Holland’s Sander Marijnissen & Moedwil Win Munich Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Special to Music
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
MUNICH, Germany, May 23–Sander Marijnissen, little known outside of his home in The Netherlands, rode his Moedwil to victory in the Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Special to Music CDI5* in Munich Saturday.
Marijnissen and the 15-year-old gelding were the unanimous choice of the five judges for first place and gave the pair a score of 71.500 per cent.
The USA’s Catherine Haddad on her 12-year-old Danish warmblood gelding Cadillac scored 68.292 per cent for second place with Imke Schellekens-Bartels of The Netherlands on Ferero was third on 67.542 per cent.
The exuberant 38-year-old father of a six-year-old boy who described his international competition schedule as a “hobby” he works very long days to support took home the first place prize money of €10,000 (US$14,000). while Haddad won €6,200 (US$8,660).
An estimated 4,000 spectators turned out in hot sunny weather to watch the Grand Prix Special to Music in the refurbished 1972 Olympic equestrian facility. Similar sized crowds watched international jumping, reining and other events at the sprawling facility.
Marijnissen, who lives in Wijdewormer about nine miles (15 km) north of Amsterdam, said the win was “like a dream.”
He said he has competed for many years at Dutch national shows since he was a small child supported by hs parents–his father was a mail man–who spent what they could to help him train and buy his first horses. Because money was scarce, he buys young horses and trains them to Grand Prix.
He said he trains his own horses in the mornings then gives lessons and trains customer horses until midnight so as to afford to compete at the top.
He bought a half interest in Moedwil when the horse was aged four, and a few years later he bought out the breeder who had retained the other 50 per cent.
“For me to compete at these fantastic international shows is like a holiday, a little bit of a hobby,” he said,
He feels no pressure to win as he owns the horses he competes.
“To be at these shows to compete against the world’s best like Isabell Werth is super. To watch them ride, to learn from them is fantastic.”
He bought a recreational vehicle so his wife and son can go to the shows with him, and his son rides and hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He said he also felt some pride that the third placed Ferero was a horse he owned and trained and sold to Schellekens-Bartels.
The first major international event with Moedwil was at Hickstead, England, a year ago. But he came close to the top in 1992 when Dakota, a horse he owned, trained and competed, was among the top ranked Dutch horses seeking a place on the team for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
However, the horse injured himself in his stall before the team was selected. Although a lot of money was spent on veterinary treatment, the horse did not return to form. Marijnissen said he still owns Dakota, who is now 24.
Marijnissen’s success comes at a period of uncertainty at the top levels of Dutch dressage. Anky van Grunsven’s IPS Painted Black was injured last week and will be out of competition for several weeks. Adelinde Cornelissen’s Parzival was injured at the World Cup in Las Vegas and no date has been given for his return to competition.
The Dutch national championships will be held in the middle of June, followed by the Rotterdam CDIO and the Aachen, Germany, CHIO where The Netherlands has an enviable record, including winning the team gold medal on Germany’s home turf.
Catherine Haddad, who lives in Vechta Germany and was the reserve with her other Grand Prix horse, Maximus JSS for the U.S. team at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006, said that Cadillac his improving with each competition.
She said she competed Cadillac or Maximus at the entire schedule of 2008/2009 West European League World Cup shows.
“Cadillac, as he showed today, is a serious prospect for U.S. teams,” Haddad said.
She said she will take Cadillac to Aachen to compete with the U.S. team at the World Equestrian Festival. Steffen Peters and Ravel will be making their only 2009 European appearance at Aachen.
For complete results of Munich CDI3*/CDI5* click on RESULTS on the Front Page.