Britain Tops Germany at Hagen’s Horses & Dreams CDI3*
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
HAGEN, Germany, May 8–Laura Bechtolsheimer dominated Horses & Dreans meets Germany CDI3*, riding Mistral Hojris to victory at a near personal best score in the Grand Prix Special and then topping the Freestyle with Andretti H for their highest ever points on Sunday.
Her European Championship and World Equestrian Games silver medal team mate Carl Hester and his flashy Uthopia posted their best ever result at an international competition to place second in the Special while Germany’s Anabel Balkenhol on Dablino added to the list of personal bests in placing third.
The emergence of several British combinations, driven by funding from the country’s World Class Performance program to boost Olympic sports, has sparked speculation throughout Europe that the nation will be a contender for gold at the 2012 Olympics in their nation’s capital of London.
In her best ever start to their outdoor competition season that unofficially launches at this hugely popular dressage and jumper show attracting top riders from around the world and packs the grand stands, Laura started in seven classes and won all seven–including two Grand Prix and the Special and Freestyle in the international division.
In the Special, Laura and Mistral Hojris, her triple silver medal mount from the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, scored 81.583 per cent. 0.125 per cent lower than their best ever score of 81.708 per cent attained at WEG.
This despite what Laura said was “Alf,” as she calls the 16-year-old Danish gelding, being in fifth gear and not yet in sixth gear in their first competition since last December’s London Olympia.
Carl Hester, who before Hagen showed in only two competitions at Grand Prix on Uthopia, a 10-year-old KWPN stallion scored 77.563 per cent that, according to a search of official records, was the highest Carl has ever posted on any horse in an international event.
He bought Uthopia as a four-year-old for a customer who, he joked, is a Catholic who has had lots of children that has allowed him to compete the horse.
Anabel Balkenhol, daughter of the Olympic gold medal-winning German Klaus Balkenhol who also was coach of the U.S. team, rode Dablino, her WEG mount, to third place with a score of 77.201 per cent.
Canadian Belinda Trussell, competing in Europe with her WEG steed, Anton, maintained their recent standard of staying above the 70 per cent level by scoring 70.417 per cent for 11th place while the USA’s Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, on Come on III was 15th with a score of 66.396 per cent.
Belinda, who is on a European competition circuit for the third year, said she was happy with her results but misses her two children and husband. “If I could transplant my family and home from Canada to here that would be the best of both worlds,” she said.
“If you want to be among the best in the world you have to compete against them,” she said, explaining why she travels the European circuit.
In the Freestyle, Laura and Andretti scored 78.725 per cent while Germany filled the second and third places, Nadine Capellmann on her 2008 Olympic horse Elvis VA with 77.650 per cent and Hubertus Schmidt on Twinkel with 77.425 per cent.
Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, California, on his World Cup mount Rafalca scored 73.875 per cent for eighth place in a ride to music from the Mission that was smooth and harmonious for the most part with a mistake in the one-tempis. The pair scored to music from The Mission
This year is highlighted by the European Championships in Rotterdam in August, a qualifier for next year’s Olympics. Although Britain is already qualified on both championship performances and as the host nation, they are clearly looking to beat the 2009 continental championship team silver.
In addition to Sunday’s top two finishers, Charlotte Dujardin on Fernandez, Carl’s student, scored 71.146 per cent for seventh place.
Click for: Grand Prix Musical Freestyle Results
Grand Prix Special Results
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