Text © Astrid Appels (this article expresses Appels' view on the competition).
Helen Erbe put team Germany in the provisional lead of the team ranking at the 2022 European Under 25 Championships in Pilisjaszfalu (HUN) on 24 August 2022.
The 2022 European Children and Under 25 Championships near Budapest kicked off early this morning with the first group of riders contesting in the Children Preliminary Test. Rain dampened the festive mood of these Europeans, even though temperatures were at a balmy 26 C*. The muggy weather persisted into the afternoon as the first group of riders contested the Team Championship Test - Intermediaire II - for the Under 25 Championships.
Germany in the Lead
Germany's Helen Erbe and her sister Hannah's 15-year old Hanoverian gelding Carlos (by Carabas x Weltmeyer) took the overnight lead as the judges panel, consisting of Hans Voser (Sui), Orsolya Hillier (Hun), Christof Umbach (Lux), Thomas Lang (Aut), and Ulrike Nivelle (Ger), favoured her test the most of the day and rewarded it with 74.854%. Erbe was the third rider to go and piloted her tall dark bay gelding with much confidence through the ride. The horse shone in the extended trot and canter part, showed a nice regular passage, and was very consistent in the head-neck position, but the real collected work was a bit of a challenge today: the piaffes were small and the left pirouette was big at the onset. In the extended walk the horse underwhelmed. The overtrack was good, but his rhythm far from clear (6.6 score!). The tempi changes were well ridden and ground covering. Overall Erbe produced a focused test but in the collection could be more carrying from behind. They were rewarded with 74.853% but the judges did not all agree: Lang had them at 72.941%, Voser and Umbach at 76.029%.
The second score for Germany came from Alina Schrader aboard the 13-year old Oldenburg mare Paola (by Lord Loxley x Friedensfurst/T. The pair landed a fifth provisional place with 71.324%. The bay mare produced a fairly conservative first trot lengthening, but then showed very good airtime in the passage. The piaffes were small though and the transitions into them lacked power from behind. Paola marched well in the extended walk and even though she does not have the scopiest canter, she was safe and obedient in all the canter movements. A mistake in the ones pushed the score down. Voser had her on 68.676%, Umbach and 72.353%.
At the moment Team Germany is in the lead with a top score of 74.854%.
Denmark In Pursuit
Inspired by the team gold medal the Danish seniors grabbed at the World Championships in Herning two weeks ago, the Danish Under 25 riders are pulling out the stops in pursuit of their own gold.
Thea Bech exceeded all expectations with her 12-year old KWPN gelding Dionisos (by Spielberg x Sir Sinclair) and landed a provisional second place with 72.971%. Her rather refined gelding showed off smooth half passes and a very lightfooted passage. He probably produced some of the nicest piaffe work of the day with good rhythm and elevation and smooth transitions in and out. The overtrack in the extended canter was limited though, but the rhythm clear. The pirouettes were small, the tempi changes straight. Dionisos stayed steady in the contact, but should be a bit more open in the throatlatch. The overall silhouette would improve even more if the rider were to push less with her seat in the saddle, especially in the trot work. Definitely a pair to watch this show!
Denmark's second rider of the day, Laura Thorup and the 12-year old stallion Blue Hors Veneziano (by Vivaldi x Donnerhall), slotted in third with 71.882%. The gorgeous liver chestnut stallion appeared a bit stiff in the trot work, with a lack of bending in the corners and regularly dropping in the poll with the mouth open, but he showed some impressive crossing of the legs in the trot half passages and showed very elegant passage and a soft, steady rhythm in piaffe. The extended walk had much overtrack, but there could be more V-moment in the rhythm. The first canter pirouette was a bit big at the onset, but the tempi changes were nice and secure.
Denmark currently ranks second with a top score of 72.971%
Dutch in Third Place
At the moment the Dutch team is standing third with a top score of 71.441%.
Febe van Zwambagt achieved that mark on the sympathetic 9-year old Hanoverian gelding Fernandell MS (by For Compliment x Londonderry). The young dark bay Grand Prix horse executed nice trot half passes, especially to the left and a good medium trot. Although the horse achieved good suspension and bounce in the passage, the hindlegs could move more towards the point of gravity. Because he leaves the hindlegs out, the piaffe is also a bit of a struggle with the horse not taking the weight behind. The extended walk had good activity and rhythm, but the neck curled instead of the nose coming out. While Van Zwambagt kept a soft contact, her hands were often positioned below the withers in flat piano playing position instead of soft upright fists. Fernandell showed good uphill extended canters and expressive tempi changes that could be even more straight. They scored 71.441% and the judges were quite in unison about the ride.
Holland's Julia Bouthoorn and the 15-year old KWPN gelding Choice Finch (by Voice x Silvano N) landed seventh place with 70.971%. Her horse is a hard worker with a very active and engaged hind leg, but overall he stays croup high in all the work and gets tense in the top line which results in a swooshing tail. The piaffes, in which the hindquarters need to drop and come under the body, are therefore difficult for him. Nevertheless, the pair rode strong movements such as small pirouettes, a clear 4-beat extended walk and bouncy passage.
In the Running
The Belgian team is fourth provisionally with Laura Luyten on her home bred 11-year old Lamborghini (by Bon Bravour x San Remo) posting 69.088%. Team mate Suraya Hendrikx and her 11-year old Westfalian gelding Dear Friend (by Danone x Dollmann) is right behind her with 68.912%.
Great Britain's Lucy Amy settled into sixth place today aboard her 13-year old Holsteiner Rudy (by Cancara x Julio Mariner xx). The bay gelding was steady in the bridle contact and showed good swing in the trot extensions. He still swung a bit in the first piaffe, seeking balance. They scored 71.294%.
Text by Astrid Appels - Photos © Lukasz Kowalski
Scores: 2022 European Children and Under 25 Championships
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2022 European Children/Under 25 Championships