Schurmann Waiting to Exhale Before Winning the Individual Test Gold Medal

Tue, 07/27/2010 - 12:03
2010 European Junior and Young Riders Championships

"I knew Cathrine and Danielle are very good very so I was nervous," admitted the 17-year old German junior Charlott Maria Schürmann at the press conference, when she was asked if she was certain of her first place after her ride.

"In walk he was not good and two flying changes weren't good enough but when I heard the results I was happy. I had to wait," she added. It was waiting to exhale before Charlott Maria knew for sure that her 74.053% sufficed for the first place and the individual test gold medal, her second gold of the week.

Schurmann's test started with a square but stretched halt. The trot was active, engaged and uphill with excellent medium and extended trot. The nose could have gone a bit more forward in the trot with long reins. The extended walk could have been better, but the collected one was good which earned her 7s and 8s. Two flying changes were late behind but the canter half passes were lovely.

The judges did not quite agree in their marks for Charlott Maria Schurmann aboard her 17-year old World of Dreams, whom she affectionately calls "Woody." Belgian judge Swenden-Joly had her first with an amazing 77.106 % as well as German judge Holler with 75.000 %. The other three judges ranked her 3rd or 4th with 73.158%, 72.369% and 72.632%. Her average total was 74.053%.

Danish History in Kronberg

There was some discord amongst the judges about who the gold medallist would be. Three of them (Ernes, Saleh, Summanen) had Danish Cathrine Dufour on the 7-year old Atterupgaards Cassidy on first place with 74.210%, 74.210% and 73.947%. Swenden and Holler both had her at a 73-plus score, which averaged out into 73.842 % and the silver medal.

Dufour rode a fantastic test and no one would have complained if the sympathetic Dane had been in the gold medal position. Her ride was brilliant. The halt at entry was not square, but the trot work was world class. Super shoulder in, a clear difference between a medium and extended trot (which was hardly shown by the other riders who all went for extended trot twice). There could have been more stretch in the neck in trot on the long rein, but Cassidy never lost his self carriage, cadence and rhythm in trot. Both the extended and collected walk were excellent. There was some slight tension in the canter half pass right, but all four flying changes were superb. Dufour probably collected her horse too much for the simple change and the extended canter could have been more uphill. However the ride was of excellent quality and Dufour sat quietly in the saddle and her aids were hardly visible.

Dufour wrote history for Denmark as she is only the third Danish junior rider ever to get an individual medal at the European Junior Riders Championships and she's the first ever to get silver. In 1974 Lars Rasmussen won bronze for Denmark with Lowenherz and in 1994 Fie Skarsoe won bronze with Surprise at the Championships in Berne.

"It's the first time I ever got an individual medal," said a beaming Dufour. "I got Cassidy not even two months ago and he's a fantastic horse. If I get another half a year, he will be really great because this was only four fifth test together."

Danielle Houtvast Goes for Bronze

Dutch Danielle Houtvast won the individual bronze medal with a high quality 73.421% scoring ride. Aboard the 12-year old KWPN gelding Rambo (by Gribaldi x Amor), Houtvast makes a super elegant pair. The horse is always up in the frame, soft in the contact with the bit and Houtvast has to give a minimal amount of aids to get the maximum out of her refined black gelding.

Though Rambo looked a bit fresher and more expressive in the team championship test, his individual round was still very very good. The halt at entry was not square. The trot work was forward with good crossing of the legs in the half passes. The extended trot could have a bit more push off the ground. The walk pirouette right was good though the horse came slightly above the vertical, the exit from the left one was a bit big. The collected walk was super and the extended walk showed good relaxation. The traversal movements in canter were good but there was a loss of impulsion in the simple change. All four flying changes went well, though the last one lacked some expression.

There were six more riders to go after Danielle and the 17-year old Dutch rider from Puth, The Netherlands, got extremely nervous. "It was such a thriller that I started to go for walks. My parents looked at the rest of the class," said Houtvast. "I had hoped for team silver but I never expected to win an individual medal," she said.

Sophie Holkenbrink Surprises

For 17-year old Sophie Holkenbrink the 2010 European Junior Riders Championships exceeded her wildest expectations. Last year she was still riding first and second level tests, this year she won team gold and finished fourth in the individual test aboard her father's licensed stallion Show Star (by Sandro Hit x Feinbrand).

The eye catching black stallion is a delightful mover: very lightfooted and a hind leg that is always engaged. The shoulder in right was great, but the horse did not stretch his neck sufficiently in the trot on long reins. In the half volte on the left he became irregular behind. The trot work was very flowing, nonetheless, but Holkenbrink should have kept her hands more quiet. She was constantly moving them along with the movement of the horse which disturbed the consistent contact with the bit. The extended walk was good but in the collected walk he almost paced. The canter work went smooth, except in the simple change in which the horse lost its impulsion. Three flying changes were great, in the fourth one the stallion lost straightness as he threw his hindquarters to the right.

The pair scored 71,632% to finish fourth. "This is a dream," Holkenbrink commented after her ride. "I really had fun and it's the first time we scored above 71%."

French judge Raphael Saleh, head of the ground jury at C, was impressed by the "high quality" of the riders and horses. "Many were quite young, but they were quite close," said Saleh. "There was only five points difference between the 1st and 3rd rider." 

More photos and text in the Photo Gallery (20 photos in total) below

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels

Back to the 2010 EJYRC index