Patrick van der Meer and the Dutch warmblood gelding Uzzo became the untouchable winners of the CDI Grand Prix class held on a sunny Wednesday morning 20 June 2012 at the 2012 CDIO Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Serving as second Dutch Olympic observation trial, the CDIO Rotterdam is where the going gets tough for the Dutch
and Van der Meer proved to be a hot contender for a team spot.
Although Van der Meer obtained a bronze medal at the 2012 Dutch Championships two weeks ago, the rider was not selected on the CDIO Dutch team but invited to compete in the 3* CDI Grand Prix and prove his worth in that class. Patrick and his former young horse World Champion Uzzo were the untouchable pairs in a field of 17 competitors.
The refined bay gelding took a flying start when exploded to a spur aid before entering the ring. In the test he was 100% with his rider and put in a very beautiful performance despite the fact that the horse was bathing in sweat. Uzzo has a quick hind leg and massive freedom in his shoulder which helps to produce superb trot extensions and half passes. The piaffe and passage is very rhythmical and regular with smooth transitions, but the rider was very economical in the amount of piaffe steps. The walk was clean in rhythm but could have been more relaxed over the back
Van der Meer scored 75.043% and stayed miles ahead of the pack. Dutch judge Mariette Sanders awarded the test 77% while Belgian judge Van Daele kept it at 72.97%. Olympic contenders Edward Gal (on Romanov) and Hans Peter Minderhoud (neither on Tango nor Donna Silver) did not come close to the level of accuracy Van der Meer displayed in his ride nor to his scores, putting Patrick in a power position for team selection.
Gal and the gorgeous Oldenburg stallion Romanov (by Rohdiamant x Grundstein II) make a beautiful, promising pair but they were not on top form today. The Blue Hors stud owned stallion dragged his hindlegs in the piaffe and passage and made mistakes in the two tempi changes. The extended gaits were fabulous. The duo received a 69.830% score which made them the runners-up.
Norwegian Siril Helljesen and the Danish warmblood mare Dorina (by Don Schufro) completed the top three with a 69.723% score. This pair is already certain of an entry ticket to the Olympic Games and are building form at the CDIO Rotterdam. The bay mare has a lovely piaffe-passage with flawless transitions, but could cover more ground in the tempi changes.
Minderhoud Leads CDIO Grand Prix
In the afternoon a first group of nine riders contested the CDIO Grand Prix and the provisional leader is Hans Peter Minderhoud on the Dutch warmblood stallion Tango (by Jazz x Contango). The chestnut stallion excelled as usual in the passage, but he also showed wonderful on the spot pirouettes and good trot extensions, even though he was regularly tipped behind the vertical. The tempi changes were accurate but the horse loses swing in the back in canter. Minderhoud and Tango scored 72.000%.
The shooting star performance of the day came from Belgian Philippe Jorissen, who produced an international top best ride of 71.043%. Jorissen and the Oldenburg gelding Le Beau (by Le Coeur) took a long break from competition after a tiring attempt to climb the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking at winter competitions in Europe. The gelding looked well rested, much more level in his head and the rider kept his cool throughout the test. The bit contact has also improved as the horse was no longer opening its mouth or pushing its tongue to one side as he used to before. The duo showed strong work in trot and piaffe and passage. Only in the two tempi changes the horse could have changed more clearly from behind.
Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED