Come back kid Adelinde Cornelissen, who skipped the winter world cup circuit to save her 17-year old Parzival, won the 5* Grand Prix by a nose length at the 2014 CDIO Rotterdam on Thursday 19 June 2014. While the Dutch team wiped out all competition in the FEI Nations' Cup, the usuaully untouchable Cornelissen now felt the heat with Edward Gal and Undercover on their heels.
Twenty six riders of seven nations contested the third leg of the 2014 FEI Nations' Cup series in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, set in beautiful mild spring weather. The class hardly attracted any crowds being scheduled on a weekday and starting at 8.30 AM in the morning. Die hards had to brave Rotterdam rush hour traffic and the ever-challenging parking possibilities near Kralingse Bos, a city park in Rotterdam where the show is located.
The potential Dutch World Equestrian Games team was fielded for the CDIO Grand Prix, but all other nations had sent B or even C-team riders which made the Dutch riders stand far apart from the competition and the victory an easy win. The Danish and the Swedish team finished second and third, each spearheaded by one of the country's top riders, Mikala Gundersen and Minna Telde.
After winning the CDI Arnheim two weeks ago, Adelinde Cornelissen continued her preparation for Caen in Rotterdam with a faulftree ride, putting scores on the board that mirrored her glory days. Parzival (by Jazz x Ulft) defied his age and looked fantastic: fresh, fit, powerful and athletic! The pair had a wonderful entry and square halt, like many other combinations had that day, but Cornelissen gets an 8.2 for that, hallowed be thy name. The first trot extension was a bit conservative and needed more overtrack, the half passes were ground covering though the right one was better than the left one with more hindquarters. The first piaffe was very bouncy. The extended walk could have had more overtrack and neck stretch but was relaxed, the collected walk was very good. The second passage was too croup high though with the hindlegs not coming under enough, despite the pep in that step. What was obvious after the first half of the test was that despite all the attempts at trying to convince the outside world of more harmony and lightness obtained, it is still a work very much in progress as most movements in Rotterdam were very much hand controlled, with strong half halts in the corners, a strong contact in the extensions and Parzival's mouth opening up regularly. In the canter work the long legged chestnut showed off his signature highlights with brilliant tempi changes and great, small pirouettes. The final centerline was energetic and regular, even though Parzival got a tiny bit crooked to the right in the piaffe at X.
The panel of judges in Rotterdam consisted of Susan Hoevenaars, Katrina Wust, Isabelle Judet, Susanne Baarup, and Mariette Sanders. Adelinde scored a winning 81.480% with Wust as low score at 79.900% and Hoevenaars as high score at 84.500%.
Edward Gal and the 13-year old Dutch warmblood Undercover (by Ferro x Donnerhall) were second within one percent distance of the winner. The electric black gelding had his usual highlights and lowpoints and continues to be the flavour of the judges. He stood still at the halt at entry, which is new and a good development. The first trot extension had no overtrack, the half passes were very elegant and lightfooted. The horse was not square in the halt for rein back and dragged the legs a bit. The second extension didn't show enough ground covering and was ridden very conservatively (score 7.4). The first piaffe was very rhythmical and off the ground. Up till that moment Undercover's tongue came peeping through the foam on the right side of his mouth. The extended walk had good relaxation but Undercover could not achieve sufficient overstep (6.9). The second passage was incredibly lightfooted but hardly moving forward, the transitions were flawless, the piaffe was good but tight in the neck. There was a mistake at the onset of the two tempi changes, there was another big bobble in the ones even though the horse is gaining more ground in them than before. The zig zag was very well ridden. The extended canter is very impressive in its explosive energy but the horse goes more up than stretching forward in the frame. The pirouette left was the best one, it was small and the horse gained some air in each stride, the right one was very flat and underwhelming (8.4). The last trot extension was clearly the best one, but it is puzzling that it scored the same average mark as the two other mediocre ones (7.4). The final piaffe at X was superb even though you can see clearly from behind that the horse gets wide in the hind legs to have better balance. Overall it was a lovely test in which Edward Gal's subtle aids stand out. Gal earned 80.780 and without the mistakes he certainly would have beaten Cornelissen here in Rotterdam.
Dutch Danielle Heijkoop rounded out the top three on Siro, her tall 15-year old Dutch warmblood gelding by Gribaldi. The black stands out and scores with his excellent piaffe-passage work which has a clock work rhythm and regularity and smooth transitions. The trot work, on the other hand, is quite stiff with trot extensions rigid in the top line and not enough stretch in the frame. In the extended walk there was barely one hoof overtrack and looked hurried. In canter the two tempi changes were correct but could be a bit more scopy, the extended canter was also slightly rushed. The one tempi changes were straight but the horse got behind the vertical. The pirouette could be slightly more airbound and collected from behind. There was a mistake in the rhythm in the third extended trot, but the final centerline was lovely with a few exuberant steps right before the halt. Heijkoop scored 76.960% but it is interesting to note that she got 79.400% from Wust and 72.200% from Hoevenaars.
For Hans Peter Minderhoud Rotterdam was an important event as he had to show his supremacy over team candidate Diederik van Silfhout at this first official Dutch WEG selection trial. Van Silfhout had competed Arlando in the CDI-tour and got 74.300% for his Grand Prix from the same panel of judges, which Minderhoud had to beat. While his 2013 European Championships horse Romanov stayed home, Minderhoud has been stepping up to the plate with Johnson, the 12-year old Dutch warmblood stallion by Jazz. The duo put in an excellent performance in which Johnson was up in the bridle, active and energetic from behind and willing to work. The half passes were really nice, in the second trot extension the bay stallion did hollow his back a bit, the first piaffe-passage was active and well regulated. In extended walk the horses need to produce more overtrack, the collected walk got slightly tense. The tempi changes were straight and correct but in the ones the horse needs to cover more ground. The pirouettes were scopy but the flying change at X was short behind. Johnson gets quite narrow at the base behind which makes him sway in the hindquarters in passage, but the horse appears very willing to put in the work and keep the rhythm. The pair scored 76.680% which gave them some breathing space for Dutch team selection.
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Eurodressage's Astrid Appels was on the scene taking photos of all CDIO Grand Prix, PSG and Under 25 riders in Rotterdam. Contact us if you are interested in photo prints, collages or albums.