Werth and Weihegold Mesmerize in the 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam Grand Prix Kur

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 19:08
2017 CDI-W Amsterdam

Isabell Werth and the 12-year old Weihegold were a league of their own in the Grand Prix kur to music at the 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam on Saturday noon 28 January 2017. With a career best score of 90.720% the pair mesmerized the judges and crowds which gave her a standing ovation upon them leaving the arena.

Werth and Christine Arns-Krogman's Oldenburg bred mare Weihegold (by Don Schufro x Sandro Hit) rode their Rio samba freestyle and it was all clockwork. The passage was incredibly engaged and lightfooted, the piaffe rhythmical and on the spot, even though the first one had a tiny bit of back stepping. The ride was just so smooth and fllowing with impeccable transitions. In the zig zag the mare lost some elasticity in her canter strides, but the canter extensions were powerful, the tempi changes very confirmed. The last extended trot had good overstep, but Weihegold's frontleg remains stiff and flat. Werth finished off on an exceptional piaffe pirouette. A fantastic ride and Werth knew it because her winner's face at the end of the test was priceless. 

The panel of judges, consisting of Monique Peutz (NED), Susanne Baarup (DEN), Mariette Sanders-van Gansewinkel (NED), Andrew Gardner (GBR) and Raphael Saleh (FRA), scored the test 90.720% which meant a clear victory.

“I’m so happy, this is our best form ever and I hope to save that for as long as I can! We are becoming safer with the music, more confident and together with it, this was really a perfect day," she said. "My mare will have a little break now and in the meantime I will try to qualify Johnny (Don Johnson) or Emilio so I have a second choice of horse if I need one for the Final."

Carl Hester and Jane de la Mare's 13-year old Dutch warmblood Nip Tuck (by Don Ruto x Animo) became the runners-up. The duo was more on point in the freestyle than in the Grand Prix. Hester began directly with a well ridden piaffe pirouette which could have had more forward energy. A strong canter tour followed with big two and one tempi changes on curved lines that were dead straight. Also the zig zag stood out with its balance. Another bit of piaffe and passage followed with piaffe that was more active and fitting to the music. In the extended walk the overstep was not sufficient (6.5 - 7). The trot work was very settled and the extensions had better overtrack but the horse gets wiggly in the loins instead of really having those hind legs push onder with a stretch over the back. Hester finished his freestyle with some lovely passage half passes. He scored 83.325%.

Hester was thrilled with the ride. Nip Tuck gave him "the nicest feeling I’ve had in a test with him - ever!" At the press conference, he added "I alway save everything for one day, I had to be reserved yesterday (in the Grand Prix). I had a great feeling today, when we came into the arena and the crowd went crazy because of Isabell’s score I just though I might as well just go for it!"

Swedish Patrik Kittel had Marie Haward's 13-year old Swedish warmblood mare Deja (by Silvano x Don Schufro) on form in Amsterdam. Although the piaffes are still a major weak point - the mare gets extremely wide in front and behind and can't sustain balance, thereby losing confidence in her steps (scores 4 - 6) - the rest of their feestyle has many highlights. Kittel probably had the funkiest music of all riders in Amsterdam with a medley of up tempo Stevie Wonder songs that brought ambiance to the arena. In the beginning the passage work could have more engagement from behind with the hind legs moving under instead of up, but the trot and canter extensions were fantastic.  The first passage half pass to the left barely happened, but the others were well ridden and had bounce. The extended walk was active and ground covering, but in the collected the dark bay mare gets prancy.  The tempi changes were scopy, the right double pirouette was the best one. Kittel also finished with a passage zig zag and ended up scoring 80.269%.

"My mare was absolutely fabulous and I love competing here! I think today was the strongest field of the World Cup qualifiers so far," said Kittel.

Edward Gal and the 15-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Voice (by De Niro x Rohdiamant) were performing on a different plane today. The black stallion was more active and forward, with super passage work, big trot extensions  and bouncy half passes as a result. Gal's floorplan (which is very reminiscent of Totilas' freestyle) is technically unchallenging. All piaffes - in which Voice clearly backsteps with the hindlegs - were executed on the track. Two of them face the judges and two are by A with a quarter turn incorporated, Voice struggled twice with that turn. In the extended walk the horse curled his neck instead of stretching into the contact, but the second half of the diagonal was much better. The tempi changes were very even and ground covering, but in the ones the horse's head swung from left to right. The double pirouettes were good, except a right one in which Voice got a bit stuck behind. In the transition down from canter to passage the horse stalled. Also the halts needed tidying up with the halt at entry not being square nor immobile and the horse kicking/bucking to the spur at the end (score 6 - 7). Gal was the fourth rider to score over 80% and finished fourth with 80.245%.

"The first day is always hard because the horses are sharper but today was much better, my horse felt good and I’m very happy. I will now compete at Den Bosch for sure, and maybe Gothenburg, because I’d like to make it to the Final," Gal said at the press conference.

Hans Peter Minderhoud's 16-year old Swiss warmblood Flirt (by Florestan x Gauguin de Lully) on the other hand appeared a bit more tired today and was not as crispy as in the Grand Prix. Riding to an arrangement from The Mask of Zorro, Minderhoud could not immediately get his sympathetic chestnut to be as energetic and up tempo as his music. The first left passage was not entirely even, but the passage work improved during the test. The piaffes were all on the track. The trot half pass to the left was outstanding and in the extended walk Flirt showed exemplary relaxation and overstep, though the nose could have been more out. His collected walk was better today. The horse ran out of steam in canter and made double beats in the collection from extended canter to the double pirouettes twice. The two tempi's were big, but swung a bit too much, the one tempi changes were lovely. Unfortunately the final quarter turn piaffe at X did not happen. The horse did not pick up the piaffe at all (piaffe average score 5 - 7). Minderhoud finished fifth with 79.610%.

Emmelie Scholtens and Ad Valk's 12-year old Dutch warmblood stallion Apache (by UB40 x Krack C) placed sixth. The dark bay stallion is a show stopper and produced fantastic trot extensions and half passes. The passage is very light footed. However in piaffe, the stallion struggles. He almost crossed behind or skips forward with the left hind leg instead of settling into a balanced rhythm. The collected walk lacked collection and the left canter extension was too conservative, but the two tempi changes were lovely, even though the uphill tendency needs to improve. The ones went smoothly. The right double pirouette was slightly big. Overall it was a pleasing freestyle to watch, but the floorplan is very simple with lots of diagonals in it. The technical difficulty should be upped for even higher scores. They still posted a 78.016%.

Mariette Sanders-van Gansewinkel, the judge at C during the freestyle, was thrilled with today's rides. "This was a great competition and an amazing day! The competition level was extremely high but Isabell was exceptional! And this is an amazing show with a great atmosphere and a sellout crowd!"

After six rounds in the Western European League World Cup circuit, Isabell Werth is now in the lead with 60 points, followed by Carl Hester (54 pts), Judy Reynolds (45), Kristy Oatley (44), Fabienne Lutkemeier (41), Marcela Krinke-Susmelj (41), Inna Logutenkova (39), Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (37), Severo Jurado Lopez (37), Madeleine Witte-Vrees (35) and Mai Tofte Olesen (35).

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

Related Links
Scores 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam
Werth Takes Judges on a High in 2017 CDI-W Amsterdam Grand Prix
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2016-2017 World Cup Circuit