Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer Wins Individual Test Gold at the 2022 European Junior Riders Championships

Sat, 07/30/2022 - 09:17
2022 European Junior and Young Riders Championships
Sophia Obel Jorgensen, Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer, and Annabella Pidgley on the individual test podium at the 2022 European Junior Riders Championships :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer and her Hanoverian stallion Libertad retained their overnight leader spot in the individual test and claimed the gold medal at the 2022 European Junior Riders Championships in Hartpury (GBR) on Friday 29 July 2022. The silver medal went to Denmark's Sophie Obel Jorgensen and the bronze was for Briton Annabella Pidgley.

Fifty-two junior riders divided into two groups competed on Thursday and Friday 28 - 29 July 2022 for the individual test medals. The class was judged by Lars Andersson (SWE), Jean-Michel Roudier (FRA), Elke Ebert (GER), Isobel Wessels (GBR), and Kirsten Soegaard (DEN).

Three rider that went on in the first group - Schmitz-Morkramer, Obel Jorgensen and France's Mathilde Juglaret - kept their top three places almost to the very end of the class. Only when Pidgley rode as part of the final set of riders did Juglaret see bronze slip by her nose in favour of the home hero.

Schmitz-Morkramer and Libertad Go for Gold

Allegra and Libertad
The 16-year old Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer is no newcomer to the scene even though she has only been riding internationally since 2019.

She began her sports career in the Children division with Tropensonne (by Tobago x Top Non Stop II) and Lavissaro (by Lissaro van de Helle x Aljano) with the latter carrying her to triple gold at the 2019 European Children Championships in San Giovanni in Marignano. She also competed pony Loreley (by Don't Worry x Anno Domini) and in 2020 returned on the German team with Lavissaro for the European Junior Riders Championships, where they won team gold.

Allegra's 10-year old Hanoverian stallion Libertad (by Londontime x San Remo) sold in December 2019 to the Morkramer family but it wasn't until November 2021 that Allegra made her national show debut on the black. Their first CDI followed a few weeks later at the CDI Aachen indoor and this year did just one CDI (Hagen), where they won the team test (75.707%) after already winning the first German team selection trial at the Preis der Besten.

The way was paved for Allegra to also ride to the top of the board at the European Junior Riders Championships in Hartpury and that's what they did. Trained by Sonja Ellerbrock, Allegra and Libertad won the team test and team gold on Wednesday with 75.758%. They rode their individual test in the first group of Thursday and posted a personal best of 77.030%, a score that remained unchallenged, even though the judges had her between 74.265% (5th - Roudier) and 78.824% (1st - Wessels).

Silver for Sophia Obel

After an illustrious career as a medal winning pony rider on Adriano B, Danish Sophia Obel Jorgensen has made a seamless transition onto horses and into the junior division with the 10-year old Oldenburg bred Brilliant (by Bretton Woods x Diamond Hit).

Sophia Obel on Brilliant
Bred by Paul Schockemöhle in Germany and owned by the Danish Stald Foldager, the chestnut Brilliant was a former licensed stallion but did not have a breeding career. He sold to Denmark and was first competed in Denmark in 2016 by Marie Witt Poulsen before Lotte Skjærbæk took over the ride in 2019. Sophia rode her first national show on Brilliant in December 2020 and her first CDI half a year later at the 2021 CDI Hagen. As of 2022 she made the definite transition into the junior ranks and rode the chestnut in Lier, Aalborg and Hagen before team nomination.

In Hartpury, the pair produced a lovely, uphill trot tour and very solid canter work with balanced half passes and flying changes. There was a hiccup in the right walk half-pirouette as well as in the flying change after the last canter half pass. They earned 74.618% to finish second overall for silver. The generous scoring from the judges of 6.5 to 7.5 for an extended walk, which did not show overtrack at all, raises questions about how they asses the walk in general. Overtrack is the essential element to fulfil the criteria of an extended walk.

For Obel Jorgensen there was only reason to celebrate of course as this is her third individual silver medal in her career (two silver and two further individual bronze medals on pony Adriano) at a European Championships.

British Bronze

Annabella Pidgley on Espe
It was a bronze medal winning day for British Annabella Pidgley on home turf.  Supported by unlimited funds, a string of horses, and the world's best scoring riders as trainers (Cathrine Dufour and Charlotte Dujardin) the medal winning junior rider had all the pawns in place for a trip to the podium in Hartpury.

After a mileage gaining start on ponies with Farbenfroh, Ine, and Cognac from 2017 till 2020, Pidgley made her break through on horses in 2021. Aboard the French bred Hanoverian gelding Sultan des Paluds she made a stunning impression at the 2021 European Junior Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, winning double individual silver with beautiful rides.

For the 2022 Europeans she decided on the 8-year old Westfalian mare Espe (by Escolar x Dimaggio), a mare the family bought after she placed 11th at the 2019 World Young Horse Championships under Eva Möller. Espe was sent to Cathrine Dufour in Denmark or training and only arrived in the U.K. in March of this year. With zoom training for Dufour and regular personal visits of Dujardin at Kilbees' farm in Windsor, the combination made its CDI debut at Keysoe only days after getting together, followed by a triple victory at the CDI Hagen in June. At the 2022 European Championships in Hartpury they placed second in the team test with  75.151 to carry Britain to team bronze.

In the individual test, Pidgley had to do a bit more riding and it all looked slightly less harmonious as two days before. The mare regularly gaped with the mouth and showed her tongue on the right, even though Annabella did her best to keep a very light and steady contact. Espe nicely stretched into the contact when given the reins on the trot half circle and overall the trot work was active, engaged from behind, and lightfooted with very good crossing in the half passes. There could have been more flexion on the left lead. There was a lack of activity in the left walk half-pirouette (6 - 7.5), the extended walk had very good overtrack and V-moment in the rhythm (7.5 - 8.5), but the collected walk was stiff, slow and did not show a proper shortening of active steps (6 - 7). In canter the mare clearly got behind the aids and Pidgley had to do a bit of riding to keep the forward tendency. It showed in the simple change. She did succeed though and produced good canter half passes, a super right extended canter, and good flying changes even though the last one was croup high. 

The judges rewarded Annabella's test with 74.382% which knocked Mathilde Juglaret off the podium. The judges were not in unison though with Swedish Andersson being the low score of 72.794 (5th) and Denmark's Sogaard the high score with her 75.588% (2nd).

Juglaret and Bogers in the Top Five

Mathilde Juglaret was beaten to the punch and dropped off the podium into fourth place. 

Jill Bogers on Lennox U.S.
The young French rider is brought up surrounded by horses with mother Anne Sophie Serre and step dad Arnaud Serre both being internationally competing Grand Prix riders. Her 10-year old Lusitano Caporal de Massa (by Rieto x Xaqiero) is a top talent and scored 74.324% for fourth place in the individual test. Having won the Kur to Music at last month's CDI Hagen, the duo has much in store for the freestyle finals on Saturday but will they keep the nerves under control?

The top five was completed by a strong rider Dutch Jill Bogers who piloted the very young, 6-year old KWPN stallion Lennox US (by Grand Galaxy Win x Rousseau) to a 74.00% score. Bogers and Lennox produced a trot tour with much cadence and forward energy. At times a bit more collection would look even better. The contact with the bit is steady but at times the stallion retracts his tongue and could chew more on the bit. The extended walk had good rhythm and overtrack and in canter the flying changes were solid, the simple change very well ridden and the extended canter uphill.  The judges did not entirely agree on the assessment of this pair: 71.765% was the low score (8th Andersson) and 76.176% (1st Roudier) the high score.

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels  - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED (NO SCREEN SHOTS!)
Eurodressage photographed all riders competing at the 2022 European JR / YR Championships. If you are want to use our photos for social media or prints, email us first.

Related Links
Scores: 2022 European Junior and Young Riders Championships
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2022 European Junior/Young Riders Championships