Photo Report: A Summer Day at the 2012 CDI Perl
The days and weeks after the 2012 Olympic Games it seems like the competitive show world has come to a stop. There were the Bundeschampionate in Warendorf, Germany, where the heat of the battle flared up briefly, but all the other September shows seem to be more relaxed, less stiff in competition and overall they have a much greater "chill factor" than all the big Olympic qualifiers that took place in the spring.
Arlette Jasper-Kohl decided to host a 4* CDI at her brand new equestrian centre Peterhof in Perl-Borg, Germany, right on the border with Luxembourg. The FEI scheduled her event on the calendar for the first weekend of September. Owned by Arlette and husband Edwin Kohl, who run a multi-million pharmaceutical company, "Gestut Peterhof" is a state of the art private facility. The gated property lies in the hilly country side just outside the tiny village of Borg and it can be seen from the main road. The centre is immaculately maintained with clean white-fenced pastures, a gallop track and two beautiful outdoors schools. For the show there was security all over the place. While the outside is absolutely gorgeous with its American style turrets on the stable buildings, the layout is not necessarily innovative. However, the indoor is what makes Peterhof truly unique. The woodwork, the airy stables, the custom-made cast-iron detailing, huge chandeliers in the corridors, as well as the bluestone wash basins are brilliant.
With Engarde as show managers this delightful place, which has the most amazing view from the outdoor show ring, was unfortunately turned into a white tent camp, "CDI Lingen" style. White tents everywhere, even the judges sat in white tents, flushing all colours in photos and blocking the most phenomenal view for the photographers. Such a pity, but this is probably something only photographers would be bothered with. For the spectators it was a feast with covered seating and a wonderful outdoor, ringside lounge area for the VIP.
I arrived at the show grounds half an hour before the national Prix St Georges Special started. Despite my press accreditation I was halted at the gate and personally escorted to the press centre, which was of course closed so early in the morning. The friendly security decided to let me go and I went to the main arena, where a few riders were training their horses.
The PSG Special was Nurnberger Burgpokal qualifier warm up test and featured quite a few combinations but the level of riding was not impressive. Many mistakes were made, horses leaning on the bit. Thank god there were a few stars competing in the test to crank up the level. Patrik Kittel won the class aboard the 7-year old Danish mare Donna Unique (by Don Schufro x Falkland). The mare has fantastic gaits but struggled in the tempi changes and looked a bit ring rusty. German Olympian Dorothee Schneider brought along two horses, Fackeltanz and Horatio. Both are gorgeous black horses with good gaits, but struggled with the rhythm in walk and the latter had his mouth gaping open during the ride.
For lunch I was referred to the staffers' tent and shared some food with the ground crew. My favourite hang-out spot remains to be the warm up ring so I went back there immediately afterwards. The Grand Prix was taking place in the afternoon. The relaxed atmosphere at this show was amazing. People were chatting, no stressed trainers yelling from the sideline and when horses made a mistake, they were dealt with with a laugh away That was fun.
The Grand Prix was won by Ulla Salzgeber, who made her come back on the 13-year old Rhinelander bred Herzruf's Erbe (by Herzruf). The fantastic chestnut gelding had his highlights and lowpoints. The electric and super suspended passage was absolutely world class. The piaffes had amazing sit as well. Unfortunately all three trot lengthenings were irregular in rhythm. The horse could also have moved with a bit more freeness and swing over the back. He was collected quite a lot throughout the thest. Still, it was great to see Ulla and "Herzi" back in the ring and the pair scored 74.957%. Uta Gräf and the Holsteiner licensed stallion Le Noir (by Leandro) finished second. The ponyesque stallion looked fitter and fresher than a few months ago and showed off smooth and regular piaffe-passage work. In the half pass left the horse was uneven in the rhythm. Graf, who had lots of fans in the bleachers, scored 71.809%.
As soon as the class finished, I headed back to my car to drive home after a very long day. My face was glowing, sunburnt from standing outside in the most glorious summer weather and I was enjoying the cool of the airconditioning on my way back to Belgium.
Check out the photos I took during the day in the image gallery below.
Photos © Astrid Appels - No reproduction allowed
Video © Rui Pedro Godinho
Scores 2012 CDI Perl