Swedish young Grand Prix rider Denise Ljungkvist made an impression with her elegant, soft and focused riding in the Under 25 division at the 2018 CDI Lier in Belgium on 1 - 4 March 2018.
Aboard her 11-year old Swedish warmblood mare Soega (by Sandakan x Amiral) she dominated the Short Grand Prix with a beautiful, accurate test. The bay mare was not the most extravagant mover in piaffe, but Ljungkvist rode a very harmonious and effortless test with light contact and regular rhythm, that was rewarded with a 71.966% winning score.
In the kur to music, Ljungkvist and Soega settled for second place with 72.425%, just a fraction behind the winner, professional Danish rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald on the 10-year old Danish bred Saadan Que (by Quaterback x Royal Diamond), who posted a score of 72.550% for the trophy.
"Soega did so well in Lier and I am very pleased with her," the 23-year old Denise told Eurodressage. "She felt very nice through the whole competition. She was a little tense in the beginning in the Grand Prix on Friday, but relaxed more and more during the test. I had a smile on my face at the end and she gave me a fantastic feeling. In the freestyle on Sunday she was really full of energy. Unfortunately she got scared and got a little bit tens in the canter part, but the trot work felt amazing."
Ljungkvist has only been riding internationally for one year, making her CDI debut at Under 25 Grand Prix level in 2017. The pair did three shows in Scandinavia last summer - Hammero, Falsterbo and Gothenburg - but they are not a new partnership.
"We bought Soega when she was 2 years old and I have trained her myself up to grand prix level," Ljungkvist explained. "Soega has a lot of energy and she loves to work. It is easy for her to do the collectied work and she learns quickly."
For the past three years Denise has received professional coaching from Kerstin Andre to fine tune the pair on their way to Grand Prix. "She supports me a lot," Denise added.
The bay mare is bred by Anette Richard and has been a close member of the Ljungvist family for the past 9 years. When asked what Soega would tell Denise if she were to speak, "she would say that she want to run faster, get more candy and that she wants a massage every day," the rider joked.
Like any ambitious young Grand Prix rider, Denise hopes to ride on the Swedish team at this year's lead event in her division.
"This was my first show outside Sweden and I plan to do more later this year," she said/ "My hopes for the 2018 show season is to get selected to represent Sweden in the European Under 25 Championship."
Photos © Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Eurodressage was on the scene Friday 1 March 2018 to take photos of the Pony, Under 25 and Grand Prix test. If you are interested in prints of digital files for social media use, contact us.
Scores 2018 CDI Lier