The festivities began this Saturday at the Stutteri Ask Stadium in Herning with the first part of the Grand Prix of the FEI World Dressage Championships. A day that did not reserve any big surprises even if the Netherlands got off to the best start at the expense of the Danes, big favorites at home and third in the provisional. For its part, France is in an honorable ninth position.
Forty-six couples were at the start of this first day of Grand Prix out of the 93 entered for nineteen nations. If all eyes are on the four Danish pairs, grand favorites on their land, it is indeed the orange collars who got off to the best start this Saturday evening thanks to the remarkable performance of the one who embodies the revival of Dutch dressage. , Dinja van Liere. His young Hermes, 10 years old, showed all his strength and reliability on the track despite a delicate first pirouette and a little hesitation on the last piaffe. It was all smiles as the 32-year-old rider left the track with a score of 78.835%, enough to take both the provisional lead in the individual classification but also to lead her Dutch team to the highest provisional step of the team classification. . “Some things could have been better and I wish they were but I’m still happy. These are a few small errors that we can quickly rectify, analyzed the rider afterwards before adding, despite the wind which didn’t make things so easy, he remained focused. At the same time he is a very intelligent horse, a real clown, he likes to do everything and especially to learn new things. He can sometimes be crazy, he has a strong character and a lot of ego, but I love it. But the provisional lead of the Dutch does not only depend on the performance of Dinja but also that of Thamar Zweistra who had the heavy task of starting the team with Hexagon’s Ich Weiss (72.376%). On the second step of the provisional team podium, still no Danish team but a German team which managed this first day of competition perfectly. It is the multi medalist in eventing, Ingrid Klimke, who for her first selection in a major dressage championship with the Mannschaft played the role of opener with her 14-year-old stallion, Franziskus. The couple released their personal best in Grand Prix, 75.683%, at the best time. “Coming here my goal was to beat my personal best and it’s now done. It was an absolutely brilliant recovery, as soon as I entered the track I felt him with me, attentive, focused on what he had to do”.And the Olympic eventing team champion has proven that she is also a very great dressage rider, leading her elegant bay to perfection and in perfect riding, not succumbing to the pressure of being part of this German champion team. world title. “It’s very exciting to be here with the dressage team. I was a little stressed because it’s the first time for me, there were expectations so I sincerely hoped to be up to it”. Which she did perfectly! Thanks to the very good recovery of his compatriot Benjamin Werndl, scored at 77.003% with Famoso OLD, Germany puts the points back on the I.
THE pressure mounts for Denmark
After the announcement of the pregnancy of the reigning Olympic and European champion, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, the sale of the Olympic and European medalist of Charlotte Dujardin, Gio and the retirement of Bella Rose, iconic partner of Isabell Werth, the Danes were then the favorites at home for this world meeting. With four experienced couples, the Danish team arrived in conquered territory in Herning, in a stadium which already hosted the European championships in 2013. Nine years later, the stadium has had a makeover, the site has completely changed, a village of exhibitors and entertainment has taken place, but above all, the Danes have experienced a breathtaking rise, driven in particular by a new generation led by Cathrine Dufour. For this first day, it was the young Nanna Merrald Rasmussen who opened the ball in front of stands that were certainly not quite full but clearly won over to her cause. In the saddle on Blue Hors Zack, the rider unfolded a dynamic recovery rewarded with a score of 76.724%. Already, the Danish atmosphere was honored since the spectators did not hesitate to applaud the rhythm of the passage the last strides of the couple until the final stop. An astonishing reaction often reserved for Freestyle in Music. “We are used to it but I think some foreign riders were quite surprised. The Danish public not only encourages Danes but also riders from other nations,” underlined Carina Cassoe Krüth, second cartridge on the track with her sparkling and so elastic black mare, Heiline’s Danciera. Despite a rather floating zig zag and piaffes while advancing, the couple left the track with a mark of 76.863%, synonymous with provisional third place by teams. “Danciera has been incredible but she has been for the last week and a half, whether at home or in training with Andreas (Helgstrand). It’s always nice to come to competition feeling like you have your horse exactly the way you want it to be.” commented the rider. And when we talk about pressure, the latter remains very down to earth. “For the last two months, every time I opened my Instagram or my Facebook, I saw this picture of our team in Aachen with the title, can the Danes win? There is pressure but the only thing we can do is give our best and show everyone our best version. I think today I was very close to mine but to be honest my mare always gets better as the races progress so we should have our best feeling on the last day, which is Wednesday (laughs) . So I really hope to qualify for La Libre”.
A promising start for France
In this very provisional team ranking, Sweden is in fourth place this Saturday evening, ahead of Great Britain and Spain. For its part, France is in an honorable ninth position after the passage of its first two couples. It was Pauline Basquin who launched the team with her very serious Sertorius de Rima Z*IFCE. For their very first participation in a major event, the couple delivered a fluid and particularly pleasant recovery, as we like to see in the France team. If the pair were close to 71%, a line of changes of feet at offending times will not finally allow them to exceed 70%. However, the couple concludes the first day in thirteenth place (find their reaction HERE). Second couple in the running, and just as inexperienced at this level, with five international events to their credit, Antoine Nowakowski had a more mixed recovery marred by several youthful mistakes but despite everything punctuated by very good moments, especially in passing. The score is not what was expected (65.326%) but the accumulated experience is there (find his reaction HERE). At the end of this first day, the national coach of the Blues, Jean Morel, who is also experiencing his first big deadline at the head of this new French team, draws up an initial assessment. “Pauline fulfilled her contract, we knew that the changes were still a little friable, he missed two or three months of work but she showed that she was competitive. After her fault, she did not panic, she knew how to manage behind to finish in style. We could see today all the work done with Carlos (Pinto, his trainer) on the piaffe, the passage, the collection and that will give even more beautiful things. For Antoine, the relaxation went less well, he was a little panicked, he suffered his mare but he recognizes it. He was very disappointed but he has never done a Nations Cup, his mare is young, he has no experience, I chose him and I assume it. The first thing he must do now is digest this non-performance to bounce back. Today, I am looking for horses to identify and competitive riders, this is a training stage”. On Sunday, the last two pairs from each nation, including France, will race their Grand Prix. A day at the end of which the team medals will be awarded. As for the Blues, Corentin Pottier will enter the competition with Gotilas du Feuillard at 1:08 p.m. while Morgan Barbançon and Sir Donnerhall II OLD will appear before the seven judges at 6:04 p.m. “ Corentin worked very well this Saturday morning with his horse. Norbert (van Laak, his coach) makes him step up every day but he too is young, like his horse, if it doesn’t work you shouldn’t hold it against him, he’s there pto evolve. For Morgan, she has a lot more experience and her horse is in great shape, fresh, like the other three moreover.”.
Find the provisional results and schedules for Sunday HERE