Young riders Antonia Arl and Caroline Dufil and small tour riders Saskia Maertens and Jessica Leijser became the winners of the 2* international dressage classes held at the Salon du Cheval on Monday and Tuesday 28 - 29 November 2016 before the big international show jumping competition kicks off there on the weekend.
The Salon du Cheval in Paris is a major international equestrian event with a small CDI 2* leg, a major CSI jumper competition, an indoor driving competition, as well as the World Championships for Arabian horses, alongside exhibitions, shows and a major trade fair.
Ten young riders from France, Poland, and Belgium gathered in Paris to contest the individual test and kur to Music. Belgian Antonia Arl won the first round aboard the 12-year old Hanoverian Equestricons Duke de Niro (by De Niro x Weltmeyer). She scored 68.771% for victory ahead of French young riders team member Mathis Portejoie on Artisto W (67.763%).
"Duke and I won the first test at the CDI-Y in Paris with a 68,7%," said Arl. "Sadly we had a tense freestyle which gives us a 4th place. Still incredibly proud of him. This was definitely the most amazing show and also the last one. The season has been great!"
In the Young Riders Kur to Music French Caroline Dufil topped the board on Ardante, her 11-year old Dutch warmblood by Gribaldi x Inferno. The pair scored 69.375% to take home the trophy. Portejoie and his 11-year old KWPN bred Artisto W (by Tango x G Ramiro Z) were again the runners-up.
"What a way to end an incredible season," said an ecstatic Dufil. "My Harry took out the freestyle at the CDI Paris with 69.3%. The European Championships, becoming French Young Riders Champion and now our first international victory. Thank you for everything."
Twelve riders entered for the small tour in which all contested the Prix St Georges, while three rode the Intermediaire I and 9 the Inter I Kur to Music. Dutch Saskia Maertens aced the Prix St Georges aboard her 9-year old Westfalian Legend of Loxley (by Lord Loxley x Darwin) with 70.701%. Dutch Jessica Leijser brought along two horses to Paris and placed second on the 13-year old Winando (by Jetset D x Ulft) on 69.824%.
"I won with 70.7% and the Wilhelmus played for my little 'Buffel'. So cool," said Maertens after winning the Prix St Georges.
Leijser went on to bag both the Intermediaire I and Inter I Kur. Aboard the 9-year old Dutch bred ChaCha Time (by Painted Black x Goodtimes) she scored 65.262% which sufficed for the victory in the Inter I. Belgian Olivier Carlens and his 10-year old Belgian Sport Horse (SBS) registered Armani du Jade Ewaldress (by Furstenreich x Dr. Jackson D) were the runners-up with 61.613%
On Winando Leijser pulled out the stops and posted a winning score of 74.125% in the Kur to Music. Danish born Luxembourg rider Fie Skarsoe finished second in the Inter I Kur on her new small tour ride Simple Choice, a 9-year Rhinelander gelding by Sir Donnerhall x Fidermark, owned by Cictoria Maria Schönhofen. Skarsoe made her CDI debut on Simple Choice in Paris.
Trained by Joyce Heuitink and Niels Valkenburg, Leijser is very pleased with the performances of her horses in Paris, which was their last show of the year.
"Winando went pretty much faultfree in the Prix St Georges. The arena was quite intimidating for him and he put the brake on a bit, which led to a few minor issues, but overall I'm very content because we had second place," Leijser told Eurodressage. "Chacha went really well, also a few issues here and there, but he was nicely on the aids and attentive. He was a bit less in the Inter I, tired of all the impressions, which led to a few unnecessary mistakes and the score stayed low because of that, but we still won. Winando won the freestyle and his kur went really well. He was back at the top of his game; nicely relaxed, attentive and on my aids. That's why the music fitted well. I'm very happy that both my horses went so well at this fantastic show."
Leijser confirmed that she has no concrete plans for the 2017 show season, but is working on bringing ChaCha Time to Grand Prix level.
"We just keep on training and after that we'll plan the shows," said Leijser. "Chacha Time made his Grand Prix debut one week before paris and got over 63%, so I'm training him for the big tour."