What's Happening: April 2024

Tue, 04/09/2024 - 09:34
Bits 'n Pieces
Dorothee Schneider at the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam: Photo © Astrid Appels

At the end of March Dorothee Schneider injured herself in an accident with a breeding stallion. According to Dressursport Kim, Dorothee "had an accident while leading a stallion to the phantom and broke a metacarpal bone. With a wrist orthosis, she is still sitting in several saddles every day."

The Hamburg Jumping and Dressage Derby will come under new management. The show management of one of the most historic equestrian competitions in Germany was handled by Volker Wulff (En Garde) for the past 25 with Paul Schockemöhle serving as wingman. Last year a big change came in the Hamburg Derby board of the directors and the new president, Dietmar Dude (82), saw a new path for the show. Under Wulff the Hamburg Derby developed in an explosive way, going from 30,000 visitors in 2000 to 97,000 in 2023. St. Georg interviewed Wulff who is very sad about the development. It's worth a read. Matthias Rath has confirmed that his company Schafhof Connects will take over. They also manage the CDI's in Kronberg, Frankfurt and Donaueschingen.

German based Norwegian U25 Grand Prix rider Celina Bådstangen has announced that she is leaving her trainers, Jessica and Benjamin Werndl, at stable Aubenhausen and relocating in the area to a different barn. "After three years I am now embarking on a new chapter and will be leaving Aubenhausen in the summer," Celina wrote.  "I want to give thanks to Jessica and Benjamin, who have been not only my mentors, my trainers and friends since I have been here at this stable." Badstangen wants to go professional herself. "I am very excited to move my horses to a beautiful 5* stable, which is close to my hometown Munich, and also my family," she added. 

Celine van Durme and Rudi Eerdekens
(Photo © Dirk Caremans)
The 30-year old Celine van Durme will be succeeding Rudi Eerdekens as managing director of the Belgian Warmblood society (BWP). Eerdekens is retiring in 2025 and will be passing on the baton to Van Durme, who holds a university degree in forensic psychology. She worked as an account manager for Hilti and as a district manager for supermarket Aldi. She's an amateur rider with a keen interest in breeding. 

German national dressage judge Heidi Dörler has passed away. She was 80 years old. 

British dressage horse breeder Penny Podmore of  Brownscombe Stud has passed away in January 2024. She was 75. Horse & Hound wrote, "she was passionate about developing her knowledge of breeding and worked closely with list one and FEI dressage judge Barry Marshall, attending major competitions. After (her husband) Jim’s early death, Penny continued to stay at the forefront of all the changing techniques within the industry and was involved in the early stages of using AI in horse breeding." She stood dressage stallions Fontainebleau (by Wanderer x Wenzel) and Heike Kemmer's former international Grand Prix horse Royal Rubin (by Rubinstein x Brandenburger).

Van Mierlo in 2017
Dutch dressage rider Danielle van Mierlo has injured herself and needs to refrain from riding for a while. A Dutch team memer in her time as a youth rider, Van Mierlo hasn't competed internationally since August 2019. In 2020 she had a baby and fractured her fibula. She now posted that she "fractured something in her back and bruised the muscles in between her ribs." Her students and mom have been helping her out as she recovers from her injury.

Zen Elite has sold their Grand Prix horse Sai Baba Plus as a schoolmaster for U.S. rider. Nathan Morehead. The 17-year old Sai Baba Plus is by Sir Donnerhall out of Daylight (by De Niro x Warkant). He is bred by Robert Gaus. He was first owned by the German based Portuguese rider Boaventura Freire. He represented Portugal with Sai Baba at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, where they finished 35th in the Grand Prix with 67.214%. In 2021 the horse sold to Heidi Humphries as a ride for Kati Dagge. Endel Ots recently rode his very first classic Grand Prix test on the gelding in Wellington, Florida. Sai Baba has now been sold. 

Swedish dressage rider Elin Aspnas and her long-time life partner Jonas Tornerhjelm got engaged during their holiday on Pearl Island in the Bahamas back on 18 February. "The easiest YES ever!  I mean, who isn’t up for a wedding," said Aspnas. And 2024 is a double festive year for them as the couple is expecting their first child in May. Jonas is a professional farmer with a keen interest in hunting, golf and skiing.   

The British Equestrian (BEF) Board of Directors has appointed business leader Fields Wicker-Miurin OBE FKC as the new Chair of Great Britain’s national federation of equestrianism. She will take up the official position on 01 July 2024, following a handover period. Fields will take over from Malcolm Wharton CBE, who was appointed Interim Chairman in October 2019.