When Hans-Dieter Dreher trotted into the International Ring at Spruce Meadows today, Sept. 7., he had plenty of pressure on his shoulders. After two rounds of jumping, his team lay in a three-way tie for the win in the BMO Nations Cup, and he was the German representative to a jump-off to determine his country’s medal. Belgium’s François Mathy had gone for broke and ticked a single rail, but Dreher had France’s Penelope Leprevost at his heels.
Still he kept his cool and guided Colore to an efficient clear in Calgary, Alberta, guaranteeing Germany at least silver. When Leprevost’s Dame Blanche van Arenberg had fence 6 down and finished a tick slower than Mathy, Germany earned gold, Belgium (Mathy, Pietro Devos/Candy, Olivier Philippaerts/Cabrio van de Heffinck and Nicola Philippaerts/Vadetta VH Mettenhof) silver and France (Leprevost, Kevin Staut/Estoy Aqui de Muze HDC, Eugenie Angot/Old Chap Tame, Marc Dilasser/Obiwan de Piliore) bronze.
“We know Hansy is a fighter and that he would really try in the jump-off,” said German Chef d’Equipe Heinrich Engemann. “That’s why we chose him to be our jump-off horse. He did a really good job, and everyone saw it. We’re happy.”
The German team of Dreher, Lars Nieberg (Leonie), Deusser (Evita van de Veldbalie) and Christian Ahlmann (Asca Z) were especially happy to earn their second consecutive Nations Cup gold at the Spruce Meadows Masters, as they were mostly mounted on second-string mounts.
But Nieberg’s day ended on a bittersweet note. During the victory gallop, Leonie slipped at the start of the in-gate, and he and Leonie went down. Nieberg suffered a broken collarbone, ending his hopes to contend in tomorrow’s $1,000,000 CN Grand Prix. Check out this photo gallery to see how another tumble in a victory gallop turned into a beautiful display of chivalry.
Dreher partnered up with the Holsteiner stallion by Contender 10 months ago.
“I’m very proud of him—this is the first Nations Cup he’s done,” said Dreher. “He jumped amazing today and I hope he’ll stay like this.”
The U.S. team didn’t advance to Round 2 and finished seventh after no one managed a clear go. Beezie Madden (Simon), Lauren Hough (Quick Study) and Kirsten Coe (Baronez) each took a rail a piece, and Lauren Tisbo logged 14 faults after Roundthorn Madios faulted at the water and stopped heading into the triple combination.
Leopoldo Palacios’ airy triple combination, heading away from the in-gate, found plenty of victims. Riders were impressed that the ground held up pretty well despite the soggy grass, thanks to the rain that started intermittently yesterday, and kicked in full force this morning.
Tomorrow’s grand prix kicks off at noon local time.
For full results visit the Spruce Meadows website. Catch up on more from Spruce Meadows, and check out the Sept. 23 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse for in-depth coverage of the class and all of the Spruce Meadows Masters.