Werth and Van Grunsven Take Trophies in CDI-Tour

Mon, 07/07/2008 - 00:00
2008 CDIO Aachen

While the CDIO Grand Prix classes took center stage at the 2008 CDIO Aachen, it is almost shameful to admit that some of the best rides in Aachen were ridden in the CDI tour. Especially the CDI Grand Prix was a class with outstanding rides. Isabell Werth and Madeleine Winter-Schulze's Hanoverian gelding Warum Nicht FRH (by Weltmeyer) won the Grand Prix

and later on added the Special victory to their list of achievements.

At the moment, there are no riders in the world who can trade in their number one horse for their number two which scores equally high as the first one. Isabell Werth has Satchmo and Warum Nicht and though the former is the medal winning one, the latter won the 2007 World Cup and was this year's reserve World Cup champion. In the Grand Prix, Warum Nicht excelled in his extensions and half passes, but he got stuck in the pirouette right and none of his halts were square. When an elementary, basic level rider does not ride a square halt, he will get a penal 4 or 5. When Isabell does not halt squarely, she scores 7s and 8s and in the final halt even a 9 from judge Furuoka. Aren't those the "Isabell-points" people speak off? Werth scored 75.042% and placed almost a full 4% ahead of the second placed combination.

"Hannes was brilliant, " Werth commented. "We only made a small mistake in the pirouette, but otherwise I was completely satisfied. He wanted to start too soon."

Werth opted to ride the Grand Prix Special, which she won as well with 73.280% though her ride was not fault-free. The 12-year-old Warum Nicht erred in the tempi changes, just like he did at the 2008 World Cup Finals. Werth was quite critical about her winning ride. "Unfortunately, I made several mistakes in the flying-changes, which were definitely down to a lack in my concentration."

Monica Theodorescu has improving Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff's Baden Wurttemberger bred Whisper (by Welt Hit I x Weltstar) steadily and showed him on excellent form in Aachen. In the Grand Prix she placed second with 71.917 and in the Special she ranked third with 70.120%. Theodorescu was delighted that she came in second with the 10-year-old Whisper in the Grand Prix. Good one tempi changes and an extended walk that earned her a 9 pulled the score up. A small mistake in the extended trot cost her valuable points. In the Special, mistakes in the tempi's reduced the score.

"He performed better than ever, it was a super feeling, but somehow I completely messed up the flying-changes," Theodorescu admitted after the Special.

Dutch Anky van Grunsven only brought her second horse Painted Black (by Gribaldi x Ferro) to Aachen. Her rides on the compact licensed KWPN stallion resulted in a third place in the Grand Prix (71.042%) and the victory in the CDI Grand Prix Kur (76.800%). As soon as double Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven appears in the ring, confusion seems to strike the judges panel. In the Grand Prix, the Dutch diva made two small mistakes which caused the judges to hyperventilate: For a loss of rhythm in the second extended trot she still earned a 7 from judge Withages and for an unscripted, early flying change on the diagonal following the extended canter the panel awarded marks between 4 and 8! The first extended trot was powerful and engaged and earned her 9s. The extended walk was just ok with one hoof overtrack, but the piaffe and passage were good. Anky's ride on Painted Black was energetic and engaged, but the mouth of the horse was wide open in the half passes and every time Anky collects him for a movement, his ears flatten, he looks grumpy and grinds his teeth loudly. The "happy athlete" was not at Aachen.

"Painted went well, but there were moments that it didn't go smoothly," Anky commented. "I had a mistake in the rhythm in the medium trot and he changed sooner than I expected after the extension. I didn't enter the piaffe-passage tour that well, but in the final piaffe he was super."

Anky recovered in the Grand Prix Kur to Music and made no major mistakes. She chose to ride her former kur makers', Slings & Kerkhof, absolutely gorgeous Tango Kur and won with 76.800%. The contact with the mouth was not optimal which Anky confirmed in her own statement. "I was pleased that we made no mistakes. But Painted Black's head carriage was not good the whole time, which bothered me somewhat. I think it resulted from his inner tension," said the mother of two.

Danish Andreas Helgstrand saddled Blue Hors Stud's 15-year old Oldenburg stallion Don Schufro (by Donnerhall x Pik Bube I) for the CDI-tour. In the Grand Prix, he placed fourth with 70.833% and ranked second in the Grand Prix Special with 70.520%. His Grand Prix ride had wonderful highlights in the piaffe and passage because of their regularity and the total self-carriage. The extended trot was the low point. In the first extension, he looked tender behind and the last extension, Helgstrand barely rode it. The flying tempi changes were fantastic though. Helgstrand still hasn't decided whether he will ride Don Schufro or Gredstedgaards Casmir in the 2008 Olympics.

"I will be taking both Don Schufro and Gredstedgards Casmir with me into the quarantine for the Olympic Games. And then we will decide, who will travel to Hong Kong," the 30-year-old rider explained. "My personal favourite is Don Schufro, because he has more experience. Casmir is only nine and needs a year or two yet."

The revelation of the CDI tour was the 68-year old Japanese Hiroshi Hoketsu on the Hanoverian mare Whisper (by Wolkenstein II x Grenadier). Trained by Ton de Ridder, Hoketsu and Whisper are the first Japanese combination to make such a big impression in Europe in history. The piaffe and passage were executed meticulously: super engagement, regular rhythm, nice in the frame. Judges scored it straight 8s. The pirouettes were tiny, the extensions ground covering. This combination radiated harmony and the docile Whisper behaved so well under the quietly sitting Hoketsu. Member of the 1964 (!) Japanese Olympic show jumping team, Hoketsu scored 70.375% in the Grand Prix and was fourth in the Special with 69.400%.

Text and photos by Astrid Appels/Eurodressage.com

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