Lang and Cyrill Blossom in Pony Team Test at 2017 CDI Sint-Truiden
At the brand new youth riders international competition hosted at Stable Gravenhof in Sint-Truiden, Belgium, German newcomer Jana Lang and team routinier NK Cyrill proved a match by topping the leader board in the Pony Riders Team Championship Test on Friday afternoon 14 April 2017.
With a field of 22 international competitors and a big delegation of some of the best German and Danish pony riders, the pony team test was destined to be a more than just an interesting class. This new show is located in one of the biggest apple growing town in Belgium and the trees are in full bloom right now. With a nicely groomed and decorated arena as centre stage, the CDI Sint-Truiden was off to a great start.
The Pony Team Championship test was judged by Anne-Marie Swenden-Joly (BEL), Alban Tissot (FRA) and Orsolya Hillier (HUN). The German group certainly stood out with the above average quality of the ponies they brought to Belgium. Not only their conformation, but also their ground quality in basic gaits is superior. It forces the rest of the pack to fight twice as hard for high scores. Still, riders from Denmark, Great Britain, Belgium and Holland came to the fore with solid riding. It was obvious that it was the start of the outdoor show season with some of the fine-tuning still missing, even with the experienced riders and ponies.
German CDI new comer Jana Lang and the 2015 European Pony Championship double silver medal winner NK Cyrill (by Champion de Luxe x Power Man) won the trophy with a 75.598%. The discrepancies amongst the judges was huge, though, with scores ranging from 71.67% to 78.846%. The palomino Cyrill stood out with his massive shoulder freedom and lightfooted gaits, but in trot he often appeared quick in tempo and hurried, especially in the extensions. The pony lost the clarity in the rhythm in the onset of the half pass right and the rein back was rushed. The simple changes were clear and overall the pony was obedient, even though he could chew more on the bit and foam. Lang has only been together with Cyrill for four months, taking over from Inga Katharina Schuster, and she made her CDI debut in Nice in February.
German pony team member Tabea Schroer and the six-time European Championship competed Danilo (by Dornik B x Power Boy) landed second place with a generous 74.701%. The 14-year old Westfalian can no longer hide his mileage and was uneven in the rhythm in the shoulders-in, half passes and trot extensions clearly lacking self carriage. However, it must have been because of Danilo's outstanding canter work that the pony got such high marks. In canter, the palomino is uphill in every single stride, he takes weight on the hind quarters and stays quiet and relaxed in the simple changes.
Danish Louise Christensen and the 14-year old Dutch Welsh pony stallion Vegelin's Goya (by Verona's Bo Gi x Leuns Velds Darling Boy) slotted in third with 71.880%. The pair won double bronze at the 2016 European Pony Championships and began their 2017 international show campaign in Belgium today. While there were many strong parts in the tests with the pony very consistent and soft in the bridle, the ride needed tweaking. There was a loss of rhythm in the trot extension, the second turn on the haunches was problematic with the walk becoming lateral for a moment. The trot work was fluent, though, but lacked spring and suspension. The second trot extension had much ground cover but was hurried. The canter work went well, except for the weird 'uberstreichen' in which the rider did not give the rein over her pony's crest, but instead dropped the hands low and put them barely forward.
British Holly Kerslake made her CDI debut on the 8-year old Danish bred Welsh pony Valhallas Zorro (by Valhallas Lord Matrafal x Fjordflimts Sir Johnson) who was competed in 2015 by Danish Anne Mette Lyager. The black pony has a very peculiar conformation. His head looks like Charlotte Dujardin's Valegro, his body is big and muscled like a Grand Prix horse and his legs are typically Welsh-Cob-short. Nevertheless the pony produces an appealing ride, especially because of his very cadenced trot work. Also in canter, Kerslake delivered consistent work, but the overall problem was that the pony often tilted his head in the traversal movements and on the curved lines. They scored 70.214% for fourth place. The judges' marks ranged from 67.949% to 72.051%.
Danish Cecilia Hedegaard and the 8-year old Holsteiner bred pony Strandgaards Challenger (by Champion de Luxe x Pour L'Amour) also proved a conundrum to the judges. She ranked fifth with 70.171% with marks going from 67.179% to 73.205%. Maybe the walk was an issue for them, in which the gorgeous bay-buckskin coated pony gets slow and prancy. The pony is a very graceful mover with much freedom in the shoulder and lift in the withers and is one to watch for the future.
German Tabea Schroer made her debut on the 2011 European Pony Championship kur gold medal winner Equestricons Day of Diva (by Don't Worry x Capri Moon), previously owned by the Swiss Huet family. They were sixth with 69.616%. The palomino mare has stunning trot extensions and a very good walk, but the halt at entry was not square, the rein back crooked and there was a loss of impulsion in the left turn on the haunches. Fortunately, there is much more in that tank; soon to come we hope.
The 18-year old evergreen Dornick Son (by Dornik B x Bourbon) is carrying his sixth Danish pony rider into the international arena with his latest rider Elisabeth Ulrich. The chestnut gelding is not the flashiest mover and his miles are starting to show as he leans more on the bit than before, but he executes all the movements very correctly and with a good flow. He was slightly irregular in the second trot extension, but in canter he obediently listened to his rider's aids. They got 69.615% for seventh place.
A pony to watch in the future is Jana Lang's 10-year old Westfalian pony gelding Nur für Dich (by Nagano x Via Mala). The dark bay is a beautiful mover, up in the withers in trot, each canter stride uphil and with good balance and self carriage. His team test still had several small hiccups which made the duo drop to a 13th place with 67.735%.
Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Eurodressage photographer Astrid Appels took photos of all combinations competing at the CDI Sint-Truiden. Contact us if you are interested in prints or digital files for social media of your photos!
Scores 2017 CDI Sint-Truiden