CROZET, France, Aug. 11, 2018–Anne Sophie Serre of France and Vistoso de Massa won the CDI3* Grand Prix with a personal best score Saturday for the first Big Tour victory for the nine-year-old gray Lusitano stallion.
Anne and Vistoso de Massa, on France’s Nations Cup gold medal team at Hickstead, England two weeks ago, scored 69.326 per cent for the first win since starting Big Tour 15 months ago.
The victory for Anne, who rode on the French team at the 2011 European Championships, deprived Morgan Barbançon Mestre of an early 26th birthday present who placed second on Sir Donnerhall II OLD with 69.304 per cent.
Morgan, 26 years old on Sunday, switched to ride for France four months ago after a career as a leading Spanish rider. She competed for Spain at the London Olympics when 19 years old. On Sir Donnerhall, she is the highest ranked French rider in the world.
France is yet to announce its team for the World Equestrian Games that open in Tryon, North Carolina in exactly one month.
CDI3* Grand Prix
Judges-E: Stephen Clarke-GBR H: Hans Christian Matthiesen-DEN C: Anne Gribbons-USA M: Goffhilf Riexinger-GER B: Magnus Ringmark-SWE
CAPPELN, Germany, Aug. 11, 2018–Isabell Werth rode Bella Rose to victory at the CDI4* Saturday in only the second Grand Prix Freestyle of the mare’s Big Tour career of more than five years to give the pair a shot at being selected for the German team for the World Equestrian Games opening in a month.
Isabell and the 14-year-old Westfalen mare were awarded 87.000 per cent for the win in only the third show since coming back from almost four years out of competition dealing with injury. Bella Rose’s only other Grand Prix musical performance was at Aachen, Germany in 2014, where the duo scored 85.150 per cent.
That was a month before the the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. There, the pair led Germany to team gold by placing second individually in the Grand Prix to Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro.
The mare was withdrawn from the championships after the Grand Prix, came back for another competition three months later but then was out of the show arena for almost four years as Isabell and owner Madeleine Winter-Schulze dealt with the recurring injury.
Bella Rose is what Isabell calls the horse of a lifetime for the rider, 49 years old, who has 10 Olympic medals, more than any other equestrian in more than a century of horse sports at the Games.
Saturday was the 22nd start since the first Grand Prix for Bella Rose in May, 2013 and exactly one month to the opening of the world championships at Tryon, North Carolina. On Friday, the pair won the Grand Prix and with the freestyle victory remained undefeated in six starts since the mare’s comeback.
The German team is still undecided with the comeback of Bella Rose, the absence of Olympic combinations Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo and the withdrawal from Aachen of Showtime ridden by Dorothee Schneider.
Great Britain’s Lara Butler on Rubin al Asad, named to the long list for her nations’ team at Tryon, placed second on 76.500 per cent with the Netherlands’ Marlies van Baalen on Ben Johnson in third on 75.200 per cent.
CAPPELN, Germany, Aug. 10, 2018–Patrik Kittel rode Well Done de la Roche CMF to victory in the CDI4* Grand Prix Friday, leading a contingent of three possible Swedish team combinations preparing for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in a month.
Patrik and the 10-year-old Swiss Warmblood mare scored 75.043 per cent for the win in the Grand Prix for the Special. Patrik has also been named as a team rider on Deja, his mount at the 2016 Olympics and the 2018 World Cup Final.
Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K placed second as the Irish Olympic combination also made final preparations for the WEG.
Judy and the 16-year-old KWPN gelding scored 73.630 per cent in their second competition since returning from an injury break. The pair competed at the 2010 World Games in Kentucky as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Swedish Olympic team mates Juliette Ramel on Buriel K.H. placed third on 73.522 per cent and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén on Don Auriello were fourth on 73.370 per cent. Tinne and Don Auriello also competed at the 2014 WEG in Normandy and the 2012 London Olympics.
Hiroyuki Kitahara, 46 years old, on Huracan scored 67.043 per cent for his second qualifying score, just three days before the end of almost 20 months during which combinations could seek two results of 66 per cent to be eligible to start at Tryon.
Hiroyuki and the 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding attained his first qualifying score at Leudelange, Luxembourg a month ago. Hiroyuki competed on the Japanese team at the 2010 Kentucky WEG.
CDI4* Grand Prix for Grand Prix Special
Well Done de la Roche CMF
bay 10y.M /Furstentraum (bayerischt Warmb/Walt Disney/CH/104ZW30/ Mmes Françoise
bay 16y.G /Jazz/Ferro/KWPN/IRL40808/ Joe & Kathleen Reynolds
12y.G /Osmium/Krack C/KWPN/104EF70/ La Pomme HB
Vilhelmson Silfven, Tinne
bay 16y.G /Don Davidoff/White Star/HANN/GER43436/ Lövsta Stuteri / Antonia A. Joh
Blue Hors Don Olymbrio
Andersen, Daniel Bachmann
chest 10y.S /Jazz/Olympic Ferro/KWPN/105BB66/ Blue Hors
Quater Back Junior
chest 9y.G /Quaterback/Bonheur/HANN/104IN23/ Soc.Hippique et d’Elevage S.A./N.Wa
Blind Date 25
chest 16y.M /Breitling W/Donnerhall/HANN/GER43435/ Gestüt Vorwerk & Elisabeth Max
dbay 18y.G /Rubinstern Noir/Gaspari II/[DSP]/103VJ26/ Astrid Neumayer
Other, non-placed competitors
M & M’s (milan)
zu Sayn – Wittgenstein, Nathalie
chest 11y.S /Michellino/DWB/105JX05/ Nathalie Zu Sayn Wittgenstein
CAPPELN, Germany, Aug. 10, 2018–Isabell Werth rode Bella Rose to victory in the CDI4* Grand Prix Friday, with the highest score of the pair’s three shows since returning from almost four years out of the competition arena.
Isabell and the 14-year-old Westfalen mare were awarded 79.500 per cent–including two marks of 80 per cent–in the campaign to be selected for Germany’s team for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina a month’s time.
Bella Rose was 10 years old and placed second individually in the Grand Prix to lead Germany to team gold at the 2010 World Games in Normandy. Three months later, a recurring injury that proved difficult to source and repair kept the mare out of competition until six weeks ago.
Isabell has left no doubt she would prefer to ride Bella Rose at Tryon as the horse she regards as her best ever in a career that includes 10 Olympic medals, more than any other equestrian in history.
Germany delayed announcing its WEG team after some top prospects, including Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo and Showtime ridden by Dorothee Schneider were on the injury list after Aachen two weeks ago. The first flights of horses from Europe for Tryon are scheduled in about three weeks to give them time for familiarization before the start of dressage competition Sept. 12.
Lara Butler on Rubin al Asad, named to Great Britain’s short list squad for Tryon, was second on 71.326 per cent.
The Netherlands’ Marlies van Baalen on Ben Johnson was third on 70.609 per cent.
It was with trepidation I prepared to watch the six-year-old final at the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses. Following the disappointment for me from almost all the combinations in the preliminary competition and the scant improvement of very few in the small final, I wasn’t optimistic about having anything positive to write. This was perhaps my fault for having such high expectations from the group I had seen as extraordinary five-year-olds in 2017. The good news is that the top six placed horses in this final found their special gaits, they were well ridden and fun to watch. Yes, some had small mistakes, but that is normal with young horses. The top two were wonderful and either would have deserved the win.
At this stage, if you had any interest in the World Championships, you know the results. The Hannoverian stallion d’Avie (Don Juan de Hus x Londonderry) with Severo Jurado Lopez won the class with 9.26 points. They were VERY closely followed by the Rhinelander stallion, Villeneuve (Vitalis x Dancier) and Laura Strobel with 9.24 points. The stallion, Hermes (Easy Going x Flemmingh) and Dutch rider were third with 8.78.
This story is not a results story, although I have lots of photos and commentary on the top horses. This is much more a commentary on the six-year-old class in general. If anything, this year has highlighted just how disastrously wrong things can go if any part of the training scale is glossed over, or the importance of the quality of the gaits and swinging back is ignored in favor of rapid progression of the tricks. However, the directives are so very clear for these horses. Anyone thinking of riding the six-year-old test should study the videos and judge’s commentary. The requirements and expectations of this judging panel were absolutely correct and non-negotiable.
With that in mind, I thought I would go to the warm up arena and watch Dorothee Schneider prepare her first horse, the Oldenburg Flying Dancer (Furst Romancier x Sir Donnerhall). At the very worst, I figured I would be able to watch one of the best trainers in the world try to inspire some brilliance out of her fundamentally normal moving gelding. This was textbook training. Dorothee kept layering a little more expression upon a little more reach, over a little more engagement until she was able to present her horse, who has rather underwhelming gaits, for an overall score of 8.42. Nothing short of a miracle. But he deserved every one of those points. I have no doubt that this horse will make it to the big arena. His training is just too good. She did exactly the same thing with the Oldenburg mare, Sister’s Act OLD vom Rosencarree (Sandro Hit x Royal Diamond) that has a wonderful hindleg, but again not the biggest eye-catching gaits. They finished in sixth place with an overall score of 8.54, with a submission score of 9.0.
This brings me to finally say that there were horses, even in the final, that had me wondering how the heck they had been selected by their federation… yes, even the German federation. I said it in my first story about the six-year-old class, and I will say it again: This is a world championship. Just because your horse can perform the required movements, does not mean it deserves to be here. The good news is that the judges saw this, too, and made comment. I was very impressed with the attention of the judges. I DO think they got a little caught up in it being the finals. Even though the scores may have been low for a world championship final, they really weren’t low enough, given their comments, for several of the horses. However, their commentary was absolutely spot on. They left no doubt about the qualities that they would reward, and the resistances they couldn’t tolerate. They made clear distinction between issues that affected the basic gaits, and those that were issues of submission (training).
Do I believe there is a future for these classes? Of course I do. This year was a particularly tough year. 2017 had a wonderful group of horses. This year was a reminder for all trainers to stay true to the long term development of the horse.
So that no one can wonder about what the judges wanted to see, I have provided complete commentary for the final six horses that competed. They wanted rhythm and ground cover. Clear, easy transitions, engagement, throughness. All the things we talk about in the training and development of the dressage horse.
Horses of part two of the final
Sister’s Act OLD Rosencarree and Dorothee Schneider
This mare didn’t suddenly wake up overnight and become a wow mover, but she remains so correct and it was beautiful riding from Dorothee Schneider. This one was really fun to watch and an education on encouraging the absolute most from a young horse who is correct but not extravagant. The beautifully, softly accented voice of Isobel Wessels was easy to listen to as she gave commentary for the judges. “For the trot, we want to see more push from the hindleg in the medium and extended trots, but the horse showed clear rhythm throughout and clear collection, 8.4. The walk is relaxed, in a clear rhythm, and follows the hand very nicely. There could be a little more overtrack in the extended walk, but the transition to medium walk and then the collection towards the pirouettes was really well done, 8.5. The canter is good in rhythm and always nicely in the contact. It needs more jump and more airtime., A clearer moment of suspension off the ground. The extended canter was a little hurried.8.0. Submission, the horse is very happy, in a good contact showing the ability to go and come back with very nicely ridden shoulder in and half pass. The changes were all good. 9.0 and the general perspective: we felt that this horse is in a really clear way with good riding and obviously going to make a very good dressage horse in the future. Just some of those little things to work on, so today 8.8”
This was a beautiful and well ridden test and reminiscent of the quality he showed as a five-year-old. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed it and they kept clapping with enthusiasm until the judge’s commentary began.
“That was a very exciting horse to judge The trot has a huge amount of energy and expression and the ability to go and a wonderful ability to come back and collect.” Indeed the transitions were clear in all the gaits. “It looked so easy and light footed, he maintained the same trot just about the whole time, 9.8. The walk is relaxed and always correct. The extended walk needs a bit more ground cover and to be even more through his body but he came back to the medium and showed a little bit of collecting before the walk pirouettes so 8.0 The canter is absolutely dynamic, uphill, jumping, lots of expression, willing to go and more importantly willing to collect. Three of the changes were super, one was a little bit unbalanced but, for the canter 10. Submission, the clear ability of this horse to keep suspension in the shoulder in, beautiful half passes and the horse shows great adjustability and easy transitions through the gaits. The were a couple of moments of loss of balance, so 9.0. Overall perspective, it’s a super, super horse with a huge future, 9.5.”
This was very interesting as the judges clearly showed that they could separate small mistakes from the basic quality of the gaits. Despite the one imperfect flying change, the canter could still receive a 10. I have to agree with their judgement.
This is an absolutely exquisite stallion with such expression in his face. The panel also essentially enjoyed his presentation.
“Really active and engaged horse, very much in tune with his rider and the highlight was his beautiful flying changes. They were ridden beautifully. In the trot the first medium was a little hurried but overall the horse is light footed, energetic and uphill. You rode very clear transitions, just perhaps watch the tempo at times, 8.8. The walk was always correct in the rhythm but the extended walk didn’t have much overtrack and could have walked with more purpose through the whole body.”
The judges then seemed to think she made nice walk pirouettes, although from my view the left one was a bit of a mess. Regardless, her score for the walk was about right, 7.7.
“The canter was good and active in energy with a clear jump and good rhythm and stays uphill. There were moments where he got a little tight over his back and a little hurried, but overall a very good canter, 8.8. The submission: we were especially impressed with your half passes. Shoulder in was also good although the first could have had more bend and your flying changes are secure, 8.9. For the perspective for the future, it is a good horse on a very nice way and good riding, 8.9.”
Henkie (Alexandro P x Upperville) and Adelinde Cornelissen came into the final as a definite favorite to medal, but it was not to be their day. Henkie had a major tantrum, a real throwdown, for the first flying change. He stopped, quit, contemplated leaving and Adelinde had no choice other than to just abandon the change. He half-tried it on the next one but did the change and the last two were lovely. The irony is that up to that point, Adelinde appeared to be doing her level best to NOT wrestle with him in front
“Really lovely elastic horse and the general impression is that the gaits of this horse has huge potential and scope. Unfortunately, there were issues that affected the submission score today. The trot has alot of energy, he shows nice balance in the corners and he is going and coming back very well and a nice uphill balance. Occasionally, there were disruptions in the rhythm when he was not supple in the contact so, 8.6. The walk from the beginning had a nice overtrack and stretch to the bit but he just needs to follow the hand a little bit more. He became behind the contact at times instead of really seeking the bit, 8.5. The canter has a nice clear jump and good ground cover. It has a lot of expression and energy, but the balance was compromised when he became nervous or tense and once or twice you had a few problems in the canter, but the canter itself has a high quality, so 8.8. Submission: we had to take into account the big disturbance in the first flying change and then the horse became a little confused. Tthe loss of rhythm in the walk pirouettes we took into submission as well, so today 6.9 and overall for perspective an 8.0. It is a wonderful horse with clear talent and obviously a very good rider but today was not his day. But it is a super horse.” Adelinde kissed goodbye any chance of a medal with that unfortunate submission score.
Diederik had a very tough ride in the final. In the preliminary class I described his horses’ way of going as very light footed, almost electric. Today it was over-the-top electric with no relaxation to be seen. The judges were, understandably, very tough on his ride and Diederik’s supporters started jeering and making clearly disapproving noises as the predictably low scores came in.
“You have a very nice horse here and we really appreciated your sympathetic riding because your horse was clearly quite nervous during the test, a little bit anxious and we noticed you patted him quite a bit and offered the rein to try to get him to relax. Sadly this tension did come through in the test to make an influence on the marks, which is a pity.
“In the trot he shows a rhythm most of the time, the first medium trot was a tiny bit uneven although the second and third lengthenings were a little bit better. The collected trot showed glimpses of elasticity and a real expression off the ground but quite often between, the tension affected the general expression, so 7.4”…
Crowd “Oohs” in horror…
“The walk was rather tight, he didn’t let go in his back from the beginning. He was holding himself. There was no overtrack and a lack of freedom and marching. He didn’t really ‘take’ you on the line. You kept the rhythm through the turning and the pirouettes, but the walk itself was just rather too restrained and holding in the back, so only 6.8. The canter is clear in the three-beat and has an uphill tendency most of the time and he shows the ability to do some changes but he needs to be more over the back and have ground cover in the extended canter, 7.8. For the submission, the tension within the horse and the small mistakes, the flying changes a little bit short affected the mark again 7.5. 7.8 perspective on the day.”
Diederik could not leave the arena fast enough.
This was the first world championships experience for Laura. She is trained by Dorothee Schneider, and you can see it in the way she rides. In fact, from a distance, especially as she wears the same helmet and jacket, she looks like a Dorothee mini-me. In my opinion, for whatever that counts, this was the best ridden horse of the day. He is really being trained to use his whole body and find his own expression.
“You gave us some tense moments in the box. Beautiful horse, very well ridden and looks very easy going and very, very expressive. Very secure in the rhythm. The first medium trot was very expressive and each lengthening became even a little bit better. The first time you came on the short side with the collected trot we were very impressed with the uphill tendency of your horse.and so overall we liked the trot very much. Occasionally if we could just get a little more push from the hindleg, 9.4 The walk was active, in a good rhythm, clear overtracking. He becomes quite often behind the vertical in the walk, he needs to fill the rein and follow the hand a little bit more clearly and just stay a little more in this way as you take him back to the medium. The steps were always good though, so 8.8. The canter, very expressive and uphill, a good tendency to go and come back and accept collection. Very nice ground cover in your extended canter and very clear transitions. The flying changes were well done, 9.8. The submission mark. There were a couple of things. The first halt was unbalanced and came a little bit backwards. The horse coming slightly behind the vertical at times and your first half pass from B to us at C had no crossing and was just like a line with a little bit of neck bend. Your second one was really good, so we know he can do it, but in this moment it didn’t all come together so we had to go a little bit down with all these things, and it is an 8.7. Overall a beautiful horse, well ridden in a very good way and we have no doubt we will see you in the big arena very soon” (Their goal for 2019 is, in fact, the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, the German championship for small tour horses aged 7 to 9 years).
These examples of the commentary pretty much summed up the detail of the judging panel. Whether they liked it or not, Diederik von Silfhout really DIDN’T like it, all the riders essentially got a riding lesson. They pulled no punches about saying what they did and didn’t like. They were very clear to separate the issues that would affect the submission score from the score for the basic gaits. If trainers looking to present their six-year-olds in this competition adhere to the expectations of this panel, the sport will be in a very good place.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Aug. 9, 2018–A Dressage Development Coach is being sought by the United States Equestrian Federation to succeed Debbie McDonald who becomes Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe following the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, opening a month from now.
The USEF announcing the search Thursday said the development coach will work closely with its managing director of dressage, the technical advisor, and the dressage sport committee to assist in development of a sustainable system to produce combinations for the Elite Athlete Program.
Deadline for applications is Oct. 1. An interview panel will create a short list of applicants.
Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage at email@example.com, can provide more information.
CAPPELN, Germany, Aug. 9, 2018–With the German team undecided for the World Equestrian Games just a month away, Isabell Werth is scheduled to compete Bella Rose at the CDI4* Friday, in the third competition since returning from a break of almost four years in a bid to earn a start in Tryon.
Isabell and the 14-year-old Westfalen mare are competing in the Grand Prix to qualify for the Freestyle Saturday. As of Thursday evening, the event was not scheduled to be live streamed.
Isabell competed both Bella Rose and Emilio, on which she is ranked No. 2 in the world, at the Aachen, Germany World Equestrian Festival two weeks ago. On Emilio, she led the German team to Nations Cup gold.
She rode Bella Rose in the Aachen CDI4* following the horse’s comeback at Fritzens, Austria three weeks earlier–winning all four starts.
Bella Rose, that Isabell describes as THE horse of her career that includes 10 Olympic medals, more than any other equestrian in history, was top placed for her team at the World Games in Normandy in 2014. The mare was pulled from the championship after the Grand Prix and after one other competition three months later did not show again until a month ago.
Isabell made it plain at Aachen, Bella Rose was her personal choice for the World Games starting at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina Sept. 11.
Germany put off its usual practise of naming its team at the end of Aachen because of the absence of Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo that was on an injury timeout and the return and then withdrawal of Showtime ridden by Dorothee Schneider.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Aug, 9, 2018–Ingmar de Vos, president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has been appointed a member of the six-member Legal Commission that wields considerable influence including devising policies on the awarding of Olympic Games.
Ingmar, 55 years old, a lawyer and sports management executive from Belgium, was elected to the IOC last September. His appointment to the Legal Commission, as well as Digital & Technology, was reported by the IOC on Wednesday that published updated assignments to commissions.
Richard Pound, a Canadian who is a lawyer and the most senior IOC member, was dropped from the Legal Commission. He has been an outspoken critic of the IOC’s approach to Russian doping.
The Legal Commission comprises John Coates of Australia as chair, Anita L. DeFrantz of the United States, Nicole Hoevertsz of the Netherlands Antilles, Denis Oswald of Switzerland and Tricia Smith of Canada as well as Ingmar de Vos.
Ingmar joined the FEI as Secretary General in 2011 during the second presidential term of Princess Haya. He was instrumental in creating the FEI Sports Forum in 2012 for stakeholders to discuss issues relating to the sport and restructured the organization’s commercial strategy that led to the signing of the Swiss watchmaker Longines as the FEI’s largest sponsor.
After studying sports management, business administration and international law, Ingmar first worked in politics before joining the Belgian Equestrian Federation. He was a founder of the European Equestrian Federation.
Equestrian sports have been part of the Olympics for 104 years and are in the lineup for Tokyo in 2020. Although final decisions have not been made on sports to be included in the 2024 Games in Paris and 2028 in Los Angeles both organizing committees have included horse sports in their detailed proposals.
When Steffen Peters rides down the centerline at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in a month’s time he will be building on a career that already includes more combined world championships with more medals than any other American.
Steffen has dominated American dressage for most of this century–finishing at the top of the U.S. horse and rider rankings at two of the last three World Games as well as two of the previous three Olympics. Since the WEG was created in 1990 as the combined world championships of international horse sports held once every four years, he is still the only American to have won an individual medal–two at the 2010 Games in Lexington Kentucky. He also has team bronze from the 2006 WEG.
Now, the rider who turns 54 years old right after the WEG dressage competition Sept. 12-16 is on a team in which Laura Graves and Verdades are No. 3 in the world and at the top of U.S. dressage as they were at the 2014 WEG and 2016 Olympics. Rio Games team mate Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet as well as his 2012 London Olympics and 2014 WEG team mate Adrienne Lyle will ride Salvino in their first championship.
Steffen, based in San Diego, California, has been selected for the team on Rosamunde, the 11-year-old Rhinelander mare that he has competed for the past five years, at Big Tour for the past three years. Suppenkasper, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding acquired last year as a prospect for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, has been named as an alternate. Both horses are owned by Four Winds Farm of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang that also owned Ravel and Legolas.
“I hope I can be there for my team,” Steffen told dressage-news.com in the understated manner that has won him fans around the world.
And he doesn’t mince words when asked about his performances on the two horses he rode as part of an American group of long-listed combinations that earned scores on the Florida and California winter circuits to compete at three shows in Europe seeking selection for the team for Tryon.
Were the results at Rotterdam, Netherlands in June; Leudelange, Luxembourg and the premier World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany in July what he expected?
“I would say, ‘no,” he replied. “I definitely would have said ‘yes’ after Rotterdam and Leudelange but not Aachen. That is obviously disappointing.
“But historically speaking, any time I had a show where things didn’t work out great the next show was usually better, that’s the WEG.”
Of the seven United States Festival of Champions Grand Prix titles won by Steffen, three were on Legolas and two on Ravel, the superstar that Steffen competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and two individual bronze medal performances at the 2010 WEG. The duo was only the second American to win the World Cup, which the pair did in Las Vegas in 2009. The combination has been the only one from the Western Hemisphere ever to sweep the prestigious Aachen CDIO, an accomplishment three months after the World Cup title.
Tryon will be the seventh straight Olympics or World Games for the German-born Steffen. He’s also squeezed in two Pan American Games, both with gold medal performances, as well as five World Cup Finals, including the 2009 gold.
Only Robert Dover, coach of the U.S. team since 2013 who will be managing the Tryon Games campaign, has had a longer and more distinguished career in American dressage, competing on six Olympic teams for four team bronze medals, 1986 world championships, WEGs in 1990, team bronze in 1994 and then 1998, seven World Cup Finals and seven-time national Grand Prix champion.
Steffen said he had gone into Aachen as the final selection event with both horses feeling “great,” having shown improvement at Leudelange two weeks earlier. The rides on Rosamunde began well as he “rode my butt off” with the score peaking at about 77 per cent in the Nations Cup Grand Prix Special after the first trot and passage. A mistake in the canter was extremely costly.
“It was a perfect learning experience for the WEG,” he said.
For Suppenkasper, whose barn name of “Mopsie” he adoped from Helen Langehanenberg who developed the horse, the mission was accomplished of exposing him to the intimidating Deutsche Bank Stadium at Aachen. The German Olympic rider and her groom who cared for Suppenkasper visited with bunches of bananas and carrots at Aachen.
Four years ago, Steffen was hospitalized with what he described at the time as a “horrible experience” with pneumonia that put him in the hospital while campaigning in Europe ahead of the World Games. And, not uncommon for riders, had also developed some back problems.
Those issues, he said, are behind him and he’s “feeling great… in wonderful shape.”
The training center in Belgium where the Americans were based over the summer contained a well equipped gym.
“The routine after lunch was a quick double shot of espresso then go into the gym for a daily workout where I usually saw Kasey and Adrienne,” he recalled. “I feel very fit. We’re keeping up this routine.”
Most important is the WEG, at home and with a team that Robert Dover says may be the best America has ever sent into competition. Quite a commendation considering the U.S. won team silver at the WEG in 2002.
The Americans are working hard to be on the podium, but none speak of color of the medals. Germans make it clear they see the Americans as their biggest challenge for gold.
Steffen, though, is focused on what he can control.
“The good thing,” he said of Rosamunde, “is there is no major issue we have to work with. We simply have to be a bit more careful in the one-tempis, ride that a little more collected, a little less risky.”
Since returning home to California and mandatory time in quarantine, Rosie was “very happy and clearly excited to go back to work” last weekend.
He’s not planning to introduce anything new in the preparation of both horses, “just polishing things.”
The horses leave at the end of August to meet up with the rest of the team.
How does he think this WEG will be?
“I think when you go to the games, the Olympic Games or the World Games, there’s always that little extra adrenaline that hopefully makes your riding better.”
An appeal filed by the Australian-based rider Judy Dierks over selection of the team for the World Equestrian Games next month has been dismissed by a panel specially appointed by the national federation that said Wednesday it would not immediately provide an explanation for its decision.
The hearing panel “determined to dismiss the appeal” over the selection procedures and the four-member team announced last month “stands as then made,” according to a statement by Judge Warwick Hunt, chairperson of the appeal board.
The preliminary decision was confusing in that Judy Dierks, 64 years old who had ridden Diamond Star in an unsuccessful campaign for a place on the team, had said in filing her appeal she was not seeking to overturn selection of horses and riders but sought greater transparency and fairness in future procedures to pick teams.
The selection process for the Tryon, North Carolina WEG scheduled to open Sept. 11 was changed significantly at least three times.
The team was announced last month as the Australian-based combinations of Alexis Hellyer and Bluefields Floreno, Brett Parbery and DP Weltmieser and Mary Hanna and Boogie Woogie 6, who also compete extensively in Europe, and the Germany-based Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil.
The statement from Judge Hunt said: “It is usually desirable to publish written reasons at the time of announcing a decision. On this occasion, the Board has determined to announce the decision and provide written reasons for that decision within seven days.
“This approach has been taken for two reasons. First, in our view it is important to provide certainty as soon as practicable for the parties and other persons potentially affected, especially given the very short time until the World Equestrian Games 2018 and the significance of the issues to be resolved by the appeal.
“Second, professional commitments of all the Board members are considerable, yet because the matter is important the reasons deserve careful expression. As such, more time is needed to finalize written reasons.”
“Having considered the evidence, together with written and oral submissions of the parties at a hearing conducted on 5 August 2018, the Equestrian Australia Appeal Board, after deliberating since the hearing, has determined to dismiss the appeal brought by Mrs. Dierks in relation to matters arising from the selection of the Australian Dressage Team for the World Equestrian Games 2018 by the Dressage Selection Panel which was announced 19 July 2018. Accordingly, the selection of that Team stands as then made.”
The appeal by Judy Dierks was the latest in decisions that have bedevilled selection of Australian teams since the 2012 Olympic Games. Then, one rider’s complaints over selection were reported around the world, as was the selection of a combination for the 2016 Olympic team that had been found to be in violation of drug rules that negated the results of their qualifying competition but was not disclosed by the federation until reported by dressage-news.com at the start of the Rio Games.