I don't like getting up very early in the mornings, especially not at 5 AM, because I usually go to bed late. But last Thursday, I had little trouble jumping out of bed to head to my car for the road trip to my first outdoor show of the season.
I felt a strange mixture of excitement and tiredness when I got downstairs to pack my camera bags and jump into my cruiser. I was very much looking forward to taking new photos of the top international dressage riders. My archived needed updating again!
Hagen is only a two hours and a half drive away from where I live in Belgium and each time I go to Germany to a horse show, I same to drive the same route: A3 - A2 - A1.
It is always the same motorway to Hagen, Vechta, Verden, Warendorf for the best dressage shows in Germany. I was listening to a fun Belgian radio show through Holland all the way up to Duisburg when I had to switch channels. The best music I found on BFBS Radio. It turned out to be the British Military Radio in Germany. I was amazed to hear a guy with a boring voice giving German traffic updates as well as weather forecasts for Kosovo and Afghanistan.
I arrived at the show grounds in misty morning weather. You know that moment when the sun seems to be struggling to vaporize the cold humid dew drops on the grass. Everything looked pristine. The dressage surface was liked a perfectly woven carpet of sand. There were hardly any people except the crew setting up the last decorations.
The first riders were in the warm up ring preparing for the Intermediaire I. The Hagen Horses and Dreams show is so well organized and so cosy. It is set at the beautiful stables of Ullrich Kasselmann and dressage has its own dedicated area on the show grounds. You only meet dressage horses and dressage people there! It is dressage heaven.
There were twenty-three riders in the Intermediaire I and the Swedish Maria von Essen, who is a student of Kyra Kyrklund, deservedly got the highest score for a powerful ride with the 10-year old Hanoverian gelding Ferdi (by Federweisser x Charmeur).
The liver chestnut gelding moves with tons of power and stayed nicely uphill and light in the hand at all times. The extended gaits were the highlight of the test, both in trot and walk. Ferdi made super small pirouettes though lost his rhythm in one of them. They posted the score of 70.368% to win the class.
Brigitte Wittig and her own bred compact Oldenburg mare Biagotti W (by Breitling x Diego xx) finished second. The dark bay beauty showed much buoyancy in her movements and was quite uphill, but she was stiff in the back and often become tight in the neck. The first extended trot was uneven in strides. The mare improved slightly in the canter work with nice two tempi's, but the changes every three strides were croup high. In the pirouette right she lost impulsion. The 9-year old mare has high quality gaits which gratified her score of 69.579% but there were plenty of imperfections in the test so the mark could be considered generous.
Australian Hayley Beresford ranked third with her newest ride, Rousseau, an elegant 11-year old Westfalian gelding out of old bloodlines: Rosenkavalier x Apart. The correctness in the training of this horse stood out in the test. Always light, always expressive. They scored 68.684%.
Ingrid Klimke and the Oldenburg stallion Dante (by Diamond Hit x Beach Boy) slotted in fourth. The dark bay stallion seriously lacks suspension in the trot movements and broke into canter in the trot extensions, but the judges loved him. They scored him between 66 and 70% to finished on a total of 67.579%.
The Intermediaire I class featured several more inspiring horses which did not finish at the top of the ranking due to mistakes of spookiness. The Danish Martin Christensen rode the 14-year old Hanoverian gelding Walkie Talkie (by Weltruhm x Donnerhall) to a 65.211% score. The black gelding has incredibly nice movements with super cadence and swing, but the zig zag and pirouettes were major stumbling blocks.
The Belgian Delphine Meiresonne, who was the 1997 European Pony Champion with Noble Casper, has finally returned to the international show ring with the 10-year old Belgian warmblood gelding Wipsy van 't Heihof (by Flemmingh x Saygon). The bay gelding has absolutely stunning gaits and in moments of relaxation a truly brilliant trot shone through, but the gelding was extremey spooky and tense to finish any higher than 64.053%.
Delphine's student Kelly de Belder ranked one placed ahead of her with Flambo, an 8-year old Westfalian gelding by Florestan x Bandoliero xx.
Back to the 2009 CDI Hagen Index