The German junior riders were a league of their own in the individual test at the 2015 European Junior Riders Championships in Vidauban, France, on Saturday morning 4 July 2015. Hannah Erbe, Semmieke Rothenberger and Paulina Holzknecht were untouchable and captured all three podium places. It was the superior quality of the German horses in combination with good classical riding that made the difference today in the sweltering heat in the South of France.
Newbie on the German team and only at her second international show ever, Hannah Erbe already made a stunning impression in the team test on Thursday and now took well earned highest honour in the individual test on her world class 8-year old Rhinelander gelding Carlos (by Carabas x Weltmeyer). The dark bay gelding Carlos was slightly fresher and more consistent in the trot work on the team test, but the horse showed top trot extensions and an overall high quality in the the trot. In the extended walk the horse was slightly distracted and the lengthening could even have been more ground covering. The right walk pirouette was slightly late on the marker but well ridden. The canter tour was beautifully ridden uphill with a superb canter extension and big, sweeping flying changes. Carlos was up the bridle and soft in the contact at all times.
The judges' panel, which consisted of Christof Umbach, Magnus Ringmark, Francis Verbeek-van Rooy, Ulrike Nivelle, and Jean-Michel Roudier, scored the test 78.053%. Three judges placed her first, with Umbach having her at a whopping 82.632%. The low score came from Ringmark with still a 75.921%.
At the press conference, the 16-year old Hannah Erbe was over the moon with her gold medal and immediately burst out into tears when she pronounced her first words in thanks of her team. Erbe sobbed her way through an endearing statement of gratitude and thanks to her parents, trainer, team trainer and supporters. "If they hadn't been there, this would never have taken place; my parents who enable me to take part in this and pay for all the horses, my trainer (Heiner Schiergen) who is a top coach, and my horse. He is never slow, he always goes forward and always does a top job," she bawled.
2014 European Pony Champion Semmieke Rothenberger added an individual test silver medal to her tally after winning team gold, like Erbe, on Thursday. Aboard her 13-year old Danish mare Geisha (by Gribaldi x Weltmeister) the 15-year old rode a very expressive, energetic test in which the forward tendency and gutsy riding were the highlights. Although Semmieke regularly leans too far back in the saddle in that forward motion, she deserves credit for riding the most daring trot and canter extensions of all. Overall, Geisha has to be more up in the bridle with the poll as highest point, but the mare is very obedient. The simple change was a strong point in the ride. Unfortunately one flying change was in two phases, which made Semmieke drop to a silver medal place with 77.579%. Her marks ranged from 74.868% (Nivelle) to 83.158% (Roudier).
The very eloquent Semmieke explained that "I just came from ponies and now got a silver medal the European Junior Riders championships. It's a shame for the mistake but we managed well in the heat. Geisha is such a fighter and she exceeded my goal."
The bronze medal went to the 17-year old German Paulina Holzknecht riding Wolfgang Schmit-Heinen's 12-year old Hanoverian Wells Fargo (by Welser x Fabrian). The petite rider and her tall, classic Hanoverian chestnut are a perfect match. The pair is totally in tune of one another and produced elegant trot half passes and good lenghtenings. The extended walk was outstanding, the collected could slightly have moved more through the body. The flying changes were all very secure, but the S-line with simple change was slightly impure. The canter extension was powerful but the end halt not entirely immobile. Holzknecht still scored a deserved 75.553% for bronze.
"I'm very happy," said Paulina briefly. "I had a great feeling and Fargo was in top vorm."
Paulina had edged out the Florida based Spaniard Juan Matute Guimon from the podium. Aboard Cristina Danguillecourt's 8-year old Hanoverian gelding Dhannie (by Don Crusador). Matute really improved his act compared to his conservative team test. He rode the trot tour more with more engagement from behind and a better flow from movement to movement. The extended walk was very good and the flying changes all correctly executed. However Dhannie was constantly too tight in the neck and really needs to open more in the throat latch for an even prettier silhouette. The duo now achieved 75.105% for fourth place.
Danish Victoria Vallentin could easily have landed on the podium were it not for the mistake she made in the medium canter, in which the Toft family's 11-year old Danish bred Atnon (by De Noir x Akinos) made an unscripted flying change. The trot work was incredibly elegant and lightfooted with graceful extensions. The black gelding was very constant in the movements and the rider presented a very quiet and peaceful overall contact with the bit. The horse could have been more active in the extended walk but each canter stride was uphill and engaged. They scored 74.368% to complete the top five.
Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - Eurodressage - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED - NO FACEBOOK
Eurodressage's Astrid Appels took photos of all riders competing in Vidauban. If you are interested in photos, contact us by email with your name and the name of the horse
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2015 European Junior/Young Riders Championships