Totilas Rocks in the 2010 CDIO Aachen Grand Prix Special

Mon, 07/19/2010 - 20:18
2010 CDIO Aachen

Edward Gal and the 10-year old black stallion Totilas continued to rock the 2010 CDIO Aachen winning the Grand Prix Special with another record breaking score. Dutch judge Wim Ernes and Danish Leif Törnblad awarded the pair up to a mind boggling 88.542% but Australian Susie Hoevenaars and her 83.958% assisted in averaging it down to a 86.468% record.

The notes that flash on the score board when Totilas is in the ring are simply surreal. Solid 8s and 9s for the halt in which the horse stands square but behind the vertical. More 9s for an extravagant extended trot. Two tens for the half pass left which was indeed breath taking. The second and third extended trot were awe-inspiring when it comes to the lift in the front leg but there was hardly any overtrack. No problem for the judges as they must consider their 7 and 8s a very strict appraisal. The half pass right was huge in ground cover but tight in the neck. The passage which followed each trot extension was perfect as well as each transition. Only the strike off to canter from passage was hesitant.

At the beginning of the canter work the black stallion (by Gribaldi x Glendale) was a bit on edge which led to nice tempi changes that were tight and deep in the neck (judges scored it between 7 and 9). The one tempi's showed big strides but again behind the vertical (7 - 8s). The pirouette left was a bit rushed, the pirouette right was absolutely flawless. On the final centerline the first passage was a bit irregular with more activity in the right hind leg, but the transition to piaffe, piaffe itself and last stretch of passage were fantastic. Totilas rocked the Deutsche Bank Stadium and the crowds went as wild as at an AC/DC concert.

Parzival Races to Second Place

Dutch team mate Adelinde Cornelissen and her Dutch warmblood Parzival (by Jazz x Ulft) finished second with 82.542%. Four nines for their halt. Adelinde put more energy in this ride than in the Grand Prix. The whole became even more expressive, but at the cost of a light contact with the bit. Huge trot extensions in which one wished that the hind legs would step under more despite the incredible lengthening and power. The half pass right was a bit rushed, the one to the left was great. The passage had incredible bounce but the horse ground his teeth occasionally. In the first piaffe Parzival got quite narrow behind and in the second he maintained the rhythm well but slightly tended to cross over with hind legs (7 - 9). The extended walk was good but the judges differed in opinion (7 - 9).

Great canter work followed. Super two tempi's covering the entire diagonal, wonderful uphill one tempi's and especially the nine one tempi's on the centerline were unique. The pirouette left was tiny. In the last extended trot Parzival got so forward that Adelinde leaned backwards and held on to the bit. The final piaff- passage centerline was lovely until after X as the 31-year old rider lost the collection in passage between X and G. 8s and 9s nonetheless for this favoured pair. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: the contact with the bit was less ideal compared to their Grand Prix and this was proven when Parzival stuck his tongue out while leaving the arena on a long rein. Adelinde halted, put it back in place and continued onwards waving at the crowds. They are a charming pair.

Damn that Pirouette!

British Laura Bechtolsheimer and her 15-year old Dane Mistral Hojris (by Michellino x Ibsen) finished third with 79.375%. The halt upon entry was not entirely immobile but the first trot extension had power. The half pass right started out with a few uneven steps but then smoothed out. The first piaffe and passage were absolutely perfect in rhythm and expression, but Bechtolsheimer barely gets the 9's for them whereas that two higher ranked riders get as many as World War II veterans get medals for bravery. So food for thought: what makes the difference in the top? Horse with the most spectacular gaits? Horse with the best submission? Rider of the "right" nation? Makes one wonder...

But there was a reason for Laura's third place in the Special. The young Brit probably lost her second place due to a failed left pirouette in which she lost impulsion. The pirouette right was gorgeous as Mistral raises his front legs more than a meter off the ground with each jump. The two tempi's were huge but could have been smoother. The final centerline was spotless with superb transitions to and from piaffe.

No Longer at the Top but Still Close: Werth and Satchmo

Isabell Werth and Madeleine Winter-Schulze's 16-year old Hanoverian Satchmo (by Sao Paulo x Legat) finished fourth with 76.417% and all five judges were quite in unison with their score. Isabell Werth is always up for a good fight and after her ride she told the German press that she "doesn't mind not winning as long as I'm judged fairly."

Werth had some highlights in her ride as well as some imperfections. The trot half passes were their forté, as usual. In the second trot extension there was a slight loss of rhythm and the passage showed trailing hind legs even though it is very regular and relaxed. The extended walk was good but the collected walk became unusually short this time. Satchmo took one big step in the exit from the first piaffe. In canter the pirouettes were the high point. The two tempi's were good but Satchmo was moaning while doing them, the ones were tense (4 - 7). In the final piaffe at X he stepped on his own coronet band, which meddled a bit with the flow.

Augustin Steps Up to the Plate

The lukewarm performance of Austrian Victoria Max-Theurer on her 10-year old Oldenburg stallion Augustin (by August der Starke x Rohdiamant) in the Grand Prix was quite disappointing, especially considering the high they ended on at the 2009 European Dressage Championships in Windsor last year. However, Max-Theurer made a tabula rasa and started anew riding a brilliant test!

This time the tank was full of gas and the massive Augustin marched like a soldier on a mission. The extended trot had more energy and engagement from behind. The whole looked much fresher. The passage was regular and buoyant and 'Vici" executed some lovely transitions. Only in the passage on the curverd line from G to I Augustin pulled his hocks high instead of moving the hind legs towards the gravity point. The extended walk was good. The two tempi's were nice and only in the one's he could have been straighter on the diagonal. The pirouette left went well but the onset of the one to the right was hesitant. The final piaffe and passage were outstanding. The pair scored a well earned 74.458%.

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Text and Photos © Astrid Appels

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