Coming to Hagen: Akeem Foldager Makes an Entry at the 2013 CDI Hagen

Fri, 04/26/2013 - 20:26
2013 CDI Hagen

Denmark's secret weapon Akeem Foldager is not such the best kept secret. Last year the gorgeous 11-year old Danish bred gelding rocketed to national Grand Prix stardom under trainer/rider Joachim Thomsen and the pair found the international spotlight at the CDI Stuttgart in November 2012. The horse was too good to let go, even though he had been offered for sale for almost a year for a stellar amount of money. Little over a month ago Danish horse dealer Andreas Helgstrand had his eureka moment and decided to secure the ride for himself by partnering with the owner Patricia Florin and Ecco's Hanni Toosbuy Kasprzak. The 2006 WEG star rider has now climbed back into the saddle and made a smashing entry at the 2013 CDI Hagen.

Andreas' ambition to compete at the Euros in Herning is written all over and the Dane has set out a strategic show plan to secure himself a spot on the Danish team: Hagen, Mannheim, the Danish Championships, Aachen and then the European Championships on home turf in Herning, Denmark. At his first competition with Akeem (by Akinos x Loran) Helgstrand presented the appetizer of what he has in store with this incredibly gifted horse. Akeem is absolute world class quality, three strong basic gaits, a piaffe for a 10, a supber passage but in canter the horse still needs some work. Let's hope that this phenomenal star won't get overpushed to the realms of the "spectacular" which could compromise his health and future for Rio.

In Hagen Helgstrand and Akeem produced a wonderful Grand Prix test full of promise. The first trot extension was powerful but there could have been more overtrack. The half pass to the right was slightly passagy. The second trot extension was wonderful. The passage was superb and the first piaffe the best shown of all 90 Grand Prix horses competing in Hagen that weekend. It should have put straight 10s on the board. The horse has plenty of overstep in the extended walk but he became slightly tense in the collected. The second piaffe-passage was lovely but not as secure in the rhythm as the first one. The canter work is not so confident yet. In the two tempi changes the horse became crooked to the right and lost some uphill tendency and in the ones he got stiff in the back, crooked, lost ground cover and made a mistake. Also in the zag zag the ground cover should increase but the exercise was correctly executed. The pirouettes were good. In the final extended the horse reached further with the right front leg. The last piaffe at X was outstanding. The pair scored 75.574%

Steffen Peters and Legolas travelled all the way from the U.S.A to compete just at the CDI Hagen, their first European performance as a pair. Peters made it clear from the start that the goal of this transatlantic trip was to check if his U.S. scores would uphold in Europe and they did. The 11-year old Westfalian gelding by Laomedon x Florestan II was acquired at Hof Kasselmann and the European audience only knows the horse from video clips on Youtube. It was very interesting to see how Akiko Yamazaki's bay gelding has developed since the acquisition in June 2011. The musculature of the horse has changed, from a beefed up chunky horse into a slimmer more athletic dressage horse. Legolas is known for his extraordinary piaffe and passage but the basis needed serious work and Peters has been molding this talented horse to his hand. In Hagen it became clear that this is still a work in progress.

Peters and Legolas scored  74.128% to finish second behind Andreas and Akeem. Their Grand Prix test had highlights as well as a few issues. They started with a safe extended trot, followed by big half passes in which the right one became a bit irregular. The first passage was super bouncy, the piaffe great, the transitions smooth. In the extended walk the horse had one to two hooves overstep but could have stridden more forward. The collected walk was very good. The second passage was irregular with more activity from the left hind leg and the horse became croup high. Also in piaffe the horse gets croup high in his over-eagerness instead of searching for more sit. The canter started with good two tempi but the horse slightly swung more to the right. The zig zag was accurate but there was a bit of loss of swing over the back. The extended canter was powerful and ground covering but the change at the end of the diagonal short. The ones were well ridden but could improve if they were more uphill bound. Peters lost the canter before the pirouette left. However, he managed to ride both well. The final centerline was lovely. Peters does present a very appealing image as his horse is always ridden with a lift, soft contact which enhances the overall image.

Dorothee Schneider and the 12-year old Westfalian mare Forward Looking (by Fidermark x Dinard L) completed the top three with a 72.043% score. The pair executed nice trot extensions and half passes, but there was a break into canter after the rein back. The passage was regular but in the first piaffe the mare lost the rhythm as she wanted to sit too much. The silhouette in all three piaffes was wonderful. Schneider lost quite a few points in the canter work as the mare made a double beat in the first change of the two-tempi line and there was a mistake in the ones. The pirouettes were tiny.

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed

Eurodressage photographer Astrid Appels took photos of all combinations competing at the CDI Hagen. Contact us if you are interested in prints of your photos!

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Eurodressage Coverage of the 2013 CDI Hagen