Kittel and Deja Make Winning International Grand Prix Debut at 2013 CDI Mechelen

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 19:46
2013 CDI Mechelen

Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel and his rising Grand Prix horse Deja (by Silvano x Don Schufro) made a winning international Grand Prix debut at the 2013 CDI Mechelen, on 26 - 27 December 2013. The promising duo easily raked in a lot of points in the CDI 3* division in Mechelen, which featured a field with few high flyers.

Eleven riders contested the Grand Prix and nine moved on to the Kur to Music, with the top two riders of the Grand Prix getting the opportunity to compete in the CDI 5* the next day. Kittel and Vrees both declined a 5* entry, and so did fourth placed Inna Logutenkova, so that Patrick van der Meer with Zippo and Ludovic Henry with After You were dropped from the freestyle on Friday and rode the 5* Grand Prix.

After winning the Grand Prix with 72.394%, Kittel and his 9-year old Swedish bred mare Deja also topped the leader board in the freestyle with a generous 76.600%. The dark bay is absolute world class, but her first Grand Prix level CDI freestyle was more touch and go than a polished test. Also the music did not fit her beauty and refinement, being too up tempo and hectic for her.

The mare has an amazing hind leg in canter, always powerful and active, reaching under. In trot she has a wonderful silhouette full of grace and elegance. The passage has much suspension but on the left lead it lacked collection and was too forward. The piaffe is still very insecure; the mare gets unbalanced and becomes wide in front. The extended walk had very nice overtrack, but she could have been more relaxed over the back. In the collected walk the mare gets slightly prancy in front and fixed in the top line, but stayed clear in the 4-beat rhythm. Both double pirouettes were small but Deja could be more bent round the inside leg. The 13 one tempi changes were correct. Their end result of 76.60% appeared more to be a "talent score" than what was actually produced in the ring. Nevertheless, Deja is definitely a horse to watch for the 2014 show season!

Madeleine Witte-Vrees and her new Grand Prix ride Vitana V, an 11-year old Dutch bred mare by Donnerhall x Hemmingway, were the opposite of Kittel. The pair produced a very solid, clean test with fitting music and with the piaffe as highlight, but the dark bay not so modern looking mare does not make your heart beat faster. She was uneven behind in the trot extensions and there was hardly any frame opening or suppleness in the extended canter. The mare often opened her mouth and the collected walk was tense. The strong points of their kur were certainly the straight tempi changes and the very regular and correct piaffe-passage work.  They scored 75.800% to finish second.

Ukrainian Inna Logutenkova and the 11-year old Oldenburg stallion Don Gregorius (by Don Cardinale x Placido) slotted in third . The black gelding is a very interesting horse to watch and has potential for the future. In Mechelen, he was ridden way too much on the curb (which was horizontal) and appeared dead in the mouth. The nicely muscled stallion has much spring and suspension in passage, but the piaffes are still timid. The collected walk was good, in the extended he could gain more over track. The first canter half passes were beautifully ridden and the two tempi changes were lovely, but could be slightly more uphill. In the one's the horse lost its straightness.  The Belgian based duo posted a score of 71.825%.

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed

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