European Pony Championships Kick Off Today in Moorsele, Belgium

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Posted by Astrid


Eurodressage's Astrid Appels will be live on the scene at the 2009 European Pony Championships in Moorsele, Belgium, as of today to cover the highlight competition of the year for each FEI pony rider.

On Tuesday morning Eurodressage received word from FEI Dressage Director Trond Asmyr that they changed their decision on randomly measuring the ponies to measuring all of them.

The FEI released the following statement: "The decision had been taken not to measure every pony at this year's European Championship due to a lack of the properly qualified vets to do this. There was a concern that this is such an important matter that we must have people who are qualified to do this. Instead the system was put in place to measure on a basis where members of the ground jury were concerned about ponies. These should be measured and where members of NF Teams were concerned they also could lodge a protest. "

"Following significant feedback from NF Chef D’Equipes it is clear that this solution is felt to be unacceptable and not in the interests of the sport. The FEI has, therefore, looked at the feasibility of using the Veterinary Commission to conduct the measuring and this is what will now happen. It is far from ideal since it will put a lot of pressure on the resources of the Vet Commission, however, it is felt to be the most equable and fair solution given the strength of feeling communicated by the Technical Delegate from the Chefs."

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Dissatisfaction over Danish Team Selection for European Championships

Danish team trainer Rudolf Zeilinger and the Danish Equestrian Federation (DRF) have announced the team that will represent Denmark at the 2009 European Dressage Championships in Windsor, Great Britain, August 24 - 30, 2009.

Based on the performances this season and the last Danish selection trial at the national championships in Broholm, Zeilinger chose the following riders for the team:

  • Nathalie Zu Saeyn-Wittgenstein - Digby
  • Anne van Olst - Clearwater
  • Sune Hansen - Gredstedgards Casmir
  • Andreas Helgstrand - Carabas

Surprisingly no reserve rider has been named yet.

Danish A-team rider Anders Dahl is very disappointed and frustrated with the Danish Equestrian Federation.

Dahl, who lives in Great Britain with his life partner Fiona Bigwood, did not compete at the Danish Championships but instead showed at the 2009 CDI Hickstead, a five star CDI with three O-judges on the judging panel. He scored 69,06% in the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix.

On Thursday 23rd July 2009, only one day before the Danish Championships, Dahl read in DRF president Ulf Helgstrand's daily blog that the nationals were an official and mandatory selection trial for the Danish team.

"I asked in writing in September 2008 for the team selection criteria for the 2009 European Championships as well as the 2010 World Equestrian Games. I have repeatedly done so but it has been impossible to get a reply from DRF sport manager Jens-Erik Majlund."

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Nathalie Zu Saeyn-Wittgenstein Claims Second National Grand Prix Title

Danish princess Nathalie Zu Saeyn-Wittgenstein has claimed her second national Grand Prix champion's title. At the 2009 Danish Dressage Championships in Broholm, Denmark, Zu Saeyn-Wittgenstein proved to be unbeatable. Aboard her second Grand Prix horse Rigoletto she won all three rounds and freewheeled to the gold medal.

Zu Saeyn-Wittgenstein started both her horses in the Championship. With Digby she won the Grand Prix 72,4% and finished second with Rigoletto on 70,60%. She then chose to save Digby and continue the Championships with Rigoletto. She scored 72,7% in the Special and 78,1%% in the Kur to Music to win both classes and the gold medal.

The silver medal went to Anne van Olst on the Danish bred Clearwater (by Carpaccio x Limebrand). The combination had to withdraw at the CDIO Aachen due to irregularity, but Clearwater appeared fit and fresh at the starters' line in Broholm. Van Olst scored 75.45% in the Kur to Music and finished second overall. The kur finals were quite exciting as Van Olst's Kur CD didn't work. She had to go outside the ring and fetch the reserve CD in her car. She was able to go last and perform her freestyle after all.

Newcomer Sune Hansen rose to the occasion and finished in bronze medal position aboard Blue Hors owned gelding Gredstedgards Casmir (by Continue). Hansen worked his way up from a fifth place in the Grand Prix (68,4%) to a third place in the Special (70,0%) and Kur (75,25%).

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