Dressage in Turkey Thrives as New Champions are Crowned at 2017 Turkish Championships

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:01
The Young Rider podium with Merve Ozgundoga and Derin Lara Ekici at the 2017 Turkish Dressage Championships
2017 Turkish Dressage Championships

With the sport of dressage gaining popularity and growing in Turkey each year, the 2017 Turkish Dressage Championships at the Kemer Country Club in Istanbul on 6 - 8 October 2017 featured a compact but promising field of younth riders and two seniors. The 2017 Turkish champions are Asya Eksioglu, Dila Akbacakoglu, Derin Lara Ekici, and Sarkis Murat Saricoban.

The development of Turkish dressage is strongly based out of Instanbul and this year the representation at the 2017 Balkan Dressage Championships in Zagreb was impressive with Turkey claiming team silver in the junior division and bronze in the senior small tour division. At the 2017 Turkish National Championships the field was a bit thinned out but especially the juniors were at full force. 

The event turned out to be major sweept for the students of Moldovan trainer Tanya Antonenco, who has been collaborating with Belgian Grand Prix rider Serge Pais at raising the bar in her native country. Antonenco's pupils claimed the titles from children's level through the small tour senior division. 

"The success was achieved with hard team work," said Tanya Antonenco, who coached all the champions and the majority of the competitors at the Nationals. "We had good plan before championships to have training sessions focusing on the basics and on the movements in the tests. The championship of course didn't go without surprises. Because of the bad weather conditions last day of competition had to move to the indoor arena."

The children's category was won by 14-year old Asya Eksioglu, who steered her brand new horse Donovan to victory with quality scores of 69.778%, 68.722% and 66.927% to average 68.476%. Eksioglu competed at the 2017 European Children's Championships in Roosendaal this summer aboard the show jumper Undercover Mojito, but with the 9-year old Dutch warmblood gelding Donovan (by Spielberg) she now has a small tour level trained mount for her future dressage careeer. 

The junior division was the best contested of all classes at the Nationals with seven combinations battling it out for the title. After a one-year break from competition the 17-year old Dila Akbacakoglu and her 14-year old Rhinelander gelding Amore e Gloria (by Abanos x Remmington) returned to show arena to claim gold. The pair took a slower start with 64.459% in the team test, but was then unbeatable after posting 69.298% in the individual test and 71.558% in the Kur. She averaged 68.439% for the gold medal, just a little bit ahead of second place getter, 16-year old Irem Kaplan on the 13-year old Dutch gelding Zayson F (by Painted Black x Pion). They won the team test with 66.982%, were third in the individual (66.974%) and second in the Kur (70.217%). The 16-year old Lara Tumay and the 11-year old Dream Boy scored the bronze with 64.865%, 67.237% and 69.500%.

Two young riders came to the Nationals and the 16-year old Derin Lara Ekici and her new ride Diraldi van de Perform Stables, a 14-year old Belgian warmblood gelding by Gribaldi x Wendekreis, scored an average of 65.838%. They received 64.167% in the team test, 65.263% in the individual and 68.083% in the Kur. Merve Ozgundogan and the 17-year old Di Cabrio (by Danny de Vito x Rappe) got silver with 61.974%, 62.797% and 68.092%.

In the senior division two combinations competed in three small tour level tests to decide on the champion. The 44-year old Sarkis Murat Saricoban grabbed the gold aboard the 18-year old KWPN gelding Santos (by Marlon x Obrecht). The duo scored 61.316%, 64.518% and 65.892% and edged out the 38-year old Ahmet Yasar Tellioglu on the 15-year old Hungarian warmblood Vencel (by Coriander x Calgary).

Antonenco credits her collaboration with Pais for the progress made over the last few months. "Serge taught our riders every month in Istanbul and during competition season in Europe this year," she said. "He is very special trainer and we are very glad to have the chance to train with him."

The Weelde based Serge Pais began co-coaching the Turkish riders in June. He has been traveling monthly to Istanbul for clinics as well as taught several kids at his yard for one month in preparation for the 2017 European Children, Junior and Young Riders Championships. Afterwards he focused on fine-tuning the test riding for the Nationals.

"I went the week before the Nationals so that I could focus on each rider individually and help them with their technical riding of the tests," said Pais. "Tanya took great care of the management of the students at the Championships, which were incredibly busy as the small amount of riders all had to go one after the other in a few hours time."

Pais praised the dedication and effort of the Turkish youth riders and their eagerness to learn and improve.  "They are all very motivated riders with a clear goal. They easily assimilate the work, which makes teaching them a real pleasure," Pais added. 

Results - 2017 Turkish Dressage Championships - Istanbul

Pony Riders

  • no FEI pony level championship took place


  • 1. Asya Eksioglu - Donovan - 69.778 - 68.722 - 66.927 --- 68.476
  • 2. Mert Kirik - Camaron - 61.611 - 63.667 - 62.752 --- 62.676

Junior Riders

  • 1. Dila Akbacakoglu - Amore Gloria - 64.459 - 69.298 - 71.558 --- 68.439
  • 2. Irem Kaplan - Zayson F - 66.982 - 66.974 - 70.217 --- 68.057
  • 3. Lara Tumay - Dream Boy - 64.865 - 67.237 - 69.500 --- 67.201
  • 4. Ece Pamuk - Wolfgang - 66.306 - 66.009 - 68.917 --- 67.077
  • 5. Zeynep Haseki - Jamajka G - 54.955 - 66.535 - 65.833 --- 62.441
  • 6. Zeynep Leyla Gundogar - Felix Felicious - 57.883 - 60.307 - 65.692 --- 61.294
  • 7. Zeynep Ozgundogan - 56.847 - 60.526 - 64.883 --- 60.752

Young Riders

  • 1. Derin Lara Ekici - Diraldi van de Perform Stables - 64.167 - 65.263 - 68.083 --- 65.838
  • 2. Merve Ozgundogan - Di Cabrio - 61.974 - 62.797 - 68.092 --- 64.288


  • 1. Sarkis Murat Saricoban - Santos - 61.316 - 64.518 - 65.892 ---- 63.908
  • Yasar Tellioglu - Vencel - ... - ELI - HC --- 0

Related Links
Scores: 2017 CDI Istanbul 
Turkish Team Selected for 2017 European Pony Championships
Tourkomani, Macropoulou, Ravini, Sauer Win Individual Gold at 2017 Balkan Dressage Championships
Turkish Pony Power at 2017 CDI Segovia, Yagmur Ozturk Blazes Trail

view counter

view counter

view counter

view counter

view counter