Grand Prix Debut Day at 2013 CDI Roosendaal
After having hosted a very successful series of international youth riders competitions over the past three years, equestrian centre Den Goubergh in Roosendaal, The Netherlands, ventured itself into Grand Prix territory and added a CDI 3* to its already jam-packed program of international, national and regional shows hosted this month of May. The Grand Prix on Saturday 25 May 2013 was a day of debuts with several top riders getting their feet, or let's say hooves, wet by riding their rising stars for the first time in a CDI Grand Prix.
The crowds gathered next to the arena when Edward Gal entered the main ring aboard Isabel van Gisbergen-Sponselee's 11-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Voice (by De Niro x Rohdiamant x Doruto). In 2011 Gal competed the gorgeous black stallion a few times at international small tour level, including at Zwolle and Aachen, but then the stallion disappeared from the scene with a serious injury that needed operation. However, now the black is back and making his first international strides at Grand Prix.
The stallion entered the ring on a wire, resulting in a break into canter at the beginning of the trot tour. Gal had to work hard to keep the horse under control and focused on him, which led to a very heavy, curb contact and an unflattering gaping mouth throughout the test. Whereas the passage has a lovely silhouette and good suspension, the piaffe is still quite unbalanced with the horse becoming wide in front and only pulling the hocks high instead of shoving the hindlegs underneath the body and carrying the weight. The trot extensions and half passes were expansive, though, with outstanding ground cover. Voice got slightly tense in the canter and could have swung a bit more over the back, but he certainly has a lot of potential in store. Whereas the tempi changes were still green with swinging hindquarters, the pirouettes were excellent. For his debut, Gal scored a generous 72.766% with this promising horse.
Laurens van Lieren has three Grand Prix horses at the moment and is certainly on a rull, trekking from one show to another. The young Dutchman was in Den Bosch, Doha, Hagen, Vidauban, and Roosendaal between March and May. The best one in his trio, the home bred Wellnetta (by Louisville x Rubiquil), finished second in the Grand Prix. At the 2013 CDIO Vidauban, the short-necked bay was still quite tight in the neck, but in Roosendaal Van Lieren finally had her more open in the throat latch. The mare has a super engine from behind and pushes hard in the extensions. Van Lieren rode with much control and precision and scored 70.489%.
Patrick van der Meer made his international Grand Prix debut with Zippo, a 9-year old Dutch warmblood by Rousseau x Haarlem. The chestnut is quite round in its gaits with much knee action but lacking a bit of stretch in the limbs. The tall, sympathetic horse performed his first Grand Prix test on national level less than two months ago in Schaijk, The Netherlands, and in Roosendaal was able to post a score of 70.383% on the board to slot in third.
Hans Peter Minderhoud and the 13-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Tango (by Jazz x Contango) rode their first international competition since the 2012 CDI-W Lyon begin November 2012. The liver chestnut stallion struggled with the impulsion in the trot tour and had to be visibly motivated by his rider to keep going forward in front of the rider's leg. The horse stalled in the corner K before the half passes and tilted its head to the left throughout the test. While the three piaffes remained very earthbound and small, the passage is certainly Tango's forté. The horse has great bouyancy and moves the hind legs well under the body. The walk was good, but in canter the horse loses swing over the body and does not have an outspoken three-beat rhythm. While the tempi changes are straight and correct, Tango could have more uphill tendency in them. Hans Peter scored 69.745% but the judges were very divided about the worth of his ride. Judge Rhode had him at 62.872% and judge Sogaard at 72.979% for him to finish on a 69.745% total.
This 10% discrepancy in Roosendaal, as well as major score differences in Vidauban and especially in the kur to music at the CDI Munich, has led the International Dressage Riders' Club to requestion the flaws in the judging system. With the FEI still not able to present a concrete plan of what will be tested, which (musical) experts have been invited for their input, or where this FEI Freestyle Test Event will even take place in September, the reformation of the (freestyle) judging system seems to have come to stand-still. The IDRC continues to push for a "code of points" as to them it is not the judge's ability that is flawed, but the system for allocating points. Let's see if these debates are not just lip service but actually lead to change.
Text and Photos by Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Eurodressage photographer Astrid Appels took photos of all combinations competing at the CDI Roosendaal. Contact us if you are interested in prints of your photos!