World Record Score for Dujardin and Valegro in 2012 CDI Hagen Grand Prix Special
British Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester and Roly Luard's 10-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Valegro set a new world record by scoring 88.022% in the Grand Prix Special at "Horses and Dreams" 2012 CDI Hagen in Germany on Sunday morning 29 April 2012. With an immaculate ride in which each single movement was marked by energy and precision, Dujardin made history in international dressage sport.
The test started with a perfect halt at entry, amazing trot extensions coming from a Ferrari engine behind, powerful and regular passage work with flawless transitions to and from extended trot. The extended walk was good but could even be more relaxed to generate larger overtrack. The collected walk was pure. The horse sat beautifully in piaffe and made seamless transitions to and from passage. The canter half passes had exemplary bending in the body. The tempi changes were ground covering and straight. The pirouettes were super. At all times Dujardin sat elegantly in the saddle, but with slightly stretched elbows. Yet the contact with the bit was steady and Valegro remained at the vertical with the poll as highest point at all times (something a Totilas is, so far, unable to achieve).
Dujardin received a standing ovation on request of the announcer and as she left the arena her new world record score of 88.022% flashed on the score board. What is even more staggering than her historic accomplishment is the fact that there was even still room for improvement! Valegro's passage was not at its best today. Even though he was very expressive, regular and energetic, he could have moved the hind legs more under the body. In several movements his hindlegs were out. If this imperfection is fixed, the 90% barrier will be within reach! The previous Grand Prix Special record was achieved by Edward Gal and Totilas at the 2010 CDIO Aachen (86.46%)
Danish Anna Kasprzak and her Finnish warmblood gelding Donnperignon (by Donnerhall x Mozart II) ranked second with 79.844%. The 22-year old former young rider made the transition from the Under 25 circuit to the world elite with seamless ease thanks to her schoolmaster "Pepe".
She rode powerful passage and trot extensions with very smooth transitions. The piaffe was rhythmical but could have more spring. The tempi changes were ground covering, the pirouettes on the spot. The trot and canter half passes had much cross-over. Only the final piaffe at X was quick and unbalanced. Overall Kasprzak displayed amazing control over her horse as well as the required exercises. She had a nice position in the saddle with hands low on the withers, but in general Donnperignon's nose is too much behind the vertical and should be more out to create an even prettier picture.
Anabel Balkenhol and her Hanoverian gelding Dablino (by De Niro x Wanderbusch II) were third with little over one percent difference with Kasprzak (78.244%). Balkenhol presented the tall chestnut gelding with much more brio compared to the Grand Prix, which resulted in higher points.
The trot extensions were powerful, the passage regular as clockwork, the transitions outstanding. Even the walk, Dablino's weak point, was very well executed today with nice overtrack and a clear rhythm in the extended. Two of the three piaffes were good in rhythm but traveled forward. The transitions to and from piaffe were very clean. The tempi changes had scope and straightness and the pirouettes were very good. Only on the final centerline there was a hiccup in the transition from canter.
Isabell Werth and her rambunctious Hanoverian Don Johnson (by Don Frederico x Warkant) ranked fourth with 76.578%. The expressive bay gelding is very bubbly and has forward go, but is constantly unsteady in the mouth and creeping above the vertical. The passage was active and regular, the piaffe in rhythm but downhill oriented and croup high. The cheeky young Grand Prix horse kicked to the spur in the flying change between the half passes. The two tempi's were nice, the ones needed more groundcover.
Monica Theodorescu and Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff's Whisper (by Welt Hit I x Weltstar) completed the top five with a 73.400% score. The combination put solid 7s and 8s on the score board for the trot extensions, passage, half passes and canter exercises. Only the piaffes were still hesitant or crooked and the judges awarded them with 6s. The contact was soft and steady at all times with the horse staying nicely up in the frame.
Text by Astrid Appels
Photos © Barbara Schnell - Selene Scarsi
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2012 CDI Hagen