L'histoire ce répète. The Germans conquered again all notable prices at the Europena Championships for junior and young riders. The team, as well as the individual gold medal was reserved for the German team.
Only the Netherlands could capture one individual medal (Silver for Young Rider Jose Kouwenhoven with Grand Ami). Belgium rode good tests but couldn't break through for the top. From 27th to 31st August the EC for Junior and young riders were held in Moorsele.
Jean Claude van Geenberghe opened his facilty for several European delegations. Het Zilveren Spoor (the Silver spur) is Belgium's largest equestrian facility with one Olympic sized indoor arena, one smaller indoor ring and a special outside arena which was covered with a roof and plastic walls (very special!). Because the EC was organized on Belgian 'territory', this was an ideal chance for the Belgian riders to prove themselves in a positive way. Even more, because the juniors and young riders have enough talent, but also to establish good scores at international level.
The best performing Junior riders was definitely Ona De Wagenaere, who rode her last EC as junior rider. With Apollo she rode the wonderful score of 68.40%, which was good for a 4th place in the Preliminary test, behind Ellen Schultem-Baumer (stepdaughter of Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer), Astrid Bauer and Patrick Maurer (all Germans!). An excellent performance but the preliminary test is a walk-in test and the results aren't important for any qualifier; yet first impression with the international jury and the rivalry counts!
Diana Smolders, only 15 years old, rode at Moorsele her first international show. Nevertheless she opened very strongly in the preliminary test. With Clark Diana rode a beautiful, elegant test with almost no faults. Her score was 66.13% which was good for a 9th place. Brother and sister Raemdonck came up to more difficulties than usual. Dorothy was unlucky to start as first in the big, windy ring, she misinterpreted the programme but still was able to collect 62.67%.
Laurence received 61.87%. The team championship test was ridden in terrible weather: rain and wind made it difficult for rider and horse. Apollo freaked of a falling flower pot and reared. From that moment there arose some faults in the flying lead changes and in the extended trot. The disappointment was to be read on Ona's face, when she came out of the ring.
With 63.43% Ona didn't even make it into the finals. Diana Smolders rode 62.23%, Dorothy Raemdonck got 60.23% and Laurence Raemdonck 58.74%. The team got fifth. In the consolation round Ona as well as Diana could take revenge. Ona won the consolation test with the wonderful score of 68.47% en closed her junior riders EC history with great brilliance. Diana, who is trained by the Dutch Jeanette Haazen (she lives in Belgium now), rode like we were used of her. Her final scores was 66.20 and put her third.
Vicky Smits is our ace of hearts. Vicky rode a correct preliminary test, a bit to honest, but nevertheless 67.74% and a fourth place. With that score she had a 2% arrears to the number one Stephanie Schuele (Ger) and Micha Koot (Ned), who shared first place. Her team championship test even narrowed perfecting untill she made a mistake in the tempi changes. Her pirouettes then became too big and small mistakes ensured a score of 67% and a seventh place.Judith rode at maximal output and got 63.81 (19th place) in the preliminary test and 63.88% (15th place) in her Par Equipe test.
Heraldo of Frederik Van de Keere is limited in his trot-work and it's only normal that Frederik had a difficult time in the companion of the European top! He rode 60.50%. Judith Godefroid rode even better than we expected. Last Belgian Rider was Veronique de Baecker with Herrzas. Veronique had ridden a nice preliminary test (64.32%, 13th place), but her Par Equipe test was totally wrong. Lack of concentration?
Veronique rode very sloppily and threw her points away. When Veronique closed her test with 63% we had a loss of 11 points on the danish riders and the bronze medal went to the Scandinavians. The finals of the Young riders were pretty spectacular. Dressage from top level was to be seen on Sunday 31st August. Vicky Smits still had a small chance to get a medal but then she has to perform like the best. Illuster ran a nice test but with not enough expression. And Vicky also misinterpreted the programme so her score was 66.56%. Good for a 7th place and between the European top
Scores 1997 European Championships for Junior/Young Riders