Friday, May. 24, 2024

Elvis Rocks The Competition At Balve


The starting fields at the Balve Optimum CDI (Germany), June 7–10, were of the highest quality. The event was held on the grounds of the Wocklum Castle of Count Dieter von Landsberg-Velen, who was the president of the German Equestrian Federation for more than 30 years and for several years FEI Vice President.
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The starting fields at the Balve Optimum CDI (Germany), June 7–10, were of the highest quality. The event was held on the grounds of the Wocklum Castle of Count Dieter von Landsberg-Velen, who was the president of the German Equestrian Federation for more than 30 years and for several years FEI Vice President.

Nadine Capellmann and Elvis topped the freestyle, held in the main show jumping stadium, with an excellent score of 81.45 percent. The German team gold medalists from the 2006 World Equestrian Games had already achieved a personal record in the Grand Prix with a score of 77.95 percent. They even received a 10 for the passage.

To the medley of Elvis Presley songs, Capellmann let her chestnut gelding Elvis dance. “Elvis performed today like never before. Sometimes you have a perfect day, and today has been such a day for us. I guess Balve has been a confirmation of our place in the German squad for the European Championships. It has been very important to show two consistent performances. It has not always been like that for us in the past.”

Although there were no mistakes, their freestyle was not totally without tension, especially in the tempi changes. In the piaffes Elvis was cooperative, but they could have been more settled in the hindquarters and elevated. Elvis was immobile in his final salute, and he walked out of the ring completely calm and relaxed.

Second through fourth places in the freestyle, as in the Grand Prix, went to the German combinations of Hubertus Schmidt aboard Wansuela Suerte, Ellen Schulten-Baumer aboard Donatha S and Klaus Husenbeth aboard Piccolino. The show was a chance to prove themselves for the German team at CHIO Aachen (Germany) and also for the European Championships, for which the only official trial will be the German Championships at Gera mid-July. The Balve performances of the top German riders will not have made the decision about the German squad for Aachen any easier for the team coach, Holger Schmezer.

Schmidt and Wansuela Suerte produced one of their best freestyle results (78.65%). The 2006 WEG team gold medalists, who had already won the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix feestyle at CDI Turino (Italy) in May, recommended themselves again for the German team.

The 14-year-old, Hanoverian mare had been for sale after the WEG. Schmidt had been focusing on his self-bred Grand Prix prospect, Forest Gump, but with Forest Gump’s sudden death in February, Wansuela Suerte became Schmidt’s top mount again.  Now, the dressage instructor hopes to be able to keep Wansuela Suerte for a possible start in the European Championships.

At Balve, the chestnut mare showed renewed strength and expressiveness. Her weak points were the extended walk and the salute at the end of the test. But she produced two performances with which Schmidt could be really satisfied.

“Wansuela Suerte had not been performing so very well last year, but she has now returned to her former shape,” said Schmidt.

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Schulten-Baumer and Donata S continued their promising performances of the indoor season. The problems she encountered in the freestyle at CDI Wiesbaden (Germany), in which the horse had shown so much tension that Schulten-Baumer retired, seemed to have disappeared.

Husenbeth and Piccolino, who had been German team members several times since the 2002 World Championships, but had dropped off the squad last year because of an injury, pleased once again with their ease of movements and the harmony between rider and horse.

Isabell Werth had to withdraw from the show with her World Cup Champion Warum Nicht at Balve, because the gelding had a virus.

“If it would have happened one week earlier I could have competed him at Balve, but I did not want to take any risk. I would like to compete him once more before Aachen, so I might bring him, along with Satchmo, to CHIO Rotterdam [the Netherlands],” Werth said.

Blitz Has A Personal Best
Heather Blitz and Casey Dorman of the United States were really happy about their Balve performances. In
the Grand Prix, Blitz and Otto qualified with a 20th place among the 30 competitors for the Grand Prix Special.

In the Grand Prix they had a very respectable performance. The judges gave only 6s in the collective marks for obedience, but there was never a moment in which Otto had not been cooperative and listening to his rider.

He received up to 8s for the extended trot, the two-tempis and the passage. For the one-tempis he received five 7s. Without any real mistake he finished with 66.25 percent.

Schmidt and the 13-year-old, Oldenburg gelding Dow Jones won the Grand Prix Special, during which
intermittent thunderstorms and heavy rain showers took place. Though they had been seventh in the Grand Prix, they were competing in the Special, because only one horse per rider was allowed in the freestyle.

Blitz and the 11-year-old, bay, Danish gelding finished the Grand Prix Special in a remarkable fourth place (68.36%), improving by eight places compared to their placing in the Grand Prix. Balve was just the fifth Grand Prix for Otto and his second Grand Prix Special.

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Blitz, who is based in Denmark, was very happy. “Otto is improving each time in confidence and connection. He has really been  enjoying being in the ring, even with the heavy rain showers. He has become very reliable even in this environment and has got much more strength,” she said. “Two weeks ago with the very difficult surroundings at Wiesbaden he was still pretty tense, but Balve he liked a lot. It looks like he is now enjoying traveling, and he also gets very relaxed in the stables.”

Blitz was especially happy with Otto’s transition from collected walk into piaffe, which had not been so easy for him in the past. “This was a milestone for him today,” she said. “Today it was not a big deal for him, and he has not overdone it so much.”

She hopes to compete on the U.S. team at CHIO Aachen and would also like to go to CHIO Falsterbo (Sweden) and to CDIO Hickstead (England).

Dorman Delivers In Small Tour
Dorman was runner-up in the Prix St. Georges as well as in the Intermediaire I aboard her 8-year-old, Oldenburg gelding Le Charmeur. She finished behind Germany’s Dorothee Schneider and the 9-year-old, already famous Trakehner stallion Kaiserkult TSF.

In the Intermediaire I, the young U.S. rider received 71.85 percent, showing highlights in the extended trot, the extended walk and in the tempi changes. Le Charmeur was moving very well from behind, showing a lot of impulsion from behind and through the back into the gentle hands of his rider.

After having achieved several top placings at the advanced level in national German shows, Dorman, 30, was very proud to represent her country for the first time in an international horse show.

“I am speechless. I felt very good, and it was just his second Intermediaire I competition. I was ready; he was ready. I bought him as a 4-year-old and trained him with the help of Catherine Haddad to S level, in
which I started to compete him last year as a 7-year-old.”

Dorman, of South-Haven, Mich., had started as a Western rider before she changed to dressage as a young girl. Ten years ago she came to Haddad’s barn in Germany to join her for eight weeks, and she has stayed there ever since. Today she is also riding horses for the 2007 World Cup finalist. Haddad had helped her to find Le Charmeur, who had been gelded as a 3-year-old but still looks as expressive as a stallion.

Haddad, who has been giving her World Cup mount Maximus a rest and was competing her Grand Prix prospect Cadillac at Balve, had too many mistakes to proceed into the Special, but she was very proud of her student.

“Casey is a very serious rider and worked her way up from groom to the top rider in my stable,” she said. “I am absolutely thrilled to see her ride like this. Le Charmeur is an incredibly trainable, elastic horse, and it is the greatest reward for me as their trainer to see them showing everything they have learned at home. The plan is to show in three or four more international shows this year.”

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