Photo Report: Salzgeber On Top at the 2011 CDI Donaueschingen

Tue, 09/27/2011 - 17:18
2011 CDI Donaueschingen

With the 2011 outdoor show season slowly coming to a close, the 2011 CDI Donaueschingen was one of the last "summer" events where the action took place al fresco. Blessed with gorgeous mild autumn weather, this small international dressage show was the come back stage for Ulla Salzgeber and Herzruf's Erbe and for Anky van Grunsven and Salinero who appeared in their second CDI since July 2011.

With only two international Grand Prix classes taking place on 24 and 25 September 2011 for most riders this show was cool runnings. Still, the Grand Prix posed a challenge to both top placed riders, Ulla and Anky, as their horses were not yet showing their usual top form.

Salzgeber called for a time-out in the spring of 2011, not putting herself up for team selection for "personal reasons". With the dust caused by the 2011 European Championships settled down, the south German based rider was ready to make her appearance.

Salzgeber had to work hard in the saddle and even though Herzruf's Erbe was the clear winner of the Grand Prix his test did not show the fluency and harmony last seen at the 2011 World Cup Finals in Leipzig at the end of April. Especially in the transitions to passage the horse jerked the hind legs and struggled to find a regular rhythm. The chestnut did show amazing sit in the piaffe and in general had a fabulous silhouette, always uphill in the frame.

For Van Grunsven the Grand Prix was hard labour. The horse was unlevel behind in the first two trot extensions and made mistakes in the rhythm. The regularity was also failing in the passage as there was more activity with the left hind leg. In the collected walk the rider bent the horse's head in a 45° angle to the right to control the tempo. The contact with the bit was far from ideal with Salinero's mouth gaping throughout the test. However, Van Grunsven is not the triple Olympic champion for no reason. Her supreme mastery in the saddle showed in the canter work in which she had total control over a very eager and fresh looking 17-year old Salinero. While the mileage clearly show on his hind legs, Salinero's mind is still fighting like a tiger and the Hanoverian is very willing to go for it. The proverb that and old fox can't be learnt new tricks was debunked as Salinero halted both at the beginning and end of the test!

The judges were in a glorious mood to appreciate expression and name more than  harmony and submission. In the Grand Prix Salzgeber scored 78.532 % with Plewa and 71.935 % with Swedish judge Iacobaeus. She totaled 76.191 % for a deserved victory. Van Grunsven scored 77.469 % with Plewa (who was the high scoring judges with several riders) and 73.212 % with Iacobaeus to average 74.915 %, a bit whimsical for a test with several major mistakes. 

In the Grand Prix Special it was a neck-to-neck race between Salzgeber and Van Grunsven with Ulla winning on 78.021 % (placing first with two judges and second with three judges). Van Grunsven got 77.958 % and was first with three judges and second with two.

Check out selection of photos from the 2011 CDI Donaueschingenin the image gallery below

Photos © Silke Rottermann - No Reproduction Allowed

Related Links
Scores 2011 CDI Donaueschingen
2010 CDI Donauschingen: A Walk in the Park for Augustin OLD