Anky Wins Exquis World Dressage Masters for 2nd Year, Steffen 2nd, Isabell 3rd
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 6–Anky van Grunsven and Salinero were in top form Saturday night to win their second straight Exquis World Dressage Masters musical freestyle at Palm Beach, beating U.S. favorite Steffen Peters and Ravel and Isabell Werth and Satchmo of Germany.
A crowd estimated at 4.300 spectators ignored a chilly South Florida night to thunderously applaud the three top riders in their first freestyle head to head competition since Steffen and Ravel won the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2009. Since then, Isabell took six months to have a baby while Anky says her year has been “bit up and down, just like life.
Anky and Salinero, who won individual gold at the 2008 Olympics, scored 84.450 per cent, with Steffen and Ravel on 81.700 per cent and Isabell and Satchmo with 78.950 per cent. Ashley Holzer and Pop Art of Canada were fourth on 76.300 per cent.
The musical freestyle with prize money of €60,000 (US$82,000) was the culmination of the opening event of the second year of the world’s richest lineup of dressage competitions. The Palm Beach event, as with other Exquis World Dressage Masters competitions, carries total prize money of €100,000 (US$136,000).
Anky said that practicing Friday in the International Arena under lights “really helped me because today he was really settled down” in her Dance of Devotion freestyle.
“Tonight everything just worked out how it should be,” she said. “I was really, really pleased with him. I am very proud.”
She said the 16-year-old gelding has already been at the highest level for six years.
“We’ve had worse competitions and better competitions, but if you have a horse, you know that’s life. I’m so proud that he’s still fit, wants to do his job, and wants to compete. He’s still a happy horse. He likes to compete and do training. It’s nice to feel that it’s still there. He does get older and settles down a bit, that’s nice. It’s fantastic to still have a horse like this.”
Steffen said that Ravel, on whom he won the 2009 World Cup and the three CDIO classes at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany, “was feeling pretty solid in the changes, so I did it with one hand.
“I didn’t have quite the guts to do it in the one tempis. I should have, now looking back, but I was happy.
“I had a lot of horse underneath me, a little bit more than in the Grand Prix. I was careful into the piaffe because I thought he would overreact, but he didn’t. That’s why I think the first piaffe wasn’t that good. The rest of the test was great; I was very, very happy with it.
“Congratulations to both ladies. I usually never get to see them when we compete. I thought Isabell did a hell of a job.
“I thought Anky’s was one of the best freestyles I’ve seen with Salinero. To be second behind them is fantastic.
“Even if we had done the one tempis tonight, we would not have won. There are three other horses in the world. At the end of the day, it’s a big mistake if you start riding the scoreboard. You have to ride your horse and I asked from Ravel as much as he could offer tonight.”
Isabell said she was really happy with Satchmo, who is a 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, “because he was so concentrated and had a lot of power and energy. He was just brilliant. At the end there was a mistake, but it was OK. Next time I have to do better. Today, except for the little thing at the end, I don’t know what I could do better. He gave me a great feeling.
“I had no moment where I could do something more and it was full of difficulties. That’s what I wanted to show. He was really concentrated and he didn’t react to the crowd, ring, lights. I was just happy with him!”
Earlier in the day, Leslie Morse and Tip Top 962 of the United States won the Moorland €30,000 (US$41,000) Grand Prix Special with a score of 65.708 per cent, with Belinda Trussell and Anton of Canada second on 65.167 per cent and Elisabeth Austin and Olivier of the United States in third place on 64.875 per cent.
Horse Rider Judge E Judge H Judge C Judge M Judge B Total Place
Salinero Anky van Grunsven 82.750 83.500 87.750 83.000 85.250 1689 84.450 1
Ravel Steffen Peters 83.500 80.250 84.750 80.750 79.250 1634 81.700 2
Satchmo 78 Isabell Werth 77.500 80.250 81.250 79.750 76.000 1579 78.950 3
Pop Art Ashley Holzer 74.500 77.000 78.000 76.750 75.250 1526 76.300 4
Leonberg Mikala Munter Gunderse 74.000 74.250 69.250 72.000 71.500 1444 72.200 5
Ovation Christa Laarakkers 71.750 72.000 70.250 68.750 73.000 1423 71.150 6
Calecto V Tina Konyot 72.000 67.500 70.750 72.500 70.750 1414 70.700 7
Le Mont d’Or Anja Ploenzke 69.000 70.750 68.500 69.000 72.500 1399 69.950 8