Ravel wins Rolex FEI World Cup Grand Prix

Friday, April 17, 2009

KWPN-Horses Ranked 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6

The excitement is back in the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final. American favorite Steffen Peters did the incredible as his 11 year old gelding Ravel (Contango x Hautain pref by Democraat, breeder H. de Man) offered everything almost effortlessly. No weak points and no mistakes could be seen. His score of 77,915% was a personal best and while the audience went completely wild after the test, Ravel seemed to be unaffected by the applause and cheering and simply walked on a long rein.

Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Beautiful performances had already attracted the eye before Peters and Ravel entered the arena in the Thomas and Mack centre in Las Vegas.

The first to go over the 70% threshold was Jan Brink riding his 18 year old KWPN-recognized stallion Briar for the eighth time in a FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final. After Brink seven more riders crossed this line. Pop Art (Amsterdam x Jodyprinses keur by Cabochon, breeder E. Korenberg) showed by Canadian Ashley Holzer Art impressed by the great picture combined with fluency and impulsion, especially in the collections in the piaffe and pirouettes.

The big Nartan (Jazz x Tanja ster prest by Le Faquin xx, breeder W.J.A. van Loveren) showed by his petite rider Jeannette Haazen did a very even test and showed great extensions. The mare Exquis Nadine (TCN Partout x Charites ster pref prest by Roemer, breeder G.A. Vervoorn) , placed fifth individually with his rider Hans Peter Minderhoud at the Olympic Games, floated uphill and showed very impressive extensions. Monica Theodorescu had a fluent performance aboard Whisper, leaving only her extended walk for the five judges to question, as both the mark 5 as the mark 9 had been given.

Isabell Werth riding her Olympic silver medal horse Satchmo had a wonderful start with highlights in the beginning of her test with the half passes in trot and the extensions. However she had a mistake in counting the one tempi changes and did 17 instead of 15. Overall, it looked as though she was riding a bit with the handbrake on as Satchmo easily is distracted. Immediately after Werth, Anky van Grunsven entered the arena riding the black KWPN-stallion IPS Painted Black (breeders fam. Valk-Van Anhold). For the audience it was quite exciting to compare Anky’s score with the leader board of Isabell’s scores. As IPS Painted Black had a mistake in the two tempi changes, in the very end at the point of the last centerline with passage and piaffe the scores of Werth and Van Grunsven were equal at 73,0%. In the end, Anky took the lead due to the last passage rewarded with an eight by all judges. Nine time winner Anky van Grunsven: “After the Olympic Games I definitely needed time to find a new goal. I found it in competing with IPS Painted Black. This is a new challenge and today this was my best Grand Prix of the season.”

The excitement rose as Steffen Peters from his start took over the lead with the impressive and powerful Ravel combining his incredible lightness and impulsion with relaxation and the perfect focus on his rider. All the excitement concluded with his well deserved clear win. Steffen Peters: “My emotions are hard to describe. I am beside myself. I honestly kept looking up to the scoreboard to see whether this really happened. Ravel was fantastic. I didn’t have to push him. His only focus was me! He offered everything!”

All expectations are open again for the Freestyle which will conclude the 24th Rolex FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final on Saturday.

For Results Visit DressageDaily's Scoresource

Las Vegas: No Mercy in Second Place

Royal Dutch Sport Horses in 2nd, 6th, 8th and 10th place.

Defending title holder  struck the first blow Thursday night in the first competition of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ final in Las Vegas. Winning the opening battle, the 39 year old rider from Thedinghausen, Germany, proved that she was the smartest analyst of Anthony d’Ambrosio’s brilliant speed and handiness course. The two time World Cup winner rode her own race in an absolute minimum amount of meters.

Photo Credit:Kit Houghton

Steve Guerdat from Switzerland had already proven that the short cut to oxer number 5 was possible. Taking another extremely risky short turn to the Bellagio oxer, Guerdat’s horse Tresor was off balance and couldn’t prevent a rail from falling down. Pretty much at the end of the field Meredith Michaels Beerbaum added strides in some lines, enabling her 16 year old gelding Shutterfly to skip meters and stop the clock at only 56.48 seconds.

The crowd in the Thomas & Mack Center was ecstatic. Their former compatriot from California was one full second faster than Christina Liebherr, who was seventh to go and made everybody believe that no one of the 38 riders after her would be able to improve her result. Liebherr’s Royal Dutch Sport Horse LB No Mercy (Libero H out of Jeantal s.Dillenburg, breeder J.W. Haikes), raced around the Tabel C, galloping outside turns, stopping the clock at 57.47 seconds. The Swiss rider improved the result of first rider Rich Fellers who warmed up the crowd with a thrilling ride aboard his small Irish chestnut Flexible, the runners up of last years final (58.50 seconds). Christina Liebherr: “This is my first World Cup final and I have given it a lot of thought before I decided to go to Las Vegas. My horse performs better outside, he needs space and the arena in Las Vegas is very small. I didn’t take the inside turns, because they don’t suit my horse. He fought hard and gave everything. Especially before fence number 4. He waited for me and I waited for him. So the distance became very long, that’s where No Mercy gave everything. It’s a great experience to be here in Las Vegas.”

McLain Ward showed that every rider could adapt the course to his horse’s needs. Of three possible short turns, the American top rider chose only one and let his Belgian mare Sapphire gallop in the other two.

Dutch rider Albert Zoer and his price winning gelding Okidoki (Jodokus x Kentucky by Topas, Breeder O. Boonstra) finished in sixth place. Other Royal Dutch Sport Horses in the Top 10 are Robin Hood w (8th) and Rufus (10th).

But victory was for the smartest rider and the most experienced horse. Meredith Michaels Beerbaum executed her plan with a surgeon’s precision, keeping rhythm and balance in the shortest possible lines, riding ‘simple’ in difficult turns. Who can keep Meredith from winning her third FEI World Cup aboard freak of nature Shutterfly?

Results of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ final (first competition)
1 Meredith Michaels Beerbaum (GER), Shutterfly, 56.48 sec, 45 pnts
2 Christina Liebherr (SWI), LB No Mercy KWPN, 57.47 sec, 43 pnts
3 McLain Ward (USA), Sapphire, 57.73 sec, 42 pnts
4 Rich Fellers (USA), Flexible, 58.50 sec, 41 pnts
5 Thomas Velin (DEN), Grim st. Clair, 58.68 sec, 40 pnts
6 Albert Zoer (NED), Okidoki KWPN, 58.90 sec, 39 pnts
7 Ludger Beerbaum, Coupe de Coeur, 59.11 sec, 38 pnts
8 Ben Maher (GBR), Robin Hood W KWPN, 59.26 sec, 37 pnts
9 Steve Guerdat (SWI), Tresor, 59.61 sec, 36 pnts
10 Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Rufus KWPN, 60.09 sec, 35 pnts