Dinja van Liere and the KWPN crossbred stallion Hermes surfaced at the top of the leader board in the Grand Prix at the World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Friday 27 January 2023.
The Western European League World cup circuit continued in Amsterdam into the new year and with three more legs to go in Neumunster, Den Bosch, and Gothenburg, the field still lies wide open for tickets to the Finals in Omaha (USA) in April.
In Amsterdam a very strong field of some of Europe's top competitors gathered at the RAI exhibition centre. Seventeen riders from seven different nations were entered, but at the end of the Grand Prix only 15 were ranked.
Austrian Timna Zach withdrew before the class because her horse Farant had a temperature and was not fit to compete. Danish Andreas Helgstrand saw himself eliminated again on Queenparks Wendy. The black mare bit her tongue and drew blood. She was excused from the test. The same scenario happened at the CDI Stockholm two months ago at the end of November.
Helgstrand immediately issued a statement on social media. "It's very frustrating, because it only happens when you are in the arena," he said. "And this horse is so easy in everything what she do. She maybe gets a bit nervous in the ring. We must really consider what we can do to help her."
Van Liere op Top
World Championship bronze medal winner Dinja van Liere topped the board with a big score of 79.739%, even though this was not one of her best tests.
Judges Mariette Sanders-van Gansewinkel (NED), Susanne Baarup (DEN), Ulrike Nivelle (GER), Maarten van der Heijden (NED), and Peter Storr (GBR) were clearly divided as marks ranged from 75.761% (Baarup) to 82.283% (Storr), but when the stars are in town the scores will be high nonetheless.
There were plenty of highlights in Dinja's test, which put big scores on the board, but Hermes was quite tense and Dinja was piloting with flat pulling piano hands through the test to keep the temperamental stallion (by Easy Game x Flemmingh) focused on her instead of the surroundings.
The trot extensions were stiff and tense, but the passage work was electric and off the ground. The horse has plenty of talent in the piaffe, really jumping on the diagonals and with decent sit, but he was swooshing his tail more than usual and not all passage works was as crisp regular as we saw them execute it in Herning. There were no major mistakes in the ride, but plenty of imperfections; big pirouettes, a lack of ground cover in the zig zag and a very rigid extended canter where the flying change at the end was luck that it happened (7 - 7.5) . The tempi changes, especially the ones, were gorgeous though and the quality brimming off this combination is without question. The end halt was not square (7.5 - 8).
Just like in Mechelen, Van Liere's Hermes needed the Grand Prix test to get settled into the environment, only on home turf in Amsterdam it counted for the victory and 4000 euro in prize money, while in Mechelen they were third. Van Liere will most definitely try to iron out the creases in the freestyle on Saturday.
"I was very happy with Hermes," said Van Liere after her test. "He was very relaxed. Hermes likes it here in Amsterdam. His highlights were always the piaffe and passage. The tempu's and pirouettes were also very beautiful. I didn't have any big mistakes today. That was in fact the highlight."
When asked what she thought about the judges' differences, van Liere replied, "I don't “I don't care about that,” said Dinja. “You always have this. One judge gives a higher percentage than the other and then the final score is somewhere in the middle.''
Werth and Good Old Emilio
While Van Liere and Hermes were bubbling with energy, even boiling over a bit, Isabell Werth's Emilio was the image of ease and experience.
Werth rode the 17-year old Westfalian gelding (by Ehrenpreis x Cacir AA) with long reins and a soft bridle contact. For the rein back the gelding did not halt immobile and dragged his feet, but the trot lengthenings were balanced and the passage soft-footed, although the hinds legs could have engaged more under. The walk was the weaker part of the test. Werth rode the canter work without pressuring her horse, which led to a relaxed execution of the movements, but a lack of ground cover in the tempi changes and zig zag. The pirouettes were nice.
The judges rewarded the test with 77.957% good for a second place.
Klimke on a Roll
Ingrid Klimke and Wilhelm Holkenbrink's 15-year old Hanoverian stallion Franziskus (by Fidertanz x Alabaster) have been on a roll, consistently producing solid tests that earn them mid seventy percentage marks.
It was no different in Amsterdam, where they finished third with 76.261%. The trot extensions were large, but in the walk he underwhelmed a bit and put marks between 6.5 and 7.5 on the board. The tempi changes were smooth, the zig zag well executed and the pirouettes earned them marks between 7.5 and 9.
Danish Nanna Skodborg Merrald, who is back to riding under her maiden name according to the score sheets, saddled evergreen, 19-year old Blue Hors Zack (by Rousseau x Jazz) and finished fourth with 76.196%
Kirsten Brouwer and the talented Foundation (by United x Jazz) achieved a personal best score of 75.087% to place fifth, but they were considerably helped by judge Peter Storr who saw 79.348% in the test, while the other four judges were between 72.39% and 75.87%. Brouwer got her ticket to Amsterdam by filling in for Thamar Zweistra, who fractured her tailbone in a non-horse related accident.
The Kur to Music, which counts for World Cup points, is on Saturday at 12h30.
Photos © Digishots - Full photo gallery from Amsterdam by Digishots
Scores: 2023 CDI-W Amsterdam
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