Bianca Nowag-Aulenbrock and her 11-year old Oldenburg mare Florine seem to have come of age at the 2023 CDI Hagen - The Autumn Edition - on 22 - 24 September 2023. The pair dominated the Grand Prix for Special tour with a double victory and has received marks from the judges that will put her in the eyes of the German dressage team selectors.
Big Entries for Fourth CDI in Hagen
This September edition of the CDI Hagen was the fourth international dressage competition hosted at Hof Kasselmann this year. Their traditional Horses and Dreams and Future Champions kicked off the spring season, followed by the Aachen Dressage Days (hosted under the management of Renate and Frans-Jozef Dahmen). The autumn CDI came as a replacement for the CDI Ludwigsburg, where there were some logistical issues this year with the footing.
Ullrich Kasselman eexplained that, “unfortunately, there was no possibility to build the footing in Ludwigsburg the way we wanted it. Therefore, we considered moving the event to Hagen. The result surprised us: So many riders from so many different nations entered that we had to do two tours in the Grand Prix. The riders are thrilled. It is quiet, compared to other events here, but this way the dressage riders have the best opportunity to present their horses. From the sporting side, it’s a top show and you could certainly expand on this should Hagen get the date next year as well.”
Monica Theodorescu, German team trainer, confirmed that thought. "The starting fields say that it was the right decision to organise the CDI in September. Hagen is always a magnet for the riders, no matter what time of year it is. There are also top-class international judges with Olympic experience here, which the riders really appreciate.” For Theodorescu, the event was also a good opportunity to view and support many of her students on site and to get an idea of their performance in test conditions.
Nowag and Florine Show Growth
Bianca Nowag, a 2019 European Under 25 Championship kur bronze medal winner, has been quietly building her business after she left the Under 25 ranks and has received a major boost when the Von Wulffen family took her under their wings and provided her with the horse Florine, an 11-year old Foundation x Lauries Crusador xx x Grand Cru mare. The chestnut was developed to FEI level by Maike Mende before selling to Helgstrand and in 2020 to the Von Wulffen family.
Nowag began competing her at international Grand Prix level at the 2022 CDI Lier and gained mileage in Hagen and Ermelo. This year they showed at the CDI-W Neumunster, Aachen Festival 4 Dressage, Compiegne and the 4* tour at the CDI Aachen, where their scores were around 71 - 73%. Last weekend, they unlocked a new scoring level which could be a stepping stone to 2024. Judges Elke Ebert, Maarten Van der Heijden, Dr. Evi Eisenhardt, Marietta Almasy, and Isobel Wessels rewarded her with a winning 74.804% in the Grand Prix and even a 75.660% in the Special.
In the Grand Prix the pair presented a very harmonious picture, fluent from movement to movement with the mare soft in the contact and steady in the head position. The trot extensions were hurried though, but the half passes beautifully ridden. The passage is elegant, the piaffe on the spot but lacks some energy and spring. In the piaffe at X she got wide behind. The weak point of the test was the extended walk line on which the mare was distracted and achieved no overtrack. Still a 6.6 from the judges !? The tempi changes were super smooth and the zig zag very well ridden, as was the left pirouette.
The 28-year old Nowag improved her personal best score of 72.087% to 74.804% for the Grand Prix .
With the 2023 outdoor show season coming to a conclusion in Hagen, riders from 26 (!) different nations took the opportunity to compete outdoors one last time this season and practise their training in a competition atmosphere ahead of the very important 2024 Olympic year.
“That was a really special end to the outdoor season," said former Danish team rider Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who competed her Blue Hors (Fredensdal) Fifty Cent in the small tour. The Autumn CDI Hagen delivered new best performances, strong national and international rides with a star studded entry field.
Christoph Koschel has taken over the ride on the 14-year old KWPN bred Eddieni (by Johnson x Negro) from Japanese owner Masahiro Kosaka. The pair rode its third CDI this season, kicking off in the summer in Grote Brogel and going to Neustadt-Dosse two months later. In Hagen they were 8th in the Grand Prix with 70.000% and second in the Special with 72.341%
Isabell Werth's student Lisa Müller and the former Young Horse World Champion D'Avie (by Don Juan de Hus x Londonderry) are in their third year at international Grand Prix level, making their debut in 2021 at the CDI Munich. In Hagen the pair presented a very consistent picture, with the horse steady in the bridle contact, but the gorgeous chestnut stallion is croup high in the piaffe and passage, with the piaffe leaning on the shoulders and crossing behind and in passage the hindlegs not moving under towards the point of gravity: two cornerstone movements at Grand Prix level. The extended walk is a delight and overall the horse is just eye candy to watch with his handsome looks.
Patrik Kittel rode his second international aboard Sportpferde Galleria's Westfalian bred Bohemian (by Bordeaux x Samarant) and this pair was of course the center of attention. With Danish Cathrine Dufour the liver chestnut was a rare 80% scoring horse, but with new rider Dong Seon Kim the Grand Prix scores dropped to 68% and the Korean Olympian did not take time to develop a partnership on this horse. He handed over the ride to experienced Patrik Kittel until the horse is sold. Kittel debuted in Crozet, where he had 71.652% in the Grand Prix and 73.511% in the Special. With all eyes on the World Young Horse Championships the same weekend as Crozet, that premier went rather unnoticed. However, in Hagen, they were the center of attention. Kittel rides Bohemian in a totally different frame from Dufour. Where the Danish prefers an extremely light (to no) contact, Kittel was hands on and the horse was held strongly on the left rein throughout his Grand Prix test. Bohemian has always been stiff and quick in the extended trot and this was no different under Patrik. The passage was well collected and regular though, the first two piaffes went well and were on the spot, but in the one at X there was a loss of rhythm. The tempi changes were ground covering but needed to be more straight. The pirouettes were nice. They were second with 72.978%. On Sunday in the Special they posted 70.553% for 8th place.
Brazilian Joao Marcari Oliva made his come back on the Lusitano stallion Escorial Campline after an almost 7 month break from competition. The pair proved form and scored 71.348% before heading to the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, where Brazil hopes to secure an Olympic team ticket for Paris.
Emma Kanerva and Gerd Saborowksi's Finnish bred but Oldenburg registered Mist of Titanium (by Millennium x Diamonit) started the outdoor season this year at the Aachen Festival 4 Dressage with a spectacular Grand Prix test in which all the pieces came together and they got a very stingy 73.956% for that. Since then I have seen the pair at several other internationals, but never reproduced that same stunning ride. In Hagen they got a still very decent 71.218% to finish fifth in the Grand Prix. In the Special they were fourth with 71.617%%
- Text © Eurodressage (this article expresses Eurodressage's' eye-witness account and opinion about the competition)
- Photos © Astrid Appels