Nina Stadlinger and Egalité
Austria's best dressage export product at the moment are Grand Prix rider Nina Stadlinger and her mount Egalité. Ending her young rider career in 2001, Stadlinger is one of the few dressage riders who made a successful transition from Prix St Georges to Grand Prix.
2002 was in a way, Stadlinger's break through year. With remarkable scores at the 2002 CHIO Aachen, winning the CDI Achleiten, and a thrilling qualification for the World Championships, Stadlinger was launched on the Grand Prix scene. Furthermore, 2003 is turning out to be even better. At the CDI Stadl Paura in home country Austria, the combination scored a personal record of 75.38% in the Kur to Music, finishing second behind Heike Kemmer.
Nina Stadlinger's fortè is that she keeps her head clear from all outside pressures. As 23-year old, she is facing competitors such as Ulla Salzgeber and Nadine Capellmann in the ring, but the Austrian is not intimidated and stays focussed on her horse. Nina's coach is Günther Zach, and he believes that Nina can become a world champion. "Nina is a world champion, and we're working on it that she will become one," Zach stated in magazine Pferde Revue. Praised for her ambition and intuition on a horse, Nina grew up with horses. Born on 22nd April 1980 in Salzburg, Austria, Stadlinger had already acquainted herself with jumping and eventing at age 14.
At age 17, Nina and trainer Zach discovered the 6-year old Westfalian gelding Egalité (by Ehrentusch). Egalité started his walk-of-fame under the name Esquire at the 6th Westfalian Elite Auction in Munster in October 1993. There, he was bought by the German Kathrin Bettenworth who trained him and sold him to Stadlinger in 1997. "Egalité was very young when we bought him and he was hardly trained. We learnt a lot together and worked our way upwards as a combination," Stadlinger explained.
In 1998, Stadliner and Egalité faced European competition at the European Junior Riders Championships in Hickstead, England. The new duo finished fourth in the individual finals and immediately claimed fame. "It was such a big suprise because it was my very first international competition," Stadlinger explained.
In 1999, Nina moved into the young riders' division and won team bronze with the Austrian team at the European Young Riders' Championships in Ksiaz, Poland. In the individual ranking she finished tenth. The same results were produced at the European Young Riders Championships of 2000 in Hartpury, England and of 2001 in Iserlohn, Germany.
In 2001, Stadlinger and Egalité had already competed in two Grand Prix classes, but just for fun. The transition was difficult, but Stadlinger managed well and her first Grand Prix achievements followed in 2002 at the CDI Jozefin, where the pair finished twice two times. Her break through at the CDI Aachen followed in June and the qualification for the Austrian dressage team for the 2002 WEG was soon a fact.
At the 2002 World Equestrian Games, Stadlinger finished 39th in the Grand Prix with a decent score of 64.640%. Taking her recent 75.38% of the CDI Stadl Paura into account, this former young rider is not "stuck-in-the-mud" as so many of her peers are.
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