. Now we know that Dutch riders can beat us. I only hope this will not happen too often."

Imke Schellekens-Bartels and her Hanoverian mare Sunrise claimed bronze again. Her piano infused freestyle earned her a score of 81,750%. "Sunrise just offered me a fantastic performance. He was a little tired but he kept concentration and remained very soft. He really performed at its best," she said.

Text by Astrid Appels/Eurodressage - Photos courtesy Ph. Grasso

Related Link
Eurodressage: Full Coverage and Scores of the 2007 European Championships