Merrald and Blue Hors Zepter Holds Interim Lead in 2024 CDI Hagen Grand Prix

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 22:54
2024 CDI Hagen - June Edition
Nanna Merrald and Blue Hors Zepter at the 2024 CDI Hagen, the June Edition :: Photo © Astrid Appels

-- Hof Kasselmann press release - Photos © Astrid Appels - NO reproduction allowed

There was a truly international vibe at Hof Kasselmann on Thursday 6 June 2024 with team jackets from all around the world lining up around the jumping stadium to support their fellow countrymen and women.

Today the CDI3* Grand Prix got underway with the first 41 of a total of 49 entries in the class. There are plenty of high-profile names looking to make an impression this close to Olympic selection.

Interim Lead for Come Back Kid, Blue Hors Zepter

One of them was Danish rider Nanna Skodborg-Merrald and her 2023 European Championship partner Blue Hors Zepter, who scored 78.739 percent to hold the provisional lead after the first part of the Grand Prix concluded this afternoon. It was the first competition since December 2023 for the son of Blue Hors Zack, whose spring campaign was stalled due to an injury. With this score the pair made clear where its plans are: Danish Olympic team selection.

Second provisional place went to Swede Patrik Kittel on the stallion Jovian on 74.783%.

U.S. Olympic Team Selection Trial

Adrienne Lyle on Helix
The entire U.S. Olympic Short List is going head to head in Hagen for the first time and five of the seven shortlisted combinations made their presence felt this afternoon. Endel Ots held the lead on Bohemian for a long time, they posted 71.891 percent in their first competition outside the United States and finished today in fourth place.

Ashley Holzer and Hansel got close in their European debut — 71.457 percent — but it wasn’t until another Helix (by Apache) under Adrienne Lyle pipped them to finish in third place in the preliminary standings. Nanna Skodborg-Merrald completes the top six on her young Grand Prix star Blue Hors Znickers (by Zack).

On Friday from 8.10 am the final seven riders will start in the Grand Prix.

Inaugural CPEDI in Hagen

It is also the first time that Hof Kasselmann hosts a Para Dressage event and the first class to go is the CPEDI3* - Grade III - Grand Prix Test A from 9:50 am. Entry to the showground is free of charge and live stream platform ClipMyHorse.TV shows all the action from Hagen as well.

Comments from the show ground:

Ashley Holzer on Hansel
Nanna Skodborg Merrald (DEN): “It was amazing to have Zepter back in the ring. That was the goal and also to have a clear, safe round. Nothing crazy special, but he felt really nice and was happy and wanted to do it. The plan to ride here came up a month ago, because the facilities are always great in Hagen. The footing is so good and that’s really important to me this close to Paris.”

Endel Ots (USA): “I was really happy with my test. It’s the first time showing the Grand Prix in Europe and I was quite nervous in the warm-up. But I had to pretend that I wasn’t and it worked, I really had fun. Normally I don’t smile so much in tests, but I did today. It felt very at home, I really love the horse. He’s such a good boy: I took him for a hand-walk this morning, warmed him for 15 minutes and then went in. I’ve only ridden him for four months now and each time I go in the ring I learn a new little thing about him. I’m just very thankful to be here. It’s awesome to have the whole U.S. group here all together supporting each other. It’s so cool to also have the Para riders in the same barn!”

Ashley Holzer (USA): “That was amazing, I’m so excited! Hansel hasn’t done a lot and he hasn’t travelled a lot. P.J. (Rizvi) and I share him and Katherine (Bateson Chandler) is the most amazing coach. It’s just so fun to come to a show and feel him just grow in confidence. He was so scared at the beginning and it was tricky riding him through things. It’s rolling the right way now, he’s getting that focus in the ring now. I cannot thank the Kasselmann family more, they have been the most wonderful hosts at this show. We have to walk a little bit to the ring, which makes it more of a championship type of show. I think that’s super important, we don’t have a lot of venues where we can have this sort of atmosphere.”

Endel Ots all smiles leaving the arena
Louise Nathorst (SWE): “It’s super important for the Swedish team to have this event. We can have the riders compete at a good facility with good grounds.”

Emma Booth (AUS): “Our preparation has been a bit rocky up to this point with me getting injured just under six weeks ago, but we are glad to be here and give it a go. We found out about this Para Dressage show when we started planning the trip to come over. It’s awesome to have it run at the same time as the CDI with everybody here in the one venue. I visited Hof Kasselmann for Horses & Dreams a couple of years ago, but this year it’s my first time riding here. We have a little Aussie team here, which is great. It’s nice to have some familiar faces around and feel part of the team. We just had the horse inspection and we are competing Friday and Saturday.”

Text by Hof Kasselmann - Photos © Astrid Appels -  NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED / NO SCREEN SHOTS 

Eurodressage's Astrid Appels was on the scene and took photos of ALL big tour riders competing in Hagen (and some para riders). if you are interested in ordering photos, send us an email with the name of the rider/horse you are interested in. NO use of photos without paying.

Related Links
Scores: 2024 CDI Hagen - June Edition
The Pressure is Rising with First U.S. Olympic Head-to-Head Match at 2024 CDI Hagen