Werth Takes Judges on a High in 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam Grand Prix

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 17:01
2017 CDI-W Amsterdam

Isabell Werth and Weihegold took the judges on a high in the Grand Prix qualifier for freestyle at the 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam on Friday noon 27 January 2017. The German duo, who have clearly taken over the world number one spot after the retirement of Valegro, mesmerized the ground jury and crowds in the RAI Amsterdam exhibition centre and posted a winning score of 82.120%.

The well organized World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam invited Mariette Sanders-van Gansewinkel (NED), Raphael Saleh, Andrew Gardner (GBR), Monique Peutz (NED), and Susanne Baarup (DEN) as ground jury. 

Aboard Christina Arns-Krogmann's 12-year old Oldenburg mare Weihegold OLD (by Don Schufro x Sandro Hit), Werth displayed once again masterful riding. The black mare with the short front leg is not the flashiest trotter, but Isabell brings out the best in this horse. The trot extensions barely had enough overtrack while the stiff frontleg flicked forwards, but all three diagonals were generously scored between 7.5 and 8.5. The half passes have very good crossing of the legs, but the elasticity and suspension could be better. The rein back was very good, but the first step short (scores between 6 - 8). Weihegold has an exceptional passage: so much spring, so much airtime, so lightfooted and also the rhythm in piaffe is outstanding. The transition from passage to walk was via a halt and the one from passage to canter was very short behind (scores 3 - 8). In the second piaffe Weihegold lost the forward tendency. The extended walk had very nice overstep but the clarity in the 4-beat rhythm is not so convincing. The collected walk was very short (7 - 8). Werth still rode the mare with much skill through the canter tour after a big mistake in the two tempi changes (3 - 4). The zig zag was correct but lacked some elasticity. The pirouettes were tiny. In the one tempi's Werth played it safe and rode very correct changes, but they got croup high and missed ground cover. Overall the mare was incredibly steady and light in the bridle, even thoug she flashes her teeth once in a while. The final centerline was superb.

Hans Peter Minderhoud and the 16-year old Swiss bred Flirt de Lully (by Florestan x Gauguin de Lully) grabbed a well earned second place. The combination put in an excellent test even though throughout there needs to be more opening in the throat latch. The extensions were big, the passage was active and expressive, the extended walk was absolutely wonderful and the rein back was good. The trot half pass to the right got a bit too passagy and uneven and the collected walk became tense in the top line and lateral (6.5 - 7.5!). The tempi changes were the absolute strong point of the test: so expressive, uphill and big, but in the two's the horse needs to stay straighter in the hindquarters to crack a 9 or 10. The right pirouette lacked some airtime but was small. The final centerline was lovely even though the exit from the piaffe at X got a bit too exuberant. Hudges Gardner and Peutz went bananas and scored the ride over 80% while the other three judges stayed around 75 - 76%. This leveled out to a 77.820%.

Minderhoud edged Carl Hester on Jane de la Mare's 13-year old Dutch warmblood Nip Tuck (by Don Ruto x Animo). Hester was the favourite for second place but today there were just a few niggles here and there. The trot extensions are always a bit of a struggle, there was a mistake in the rhythm in the first one, the second one was hardly ridden and the third one barely achieved overtrack (7.5 - 8.5). In the passage there could have been more push from behind today with the hind legs reaching more under the body and the rhythm in the first piaffe was fragile. The second piaffe-passage was much better and the centerline was the best one of the three lines. The extended walk had two hooves and the transition from collected walk to passage was fantastic. The tempi changes were world class, but the extended canter lacked lengthening in the frme. Nip Tuck anticipated one change in the zig zag which came early and one pirouette was slightly big. Hester excelled in his exemplary contact with the bridle. The long backed Nip Tuck is always up in the frame, soft and steady, excepting the bit. They scored 76.260% but the judges' marks ranged from 73.900 (Sanders) to 78.400 (Gardner).

Edward Gal and the Austrian owned 15-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Voice (by De Niro x Rohdiamant) finished fourth. Gal rode very expressive trot extensions with his black stallion. The half passes had very good crossing but in the right one Voice needed to be more up in the bridle. The horse's mouth was quite unsteady with tongue showing more than regularly. The passage has nice suspension and the collected walk was very good. The piaffes were the problem today with all three of them not being correct: Voice back steps with the hindlegs, moving them out from under the body each time, even though Gal does hit best to keep a steady rhythm going. In the second one the horse also hollowed the back and came to high in the bridle. The transition to canter was croup high, yet the zig zag was well ridden and there was much ease in the tempi changes even though the horse swung to the left in the two's.  The right pirouette was slightly big. Gal finished with strong passage work on the last centerline, but the transition out from piaffe was too big a step. He scored 74.680%.

Swedish Patrik Kittel was on form today with Maria Haward's 13-year old Swedish mare Deja (by Silvano x Don Schufro). The pair rode fantastic trot extensions in which the dark bay mare was up in the bridle, nose out and poll as highest point. The half passes were big, but there was a slight tilt to the right. The passage work was elegant, graceful and lightfooted but in piaffe Deja lost confidence in the rhythm. At X she got wide in front, which made the transition out hard for her. The extended walk was big, though Deja needed to drop a bit more in the poll. The extended canter and zig zag were very convincing, but there was a mistake in the two's with the changes to the right being shorter. The one tempi changes were good and the right pirouette was the best one of the two. They earned 73.460% for fifth place.

Madeleine Witte-Vrees and her own and J Cuppen's 10-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Cennin (by Vivaldi x Donnerhall) ranked right behind the establishment in sixth place. The liver chestnut stallion is a very powerful mover, but also a handful in the bridle. While the walk and the trot extensions were some of the best of the day, Witte-Vrees was working much in the bridle with visible half-halts (more with the right rein). The hands aids need to be more subtle. Nonetheless, Cennin showed much promise but still lacks power and maturity to crack the really high scores. There were small issues here and there, starting with a break into canter on the centerline. The trot half passes could have more spring, in passage the hindlegs needs to engage more and the piaffe is not yet enough established, though the second one was better. The zig zag was ridden safely, the two tempi changes were fantastic, but there was a hiccup in the otherwise top class one tempi changes. In the left pirouette the horse lost his self carriage, the right one was better. They scored 73.320%.

German Jessica von Bredow-Werndl has a world class horse in her 13-year old Dutch mare Zaire E (by Son de Niro x Jazz). The bay mare is a very ladylike mover, elegant and lightfooted, but was a big high strung today. She did not stand still in the halt at entry and was not square in the halt for rein back. She showed lovely half passes and a very rhythmical first piaffe-passage, but there was a break into canter in the second trot extension. The extended walk was good, but the collected tense and stiff. Von Bredow kept a very light and soft contact in the bridle. The second piaffe was good but still too much on the forehand. The pirouettes were nice, the zig zag well ridden even though the half passes to the left did not cover as much ground as those to the right. The two tempi changes were lovely but the hindquarters need to straighten out more. The ride was definitely a bit conservative and there is much more in the tank of this young mare. 

Emmelie Scholtens made her return to the CDI ring aboard AD Valk's 12-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Apache (by UB40 x Krack C) after a 7 month break from international showing. The temperamental dark bay stallion produced a big first trot extension and uphill half passes but there could have been more laterality. The second extension was a bit tame. The passage is active and off the ground, in piaffe however the stallion still struggles with the rhythm and needs to take more weight on the hindquarters, he remains quite straight in the hindlegs. The extended walk appeared hurried, the collected was good but the horse tilted. The two tempi changes were nice, but there was an error in the ones. The pirouettes were lovely, even though Apache double beat once in the right one. Scholtens rode the zig zag well, but in the canter extension the nose needed to come more out. They scored 71.560%

Belgian Jorinde Verwimp and her 17-year old Dutch warmblood Tiamo (by Lester x Hemmingway) accomplished her mission to qualify for the freestyle and scored over the 70% marker. Her dark bay gelding Tiamo showed nice trot extensions and bit half passes, but there were not entirely even. The passage has a nice side silhouette but sometimes Tiamo lost the collection in the frame. The first piaffe was small, the second better even though the rhythm was not steady enough. The extended walk was lovely. In the canter work, Tiamo executed a good zig zag and two tempi changes, but the noses needed to come out more in the extension and in the ones the horse got tense and croup high. On the final centerline the engagement was better in the passage, but at the end the regularity was lost. They scored 71.120%. 

Spanish crowd pleaser Severo Jurado Lopez could not recreate the magic from Rio in Amsterdam. Today was not their day, but they still got away with a more than generous score. Jurado Lopez and the 11-year old Bavarian bred Lorenzo (by Lord Loxley x Rubin Royal) started off well with flashy trot extensions, of which the ground cover needs to increase. The half passes were fluent. There was a hiccup in the first piaffe and a kick to the spur in the second one after an early transition from collected walk to passage. The sympathetic Lorenzo, who always has his ears pricked, was not very closed in the frame in passage and the horse's disgruntlement became obvious by a heavily swooshing tail in the piaffe. He reacted to the spur twice in the two tempi changes, there was a miscommunication in the onset of the zig zag and in the ones the croup was high and the tail spun like the blades of a helicopter. The changes were clean though. The horse lost his balance in the left pirouette and dropped to a piaffe. Jurado kept his cool though and tried to get the most out of the last five movements, but the fragile submission was still visible on the centerline. He scored 70.960% overall with Sanders as low score at 69.700% and Baarup as high score at 73.500%.

Text by Astrid Appels - Photos © Leanjo de Koster/Digishots

Related Links
Scores 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2016-2017 World Cup Circuit