Van Silfhout Leads Polonaise of Come Back Kids in 2016 CDI Maastricht Grand Prix

Fri, 11/11/2016 - 20:20
2016 CDI Maastricht

The Grand Prix class at the 2016 CDI Maastricht on Friday morning 11 November 2016 became a Dutch party in which the come back kids led a polonaise. Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando made a winning return to the show ring since the 2016 Olympics and were joined in the top three by Hans Peter Minderhoud on Flirt and Isabell Werth on Don Johnson, both horses back for the first time after sustaining an injury.

Fifteen combinations gathered in Maastricht of which six were Dutch. With the exception of Isabell Werth, there was no major competition there with most pairs being new comers or still working their way up at Grand Prix. It is a pity that such a centrally located competition in Western Europe was not able to bring forth a larger field as the conditions for a top competition (good footing, good stabling, lovely indoor) are all there.

Van Silfhout and the 11-year old Dutch stallion Arlando (by Paddox x Mytens xx) finished 11th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and have not shown since then. The pair came to Maastricht looking fit and fresh, but maybe slightly a bit ring rusty. The trot extensions showed much leg flash and no overtrack; the third extension probably being just fair enough. The trot half passes were delightful but the bay stallion was grinding his teeth. The passage was very lightfooted and electric. In the first piaffe Arlando got wide in front but the side silhouette was nice, the second piaffe was the best one despite one loss of rhythm. The final piaffe at X was expressive but had the balance was shaky. The walk remains the problem point with this horse as he generates no overstep whatsoever; the collected, shorter walk is no problem and he stays well in the rhythm. The canter work was secure, but Arlando lost swing over the back in the extension and the faultfree one tempi changes needed to cover more ground. All in all it was a more than pleasing test, but not yet a peak performance.

The judging panel in Maastricht included Jacques van Daele, Jeannette Wolfs, Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus, Adriaan Hamoen and Ulrike Nivelle. With the first winter temperatures outside, it seemed that the panel was not as smooth in their unanimous scoring, some eagerly rewarding the celebrity riders in Maastricht despite mistakes or some not yet showing season highlight fine-tuning. Van Silfhout scored a winning total 75.840% with Belgian judge Van Daele getting all excited with his 78.700%, while Swedish judge Fransen-Iacobaeus noticed the smaller imperfections in the ride and kept her score at a modest 71.700%.

Hans Peter Minderhoud brought his 2016 World Cup Final Champion Flirt back to the arena after not having competed him since the Final in Gothenburg last March. The 15-year old Swiss warmblood Flirt (by Florestan x Gauguin de Lully) looked in good shape: nicely muscled and fit on the leg. The willing chestnut worked well with his rider and showed strong trot extensions, sweeping half passes of which the right one was too passagy. In the trot work the horse was quite tight in the neck and it would have been nice to have seen a bit more opening in the throat latch. The first piaffe-passage was good, the extended walk excellent, but the collected walk slightly tense in the topline. The second passage could have been more even behind but the piaffe was well carried out. The canter work was solid, though in the two tempi changes the horse swung to the right. The highlight was the very well ridden zig zag. The right pirouette was a bit flat. In the final passage on the centerline, Flirt got a bit wide behind and swung the right hind leg out, but the rhythm was good. The pair scored 75.540% for second place with Van Daele on 74.300%, while Nivelle had the pair first with 77.100%.

The World's number one Isabell Werth opted for Maastricht as the come back competition for Madeleine Winter-Schulze's 15-year old Hanoverian Don Johnson (by Don Frederico x Warkant) who injured himself in the stall in March. Werth and her rascal bay "Johnny" rode a conservative test with no risk-taking. The first trot extension was barely there, the right trot half pass had the better elasticity. The first passage was bent to the right and the first piaffe travelled forward. The extended walk was good, but he got a bit tense in the collected. The second piaffe-passage had nice regularity but the piaffe was early on the marker. There were no mistakes in the canter work, but the uphill one tempi changes were quite short and the right pirouette lacked bending in the topline and round the rider's leg. The judges were unsure what to do with this clean but safe test. Werth scored a total of 75.520% for third place, but her marks went from 71.900 (Wolfs) to 77.100 (Fransen).

Minderhoud and Gal's assistant trainer Marieke van der Putten made a wonderful international Grand Prix debut on Isabel van Gisbergen's 11-year old Dutch mare Ambria (by OO Seven x Osmium). Van der Putten had the mare in a very consistent, quiet contact, up in the bridle but too tight in the neck. In trot the mare did struggle a bit with the regularity. The half pass right was uneven, the left one better. The second trot extension was also not very regular. However, the passage was nice and springy, but the first piaffe traveled a bit forward. In the second passage there was more right activity but the horse had a good bounce off the ground. In piaffe, the mare does not really push the hindlegs under the body and sit, but shuffles the hind legs more in rhythm from left to right. However, the second piaffe was better on the spot and ridden quietly. The zig zag was absolutely lovely, the pirouettes really nice. The final passage was slightly crooked to the right, but overall it was a very promising debut ride. The pair scored 72.920% for fourth place. Wolfs had her on 71.00%, whereas Nivelle scored it 74.400%.

After the sale of her only Grand Prix horse Nartan in 2010 (to become Katherine Bateson's U.S. WEG Team horse), Dutch Jeannette Haazen disappeared from the scene. In June 2016 she made her CDI return aboard her student Ona de Wagenaere's 13-year old Belgian warmblood gelding Dabanos d'O4. The Abanos x Donnerschlag gelding is super talented but his nerves get in the way. If the rider can keep the lid on the cooker, this horse can score well in the seventies. If he gets tense, he can easily drop to the low sixties. Haazen rode some shows with mixed success in Holland this year and after the CDI Roosendaal in JUne, Maastricht was their second international as a pair. Dabanos d'O4 was tense throughout the ride, the topline often stiff and tight, but he allowed his rider to steer him through the test with some super moments shown. The first piaffe in particular was world class: outstanding sit, great rhythm and on the spot! There was no extended walk and he almost jogged in the collected. The canter work was faultfree but could have scored higher had to horse relaxed in the back. The pair finished on a well earned 70.360% with scores going from 68.200% to 72.700%.

Beatrice Buchwald and Amely von Buchholtz' 15-year old Hanoverian Daily Pleasure (by De Niro x Ehrenmarsch) were not on point in Maastricht and a string of mistakes dragged the score down. The trot work had several jerky, passagey steps, the rhythm was lost in the second piaffe, there were mistakes in the one and two tempi's, the balance was lost in the right pirouette. The horse was bent too much to the left in the first passage and in the piaffe he swung behind. Daily Pleasure is a high quality horse and can certainly score in the seventies but today it was just an off day. Their 67.080% was an early Christmas gift.

The Grand Prix Special and Kur to Music will be ridden on Saturday 12 November.

Text and Photos © Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed - Interested in buying prints or digital files? Send us an email!

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Scores 2016 CDI Maastricht
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