Pistner on Individual Gold Medal Course at 2023 European Young Riders Championships

Fri, 07/14/2023 - 16:48
2023 European Young Rider/Under 25 Championships
Valentina Pistner and Flamboyant at the 2023 European Young Riders Championships :: Photo © Petra Kerschbaum

- Text © Eurodressage (this article expresses Eurodressage's' eye-witness account and opinion about the competition)

Germany's Valentina Pistner is on individual gold medal course after the conclusion of the first group of riders in the individual test at the 2023 European Young Riders Championships in Pilisjaszfalu, Hungary on 14 July 2023. 

New Day, New Opportunities

Although Denmark won team gold yesterday in a nail-biting thriller edging out Germany and Great Britain, today Germany saw two of its four riders take the two highest spots on the provisional ranking of the individual test. 

The competition kicked off in hot and dry conditions at 8 AM this morning, and there was no time for being sleepy as some of the candidates for a podium place performed early. The order of go for this class is decided by a random draw, the fairest way of sorting riders and presenting them to the panel of judges.

The ground jury for the individual test included Enzo Truppa, Eva-Maria Vint-Warmington, Olivier Smeets, Gabriela Valeriánova, and Elke Ebert. 

Pistner Power

Pistner and Flamboyant
Valentina Pistner and her 15-year old Oldenburg gelding Flamboyant (by Fidertanz x De Niro) are on great form in Hungary. After placing third in the team test they were able to score a personal best of 75.559% today, which made them overnight leaders in the class and gold medal hopefuls. 

Valentina's dark bay gelding produced big trot extensions that are airbound and ground covering. There was great reach in the half passes but he tilted in the right volte. In trot one wished to see the rider's legs be a bit more quiet. The extended walk was superb, but scored only got a 7.6. The collected walk was clean. The onset of the right canter half pirouette was a bit big, but the tempi changes were clear and ground covering.  The test was energetic and expressive. The final halt was square but wide behind. 

Jana Lang and Baron scored 74.059% to rank second so far.

Danish Delight

Alexander Yde Helgstrand and Belantis
Denmark's Alexander Yde Helgstrand currently stands in the bronze medal position with 73.529% aboard the 14-year old Brandenburg bred Belantis (by Benetton Dream x Expose).

Helgstrand rode a very polished test with many highlights. His gelding has incredible shoulder freedom and reach with the frontleg, but in the half passes one would like to see the hindlegs cross more and in the extensions track more under. Nevertheless, the trot part was ridden in a very fluent rhythm. Overall the horse needed to show more flexion (especially to the right) on the bent lines as she stays very straight in the frame. Alexander rode a nice extended walk, the collected could have been a fraction more closed and quiet in the connection. Also in the canter work, the pair gave a very balanced, harmonious impression with big flying changes and good pirouettes but a mistake in one line of tempi's pushed the score down. Pity. 

Baars on a High

Shanna Baars on Farzana G
Dutch Shanna Baars and the 13-year old Dutch bred mare Farzana G (by Ampere x Florencio) were another pair that produced a very precise, stable test which resulted in a personal best mark of 73.265% and a fourth place provisionally. 

The trot part was very expressive, in the right tempo, and with plenty of ground cover in the extensions and half passes. In the rein back the mare moved forward, but Baars patiently waited for her to halt again and do the rein back. The extended walk has good relaxation, even though there was not much V-moment in the rhythm.  Also in canter, Baars continued to deliver a very nice, quiet picture, the horse steady in the frame and very elegant. In the canter extensions the nose should come a bit more out. The three tempi changes were lovely and straight.

McConkey Fifth So Far

Jessica McConkey pats Lady Gaga
Britain's team bronze medal winning Jessica McConkey landed a provisional fifth place with 70.530%. 

Aboard the 14-year old Danish mare Lady Gaga (by Quaterback x Solos Landwind), Jessica produced a trot tour with a nice cadence and good balance on the voltes. In general there could have been a bit more lateral bending and elasticity. Lady Gaga is a power mare that truly pushes forward. There was a small blemish in the extended trot on the long diagonal. The extended walk was outstanding with very clear V-moment and overstep. The pirouette left was nice and the tempi changes confident. 

The individual test continues tomorrow, Saturday 15 July, at 8 AM with several more riders who can challenge the position of the current top ranked riders. 

Photos © Petra Kerschbaum

Related Links
Scores: 2023 European Young Rider / Under 25 Championships
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2023 European Young Riders/Under 25 Championships