Antoinette Te Riele Wins Individual Test Gold Medal

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 00:00
2009 European Pony Championships

Dutch pony rider Antoinette te Riele won the individual test gold medal today at the 2009 European Pony Championships in Moorsele, Belgium. Aboard her 7-year old German Reitpony mare Golden Girl, with whom she won individual silver at last year's European, Te Riele scored 74,000% to place first in the individual test. Sönke Rothenberger ended up with the silver medal and Katharina Wecychert with the bronze.

Te Riele had Golden Girl much more together today than in the team test. The palomino mare looked elegant and lovely in trot even though she did flick her tail in the half pass left. The extended walk was gorgeous with much ground cover and relaxation. In canter, Te Riele usually rushes through the simple changes but this time she waited properly for a walk to develop before the strike off to canter. The third change was not clear in rhythm and in the fourth there were too few walk steps. But in general, Te Riele's ride was without big mistakes. There could definitely have been more push from behind and pezzazz in the ride, but it was elegance and relaxation that made her win today.

The golden boy of the show and the one to beat is current European Pony Champion Sönke Rothenberger. In the team test, Sönke was a league of his own and he would have been again today if there hadn't been a big mistake in his ride. His palomino stallion Deinhard B looked a bit less fresh today, but he was on the job.

The trot work was high class and in the extended walk he got everything out of his pony with the two-hooves overtrack. The rein back was a bit hesitant, not all halts were square and one of the simple changes could have been executed more convincingly. The big mistake, which cost Sönke the victory, was an unscripted flying change in the extended canter. This pushed the score down to 73,790% and a second silver medal earning place.

German Katharina Weychert stepped up to the plate today with a forward, energetic test. She didn't hurry her pony through the trot traversal movements. The extended walk was good. Golden Derano C reversed diagonally in the rein back but it could have been more fluent. In one of the extended canters, the pony should have opened the frame more instead of speeding up the pace.

A hiccup in the rhythm of the extended trot and not halting squarely at the end were tiny issues that meddled with an otherwise very correct, decently ridden test. The pair achieved 71.737% and got bronze.

Dana van Lierop, who had placed second in the team test, dropped to a fourth place today. Her pony Equestricons Lord Champion, which is owned by the German Jochem Arl, was not so much through the neck and submissive in the contact with the bit. In the left volte, he yanked the reins at X and was not very constant in the contact in the trot movements. The extended walk was beautiful though with much ground cover. In canter the combination improved with balanced counter canter and nice extensions. One simple change didn't have enough walk steps and the final extended trot was only ridden to X instead of all the way down to K. The scored 70.368% to finish fourth.

Holland's Julia van Schaijk probably finished higher than she had dared to expect. She tied with Van Lierop on fourth place. The trot work was not as frisky and fresh looking as in the team test, but Den Ostriks Dailan was very attentive to the aids and moving with much cadence. He did tilt his head in the volts at X and the shoulder in left was rushed. The highlight of their ride was the super balanced, well regulated counter canter and lovely simple changes.

German Bianca Nowag and Der Feine Lord were the last combination to go and still had a chance for a medal, but very soon in the ride some problems arose. The devine dark bay stallion spooked at V right before the half pass right and some tension followed at X before the two voltes. The walk is the pony's least strong gait but was well regulated this time and clear in its rhythm. In canter a few more small problems arose. He lost his rhythm while collecting from extended canter. One simple change was too few in steps and the one at X was very abrupt almost coming from a halt. This combination scored 70.263% and finished sixth.

Danish prima donna Anne Tange was the highest placed non-Dutch/German rider in seventh place with 69.474%. The pony lacks a bit of buoyancy in trot but is always well engaged in all movements. His extended walk was ground covering. A small hesitation in the counter canter before the first simple change affected the scores, though Danish judge Karin Kruger helped a bit by giving Tanghe the highest score (4% difference to lowest score at H).

Kruger continued her weird, biased judging today but by being the highest scoring judge for three Danes (except Hougaard) with the biggest discrepancy again with Barnekow. Kruger scored that ride again 69.737% while three judges were between 63-65%. Fortunately for Kruger, Clarke backed her up and scored Barnekow's ride also a 68.000%.

Kruger's ideosyncratic judging did not just help the Danes, but on the contrary it totally disrupted the scores of Dutch rider Maria van den Dungen. On the De Havikerwaard owned Rembrandt, van den Dungen made a brilliant entry in an uphill canter and square, immobile halt. The trot was very lightfooted and rhythmical except for the shoulder in and first extended trot in which the tempo was too high. The extended walk was lovely, but then the fiesty stallion got a bit temperamental in canter which disturbed the relaxation in the simple changes. He was unruly after the second extended canter and the contact with the bit got unstable. The pony became above the vertical at times, though Maria corrected it quickly.

Four judges marked the test between 71.8 and 68.4% but Kruger thought it was a 64.211%. Back to the drawing board! They scored 69.105% and placed eighth. Because they were the fourth Dutch rider, Van den Dungen will have to do the consolation finals tomorrow as only three riders per country are accepted in the Kur to Music finals.

Belgian Noemie Goris and her German bred Alexandre Dumas (by Don Pedro x Lucky Strike) were the ninth placegetters. The trot work was fluent and correct. The pony always is perfectly at the vertical and Goris rides with very quiet hands. Dumas was light and obedient in trot, though Goris can get much more movement out of this pony (which I'm sure we'll see in the Kur Finals). The canter work was perfectly regulated with smooth changes, but it could have had that bit extra oomph in order to hit 70%. They scored 68.947%

American born Belgian Alexa Fairchild and Neervelds Blamoer were back in the swing of things. After a disappointing team test, Fairchild shifted into a higher gear and probably showed the best simple changes of the day with this pony. The tempo control of this combination is wonderful. They made it into the Kur to Music.

All photos copyrighted Astrid Appels/Eurodressage
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