German Dressage Team Holds Narrow Lead at Half-Time of the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015
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After two team riders each have competed in the Lambertz-Prize, the Grand Prix team classification of the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015, the German quartet is narrowly in the lead. The defending champions are heading the rankings with 150.100 points ahead of the team from the Netherlands on a score of 148.214 points and the team from Great Britain on a score of 145.743 points.

The national coach of the German team, Monica Theodorescu, is extremely satisfied: "Jessica (von Bredow-Werndl) had a great ride right at the start and we were really happy with Johnny (Don Johnson) too. It was a shame about the mistake in the one-tempi flying changes, because they count double so we paid dearly for the mistake." Theodorescu is thoroughly enjoying the half-time lead: "This is super!"

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl rode first for the German team. The 29-year-old is the only member of the team that was in the squad for the first time. Her conclusion: "It was a successful ride with calculated risk and a few small mistakes," commented von Bredow-Werndl. "The reception in the stadium with the thundering applause was very impressive. It really motivated me, but it unnerved Unée a bit." With an error in the flying changes, the pair didn't quite manage a faultless round, but the rest was harmonious, even if I didn't risk everything. Chef d'equipe Klaus Roeser was full of praise: "It was a respectable round. Considering the pressure, she really did a good job!" The European Championships debutante reported that she hadn't really been nervous before her first European Championships appearance, just happy: "The fact that I was able to ride here is like a gift I awarded myself. I didn't put any pressure on myself. I have reached the point I wanted to get to."

Aachen is Isabell Werth's twelfth European Championships participation. The first time she competed at a European Championships was in 1989 with Weingart. After her ride with Don Johnson, the self-appointed 'Team mama' was rather disappointed. "Johnny did a good job apart from the mistake in the one-tempi flying changes. I am still trying to comprehend why the scores ranged between 72 and 77 percent."

The national coach of the Dutch team, Wim Ernes, is "very satisfied" after the first day in Aachen!"  "Our first rider, Patrick van der Meer with Uzzo, is on the team for the first time and he put in a very satisfying performance. And Diederik van Silfhout with Arlando did justice to his reputation as the 'shooting star'. "Ernes had given both riders a 'tip' before competing: "I told them to ride like they always do. It is the same competition, the arena is simply somewhere else – namely in Aachen."

Fiona Bigwood with Atterupgaards Orthilla were the strongest pair of the day for Great Britain. They were awarded a score of 75.800 percentage points, which meant they are lying just 0.014 percent behind the best rider of the day, the Dutch rider Silfhout. The last time that the 39-year-old took part at Championships was in 2010, but she now has a top-class horse again, which had only competed in five Grand Prix prior to the competition here today in Aachen.

The competitions here in Aachen are also qualifiers for the Olympic Games. Three teams have already qualified for Rio de Janeiro next year: Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain, the three teams that are currently leading after the first day at the FEI European Championships Aachen 2015. Three further teams could also redeem their tickets here in Aachen. After the first half of the team classification, the teams from Sweden, Belgium and Spain rank fourth to sixth and would thus qualify for Olympia. But everything is still wide open, the teams from France and Denmark are close at their heels.

Tomorrow, on Thursday, the second half of the Lambertz-Prize begins, the Grand Prix team classification. Tomorrow the strongest pairs will compete, including the reigning Olympic gold medallist and World Champion Charlotte Dujardin with Valegro for Great Britain, Kristina Bröring-Sprehe with Desperados and Matthias Alexander Rath with Totilas for Germany.