Belgian Olympic hopeful Fanny Verliefden swept the WDM Grand Prix Kur to Music, staged in the beautiful entourage of the Azelhof Equestrian Center in Lier, Belgium, on Saturday 5 March 2016. Verliefden and her Dutch bred mare Annarico convincingly won with 79.700%, a personal record for the elegant combination.
Their freestyle received 82.400% with 8’s and 9’s for the choreography and music. The extended trot of Annarico (by Lord Loxley) was close to perfection and also scored 8’s and 9’s. Their test showed rhythm, energy and elasticity. This result has given them the ticket for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Portugal’s Daniel Pinto finished in second place with the 10-year-old Santurion de Massa (by Munchhausen) with 76.050%. Santurion’s strong points are his pirouettes, passage and piaffe. The combination just missed to improve their record score of 76.490% in February at CDI Lisbon.
Jeroen Devroe en Eres DL (by Sir Lui x Balzflug) had a smooth and solid freestyle and scored 75.825%. The Belgian Dressage Champion had high scores for the music and choreography and the half-passes in trot and canter.
Belgium’s Jorinde Verwimp unfortunately had some little mistakes in her freestyle with Tiamo (by Lester x Hemmingway) and received 74.250% which was just not enough to go Rio de Janeiro.
Saturday's Grand Prix Action
The competition at the CDI Lier was filled with controversy after two days of patriottic judging on Tuesday and Wednesday, which upset the Olympic Ranking List. The FEI retallied and requested the organizing committee not to include more than one Ukrainian judge per panel per test, which immediately had its effect on Saturday into more consistent and realistic scoring.
The Grand Prix for Special was won by British Spencer Wilton onthe 13-year old Super Nova (by De Niro). Wilton had his bay gelding beautifully in the bridle with enough length in the neck, the poll up and the nose at the vertical. The piaffe-passage work was very elegant even though the transitions in and out could more rhythmical. They scored 73.780%. German Fabienne Lutkemeier was the second starter of the day, early in the morning, and rode the 12-year old Fabregaz (by Florestano x Ragazzo) to a 71.440% score and second place. The piaffe was nice but in the passage the left hind leg needed to be more engaged. The collected walk was lateral. The pirouettes were nice but slightly big. German Jan Dirk Giesselmann and his home bred 12-year old Hanoverian Real Dancer (by Rubin Royal x De Niro) showed strong passage work. The horse has a nice rhythm in piaffe but could be more scopy and has to be more up in the bridle. The uphill one tempi changes were a strong point. They scored 70.320% to finish third.
In the Grand Prix for Kur, Ukrainian Inna Logutenkova slotted in first aboard the 14-year old Oldenburg Don Gregorius (by Don Cardinale x Placido). The canter work were the highlight of the test, with good two tempi changes, a canter extension and zig zag, yet in the ones the rider was standing in the stirrups and leaning forward. The passage needed more collection and the piaffe impulsion but the overall test was faultfree. They scored 71.340%. Australian Briana Burgess had her highs and lows in Lier. She retired in the Grand Prix on Tuesday and on Saturday she was second with 68.320%. Her 19-year old Rhinelander gelding La Scala (by Lancer II x Rembrandt) could not hide his mileage in Lier and appeared very tender in the trot, especially the extensions. The passage was sweet but the hindlegs were unengaged and La Scala bopped his head in the movement. The piaffes were nice, but slightly forward. The extended walk was very nice. In the two tempi's La Scala showed uphill, big changes but could have been more straight in the body, in the ones he needed to cover more ground. Burgess seemed to ride with the handbrake on at her first international in nine months. Brazilian Joa Victor Marcari Olivia landed third place wiht 67.380%. His Brazilian bred 14-year old Lusitano Xama dos Pinhais has good sit in piaffe but the transitions from passage into piaffe are a bit stop-and-go.
U25 Lier: victory for Germany’s Anna-Christina Abbelen
On Friday the Under 25 dressage riders had their finale with a Grand Prix Freestyle. Germany’s Anna-Christina Abbelen won the competition with Henny Hennessy on 71.500%. The gold team medalist of the 2015 European Young Rider Championships received high scores for the extended canter and flying changes.
A close second was Bobby Hayler with Valentino for Great Britain. The pair scored 70.500%. Holland’s Chaneequa Dam finished third with Ureka with 67.300%. Friday’s Short Grand Prix winner Jill Huybregts took fourth place this time with Zamacho Z (67.275%) due to some mistakes in the walk exercises and the flying changes.
Text by WDM + Astrid Appels
Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED - NO SOCIAL MEDIA
Eurodressage photographer Astrid Appels took photos of all combinations competing at the 2016 CDI Lier on Tuesday. Contact us if you are interested in prints/digital files of your photos!