Dressage debrief: Aachen, Villach, Roosendaal and Vale View

Aachen CDI was the big international of the week although it was not anything like as big as usual.

Usually a 10-day German horsefest, it was reduced to just three days due to the preparation for the FEI European Championships (in the five disciplines of show jumping, dressage, driving, vaulting and reining) that take place there in a few weeks (August 11-23rd).

There were therefore just the two international dressage classes; a grand prix and grand prix freestyle and no team competition. Aachen and German team veteran Isabell Werth claimed the grand prix with Don Johnson, her 2013 European team gold medal partner with Swede Tinne Vilhlemson and Don Auriello second – the two then swapped places in the freestyle.

Sonke Rotherberger, aged 20 and the youngest in the field, made an impression on the judges to come third. The young Dutchman, (the son of former international riders Sven Rothenberger and Gonnelien Gordijn), who recently came back to dressage after several years in showjumping was competing in his first Aachen.

British team member Michael Eilberg and 15-year-old Marakov, with who he won last year’s National Championship, was seventh of the 19 starters in the grand prix and eighth in the freestyle.

Villach CDI in Treffen

Anna Ross was the sole British representative at the Villach CDI in Treffen Austria. One suspects she won’t be a lone traveller in the future. The show held at the Glock Horse Performance Centre, owned by Austrian millionaire Gaston Glock, not only featured some dressage but also a lot of big entertainment and yes it was big. As big as Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams even!

It wasn’t just the evening cabaret that knocked the socks off riders, judges and spectators as the whole place, which is pretty exceptional any day of the week, was done up to the nines. Special cocktails, cakes, chocolates, coffees, canapes and even bespoke curries were served throughout the day and the horses walked to the arena on a red carpet.

Back to dressage; Anna was riding Jane Sewells 14-year-old De Niro mare Die Callas, to be fifth in the CDI3* grand prix won by German Isabelle Steidle with Long Drink 2.

Anna was then third in the grand prix special headed by Matthias Bouten and the approved stallion Ehrengold MJ. Dutch team rider Hans Peter Minderhoud won the CDI4* grand prix and special with the KWPN licensed stallion Glock’s Johnson while fellow team member Edward Gal was the runaway winner of the freestyle and its 13,240euro prize, with KWPN licensed stallion Glock’s Voice.

CPEDI3* Roosendaal

British Paralympic riders were also in action in The Netherlands at the CPEDI3* Roosendaal. Nottinghamshire-based British team rider and World and European gold medallist Sophie Wells dominated the Grade IV classes gaining two wins and second with C Fatal Attraction as well as three personal bests for the combination. The show also marked two first international wins for the eight-year-old Dutch-bred gelding.

Surrey-based Nicky Greenhill and Gregorian Chant, another horse at his first international abroad, took third in both the Grade III individual test and freestyle while Buckinghamshire based Amanda Shirtcliffe and the grey mare Ruby Rose II gained two sixth places.

Heather Bennett from Goole and her 11-year-old Rhodium mare Zavailantika, Erin Orford also from Buckinghamshire and the Dimaggio mare Dior UKH and Sophie Wells were fourth in the team competition won by the home team of The Netherlands.

Vale View EC in Leicestershire

Back in the UK Paralympic dressage for up and coming combinations took place at the BD Para Home International held at Vale View EC in Leicestershire. At the end of two days of competition Natasha Adkinson, and Sweet Caledonia from the Northern Stars team was awarded the prize for the highest percentage in the senior classes. The 21-year-old who is based in Bawtry in East Yorkshire competes in Grade Ib classes and has won 9 of the 11 classes she has contested this year with Sweet Caledonia, a British-bred seven-year-old Hanoverian mare by San Remo.

Izzy Palmer also of the Northern Stars, with the Welsh part-bred Gregonne Coco Chanel received the equivalent junior award. In February Izzy (14) from Rawdon near Leeds who competes in Grade III classes, was named ‘young disability sportsperson of the year’ at the Leeds Sports Awards for her achievements in a sport not associated with Yorkshire’s biggest city.

She is also one of the youngest members of Team GBR lottery funded World Class Development programme having gained a place last December following success in national competitions.

The Wales Snowdonia team of Lorna Lee (Newlands Sando Hit), Julia Horton (Premier Joyful Moon) Denise Smith (Sheepcote Catkin) and Georgia Wilson (Caraca) were the best of nine to win the team prize.


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