The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud reigned supreme in the World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League qualifier at Stockholm in Sweden on Sunday 29 November 2015. The 42-year-old rider who, with Johnson, claimed team gold and individual bronze at this summer’s 2015 European Championships in Aachen (GER), steered another of his powerful string, the 14-year-old Flirt, to victory ahead of host nation stars Patrik Kittel and Scandic.
And it was a great day for the Dutch when Adelinde Cornelissen lined up third with Parzival who won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2011 and 2012.
There was a strong Swedish presence, with seven of the 15 starters representing the host nation. And last year’s Swedish winner, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, lined out with Paridon Magi this time around to finish fifth just behind Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az.
Led the way
It was Kirk Thinggaard who led the way into the closing stages after posting 76.675 with the dark bay 12-year-old horse which has bounced her up to the top level of the sport over the last two seasons. But then Cornelissen and Parzival raised the game with a performance that earned 78.775 to go out in front.
The 36-year-old Dutch rider said afterwards that she had “mixed feelings” about her result. “I’m happy that Parzival was here and going well. He was great in the warm-up but he felt a bit tired in the arena. We have not been competing for a long time, so we need to find a suitable routine again for both of us” said the rider whose career highlights with this wonderful chestnut go all the way back to team and individual gold at the European Championships in Windsor, Great Britain, in 2009 and include team gold at the World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky, USA the following year and individual silver and team bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Cornelissen’s compatriot, Minderhoud, was next into the ring and from the outset looked set to change the leaderboard rankings once more. Flirt was completely in the zone, concentrated and responsive, and as Minderhoud said afterwards, “he had no real weak points in his test today, from the beginning to the end he was completely with me, nicely supple and super on the aids.” He just had one little bobble. “I had a great feeling, he was really trying for me but I had a small mistake in the one-tempis. I re-did them really well though, and the rest of the test was really good”, he said.
Two more contenders
The win was not completely assured however as there were still two more contenders left to run, and the first of these was Kittel who can never be discounted. The 39-year-old rider’s record with 16-year-old stallion Scandic includes individual bronze at the European Championships in Rotterdam (NED) in 2011 and, four years later, the Dutch-bred horse continues to drum out the incredibly rhythmic passage and piaffe that is his trademark.
“I was really happy, although he was a bit hot in the canter!” Kittel said afterwards. “The beginning of the test was really good, then I had a rider mistake in the canter zig-zag, but at 16 years old he feels better than he did when he was 10, which is great! And he will still be in the game next year too, and in the Final in Gothenburg if we qualify” the Swedish rider pointed out. His mark of 79.100 slotted him in behind Minderhoud and ahead of Cornelissen, and that was where he would stay when, last to go, Kittel’s wife, Australian athlete Lyndal Oatley, steered Sandro Boy into sixth place on a score of 75.425.
Eager to do well
Talking about his win this evening, Minderhoud admitted that he was “very eager to do well. Last year here in Stockholm I won the Grand Prix, but I had to settle for second place in the Freestyle,” he pointed out. However he felt victory was well within reach this time around. “I knew it was possible because we won yesterday, however yesterday the scores were very close so I couldn’t be sure, especially with Adelinde and Parzival and Patrik with Scandic in such good form.” He said he had been encouraged by the sight of the winner’s prize. “When I saw the orange car in the corner of the arena I thought - hey, a Dutch person should win that! - and this is the first car I’ve ever won!” the delighted Dutchman said.
He has now moved up to the top of the World Cup™ Dressage 2015/2016 Western European League leaderboard with 54 points to date, and plans to continue campaigning throughout the remainder of the series. “I will go to Salzburg with Romanov and probably bring Flirt to London and Johnson to Amsterdam and den Bosch” he said this evening.
And, reflecting on a very successful afternoon, he concluded, “this is my first qualifier win with Flirt, having competed him for one and half years. He is very easy to travel with, so I can take him everywhere. Flirt is getting closer all the time, who is my best horse is really depending on the form of the day. It’s really a luxury having three top horses” he added.
The fifth leg will take place in Salzburg, Austria next Sunday, 6 December 2015
Ground Jury President Gustav Svalling SWE: “Parzival looked very nice for a tired horse! It meant a lot to have him here again. The class was a pleasure to judge with many good performances. Flirt has developed a lot since I last judged him.Tinne did a super job also.”
Hans Peter Minderhoud NED (1st), talking about moving his competition yard earlier this year: “We moved in May, it’s only 20 minutes from where we were before, near Arnhem. In our first place we were renting but now Glock’s have built this beautiful stables and to be honest it’s just like a dream come true for us!”
Hans Peter Minderhoud NED (1st), when asked what he looks for in a horse: “In a new horse I look for a nice build, three good paces, or at least good walk & canter.”
by Louise Parkes for the FEI - edited by Eurodressage
Scores 2015 CDI-W Stockholm
2016 World Cup Finals - Table of Contents