Thursday, Jun. 6, 2024

Van Grunsven Collects Victory For Ninth Time In FEI World Cup Dressage Final

When both Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth enter a competition with their top horses, the only question is which one will win. The FEI World Cup Dressage Final today, March 29, was a battle between those two titans for the title, and the Dutch van Grunsven came out on top for her fourth triumph with IPS
Salinero and ninth World Cup win ever (85.20%).

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When both Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth enter a competition with their top horses, the only question is which one will win. The FEI World Cup Dressage Final today, March 29, was a battle between those two titans for the title, and the Dutch van Grunsven came out on top for her fourth triumph with IPS
Salinero and ninth World Cup win ever (85.20%).

But it was a disappointing day for the U.S. riders in s’Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. Jane Hannigan finished in 12th place as the highest-placed American aboard Maksymilian. Courtney King-Dye finished in 15th place with Idocus after she made the mistake of performing a triple pirouette, which earned her a zero for the movement and 5s for her choreography and difficulty scores.
   
While the competition was stiff between many of the best dressage combinations in the world, very few performances went off mistake-free. This gave van Grunsven all the breathing room she needed, and she came through with a trademark foot-perfect test.

“Anky was just brilliant. Her piaffe and passage were outstanding, and the transitions were really superb. She took every risk, and it came off,” said Stephen Clarke, who judged at B. “It was a really lovely test.”
   
“On Thursday I was happy about the way IPS Salinero went, but I had too many little things and a little lack of concentration,” said van Grunsven. “Today in the test, when I came in and I halted, he stood so quietly that I thought I could stand there for 10 minutes. For me, that’s a very nice feeling to start. I know he feels well. Everything just worked out in my test. This time I really thought it was one of my best tests with IPS Salinero.”

Van Grunsven helped her horse prepare for the atmosphere of 11,000 spectators by schooling him while the jumpers were competing.

Werth, of Germany, had an uncharacteristic mistake in her one-tempi changes, and a few times during her test Warum Nicht appeared to spook slightly or misunderstand an aid for an instant.

“I’m really not disappointed,” said Werth. “He was really good in the Grand Prix, but today he was better. There was a mistake in the one-tempis, but I was a bit too quick to go into them, and he was a bit surprised maybe, not really prepared. “

“Isabell’s horse was brilliant in the basic gaits,” said Clarke. “ The piaffe-passage was not quite as expressive as Salinero. For me that’s what made the difference.”
   
Finland’s Kyra Kyrklund took third place with Max (78.15%) with her freestyle to music from Caberet.

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“You always have to be happy when you’re allowed to sit here,” said Kyrklund in the press conference. “With Isabell and Anky ahead of me, third isn’t a bad position. I didn’t really think I’d beat them anyway. I’m very satisfied to come this far.”

Clarke commended Kyrklund for Max’s development over the past 12 months. “It’s a credit to a brilliant trainer,” he said. “She’s done it with one horse after the next.”

Kyrklund said she thought the improvement was due to a weight-loss regimen for her and her horse!

The Netherlands’ Imke Schellekens-Bartels placed fourth aboard Hunter Douglas Sunrise (78.15%) to the strains of Dutch pianist Wibi Soerjadi’s original composition. Although Schellekens-Bartels had mistakes in both her two- and one-tempi changes, the music fit Sunrise so well and was so ethereal that it was easy to overlook the problems.

Van Grunsven also rode to Soerjadi’s music. “I can understand that people need to get used to the music,” she said. “You have to listen a few times, but I have a really good feeling about it. It takes me away in the riding.”

A Learning Experience
While the problems for the U.S. riders were upsetting, Clarke had nothing but praise for both of them.

“This was such a sad occasion [for King-Dye],” he said. “The horse was going really well, and the rider was riding beautifully. It’s just one of those mental aberrations that riders have.

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“Jane has one of the best horses here,” he continued. “It’s one of the most elastic and talented horses I’ve seen in long time, and she rides very well. It only needs developing.”

Hannigan said her mistakes occurred because of some last-minute improvisation in her rocking classical music freestyle.

“I tried to change my choreography to raise the degree of difficulty, because everyone said I needed to have a new freestyle, but I rode my old one,” she said. “I started messing up simple things. I tried to get ahead of the music in the passage, but then I was almost too far ahead. In the canter I added a curved line of one-tempis, and that was fine, but I messed up the straight line of ones. With horses, you have to ride the present and flow to the future and trust that it will work. I got into the future instead of in the present.”

King-Dye had nothing but praise for her horse and disappointment in herself.

“The most important thing to me is that Idocus didn’t know there was a mistake,” she said. “He was really proud of himself. I won’t make that mistake again for certain. I came into the pirouette kind of funny. He turned really quickly, and I was riding the horse and listening to my music and not counting. I think that’s a good thing. I got a little bit ahead of the music, and I wasn’t certain if I’d done one pirouette or two. It felt like I’d just done one.”

King-Dye didn’t realize at the time, and the rest of her test went off without a hitch. “Idocus was really good, and I prepared so well for riding that test,” she said. “It wasn’t nerves or lack of preparation. It was just a mistake.”
 
She confirmed that 2008 will be the 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s last competitive season. “I want him to go out in top form,” said King-Dye.

For complete results visit www.indoorbrabant.com

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