Roland Tong became the 2013 Irish Grand Prix Champion after an excellent performance in the Grand Prix at the Nationals held at the Cavan Equestrian Centre on 6 - 8 September 2013. Riding Sarah Wrigley’s 15-year old gelding Pompidou, he clinched Saturday’s test on a score of 69.468%, almost 3% ahead of the Reserve Champions Dane Rawlins and Sydney.
The partnership, which is now ranked 105th in the world, consolidated its form on Sunday in the Grand Prix Kür, winning this class on an impressive 72.75%. As chairperson of Dressage Ireland Anne Cahill pointed out in her speech at Saturday night’s prize-giving, this is the first time that the Nationals have had sufficient entries to host a Kür and this occasion reflects how successful this year has been for Irish dressage.
Speaking on Sunday evening, Tong said he was “pleased with the Grand Prix. He was a little bit cheeky with the crowd in the Kür, but it was a great feeling to ride in front of such an enthusiastic and supportive audience”.
He also wanted to thank Dressage Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland for their support both at this show and throughout the year. “I had the time of my life at the European Championships and riding as part of the Irish team at the Nations Cup in Hickstead was a great opportunity”.
The Dorine Reihill Memorial National Championships were generously sponsored by the estate of the late Dorine Reihill. Involved with horses throughout her life time, Reihill was also the god mother of the New Jersey based Irish international rider Sonia Zugel.
Secretary Gerd Liekens-Schurmans, Chief Steward Norbert van Cramon and their team did a typically stellar job of organising the weekend, and the whole show ran smoothly. All the visiting judges concurred that the standard of horses and of riding is on the up, and that their task throughout the show “was a pleasure”. British-based international rider Dane Rawlins summed up the atmosphere when he said “I’d like to bottle the enthusiasm of Dressage Ireland”.
Klatzko Aims High
At her last show in Ireland before she departs for Germany, Sorrell Klatzko was the on form rider of the weekend, winning five of the six classes she entered. With her athletic Hohenstein mare Highlight, she won both the Prix St Georges and the Intermédiaire I Championships. Only Amanda Goldsbury could stop her from scoring a hat trick, as she relegated Klatzko to second place in the Prix St George Freestyle.
No combination could stand in the way of Klatzko and her homebred 5-year old Desert Doll however, and together they won three titles, the Preliminary and Novice Category Two and the Young Horse (5yo) Championships. Judge Dermot Cannon picked Desert Doll out as the highlight of the classes he judged, and said the combination were “a pleasure to judge-they look like they are doing dressage for fun”.
by Rachel Dowley
Photo © Astrid Appels
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