Scholtens and Indian Rock Win Tight Contest at 2024 CDI-W Neumünster

Sun, 02/18/2024 - 20:12
2024 CDI-W Neumunster
Emmelie Scholens and Indian Rock at the 2024 CDI-W Neumunster :: Photos © Stefan Lafrentz

-- FEI press release by Louise Parkes

Partnering the 11-year-old KWPN stallion Indian Rock, The Netherlands’ Emmelie Scholtens clinched victory at the ninth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League in Neumünster, Germany on Sunday 18 February 2024.

Already under the spotlight after topping the closely-contested Grand Prix, the Dutch pair were awarded the winning mark once again today by judges Ulrike Nivelle (GBR), Clive Halsall (DEN), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (NED), Maarten ver der Heijden (GER) and Henning Lehrmann (GER) with less than 2.5 percent separating the top four this time around.

Their Freestyle score of 81.565 gave Scholtens the edge over Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Forever Young HRH, while German riders filled the next three places, Matthias Alexander Rath (Destacado FRH) clinching third ahead of Bianca Nowag-Aulenbrock (Florine OLD) in fourth and Raphael Netz (Great Escape Camelot) in fifth place. Belgium’s Larissa Pauluis (Flambeau) finished sixth of the 15 starters.

First World Cup Win

For Scholtens, her win today with the horse she competed at the World Championships in Herning (DEN) in 2022 and at last summer’s European Championship in Riesenbeck (GER) was particularly special. 

"I know Indian Rock since he was three years old, I started everything with him, his whole education all the way to Grand Prix and he’s special to me because I rode his father (Apache) and he reminds me of him," said the 38-year-old rider.

In the Race

Nowag-Aulenbrock and the imposing chestnut mare Florine OLD set the standard in the first half of the competition with a personal-best score of 79.225, but German compatriot, Rath, went out in front when producing the first over-80% score with Destacado FRH when fifth-last into the ring. 

“It was better than yesterday, he was more on my aids today”, Rath said of the 11-year-old horse who already showed his potential when finishing second as a five-year-old and fourth as a six-year-old at the World Young Horse Championships.  “I know we still have room to improve, but for the test today the plan was in the morning to get together with my trainer Monica Theodorescu and my father, and it was a really nice test”, he said with some satisfaction.

Patrik Kittel on Forever Young HRH
However his score of 80.425 was overtaken by the next pair into the arena, Patrik Kittel sweeping into the lead when earning 81.145 for a test filled with pleasing passage and accompanied by a musical score that had the audience’s toes tapping. Playing to the crowd is what this Swedish performer has always been about, but even this three-time Olympian was very aware of how intimate the Neumünster arena is. 

“Obviously it’s not so easy to ride when the audience is so very close here, and they are very enthusiastic which I really love! We do this to make people enjoy it, to see the harmony between the rider and horse and when people come and show their appreciation we love that. Every rider says we ride better when the audience are with us!”, he pointed out.

Despite the challenges of the arena’s dimensions, Kittel has a special relationship with the Holstenhallen. 

"Neumünster was my first home when I came to Germany and this was one of the first shows I ever attended so it’s quite cool to many years later sit here," he explained. 

Talking about his test he said, “I had a rider-pilot mistake in the changes today which I quickly corrected but otherwise it was really good and I think the music is really cool, it’s a bit different. For me it’s about just keep riding, have fun and just enjoy being here!” 

Steal his thunder

But Scholtens would steal his thunder when, despite a nervous moment when entering the arena to a wall of sound, Indian Rock earned the biggest score of the day when next to go.

“He was a little bit scared because of the prize-giving from yesterday but he is such a brave horse - I said it’s fine, you can go in!”, she explained after putting 81.565 on the board. 

“He’s a fun horse to go to shows with because he’s easy and he feels he wants to give his all. He has the best character, he’s a stallion but he is so sweet. He’s special to me because of his father also, but it’s about every day how he is when you are with him”.

With Indian Rock’s sire, Apache, Scholtens finished eighth at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2019. Following today’s result she finds herself well within reach of a qualifying place for the 2024 Final, so that has presented her with an interesting question. 

“I didn’t think before about going to the Final but I’m considering it now!”, she said. But of course the decision isn’t just hers. “He feels like my horse but he’s not my horse so I have to discuss with the owners and to be honest it’s also an exciting year this year because of the Olympics so I also have to watch out that everything isn’t too much for him. We have to figure out what is best”, she explained.

One way or another however she will definitely compete at the final leg of the Western European League on home soil at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in three weeks’ time.


Kittel also plans to go to the Dutch fixture and the man who has been the longtime leader on the League table is already thinking ahead to his trip to the series Final.

Matthias Rath on Destacado
“I have luckily now three horses qualified which is a big honour for me. I will take Bonamour to Den Bosch and after that I will have a talk to our Swedish team coach and everyone involved and see if and when and how we do Riyadh”, he said.

And Germany’s Rath also has Riyadh in his sights. Today’s result has rocketed him up to second place on the League table so he is comfortably qualified.

"The plan was with Destacado was to do the World Cup season and to go to the Final. Now with 69 points we are safe and we can plan for the Final and that’s really cool. It would be the second World Cup Final for me and I’m really looking forward to it," he said.

Meanwhile when it comes to celebrating her victory today, Scholtens said that would be happening on her six-hour drive home to Holland. “It’s a long drive but we often driver further, and when you win then everything feels better," she pointed out.

Related Links
Scores: 2024 CDI-W Neumunster
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2024 World Cup Finals