On the European continent two international dressage competitions, the CHI Donaueschingen and Dressage at Hickstead, were the scenes for an interesting rally between Europe's top FEI dressage combinations
, who are feverishly preparing for the World Equestrian Games.
At the CHI Donaueschingen in Germany, Ulla Salzgeber and Martin Schaudt became the grand champions of the show. Struck by immense water floods, Germany and the neighbouring Czech Republic, were finally relieved by a first weekend of sunshine after weeks of continuous rain. At Donaueschingen, the footing and temperature for the dressage show was, therefore, optimal. Donaueschingen Organizer Gotthilf Riexinger was extatic about his weekend filled with sun rays and tropical temperatures.
In the Riders Tour Competition, a series of Grand Prix competitions in which points can be accumulated in order to win one of the largest purses ever offered to dressage riders, Ulla Salzgeber maintained a firm grip on her number one position. Scoring 76.60% in the Grand Prix aboard her Latvian gelding Rusty (by Rebuss), Salzgeber overpowered second placed Hubertus Schmidt with Wansuela Suerte. The latter pair received 70.60% from the judges.
Floridian Oded Shimoni ranked seventh with 61.68%. Riding his chestnut Dutch bred Glenstern, Shimoni has qualified to compete at the World Equestrian Games for his native country Israel and is currently training in Europe to get into shape for the WEG. In the Grand Prix freestyle, a similar ranking was produced with Salzgeber taking the lead with 78.52%. Schmidt scored obviously lower than the Bavarian Salzgeber and put 72.76% on the score board but still claimed second place.
In the CDI Grand Prix competition, Martin Schaudt has finally made the come back he has been waiting for since 1996. After the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Schaudt was no longer able to impress the judges with his Westfalian gelding Durgo and needed a substitute horse to put him back in the frontline of German dressage. Loesdau's Loriot seems to be the mount who can offer Schaudt once again fame and recognition, and maybe a place on the short list of the German dressage team. The Grand Prix for Kur was won by Nadine Capellmann and Farbenfroh (77.20%) and Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff placed second with Renoir Unicef (71.56%). Martin Schaudt came in third with 70.48%.
In the Grand Prix kur to Music, Schaudt aimed for the maximum and with 77.40% he received the trophy and blue ribbon. Schaudt's growing confidence on Loesdau's Loriot was already noticeable by his achievements at the 2002 CDI Aachen, but it took until the CDI Donaueschingen for him to get really n'sync with his Hanoverian gelding who is by Loredo x Wenzel II. Schaudt produced another interesting result in the Prix St Georges. Riding the former Verden auction horse Weltall, he got 70.40% out of his Hanoverian and claimed victory.
At the more modest international dressage competition in Hickstead, England, more dreadful weather was still dominating the country. Despite the difficult and uncomfortable conditions of heavy rain, to the credit of all the horses not one demurred throughout the competition. Carl Hester kept a solid hold on every trophy in the small tour classes. Riding Ecapado, Hester won the Prix St Georges, Intermediaire I and placed second in the Intermediaire I freestyle.
The CDIO Grand Prix competition turned out to be a duel between resident rider Richard Davison and German visitor Falk Rosenbauer. Riding his gorgeous mare Dona Castania, Rosenbauer won with 69.28%. Richard Davison had to settle for 5th place with 67.32% but spiced up his act in the kur to music. Davison rode the 12-year-old mare, Ballasayr Royale, to the familiar tunes of his previous winning kur used in the past with former team horse Hiscox Askari with whom he won this title in 1998 and 2000.
Scoring 73.39%, Davison claimed the 2002 Grand Champion's title at Dressage at Hickstead. "I was particularly pleased with her, especially as she never lost her concentration under the testing circumstances," Richard told Horse and Hound. Davison's next test will be in the main stadium in Jerez.