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January 5, 2007

Kyrklund Marks A Milestone At Stuttgart

Kyra Kyrklund made a clean sweep of the freestyle tour at the Stuttgart CDI (Germany) on Nov. 15-19. Her ride on Max in the Grand Prix freestyle to melodies from the musical Cabaret scored an 80.55 percent for the top place, following their victory in the Grand Prix test for the freestyle (72.08%).

Kyrklund, of Finland, was thrilled with not only the wins, but also her scores. "The 80 percent is a dream border. You must be very happy, if you get a score above it. Max showed today the best canter tour he has ever shown, so far, in his career in a test," Kyrklund said.

"With the music of Cabaret I have fulfilled a wish. I wanted to make a new choreography and music for the Aachen [2006 World Equestrian Games], so 17 live musicians went in the studio to record an instrumental version of Cabaret for me. I always liked the music of Cabaret, but, so far, only vocal versions had existed, which were not appropriate as freestyle music."

Their test showed classic harmony between Kyrklund and Max, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood. Since the CHIO Aachen (Germany) in May, this was the second time Kyrklund and Max have acheieved scores above 80 percent.

Isabell Werth and Polano claimed the runner-up spot in the freestyle, with a score of 78.90 percent. Werth and the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Polano put in a energetic freestyle performance, which was enthusiastically cheered by the audience, but appeared technically still immature.

Third went to Sabine Bolz aboard the former Nadine Capellmann ride, Cockney (75.85%). Last year, the young German dressage rider won the final of the Piaff-F�rderpreis (Piaffe-Supporting Prize) at Stuttgart in a simplified Grand Prix test for riders under the age of 25. This year, Matthias Rath aboard Renoir-Unicef won the final.

Representing the United States in the Stuttgart dressage classes was Catherine Haddad, who is based in Germany. With an eighth place in the Grand Prix (68.83%), she qualified aboard her 12-year-old, chestnut Danish gelding Maximus JSS for the Grand Prix freestyle.

To the impressive music of the movie Circus Maximus, they showed a good and solid performance with highlights in the trot half-passes, the passage, the canter-pirouettes, the extended canter and extended walk to mention some, but somehow the finishing touch was missing this time.

"Unfortunately, I had a few small mistakes, but overall I was very pleased, because I pushed Maxmimus to a new level of throughness. I was also able to try out a new choreography. This was a good preparation for the World Cup qualifers in Stockholm [Sweden] and London [England]. I have increased the level of difficulty, which had a positive effect in the artistic marks," said Haddad With 71.70 percent, they placed ninth in the freestyle.

Though Werth had to settle for second in the freestyle, there was no beating her on Satchmo in the Grand Prix Special tour. They won the Grand Prix (79.54%) and the Grand Prix Special (78.48%) and there-fore also the Kampmann German Master title.

The Grand Prix Special World Champions showed in excellent form again, but had two small mistakes in the Special performance. "Into the first piaffe, I rode a bit hesitantly, since I am still sometimes too cautious in this movement, so Satchmo stopped for a short moment, but then went on without problems in the piaffe. Going into the first canter pirouette I used my outside leg a bit too much and he got irritated," Werth said.

"But, these were my faults. I am very satisfied with Satchmo. He was very con-centrated. He is in a very positive mood at the moment, and he is so easy to ride through the tests that it is a fantastic feeling."

Nadine Capellmann rode Elvis into second in the Special (74.48%). They had problems in the first and second piaffe but scored very high in the extended trot and walk. Third went to Ellen Schulten-Baumer aboard Lesotho (73.04%).

The talk of the show was the 21-year-old Austrian rider Victoria Max-Theurer. The daughter of 1980 Olympic gold medallist Elisabeth Max-Theurer, she placed 12th in her horse's debut in the Grand Prix Special. She and the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Salieri finished seventh in his third Grand Prix to qualify for the Special.

In the Grand Prix, the elegant, dark brown horse started so impressively that his score averaged above 74 percent for the first half of the test, which would have put them into the top three.

But some bobbles in the latter parts of the test dropped their score to 69.08 percent. "In the canter tour we had still some small mistakes, like in the transition from canter to trot," Max-Theurer said. "We had a problem also in the final piaffe on the center line. Since Salieri had stopped at X in the Grand Prix, because he had thought the test would be over there, like in an advanced class, I pushed him too much with my leg in the Special. But he was already superbly piaffing.

"He must have thought, 'I am doing it already, what do you want from me' and kicked against my leg. This costs, of course, a lot of points for the piaffe but also in the mark for obedience. But, these are just small mistakes, mainly due to a lack in routine of Salieri. What's important is that we received from all sides positive comments on Salieri and that we left a positive impression," said Max-Theurer, who competed as the youngest rider ever at the 2003 European Senior Championships at the age of 17. She placed 19th individually in the 2004 Athens Olympics and competed in the 2006 World Equestrian Games aboard Falcao, with whom she was seventh in the freestyle at Stuttgart.

Birgit Popp
 
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