Dutch Daphne van Peperstraten and Cupido are in the lead after group 1 have ridden the individual test at the 2018 European Junior Riders Championships in Fontainebleau, France, on Friday morning 13 July 2018.
The individual test is the first class in which a set of individual medals is decided at the Championships. As there are 68 riders in total the class is split into two groups and held over two days. The judges panel for the individual test included Elizabeth McMullen, Raphael Saleh, Clive Halsall, Juan Carlos Campos, and Leif Toernblad,. Especially Canadian judge Elizabeth McMullen seemed to be of a very different opinion than her colleagues today and influenced the ranking and final end scores to an extent. All scores were lower today and when it's consistent it is not so much of a problem, but the discrepancies between the judges were too baffling this time and demand scrutiny.
Daphne van Peperstraten and her 11-year old Cupido (by Johnson x Duko) were the top scorers in the team championship test and due to a draw she turned out to be the first starter for The Netherlands in today's test. This early morning ride did not meddle with her concentration as Daphne rode a beautiful, tidy test without mistakes. The bright bay gelding was made a bit hurried in the left shoulder in and overall could have been even more collected so the self carriage increases and the riders can keep her hands more still, but the extended walk was superb with much overtrack and a crisp clear 4-beat rhythm. The collected walk was quite free and open in the frame. The strike off to canter could have been neater and the left canter half pass needed more collection but the uphill extended canter was fantastic. The pair scored 74.471% which puts them in first place so far.
Van Peperstraten's ride, however, shook the judges in their castle shaped boxes because their scores went from a jaw-dropping 68.971% (McMullen), to a slightly strict 71.176% (Tornblad), up to a generous 76.618-77.206 (Saleh and Campos), to end in an overenthusiastic 78.382 (Halsall). That is a 10% score difference between all judges!
German Romy Allard and the 9-year old Oldenburg mare Summer Rose (by Sir Diamond x Rubinstein) are currently in second place with 74.000%. Her marks go from 71.618 (McMullen) while all other judges were at the 74 marker. Allard rode a very elegant trot tour with a flawless flow, but the rider was a bit unsteady with her right hand, showing that the mare is less elastic in the contact on the right side. When Summer Rose was given the rein in trot, she needed to stretch the neck more. The collected walk was clear, but could have been more electric, especially in the turns on the haunches. The mare made big, beautiful strides in the extended walk. The strike off to canter in the simple change was not very clear, but overall the canter work was high quality with only the first flying change needing to be more uphill.
German Marlene Sieverding and the 10-year old Oldenburg gelding Furst Levantino (by Furst Romancier x Sandro Hit) is standing third with 72.382%. She began her test with a banging halt at entry. The trot was very rhythmical with good spring and cadence. However, the cute bay gelding could be more consistently up in the poll. The first trot extension was outstanding, but the horse needed to show more bending on the voltes. The canter work was very secure with only one flying changes slightly crooked. Unfortunately the combination loses much points in walk: Furst Levantino goes lateral in the collected walk and his rhythm and overtrack are weak in the extended. The judges' marks ranged from 70.000 to 73.971%, so they were sort of in agreement.
One of the riders that suffered the most from the erratic judging was Russian Anna Guseynova on her 13-year old Westfalian gelding Lauda (by Laudabilis x Florestan). The Dutch based Russian rode a very strong test with a trot that had much pep in the horse's step. The extended walk had a clear rhythm, but the striding could have been more active. The horse was slightly hesitant before the walk pirouette as he anticipated the canter. Also the simple change needed to develop a clearer walk, but the end halt was strong. Overall the test was high standard and the biggest point to argue with Guseynova's ride is that Lauda needs to come in a self carriage more independent from the rider's hand. This was exemplified in the way the horse loses its spring and expression when given the longer rein (uberstreichen). Anna scored a total of 69.912% but McMullen had her at 65.000%, while the other judges ranged between 69.8 and 72.50%.
A closer look at the score break down shows more disagreements. Swedish Ellen Linden Urnes got marks from 65.147 to 70.588%, Spanish Julia Alvarez Abad saw her marks range between 65.588% and 71.029% and Leonie Guerra had scores from 65.588% to 70.294%.. And these are just the riders in the provisional top 10.
Hopefully tomorrow when the second group goes, there will be strong coffee for breakfast!
Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED
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Scores: 2018 European Children, Junior, Young Riders Championships
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2018 European Junior/Young Riders Championships