Bechtolsheimer Takes Two in Den Bosch

Tue, 03/24/2009 - 00:00
2009 CDI-W 's Hertogenbosch

Laura Bechtolsheimer has taken her second victory of the weekend, winning the Grand Prix Special CDI at the World Cup Qualifier in 's Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

On Thursday noon, Bechtolsheimer rode a brilliant Grand Prix aboard her 14-year old Danish warmblood gelding Mistral Hojris, Bechtolsheimer rode a brilliant Grand Prix establishing a new personal and British Grand Prix record with 76.533%.

The great ease and smoothness that radiated from her record test was not really there in the Special, though the quality of her horse carried her through to a second win. "Alf" was a bit more charged and Laura could not always contain his energy.

The test was filled with small errors: no immobile halt upon entry, a break into canter before the trot half pass right, one tempi changes 2 meters left of the centreline and with one mistake in them. But these mistakes hardly tampered with the generally fantastic image. Superb piaffe and passage, wonderful canter half passes, uphill two tempi's, outstanding walk; there was enough to score really high. They won with 75.250%

"I went into the main arena and could feel Alf buzzing. He entered and was absolutely not going to stand still at X, he had important extended trots to get to! Alf gave me a fairy explosive ride and did allow me to steer him through a pretty spectacular test, though with no halts, it was expensive," Laura wrote in her blog on Horse Hero.

"Looking through his sheets from both days, I think they are going to have to be framed," Laura added. "I have never had so many 9's and 10's and "wow"s and "unbelievable"s on my sheets before!"

Anky van Grunsven's Painted Black was looking much better in the Special than in the Grand Prix. His disobedience against the aids in the Grand Prix had improved, even though the stallion ground his teeth almost constantly. The extended trots were fantastic, the trot half pass to the left superb, but there were still a few tidbits that could be fixed. In the collected walk there was a bit of resistance before the piaffe, but Anky dealt with it quickly. The transition passage-canter was out of a collected trot and the final piaffe-passage on the centreline was very expressive, but crooked with the hindquarters swinging to the right. They finished second with 73.000%.

Edward Gal and the Gribaldi mare Sisther de Jeu placed third with 72.500%. The piaffe and passage are real highlights of this very muscled mare. The extended walk was excellent (though the neck could have stretched more) and the tempi changes very correct but lacked in some ground cover. There is much more in Sisther's tank in the extended trot and she lost some suspension in the trot half passes.

The confidence Sisther had lost at the CDI-W Maastricht seems to be back as the pair was harmonious in Den Bosch.

68-year old Japanese Olympian Hiroshi Hoketsu finished fourth with his Hanoverian mare Whisper (by Wolkenstein II). The judges awarded him 71.458%.

Oh my god! This mare has one extraordinary passage! The balance, the power, the evenness, the suspension. Incredible! The transitions between piaffe and passage are textbook examples. The extended walk was a bit tense and a mistake in the two tempi's definitely prevented the score from getting any higher.

Hoketsu is trained by Ton de Ridder in Aachen, Germany, and was a member of the Japanese show jumping team at the 1964 Olympics. On a professional level, Hoketsu ran large pharmaceutical companies, including the Japan division of Johnson & Johnson, prior to his retirement in 2002. His wife, Motoko, introduced him to dressage after enjoying watching the sport in Europe. A self-professed perfectionist, Hiroshi was fascinated by the detail and precision involved in the sport which is very obvious from his quiet and balanced riding style.

Swedish Tinne Vilhelmson and her Danish bred Solos Carex (by Castro) scored 70.666%. The horse could be a bit more together in the passage and more electric in his responses, but this combination is definitely harmony and elegance.

Dutch Leida Collins-Strijk won team bronze at the 1993 European Championships in Lipiza. Now the rider, who is married to Bermudan eventing rider Tim Collins, is back with On Top. They got 69.208 %

The tongue stayed inside in the Special but Imke Schellekens Bartels still had her hands full with Sunrise. Imke rode with much more guts but could not filter all the tension. There were some hiccups at the beginning of the first and second piaffe, the horse cantered in the wrong lead after the passage and there was some resistance before the pirouette. The tempi changes were big and uphill though. They scored 68.500%

Marlies van Baalen and the black Ojay were much better in the Special. Though the rider is almost constantly leaning into the right rein or making half halts with it, Ojay showed great two tempi changes and stayed nicely on the vertical at all times. They got 67.583% from the panel of judges to finish eighth.

Anne van Uytert's Dutch gelding Lucky Times ground his way through the test. This horse is so loud with his teeth that even a deaf person would hear a murmur in his ears. Lucky Times is a graceful, long legged horse with lovely tempi changes, a good passage, but a Wahajama like piaffe (stretching the front legs forward instead of sitting back with the weight on the hind quarters). The rhythm in piaffe and passage is very good though. They got 67.000%

When you read Hubert Perring's curriculum vitae, one would be immediately impressed. He was the Military World Champion in 1988, 1994 and 1995, member of the French Dressage Team at the 2002 WEG and French Dressage Champion in 2005.

Unfortunately, there is no other rider in more dire need of classical seat lessons than this Garde Republicaine rider! He's bopping in the saddle like a beginner and in the single tempi changes he almost launches himself out of the saddle to make the change happen. Dear Lord! Furthermore, despite the fact that one can clearly see the mileage on the 18-year old Diabolo St Maurice, this horse actually has a nice piaffe and passage. The contact with the bit is at all times extremely heavy and unsteady with the horse constantly waving his head from left to right. If he were a human, Diabolo must get dizzy by the end of the test. The pair placed tenth with 64.875%

Back to the 2009 Den Bosch index