German team rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl pipped British WEG team medalist Charlotte Dujardin in an epic battle that took place in the Grand Prix for Special hosted at the 2021 CDI Hagen at Hof Kasselmann on Friday 23 April 2021.
Stellar Field, Grand Prix Special Practice
The CDI 4* in Hagen was the first big international dressage competition in seven months time on the European continent, that has been plagued by corona lockdowns and EHV-1 induced transport and competitions stops. With five of the seven Tokyo Olympic judges officiating in Hagen, the first outdoor CDI in Germany drew a stellar field of competitors.
The interest in riding the Grand Prix for Special tour was greater than usual as the GP Special is part of the team championship competition at the 2021 Olympic Games. Riders want to take advantage of the opportunity to practice riding the Special as much as possible in the lead-up to Tokyo.
No less than 32 riders competed in the Grand Prix for Special in the hopes of qualifying for the Special held on Saturday night in the main stadium. The Kasselmann family will recreat the Tokyo atmosphere as best as possible by hosting the Special in the evening under floodlight, just like it will be in Tokyo. Only the temperature difference will throw a spanner in the works as the Europe has been particularly cold and frosty in the mornings and evenings, despite plenty of sunshine. In Tokyo a high humidity and tropical temperatures are expected.
Von Bredow-Werndl pips Dujardin
The Grand Prix for Special was the second 4* Grand Prix class taking place at Horses & Dreams meets Japan - Sports Edition. The test was all about qualifying for the Grand Prix Special with music and two rides were rewarded with over 81%.
Yesterday Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) celebrated victory with her young horse Gio, but today she and her top horse Mount St John Freestyle (by Fidermark) were narrowly beaten by another exceptional pair: Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) on Beatrice Burchler-Keller's TSF Dalera BB (by Easy Game).
Von Bredow and Dalera were in great form and scored a new personal best in the Grand Prix — 81.652%. The judges even awarded multiple 10's for the Piaffe-Passage tour of the Easy Game x Handryk daughter. Dujardin settled for second place with a fraction less: 81.457%
Dressage queen Isabell Werth (GER) came in third with 78.630% with her future hope, Sissy Max-Theurer's DSP bred stallion Quantaz. The Quaterback son started his career in Hagen.
At the 2018 Horses & Dreams meets the Royal Kingdom of Jordan, Max-Theurer discovered the stallion, under Ronald Lüder in the Louisdor Prize qualifier and bought him. Isabell Werth was supposed to compete DSP Quantaz for her student Vicky Max-Theurer, but the new partnership proved so promising that Werth's friend and patron Madeleine Winter-Schulze bought shares in the bay stallion and thus secured him for Werth. Werth kept her two top horses Bella Rose and Weihegold at home. The CDI Hagen is not a German Olympic team selection trial. They will take place in June in Balve and Kronberg.
Benjamin Werndl (GER) and Flora Keller's Daily Mirror (by Damon Hill) finished in fourth place with 76.652%.
Best of the Rest
The top five was completed by Austrian Victoria Max-Theurer on Abegglen FH.
The ready made Grand Prix horse Abegglen, an 11-year old Westfalian gelding by Ampere, was bought for Victoria in 2020 as her Olympic Tokyo potential. The pair has found its groove and scored 75.804% in Hagen to place fifth.
Danish Carina Cassoe Kruth placed sixth on the Danish warmblood mare Heiline's Danciera (by Furstenball x De Niro). With a 75.456% and a sixth place in the Special, they turned out to be the highest scoring Danish pair present in Hagen. Her country mate Nanna Skodborg Merrald was third in the Grand Prix for Kur on Blue Hors Zack with 75.739% the day before.
Dutch based Brit Charlotte Fry made her international Grand Prix debut on Glamourdale (by Lord Leatherdale x Negro). The black Dutch warmblood is a former World Young Horse Champion and after winning the small tour division at the 2019 CDIO Aachen he has been developed to Grand Prix level. Hagen became their debut CDI and they finished seventh with 74.456%.
Master trainer Carl Hester joined his student Charlotte Dujardin to Hagen to steer her Dutch warmblood gelding En Vogue (by Jazz) to an 8th place in the Grand Prix with 74.3904%. A couple of unusual mistakes kept the pair from finishing higher on the ladder.
The best 15 pairs will compete in the Grand Prix Special with music, presented by Höveler Pferdefutter, on Saturday at 18:15 in the show jumping stadium.
Text by Astrid Appels - Photos © Petra Kerschbaum
Scores: 2021 CDI Hagen
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