Jeanine Nieuwenhuis Wins Individual Test Gold at 2016 European Young Riders Championships

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 23:59
2016 European Children Junior Young Riders Championships

Dutch Jeanine Nieuwenhuis won the individual test and grabbed the gold medal at the 2016 European Young Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, Spain, on Saturday 23 July 2016. The Dutch young rider was able to stop the German power train as the four German riders covered the top two to five highest spots with Jil Marielle Becks earning silver and Leonie Richter getting bronze.

The Young Riders individual test took place on two days, with the first group riding on Friday and the second on Saturday. The weather in Oliva Nova has been outstanding, verging on too hot, with 35° round noon. The majority of the riders are able to compete early in the morning when the temperature is still cool, the ones who were drawn to start round noon had to beat the heat but a nice ocean breeze brought relief.

Jeanine Nieuwenhuis is in her last year at Young Riders and wanted to make this important year count. With a top horse at her disposal, Tim Coomans' 11-year old Dutch gelding Athene (by United x Jazz), she had the best cards in hard and dealt a royal flush in the individual test. The very tall chestnut gelding is a powerful mover with a lot of knee action and engagement from behind. He has much roundness in his gaits, which is very flashy, but he lacks that stretch in the legs, especially in the trot extensions. The trot tour was very ground covering and bouncy, but the rider parked her hands on the whithers in an attempt to keep the horse round and on the bit, but Athene often opened the mouth and was not honestly through in the bridle and light in the contact. The extended walk was big even though the horse could stride more evenly in the frontlegs and be a bit quicker off the leg. The canter work was very impressive with solid, correct tempi changes which were more up than forward. The half pirouettes were small even though the horse changed lead right before the right pirouette. The extended canter was strong.

The individual test was judged by Kurt Christensen (DEN), Katrina Wüst (GER), Francisco Guerra (ESP), Alla Soubbotina (RUS) and Adriaan Hamoen (NED) and four of them placed Nieuwenhuis first. The Dutch rider scored a gold medal winning 78.974% with 77.632% as low score and 80.658% as high score.

"Totally insane," said an overjoyed Nieuwenhuis. "I was totally focused on riding during the test. Athene gives his all every step. He went incredibly well. Especially the tempi changes were great. Athene can get a bit fanatic. In the pirouette he stalled, but I gave some leg aid and he picked it up super well."

The silver medal went to German Jil Marielle Becks who made her debut on the German team aboard the 8-year old Westfalian gelding Damon's Satelite (by Damon Hill x Rubin Royal). The liver chestnut gelding showed very fluent trot work with a good flow between the traversal movements, voltes and trot extensions. The rider was unsteady with the hand and the horse needed to be more quiet in the contact and the head fixed at the vertical. The extended walk had huge overstep but the collected had a bit of an unclear rhythm but improved. The 4 tempi changes were lovely, the left pirouette could have been smaller. A mistake in the three tempi changes pushed the score down to a final 76.763% wuth 74.605% as low score and 78.684% as high score.

The bronze medal went to the surprising fourth rider on the German team, Leonie Richter on the 10-year old Westfalian gelding Babylon (by Belissimo M x Florestan). The pair was 11th in the team championship test with 70.842% but they certainly cleaned up their act in the individual test and were able to count on their fortunate starting place towards the end of the class. The sympathetic duo showed very fluent trot work, a nice big rein back, and uphill tempi changes and extended canter. The left half pirouette had a double beat at the onset, but overall the test stood out by the wonderful obedience of the horse, which was consistent in the contact and happily foaming. The test might have lacked that sparkle and appeared ridden on the safe side, but it's correct presentation and a horse with quality movement made it all count. They scored 72.842% with 70.395% as low score and 74.737% as high score.

German Anna Lisa Theile and her powerhouse 10-year old Oldenburg gelding Ducati K (by Damon Hill x Rosenkavalier) landed fourth place. Theile made her debut on the German team after being nominated as team reserve for the 2011 European Pony Championships in Poland. This year she move herself into the spotlight as a young rider with Ducati K. The big chunky gelding is a very impressive horse, but the trot extensions lacked sufficient overtrack and there was a loss of rhythm in the extensions on the full diagonal. The horse was well balanced in the trot work though with good self carriage in the voltes. The extended walk had much overtrack but there could have been more V in the rhythm. The four tempi changes were correct but could have had more ground cover. The entire canter tour was slightly ridden with the handbrake on, which led to a mistake in the three tempi's. There could have been more bending in the pirouettes even though they were small. The pair scored 72.500%

The German sweep for power ended with Anna Christina Abbelen and her 11-year old Rhinelander Furst on Tour (by Furst Heinrich x Rubioso) in fifth place with 72.342%. The duo were the overnight leaders in the individual test and had a very strong ride, but one big mistake in the pirouette (the horse made an unscripted flying change) kept the score from going higher. The trot work was very solid, but the rein back was laboured. The extensions were well ridden, the walk was very good, the four tempi changes and the extended canter were outstanding. Overall Furst on Tour could have been a bit quicker behind in the trot work. Overall the horse was lovely in the bridle and there is certainly more in the tank if the pair can stay faultfree. Her marks ranged from 69.737% to a majority of scores round 73%.

Photos © Astrid Appels - No reproduction allowed

Eurodressage is on the scene taking photos. If you are interested in ordering prints or digital files for Facebook/instagram, please send us your name and we will mail you the proofs of the photos for you to choose from.

Related Link
Eurodressage coverage of the 2016 European Children, Junior and Young Riders Championships