With an international World Cup Qualifying competition as backdrop for their regional show, the Hippos Equestrian Society could not but be content. In the rather noisy B arena of the Nekkerhallen in Malines, Belgium, did the Belgian national youth riders compete in front of an almost sell out crowd.
Five combinations were invited per class, but that was enough the ensure a nice evening of dressage competition.
On FEI Pony level, retiree Hannelore Volders won one last time with her Hanoverian Arastou "S" (by Diplomat x Luxor). Although the young mare once broke into canter, judge Meersmans was charmed by the lovely performance of this couple. Volders and Arastou are an image of calmness and smoothness and this made her win the pony test in Mechelen. Second placed was the reserve champion of the Belgian Pony Championships, Ruth van Campen. The young lady from Keerbergen showed her BWP pony Crack Drum and delivered a clear cut test which could have given her the victory. Kaatje Debie, living in Kontich near Antwerp, ended up on a third spot riding the BWP approved pony stallion Halesius van de Hofstede. The young and fragile Yoni de Souter placed fourth with Tetris.
In the junior riders test the surprise came from former Belgian Pony Team member Katrien Verreet who seemed to have made an easy transfer to the Junior Riders division. Living in Nijlen and trained by Prix St Georges rider Wim Verwimp, young Verreet made a splashing debut with her own bred Donnerschlag get. Verreet makes a beautiful combination with this heavy BWP horse, but the gelding, however, was tight in the neck throughout the test. Still, the overall image was more than modest and Verreet seems to be a promise for the 2000 Junior Riders Team. Belgian JR Champion Diana Smolders came in second. Her test was filled with mistakes, something we are not at all used of this perfectionist rider. Tom Franckx ended third with his steady mount Hopje van Duinoord. Tom was unable to bring Hopje to relaxation and tension was visual in each exercise.
In the Young Riders division it was Veroniqe de Baecker who claimed victory. Her daily experience as a professional rider in the training stable of Hermann Gossmeier (Germany) leaves obvious marks of professionalism in each test De Baecker produces. Her KWPN gelding Herrzas, by the Trakehner Consul, excels with his solid and balanced flying changes.