Golden Day for Jessica Krieg at 2010 European Pony Championships

Sat, 07/31/2010 - 00:33
2010 European Pony Championships

Jessica Krieg continued her winning ways at the 2010 European Pony Championships in Bishop Burton, Great Britain, on Friday 30 July 2010. In the Individual Test the 13-year old German won the gold medal with a 76.737% earning ride. The silver went to Dutch Antoinette te Riele (75.842%) and bronze to German Lena Charlott Walterscheidt (74.684%).

The level of riding was extremely high which made the individual test, a top-15 qualifier for the Kur to Music finals, an absolute thriller to the end. Krieg was the penultimate rider to go and 2009 European Pony Champion Antoinette te Riele was the final one, so the best was definitely saved for last.

Krieg, who is trained by Stefanie Meyer-Biss, produced a world class test aboard her 7-year old German reitpony stallion Danilo (by Dornik B x Power Boy). The palomino was much fresher than in the team championship test and amazed with his super flow, suspension and self carriage in trot. The pony was at all times light in the hand, at the vertical and rock steady in the contact.

The extended walk was relaxed and smooth. Only the reinback was hesitant, but Krieg still scored three 7s for it. In the simple changes there was a slight loss of collection (at S) and of impulsion (at X). The other changes were superb. The effortlessness of Krieg's ride and the outstanding quality of Danilo's paces made her test, for sure, the best of the day. Her total was 76.737% with the Dutch judge as lowest mark (75.263%) and the German judge as highest (77.895%).

Krieg, who surprisingly for her age is fluent in English, commented that Danilo "worked very well. He was better than yesterday, very supple."

Te Riele Finds Silver Lining

Sixteen year old Dutch Antoinette te Riele found the silver lining in the individual test. Her 8-year old Golden Girl (by Don't Worry x Dancer) started out with super regular trot work in which the half passes were a highlight. The elegant, light coloured palomino mare does not have as much bounce off the ground as Danilo but she aces with her correct trot work and lovely extended walk. The gold was probably lost in the rein back: the halt for rein back was not square and she backed up with hesitation. But for some judges this was no problem: they scored the exercise 7 - 8 - 6 - 6 - 7. The canter extensions were fantastic, in the right counter canter she slightly lost the collection. Some of the simple changes were good, in others the mare should have developed a clearer walk.

It took a long time for the judges to figure out the collective marks while the audience was waiting for the scores to appear on the live score board. Sevens and eights for impulsion, nines and eights for rider's position and aids. At the end the panel, consisting of Prain (FRA), de Wolff van Westerode (NED), Leyman (BEL), Wessels (GBR) and Plewa (GER), scored Te Riele 75.842% and the entire panel was much in unison about the Dutch performance.

"She felt really good in the warm up and I was very happy with my test," said the shy Te Riele at the press conference. "I had no big mistakes and the simple changes went better."

Lena Charlott Walterscheidt Recovers for Bronze

Thirteen year old Lena Charlott Walterscheidt was the second new comer on the German team, besides Krieg, and she recovered well from a mediocre performance in the team test to win bronze in the individual. This brand new pair is trained by Marion Schleypen.

Aboard the 11-year old licensed German Reitpony stallion (by Dornik B x Golden Dancer) Walterscheidt generated a very well ridden test in which the lightfooted, engaged trot was a top scoring segment. The palomino stallion could have more flexion in the hocks, especially the right one, but he moves with regularity. Only the transition from the shoulder in right to the extended trot was a bit shilly shally. Deinhard B was still impressed by the video camera at C but no longer spooked from it. The rein back at that spot was not as easy though. The extended canter had scope and two of a large series of simple changes were short, but the points stayed high nonetheless (7s and 8s). Walterscheidt had a great end halt and the final bronze medal earning score of 74.684% quite quickly gleamed on the board.

"I had a really good test," said a happy Lena Charlott. "Yesterday he was spooky but not today. And he was also supple."

While yesterday German chef d'equipe Connie Endres had to resign in the breach of Germany's 20-year golden team medal subscription, today she had much reason for celebration with a gold and bronze medal.

"I'm very pleased with my girls," Endres said. "They had very concentrated rides. We decided yesterday that we would fight, because I'd like to hear my favourite song: the German national anthem."

Gallimore Knocking at the Door, Waiting for that Medal

British Claire Gallimore has not made it a secret that she dreams of winning a medal at her last European Pony Championships on home turf. Today in the individual test she came closer than ever and if the panel of judges would use the same scoring cards for non German/Dutch riders than Gallimore probably would have got 73% instead of finishing fifth with 71.421%.

Claire had her 12-year old German reitpony gelding Gigolo (by Going East) more up in the frame than in the team test. The compact chestnut with sweet knee action seemed to trot to the beat of a drum, so rhythmical and regular it was. The medium walk was good, the extended had two to three hooves overtrack but there could have been a bit more looseness in the topline. The canter work was absolutely delightful with textbook simple changes, but Gallimore hardly got the big scores. The judges got stuck mainly at giving 7s. An occasional 8 appeared on the board though 8s should have been the standard and 9s a must for the several strong points in the ride. In the collectives, Gigolo scored 7s across the board for "paces," which was surprisingly conservative.

"Yesterday he was on the edge and went over, but today I just managed to keep him on the edge and I was thrilled with him. I'm really ready for the Kur on Sunday," Claire told Horse and Hound journalist Helen Scott. "It's my best score in the Europeans."

Remarkable Recovery for Linnemann and White Gold B

German Grete Linnemann and her capricious palomino stallion White Gold B (by Golden Dancer x Dressman) were nip and tuck today recovering well from a below par performance in the team test.

The contact was still not as steady because White Gold regularly bopped his head around, but Linnemann kept her cool and remained composed in the saddle. The talented German rider showed some of the best simple changes of the day in which she let her pony generate a clear 4-beat walk before each strike-off to canter. The extended walk was good in overtrack but the palomino goes somewhat short-long in front (less stride in the left front leg). In the left extended canter there was too much bending to the left but in general the canter work was the apex of the test. The combination received 70.895%

More striking recoveries were made in today's class. Dutch Suzanne van de Ven was the first to go and immediately put the bar high. Her fickle Danish bred Welsh pony Majos Cannon (by Marchi) was electric and forward in trot. The half pirouette in walk was a bit hasty and in the extended walk there could have been more ground cover. The canter extensions were wonderful but in the simple changes the liver chestnut stallion regularly "hand-braked," skidding with both hind legs in the transition to walk. The pair scored 70.211% and placed seventh. They were the third and last Dutch combination to make it to the freestyle. The second Dutch rider to make it was Maria van den Dungen on Rembrandt.

Van Lierop and Lord Champion Run Out of Gas

Missing out on a ride in the kur was last year's bronze medal winning pair Dana van Lierop on the German reitpony gelding Equestricons Lord Champion (by Le Champion). The 9-year old bay gelding entered the ring with hardly any petrol in the tank. The trot was lackadaisical and the pony was against his rider's leg. In the right volte he swung out with his hindquarters and in the half pass right he tossed his head up. The mechanics were rambling today and unfortunately it all fell apart in the rein back in which Lord Champion refused to go back and then reared (judges scored it four 4s and one 3).

Though Van Lierop is a skilled and gifted pony rider, she was unable to rescue this mission. The canter extensions were still fantastic, but in the simple changes the lack of impulsion and submission were obvious. In one simple change the gelding paced. The judges reciprocated to these mediocre changes with scores between 6 and 9!! The most flabbergasting aspect of the assessment of this ride came in the collectives when sevens and eights flashed across the board for impulsion. The pair placed ninth with a generous 69.263%. Van Lierop is ambitious and she's an endowed rider who will surely return with a mission next pony season.

Dana's mom Nicolet van Leeuwen was quick to explain the reason for his unusual performance. "When we came to England, Lord Champion caught a virus and had a fever," Nicolet told Eurodressage. "He got better on Wednesday but yesterday he lacked steam due to the virus and a bad diet for three days. It's a pity because this pony always gives it his all for his rider."

Dutch chef d'equipe Tineke Bartels remarked on today's fluctuating Dutch performances that "we are very proud like the Germans are but my riders had more tension. The rule is there that only three riders per nation can go to the kur and they have to fight to make it. Knowing that one will drop off added pressure."

The fourth drop-out German rider in the individual test was last year's silver kur and individual bronze medallist Katharina Weychert on her 15-year old palomino Golden Derano C (by Derano Gold x Malan ox). Irregularities in trot kept the score from climbing over 70%. The extended walk was active and ground covering but there was some tension in the collected walk near C. The final extended trot was uneven, so Weychert ended up with a 68.789% score and will get her rematch another time.

Due to a new FEI rule those riders in the individual test not making it to the kur can no longer ride the consolation finals. This class is reserved for those ranked below the 25th place in the team championship test. 

Tange and Fairchild Follow Up

The highest not German/Dutch ranking rider, with the exception of Claire Gallimore, was Danish Anne Fabricius Tange on the Swedish pony gelding Tim (by Helekis Timjan x Amiral).

Tange began her test with extremely forward trot work. The trot extensions were superb, but she never got anything higher than 7s and a rare 8. The medium and extended walk were beautiful and Tim was explosive in extended canter. All this forward motion went at the expense of collection and bounce. If Tange finds the golden mean in the freestyle, she might break the 70% barrier. Today her score got stuck at 69.895% and a 8th place.

Belgian Alexa Fairchild and the 11-year old licensed German reitpony stallion Stukhuster Ricardo Go for Gold (by Anjershof Rocky) finished 11th with 68.684%. This dynamic duo was well on their way to score over 70% after a lovely trot tour and fantastic extended walk, but in canter the palomino got slightly tense in the topline and a made a few short simple changes. An unexpected spook on the final centerline towards the end halt reduced the score dramatically with 5s up to 7s for the halt and salute.

Tomorrow the consolation finals start at 9 AM in the morning. The Kur to Music is on Sunday. The quality of riding today was extremely high which is promising for the Freestyle. Regrettably and very surprisingly the judge at C, Belgian Freddy Leyman, deliberately refused to comment on the quality of the class to the press.

Text, photos, video © Astrid Appels - No reproduction allowed

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