Dutch FEI pony riders Sanne Vos and Jelle Peeters were in the limelight at the first international dressage competition of 2012, held in Drachten, The Netherlands on 6 - 8 January 2012. Vos and Peeters took home the three throphies which were contested in the pony division during this show weekend.
The CDI Drachten replaced the annual CDI Zwolle competition, which faced venue problems when the organization heard in 2011 that the indoor Ijsselhallen would no longer be available to them for 2012 due to Holiday on Ice. The concept of the show remained the same, but the venue moved 75 kilometers further north in The Netherlands, where it boasted permanent stabling facilities which the competitors considered to be a major improvement to Zwolle.
Eurodressage was on the scene on Friday 6 January 2012 to photograph all 101 competing combinations in the pony, junior, young rider division as well as the Prix St Georges and Grand Prix. It was a true marathon as the classes started at 7.30 AM with the pony team championship test and finished at 11.30 PM with the last rider in the Grand Prix. The breaks in between classes were between 4 and 10 minutes long, just enough time to run to the bathroom or grab a bite to eat.
The day kicked off with the pony class for which 18 international pairs had gathered in Drachten. Sanne Vos and the 8-year old German Riding pony gelding Champ of Class (by Champion de Luxe) were the winners with 71.709%. The buckskin pony, who looked like a strangely bleached bay in his clipped coat, excels with his lovely front leg usage and cadence in trot but the extensions were a bit rushed and the collected trot often came close to passage. The transition from extended walk to trot proved to be difficult but the canter work was beautiful. Vos went on to place second in the individual (70.447%) and won the Kur to Music (77.458%).
Belgian based Dutch pony rider Jelle Peeters made her international debut with her new pony Den Ostriks Dailan, a familiar face on the scene as the 10-year old Welsh pony was a Dutch team member in 2009 and then sold to Germany to be competed by Sophie Kampmann. The experienced small chestnut gelding by Leunsveld Lord has a brilliant canter in which his self carriage, relaxation and smooth simple changes are a true highlight. In the trot work the pony lacked bounce and the rider hang heavily onto the bit. The combination placed second in the team test (71.666%), won the individual (72.235%) and was second again in the Kur (74.541%).
Although Belgian Lavinia Arl is the owner of the 2011 European Pony Kur Champion Day of Diva, she seems to have picked the experienced bay Belgian Riding Pony Epiascer (by Ten Ankers Jerolianca) as her ride for the new season. Arld and her well engaged pony put in a very meticulous test in which they rode on the marker and stood out with eye for detail. The walk pirouettes were small, the trot work had good energy and the canter work was solid. The rider still has a tendency to lean too much backwards in the saddle but this brand new combination has much room for improvement. At the start of their career together, they finished third three times in Drachten. In the team test they scored 69.230% (because one judge was between 5% and 6% lower than his colleagues), in the individual they earned 69.593% and in the kur they got 71.500%.
A few new trends for the 2012 pony season were already to be noted at the CDI-P Drachten. The Baucher bit has been steadily gaining popularity amongst pony riders but in Drachten it was striking that 95% of the ponies were tacked with one now. Drachten was also the first show where the new FEI Pony tests were ridden. For the Pony Team championship test it was obvious that the "simple" transition from walk to trot (after the extended walk) proved to be the most difficult aspect of the test as most ponies anticipated a canter strike-off. The judges in Drachten were also quite forgiving for error at the start of the show season. One young French pony rider was a bit shell shocked by the atmosphere and made three errors at the beginning of her test. She first travelled the ring instead of going straight into the arena, then she started the test without the bell having been rung and finally after the bell signal she began her test in trot instead of canter. The judges were forgiving and allowed the girl to commence again in canter. A nice gesture for a young international pony rider who is on a learning curve.
Text and Photos © Astrid Appels
Scores 2012 CDI Drachten
Zwolle International to Move to Drachten for 2012 Edition