Hannah Erbe Claims Kur Gold at 2016 European Junior Riders Championships

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 23:11
2016 European Children Junior Young Riders Championships

German Hannah Erbe continued her winning streak at the 2016 European Junior Riders Championships in Oliva Nova, Spain, adding kur to music gold to her tally on the final day of competition on Sunday 24 July 2016. Erbe and Carlos scored a winning 81.625% and were a league of their own. German Semmieke Rothenberger captured her second individual silver, while Dutch Febe van Zwambagt got bronze.

The weather continued to be scorching hot in the Valencia beach town of Oliva Nova, a golf and sports resort with apartment building, hotels, a golf course, equestrian center and small commercial area. The ocean breeze was more than welcoming but it couldn't prevent the 37° c sun from burning hot.

Erbe and Carlos came to Spain as true conquistadors, stamping the competition with their supreme level of training and high quality rides. Her 9-year old Rhinelander gelding Carlos (by Carabas x Weltmeyer) is brimming with talent and potential for the upper level work. He made the junior level movements seem like a piece of cake.

The pair rode to Spandau Ballet's Gold and "nomen est omen". They bagged the victory with their smooth trot work, supreme extensions, constant uphill tendency and soft contact in the bridle. The changes were solid. In the trot half passes right, the horse could have crossed the legs more. Also in canter, the horse could have been slightly more electric but the 37 ° c heat and four days of non-stop competition had a toll on the majority of the horses. The collected walk was well regulated, but the horse could achieve more active overstep in the lengthening. The choreography lines were not too complicated but the extended canter - turn on the haunches in walk - extended canter movement upped the degree of technical difficulty.

The Kur to Music was judged by Guerra (ESP), Truppa (ITA), Matthiesen (DEN), Saleh (FRA) and Ebert (GER) and they scored Erbe's ride 81.625%. Four judges had the pair first, one second. Her marks ranged from 79.875% to 84.500%.

"It was a demonstration of good riding," said German co-team trainer Oliver Oelrich. "Hannah risked much and won in the end."

Semmieke Rothenberger and her newest ride, the 9-year old Hanoverian mare Dissertation (by Don Crusador x Gluckspilz) captured a second silver on the weekend. The duo had a fun freestyle with Phil Collins and Frozen (Let it Go) music. The black mare stands out with her unlimited amount of suppleness, but overall she lacks self carriage and is not yet up in the bridle. The trot work is very fluent and forward, but certainly needs more collection in the future to obtain a horse with better balance. There was a slight error in the rhythm in one extension, the walk pirouette right was excellent. The collected walk lost some clarity in the rhythm before the strike off but the canter half passes were lovely. They scored 78.975% to place second. The judges ranked her from first to fourth place with scores ranging from 75.875% to 80.500%.

"I feel so blessed with this horse," said Rothenberger at the end of the day. "She tried her best and gave everything for me. We still have a lot of room for improvement in the future but our team test gave a hint to where it might be heading. So proud of Daisy and how she presentedherself! What an amazing character and horse she is. We received so much positive feedback, which really encouraged us to improve even more."

Febe van Zwambagt moved herself onto the bronze step of the podium aboard her 9-year old Rhinelander gelding Las Vegas (by Lord Loxley x Louis le Bon). The pair rode to Pharell Williams' Happy and Maroon 5 music and produced strong trot extensions with a good rhythm and flow in the trot work, alternating voltes with smooth traversal movements. The chestnut gelding still lacks a bit of stretch in the frame and often gets a bit closed in the throat latch. He needs to get lighter in the bridle and more accepting of the bit. In the extended canter he needs to open the ribcage more instead of flashing the legs. The collected walk was slightly crooked to the left but the extended walk was well ridden. The left turn on the haunches could have had a bit more impulsion, but overall the ride was very clean. They posted a score of 77.550% which ranked them third.

"Las Vegas was stellar today. He peaked at the right moment," said Van Zwambagt. "This is my first individual medal at a European Championships. I'm so very happy. I've been riding the Happy freestyle for a longer while. Yesterday everything went well in the individual test and we were fourth. Today I wanted to give it my all and that's what I got."

Dutch team mate Lisanne Zoutendijk won bronze in the individual test but finished fourth in the freestyle. Aboard her 13-year old Rhinelander gelding Ringo Star (by Riccione x Laredo), Zoutendijk was not able to reproduce the fine-tuning and accuracy she had shown in the individual test. Small beauty mistakes, such as a break into canter in the right volte and trot extension,  a stretched first halt and a lack of crossing of the legs in the half passes to the right were imperfections that meddled with the score. The canter work was very correct but a bit flat, though the extensions had good energy. Zoutendijk rode a very pretty combination of curved lines with flying changes on both leads. She rode to Craig David's Seven Days. The pair scored 77.400% with her marks being pretty unanimous going from 76.625% to 78.750%.

Turkish Lina Uzunhasan has shown leaps of improvement on her talented 8-year old Dutch mare Donna Ray (by United x Negro) and presented a horse in top form in Oliva Nova. The very steady contact with the bit and the mare always up in the bridle and consistently at the vertical were a highlight. The bending in the corner and traversal movements can still improve. The halt at entry was not square though and there was a loss of impulsion in the left turn on the haunches. The extended walk had good relaxation and overstep but could have been more active. The canter lacked collection but the changes were uphill and the half passes well executed. The pair rode a piano based freestyle which was slightly nondescript. They scored a well earned 76.225% with consistent marks going from 75.000 to 77.375%.

Photos © Astrid Appels - No reproduction allowed

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