Isabell Werth Closes European League with a Win

Monday, March 23, 2009

A completely sold out house of 9.500 witnessed its Olympic heroes. The´s-Hertogenbosch Horseshow Indoor Brabant boasted the strongest field of competitors one can imagine. Six Olympic combinations entered, not being the least pairs. Silver medallist Isabell Werth and Satchmo took the win (84,15%). For individual gold medallist Anky van Grunsven it was the first time to compete after the OG in Hong Kong. Olympic silver medallist Isabell Werth already had built up her show routine again and this payed off in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Satchmo had to leave the Grand Prix victory to Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero. In Grand Prix last Thursday Satchmo didn’t go to his full potential and stayed a bit on the safe side.But today he was the first of the big gladiators to go into the Freestyle.

Not a single moment did he leave his rider Isabell Werth on herself, being cooperative all the time. The piaffe although without resistance is not his best point and could have been more expressive, as the extended gates and half passes were. The total image was one of harmony and that’s what dressage is all about.

Isabell Werth was very happy both with her horse, the great Dutch audience and the show which seems to improve yearly in every small detail. “Of course I didn’t expect to win today”, she said. “However I always try and hope and Satchmo is very good in shape. He gave me a fantastic ride and I’m really proud on him.”
And proud, so was Anky. She became third after a test with one huge mistake. IPS Salinero mistook her aids for a pirouette and fell out almost into a turning piaffe. “I had to bring IPS Salinero back to the canter and perform the pirouette again. As I was totally at the wrong side of the arena I decided to do a half pass instead and suddenly found myself back on track for another pirouette right at the music”, Anky explained. “I cannot expect to win without show routine and I’m proud IPS Salinero is as relaxed as he is now. He definitely needed this long pause and so did I, as not much of a riding challenge is left after a second Olympic gold medal.”

Dutch champion Adelinde Cornelissen took her chance at her premiere with a completely new Freestyle. Parzival was showed along with the opera music of Parzival. “The story is quite remarkable and fitting! Parzival was a knight that had to go through a lot of challenges to become a king in the end. I like that”, Adelinde said. Forgotten were the problems of the qualifier in Amsterdam in which Parzival spooked and didn’t even qualify for the Freestyle. Now he simply did one tempi changes and two tempi changes on the centreline without failures or resistance. The advice was to enlarge the difficulties and change the music. “I’m happy it worked out so well”, Adelinde concluded. Not all judges agreed and varied in their placing between first and fourth position. In the end however, Adelinde and Parzival were the runner up.

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Qualified for the Final

German Monica Theodorescu had a great ride on Michael Jackson music scoring almost an 80% as well. For Dutch Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud and the elegant mare Exquis Nadine the score of 79,20% was a personal record. Both have now qualified for the Final in Las Vegas.

Finnish Kyrklund and Max, having been placed third in the Final of last year, now became sixth with their new Freestyle but competing in three qualifiers only didn’t earn enough points to make it to the Final. Laura Bechtolsheimer refrained from competing in Göteborg due to family obligations. Now she didn’t make it to the Final either. Anky van Grunsven withdrew from competing in Göteborg as serious back problems left her home.

The problem for Anky now seems to be the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Reglement that states the rule that last year’s winner is automatically qualified when having showed in two qualifiers. Anky’s husband and trainer Sjef Janssen shot himself in the foot six years ago, having been one of the persons to stipulate the rule.

Tomorrow  the complete list of qualified participants will be made known, including the appointing of Wild Cards. It will be the last decision made by FEI director dressage Eva Salomon, as she will be leaving the FEI Bureau. Anky van Grunsven is qualified with IPS Painted Black. A wild card will do title defender Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero no good as the same rules of two qualifiers apply.

Western European League
Final standings following all 9 competitions in WEL + 6 CEL
1 Isabell WERTH GER 80
2. Adelinde CORNELISSEN NED 77
3. Hans Peter MINDERHOUD NED 68
5. Jan BRINK SWE 57
6. Jeannette HAAZEN NED 54
7. Minna TELDE SWE 51
Not qualified:
8. Heike KEMMER GER 50
12. Christa LAARAKKERS NED 45
13. Kyra KYRKLUND FIN 42
13. Catherine HADDAD USA 42
For further information on the International Equestrian Federation (FEI)
For further information and all FEI World Cup ™ news:
More on the show in ´s-Hertogenbosch on

Sjef Janssen Aims for Teamgold  in London 2012

The golden coach of The Netherlands Sjef Janssen (59) is commonly noticed as the important factor behind the successes of Dutch dressage. The historical team gold medal at the EC Dressage in 2007 in Italy is the best example. Yesterday at the Indoor Brabant Horseshow Janssen signed a new contract with the Dutch Equestrian Federation KNHS as the coach until the Olympic Games London 2012. It’s no secret that the Americans and Australians were looking for a new coach and seriously interested. However Janssen prolonged his choice for The Netherlands. He gave two reasons. “I see a lot of potential in Dutch dressage for the coming years. And the wish to spend time with my family and little children are a main reason as well”, he said. His goal is not difficult to guess: “Of course the Olympic gold team medal in London.”

Former international Tineke Bartels signed for another year as coach of the Juniors and Young Riders, international Grand Prix-rider Christa Laarakkers did the same as coach for the Dutch Ponies. They will work together closely as one of the future aims also is to have the same basic line from the start with the ponies until the seniors.

National Dressage Instead of International at Outdoor Gelderland

The organisers of the nice outdoor horseshow Outdoor Gelderland near the medieval Middachten Castle in De Steeg near Arnhem and the Dutch Equestrian Federation KNHS have made up their minds. Outdoor Gelderland  (June 3-7) will be a CSI3* but will skip the international dressage CDI3* and will have the Dutch national championships dressage in all classes from Juniors to Intermediate level and Grand Prix instead. The contract is signed for the next three years.