-- Herning press release, edited by Eurodressage
It was a Danish top three with Carina Cassøe Krüth, Nanna Skodborg Merrald, and Andreas Helgstrand scoring personal best marks on home soil in the 5* Grand Prix at the 2023 CDI Herning on Friday 10 March 2023.
The Danish riders were cheered on with loud applause from the audience in the indoor arena of the Jyske Bank Boxen. In the next door exhibition hall the 2023 Danish warmblood stallion licensing is taking place.
The winner of the class was Carina Cassøe Krüth aboard the 12-year old Danish warmblood mare Heiline's Dancier (by Furstenball x De Niro) received applause from the audience as they passaged down the centreline at the end of their test before the final halt. Owned by Poul Thøgersen and bred by Stald Heiline, Danciera was part of the gold medal winning Danish team at the 2022 World Championships in Herning last year. Today the pair scored a personal best of 79,717%
"She is at a point now where she is starting to settle and have confidence in the piaffe. She has really struggled with that," Carina admitted
Judge at C Maria Colliander supported that statement: "I would say it's the most harmonious I have seen you, there were no hesitations, the piaffe looks like piaffe, and she is always active, she extends, she walks, and in the final halt she stood like a rock with the spectators clapping and for me that was a 10."
The mare scored solid 7s to 8.5s on pretty much all movements with the trot extensions drawing a 9 and the final halt even two 10s. Her piaffe was good for 7s.
"Every time I ride in Boxen, it's special," Kruth added. "Although I am not from Herning, it feels like home because we have done so much here. I always look forward to coming here and feel the support from the audience."
Blue Hors St. Schufro on the Rise
With the competition career of 19-year old Blue Hors Zack slowly drawing to a close, Blue Hors team rider Nanna Skodborg Merrald can rely on several younger horses that have taken over the baton: St. Schufro, Zepter, and Don Olymbrio L.
Nanna has had an impressive FEI World Cup season with several horses and is qualified for the 2023 World Cup final in Omaha. For Herning she saddled the licensed breeding stallion Blue Hors St. Schufro (by St. Moritz Junior x Don Schufro) and placed second with 76,543%.
Nanna could not attend the press conference, as she had to present younger stallions from Blue Hors Stud in a presentation class in front of a huge crowd just after the Grand Prix. After her ride, she said: "It was a personal best for St. Schufro and me, and it was a fantastic ride. He has never performed as well as today, and it was an awesome experience to ride in Boxen in front of such an enthusiastic crowd."
Dressage judge Maria Colliander commented on Nanna's ride: "I am in love with that beautiful stallion, and it is also wonderful riding. He is very expressive and willing. Just as Jovian, he needs a little more strength here and there, as he is probably more eager than fully ready, but a very positive horse and a lovely rider as well."
Personal Best Parade
It was a personal best parade for the Danish riders at their home show.
Also Andreas Helgstrand scored a personal best with the 76.00% that put him and KWPN stallion Jovian (by Apache.x Tango) third. The only 9-year old stallion already has a full season of international Grand Prix down his belt, but had a break from competition since October last year.
"My strategy was not to compete with him during the winter because he was only 8 years old, but I could feel the potential, and I think he has improved a lot during the winter. He is an amazing horse. Every day you ride him, he's on fire. And it was nice to show the improvements today, knowing he can do so much more," Andreas Helgstrand stated.
Judge Maria Colliander said: "The first impression is wow impressive, and when he finished his trot-test, my pulse was high. He is such a good mover, so elastic, and compared to Vilhelmsborg he has taken miles wide steps, he is much more with you and much more secure. There is so much unused potential, but it takes time. He is not a small horse, but super handsome and looks like a million dollars."
It was an exciting Grand Prix with 12 participants, 7 of whom were Danish, and they took the top 7 spots!
On Saturday, the riders will meet again in 5* Grand Prix Freestyle in front of the enthusiastic home crowd in Boxen.
Photos © Ridehesten
Scores: 2023 CDI Herning