Merrald Leads Denmark to Team Bronze Medal

Fri, 07/25/2008 - 23:58
2008 European Pony Championships

The Danish pony team captured the bronze medal with four riders performing at an exceptionally high level. Two of their riders scored above 70% and the other two achieved 68% scores: the right marks for a medal.

The Danish anchor is Nanna Skodborg Merrald on the bay Centrum. She is the only rider who is able to challenge the Germans and Dutch in scores and did her duty for the team to be the highest scoring rider. They were the last Danish pair to go and her score of 71,05% secured the bronze medal only 0.264% ahead of Belgium.

Skodborg Merrald rode a test in which the rhythm as well as collection were well performed. Centrum showed a light footed trot, clear in rhythm and cadence and well balanced in the bends and traversal movements. The extensions show opening of the frame and lengthening of the gaits. The left walk pirouette was not fluent enough and the end halt quite hard. The canter tour was lovely and correct. The main remark to be made on this pair is that the rider should keep her hands low on the withers. Instead, she is holding her hands high as if she's lifting her pony's head up to get him in an uphill frame. Centrum could be chewing on the bit more and looks quite numb in the mouth.

Merrald's score of 71,05% complemented Christina Møller's 70,15% mark on the chestnut Casio. The long legged Møller is too tall for her small Casio, but the pony showed wonderful things in the ring. An outstanding extended walk and canter tour pushed the score up over 70%. One small mistake crept into the test: a loss of impulsion in the left walk pirouette.

Danish third counting mark was produced by Sofie Hougaard on the German bred Dornick-Son, a pony previously owned and competed by Julie Dankau. They landed a 14th place with 68,10% tying with team mate Sofie Krogh Seemann and Ferrari.

"Never before was the competition for silver and bronze so tough as this year. There were five points between silver and bronze and falling out of a medal position. All Danish riders qualified for the finals but only three per country are allowed to ride them and we had to select one for the B-finals. It was extremely difficult to decide between Sofie Seemann and Sofie Hougaard, who achieved the same total points. Sofie Seemann will be riding the B-finals," team member Rigmor Kristensen said.

Denmark scored 209,316 percentage points overall (3997 pts)

Text and Photos copyrighted Astrid Appels/Eurodressage - No reproduction allowed without permission

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