World Champions Isabell Werth and Satchmo started the outdoor season with two convincing victories in the Grand Prix Special tour at the CDI*** Wiesbaden (Germany) in the picturesque Biebrich Palace Park, May 26–28.
In the Grand Prix, the German combination left the other 22 starters far behind them with a score of 77.66 percent. Sweden’s runner-up, Jan Brink and Bjorsells Briar, scored 72.87 percent. Brink’s score could have been slightly higher if the 16-year-old Swedish stallion had not shied once during the test.
Australia’s Kristy Oatley-Nist took third place in the qualifier for the Grand Prix Special aboard the 13-year-old Donnerhall son Don Bolero. She had taken a leave of absence from competition after the 2006 World Equestrian Games to give birth to her second child.
Werth and Satchmo had bad luck upon entering the ring on Monday morning for the Grand Prix Special. Just as they began their ride, the pouring rain started. Nevertheless, the umbrellas and the rain did not impress Satchmo. He took a misstep in the extended trot, and the first piaffe could have been better, but this was all that could be faulted. The expressive one- and the two-tempis as well as the passage and the half passes were great highlights of their performances, for which they scored 76.64 percent.
Brink again finished second, scoring 73.96 percent. One of the weaker points of the performance was once again the Swedish stallion’s extended trot, but the one- and two-tempis were very correctly done. The final piaffe-passage tour on the centerline left a very good impression. The halts were calm, but the final halt not totally closed.
Placing third with 73.16 percent, Christian Plaege and Regent came very close to the runners-up. The Swiss partnership showed a very correct, relaxed, harmonic and elegant test, as one of the best examples of what dressage should look like. The halts were calm, the trot half passes in good rhythm to both sides, the walk was correct, as were the one- and two-tempis, and the passage was expressive and received 8s.
Favorites And Rising Stars
There were high expectations of Nadine Capellmann aboard Elvis and Monica Theodorescu aboard the 9-year-old Württemberg gelding Whisper at Wiesbaden, since these pairs had shared the Grand Prix Special victory at Bad Salzuflen (Germany) in May. But Capellmann withdrew Elvis on Friday morning due to a pinched nerve, and Whisper showed some tension in the crowded dressage ring.
Theodorescu had the bad luck to ride right after Werth, when the rain was still pouring. The umbrellas and the water pouring from the roof of the judges hut distracted Whisper, and Theodorescu could hardly convince him to pass the judge’s hut at B. Besides having faults in the one-tempis, the elegant chestnut with the high potential stopped in the first canter pirouette, costing him many points. They finished in ninth place (66.48%).
Another horse to keep an eye on in the future is Danish rider Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein’s 10-year-old Danish stallion Digby, sired by Donnerhall out of a Sandro mare, who was seventh (67.64%) in the Grand Prix Special. They had some mistakes, like in the trot half passes to the left, in which the dark brown horse shrieked, and the marks went down to 4s. But for the one-tempis he received 8s, and the half passes to the right were well performed as well.
Werth was happy with this start of the outdoor season: “I am very happy to have with Satchmo and Warum Nicht two horses for the outdoor season, and I am glad that they are both fit. At this time of the year I do not want to state any preference for the European Championships. We will see. For the time being both horses are in optimal form, and I hope it will stay like that for the championships. I plan to compete Satchmo at Rotterdam [the Netherlands] and Warum Nicht at Balve [Germany].”
Brink was also pleased with his Wiesbaden performances: “Briar feels not like a 16-year-old horse, but like a 9- or 10-year-old. He is very fit and full of working spirit and energy. I plan to compete him at CHIO Aachen [Germany] in July and in the European Championships in August in Italy. My problem is that our trips to the horse shows are always very long from our place in Sweden. It is important for me to keep Briar motivated. I will ride him a lot in the fields and in the forest and compete him only once a month over the summer.”
Quando Quando Tops Freestyle
Heather Blitz, the only U.S. participant in the CDI Wiesbaden, competed Otto in the freestyle tour. In the Grand Prix, the qualifier for the freestyle, the Denmark-based rider had the bad luck to compete her Danish Warmblood gelding, who was at 9 years by far the youngest horse in this class, when a prize-giving ceremony was taking place on the show jumping grounds next to the dressage ring.
Their two-tempis had some mistakes and the marks were only 4s and less, but the one-tempis were well-performed. In one piaffe the Rambo-Rampal son showed some resistance but underlined his great potential for passage and piaffe in other parts of the test. The extended walk was well done, as were
the trot half passes to the right. With 60.41 percent the combination placed 15th and last but still qualified for the freestyle on Sunday night.
In the freestyle they improved to 12th place (63.40%). The Grand Prix winners, Germany’s Ellen Schulten-Baumer and Donatha S, retired during the freestyle, since the 13-year-old Donnerhall daughter
was so nerved by the unusual settings with 5,000 spectators standing around the arena.
She left the door open for the victory of Oatley-Nist and her 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion Quando Quando, who had finished the Grand Prix in fifth place. They won the freestyle with a score of 74.70
percent ahead of locally based British rider Emma Hindle aboard Lancet (74.45%) and Sweden’s Louise Nathhorst aboard the 17-year-old Swedish stallion Guinness (73.90%).
The Australian winner said that both of her horses would love such an exciting, electric atmosphere. But she had to admit that it was not easy to keep Quando Quando concentrating with all the spectators and the floodlights.
The 71st International Whitsun Horse Show at Wiesbaden was for the first time also a qualifier for the Nuernberger Burg-Pokal-Final, which will take place during the Frankfurt Horse Show in December. The
qualifier in the series for 7- to 9-year-old horses at the Prix St. Georges level saw a lot of prominent names in the starting list, including the 7-year-old World Champion of young horses, Damon Hill NRW (sired by Donnerhall out of a Rubinstein I mare) with Ingrid Klimke (69.80%) in the saddle.
But they had to concede victory to Matthias Alexander Rath, the stepson of Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, and the 9-year-old Weltmeyer Junior (72.70%).
Rath, a 22-year-old student, said, “We have very prepared for this qualifier with two starts before Wiesbaden. Weltmeyer Junior always needs a few shows to get into top form. There were some top horses in the class, who will certainly still qualify for the final, which makes me even happier that we did win the class today.’’