Blue Hors Qualifies Two Horses - Atterupgaards Orthilia and Blue Hors Zepter - for 2022 World Cup Finals

Wed, 03/23/2022 - 10:32
Blue Hors' Nanna Skodborg Merrald on Atterupgaards Orthilia at the 2022 CDI-W Neumunster :: Photo © Stefan Lafrentz

Blue Horse Stud, one of Denmark's most prestigious stallion stations and dressage training centres, has qualified no less than two horses for the 2022 World Cup Finals on 6 - 10 April 2022. Home rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald is taking Atterupgaards Orthilia and Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel will ride Blue Hors Zepter. 

The FEI World Cup Finals are the winter season highlight competition of the year at which only 18 combinations from across the globe are eligible to compete and two of them come from Blue Hors.

Orthilia for Leipzig

Blue Hors stud's team rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald has competed at four Western European League World Cup qualifiers this winter.

She kicked off her World Cup campaign at the CDI-W Herning on her Tokyo Olympic ride Blue Hors Zack, and then switched to presenting her 2021 European Championship team silver medal winning ride, Atterupgaards Orthilia (by Gribaldi x Donnerschlag x Rambo), for the qualifiers in Lyon, London, and Neumunster. 

The 28-year old Merrald and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard's 17-year old Oldenburg mare Orthilia have gone from strength to strength, bumping their freestyle score from 78.904% at the European Champtionships to 83.695% at the CDI-W Lyon and even to a whopping 84.480% in Neumunster last month. 

Nanna and Atterupgaards Orthilia in Neumunster
"Since the Europeans I have found a better connection with Orthilia, and it gives me a better frame," Merrald told Eurodressage. 

The pair rides to music arranged by the Dutch Joost Peeters. She looks forward to showcase their progress in Leipzig. 

"I really like the freestyle of Orthilia, it’s a piano freestyle which I enjoy a lot," Merrald added. "It’s made for her and fits her perfectly."

Kittel Opts for Blue Hors Zepter

German based Swede Patrik Kittel received the ride on the 14-year old Blue Hors Zepter (by Blue Hors Zack x Wolkentanz II) in December 2021, but the pair gelled immediately. 

"Zepter is super," Kittel told Eurodressage. "I love him. He has the best attitude and with all qualities, he always wants to work."

Patrik Kittel on Blue Hors Zepter
Zepter has been produced to Grand Prix level by former Blue Hors rider Daniel Bachmann Andersen and served as a schoolmaster for Spaniard Cristian Tudela Ruiz, before Kittel began competing him in Neumunster, where they posted 81.325% in the freestyle for a 6th place. 

Taking advantage of the newly changed World Cup rule that one start sufficed for World Cup Finals' qualification, Kittel has chosen to ride the more experienced Zepter over his younger green Grand Prix horse.  They will be competing to Patrik's "Billy Idol" freestyle, arranged by Michael Erdmann. 

"I know that music the best and we have not been a couple for so long, so want to give Zepter a good experience," Kittel added.

The 2022 FEI World Cup Finals Dressage take place in Leipzig, Germany, on 6 - 10 April 2022.

Photos © Stefan Lafrentz

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