Team Germany Rises to the Occasion and Captures Gold at 2017 European Under 25 Championships

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 14:54
2017 European Under 25 Championships

In a rather unexpected move for power, Team Germany rose to the occasion and claimed the gold in the nations' competition of the 2017 European Under 25 Championships held in Lamprechtshausen, Austria, on Friday 1 September 2017. The Dutch team got silver and Sweden took bronze.

At the 2017 CDIO Aachen in Germany, the German team got impressively beaten by a very strong Dutch equipe, which prompted the dressage selectors of the German Olympic Equestrian Committee to make a desperate move and requested Charlott-Maria Schurmann to drop from senior level back to Under 25 to strengthen the German Mannschaft. This, however, was not allowed as Schurmann had not obtained her MES in an Under 25 CDI in 2017 and the German selectors were forced to pick another fourth member. Ninja Rathjens was their last resort at the eleventh hour. 

Rathjens, however, did not turn out to be the saviour of the Germany team as she was the scratch score. The other three German riders, who were also at the CDIO-U25 Aachen, simply rose to the occasion and punched above their weight in the Intermediaire II, which served as team championship test. Germany captured their second, consecutive team gold at the European Under 25 Championships, which had their inauguration in 2016 in Hagen.

Scoring a team total of 221.000 points, Germany finished first, while The Netherlands had a team total of 218.4 points and Sweden 210.7 points. "We did our home work since Aachen," German U25 team trainer Sebastian Heinze explained. "All riders and horses whoed themselves in best form today."

Lisa-Maria Klössinger spearheaded the German campaign with a winning ride that scored 76.5%. In the Aachen freestyle, Klössinger's Baden Wurrtemberger bred gelding FBW Daktari (by Donautanz) rearer in the test; in Lamprechtshausen he kept all four feet on the ground and produced a solid round, placing first with all five judges (Wust, Saleh, Verbeek, Tornblad, Max-Theurer). The second best ride for Germany came from routinier Juliette Piotrowski on the 12-year old Oldenburg Sir Diamond (by Sandro Hit). They finished fourth with 72.842%, while Bianca Nowag and the 13-year old Westfalian Fair Play RB (by Fidermark) was eighth with 71.658%.

"I'm still in shock," said Klössinger. "This was our best round ever. We've never had that many points. Of course I'm happy and proud. The rain had stopped right when we had to go in and it was just fun riding Daktari." Piotrowski was also very pleased despite a mistake in the two tempi changes. "I was not 100% focused in that moment, but the one tempi changes went super," said Juliette. "We wanted to show our best at the Europeans and we did. We learnt from our mistakes in Aachen. I hope we can repeat this performance in the short Grand Prix."

The Dutch team was led by Aachen winner Anne Meulendijks on her 12-year old Dutch warmblood Avanti (by United). They were second in the Intermediaire II with 74.500%, while team mate Denise Nekeman and her 11-year old Dutch stallion Boston (by Johnson) was third with 73.026%. Maxime van der Vlist and the 11-year old Bailey (by Negro) put in the third score with 70.947% and a 9th place. 

"Of course I'm very happy," said Dutch U25 team trainer Alex van Silfhout. "Silver is beautiful, but it weren't our best rides ever. The weather was really bad and some horses spooked from the puddles or had too much tension. We were neck-to-neck until the last German, but she scored well over 76% and pulled the German score up a bit too much for us." Van Silfhout was very pleased with the best Dutch rider Anne Meulendijks. "Anne rode a very good test and her horse spooked a bit from the puddles. Those tiny things make the difference that we don't need here. All pieces have to fall in the right place at a Championship and that didn't happen today. But I have the feeling that there is more in store for the next few days."

The Swedish Under 25 riders copied the seniors, who grabbed bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, and claimed their own team bronze medal in Lamprechtshausen. Strongest Swede was Lina Jonsson on the 16-year old stallion Quentin (by Quattro B) with a fifth place and 72.237% score. The British based Josefin Gyllensward and her 12-year old Westfalian Don Angelo (by Danone) scored 70.921% and placed 10th, while Mathilde Hannell and her 18-year old Westfalian mare Deela Mae (by De Niro) were 15th with 67.553%.

Photos © Rainer Dill - Lily Forado

Related Links
Scores 2017 European Under 25 Championships
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2017 European U25 Championships