Germany Wins Team Gold at 2008 European Pony Championships

Sat, 07/26/2008 - 00:00
2008 European Pony Championships

Nobody every doubted that Germany would not win team gold. For several decades, the German team has dominated the dressage pony world and their power status based on these results is unattainable and stays untouched and unharmed by the judges who throw points at these combinations while other nations have to fight for each mark undeterred like kamikaze warriors.

Of course there is a basis for Germany's high points. Their ponies are paragons of breeding and they are so thoroughly and professionally trained, as well as coached and ridden based on an intense program run in partnership with the German Equestrian Federation and German pony chef d'equipe Connie Endres. However, in the end, at the European Championships, the essential quality of the pony prevails as all top riders are able to steer their ponies through error free tests. But the Germans usually get extra points, as well as the Dutch, while other nations have to put in a 110% effort to get a 70% result.

So, what happened at the 2008 European Pony Championships in Avenches, Switzerland? Set at the gorgeous Swiss national equestrian centre IENA, the Championships take place at the best premises under the best conditions in the best, sunny weather. As expected, Germany won team gold with Sönke Rothenberger as leading rider winning the class and leading the individual ranking.

Aboard his father's German Reitpony stallion Deinhard B (by Dornik B), Rothenberger scored 74.474 % placing first with all judges. The 13-year old Sönke rode a very conservative, safe test with Deinhard B, the 2005 European Pony Champion (under Anna von Negri). It was a pity that real impulsion in the trot was lacking and the pony's mouth was occasionally slightly open. The extended trot was very nice, though, but the extended canter could have had more power. In the extended walk, Deinhard should have stretched his neck more but showed good overtrack. It was the correctness and solidity of the test that made the combination stand out from the rest and win the class.

Katharina Weychert and the delightful Dornik B, the 2007 European Pony Champion (under Louise Luttgen), finished second on 72.684 %. The team championship test was spread out over two days and Weychert was the provisional winner of group 1 on Thursday. She was followed in the ranking by Carlotta Hassenbürger on the lovely Dulcia, the 2006 European Pony Champion (under Lydia Camp). The pair scored 72.421 %. Dulcia is probably the nicest moving pony of all with her elegant, light footed gaits. Her trot tour was nicer than Deinhard's but she lost some clarity of rhythm in the right shoulder in and was occasionally tipping her head behind the vertical. The extended walk was world class but in the simple changes at X and at L the collected walk turned into pacing but the judges seemed to have closed their eyes to this with their high score.

The German scratch score was a 71/94%!!! The 15-year old Gummersbach based Florine Kienbaum and 15-year old Going East placed fifth. This ranking and score were absolutely ridiculous and a whole mockery of the judging system. The contact with Going East's mouth was totally unsteady. The pony was tilting his head in the lateral movements and bends and lost his rhythm and candence in several of the movements, but that did not prevent the judges from scoring the pair above 70%. Going East is a drop dead gorgeous chestnut stallion and maybe his beauty and normally outstanding gaits were what the judges were seeing, but his team test ride was not good and his score even more unfair.

Germany scored 219,579 percentage points overall or 4172 points

Text and Photos copyrighted Astrid Appels/Eurodressage - No reproduction allowed without permission

Back to the Index / Next Page of the Report