Britain Wins Hickstead Nations Cup, USA 2nd, Germany 3rd

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Carl Hester and Uthopia leading Britain to the Nations Cup victory at Hickstead. © 2013 Kn Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carl Hester and Uthopia leading Britain to the Nations Cup victory at Hickstead. © 2013 Kn Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

HICKSTEAD, England, Aug. 4–The Olympic gold medal pair of Carl Hester and Uthopia led Great Britain to victory in the Nations Cup at Hickstead Sunday with the United States second and Germany third in the finale of the inaugural series of four events and the only one that was decided by the Freestyle.

This was the second victory for Great Britain in the Nations Cup, having won at Rotterdam in June while the United States, which competed in two of the events, finished third at Aachen, Germany a month ago.

The United States combinations of Kathleen Raine and Breanna, Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea and Shelly Francis and Doktor finished, third, fourth and fifth individually, all on personal best scores, but could not overcome the margin Carl and Uthopia set with their result of 81.625 per cent.

The 26-year-old Jenny Lang on Loverboy also posted a personal best of 77.750 per cent for second highest individual placing and insured Germany’s third place team finish.

The United States’ Kathleen Raine, a rider able to deliver in the clutch, and her Breanna, the third horse she has brought from untrained youngster to international Grand Prix, led for most of the competition with a score of 75.650 per cent. That was until Carl and Uthopia’s ride, the only result above 80 per cent.

Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea, who have been a partnership only since early this year, would have needed 78.375 per cent to match the British team total but in only their third CDI Freestyle the pair scored 75.625 per cent.

Final point standings of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) pilot series at Vidauban, France; Rotterdam, Aachen and Hickstead were: 1. Netherlands 36; 2. Sweden 33; 3. Germany 29; 4. Great Britain 25; 5. Denmark 22; 6. United States 19; 7. France 17: 8. Belgium 11; 9. Spain 7; 10. Switzerland 6; 11. Finland 4; 12. Ireland 3.

Kathleen Raine and Breanna completing their Freestyle that led the United States to second place in the Nations Cup at Hickstead, England. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Kathleen Raine and Breanna completing their Freestyle that led the United States to second place in the Nations Cup at Hickstead, England. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Carl Hester and the 12-year-old KWPN stallion (Metall x Inspekteur) that he rode on the Olympic gold medal team in London exactly a year ago was the fourth and last rider for the British team at a point when the United States had a clear lead.

He delivered with a performance that had no mistakes and brought a standing ovation from spectators as the pair left the arena, the only combination to score above 80 per cent.

U.S. hopes of victory were on the shoulders of Günter Seidel and Coral Reef Wylea, a 13-year-old Westfalen mare that he has been competing for less than six months at international Grand Prix.

The three-time Olympic medalist performing only the third Freestyle on Wylea that was named Winci when ridden by Anabel Balkenhol, daughter of German Oympic gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol with whom Günter trains, made a dramatic start with a series of passage and piaffe tours and looked as if a score was possible that would challenge Britain. However, Wylea broke into canter near the end of a diagonal of extended trot.

Even so, Günter’s reputation as a masterful rider who pulled off a spectacular third place finish in the Grand Prix two days earlier kept spectators on the edge of their seats until the final movement of the music from Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America,”appropriate for a German who moved to California, adopted the lifestyle along with American citizenship.

Although Britain and the United States were in control of the top two places, Jenny Lang on Loverboy, competing for the first time on a German team, gave it their all as one of the last rides to post the second highest score, 77.750 per cent. The enthusiasm and apparent joy of the predominantly young riders on a team that did not include any of the big name German championship riders brought one of the loudest bursts of applause of the competiton.

Jenny Lang of Germany and Loverboy in the Hickstead Nations Cup awards ceremony. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Jenny Lang of Germany and Loverboy in the Hickstead Nations Cup awards ceremony. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

After the event at Britain’s premier high performance show grounds–perhaps the only top facility as the London Olympia event is at a leased venue and is more of a boutique indoor competition–Carl Hester lauded the team competition as “fantastic” and a way to get new horses and riders on Nations Cup squads that would lead to higher quality at major championships.

Richard Waygood, the British chef d’equipe, described it as a “wonderful series” that has its challenges but that all of the participating teams believe in.

With a few “tweaks” to the Hickstead format, he said, “in essence we believe it is a very good competition that grabs the public’s imagination and can be a great competition.”

Robert Dover, leader of the U.S. team that makes the biggest financial commitment because of the cost of transatlantic travel for horses and riders, gave the series a resounding endorsement.

“It is absolutely my hope that not a Nations Cup will be held anywhere in the world that the United States does not compete in,” said Robert who only recently became technical advisor/chef d’equipe of the U.S. team and has led a major revamp of the country’s high performance program.

“We are commited to having as many riders competing as we can, we are going to have a big push.”

The format of the Freestyle deciding the Nations Cup got mixed reviews with most riders and some officials saying they preferred the traditional Grand Prix that was used at Vidauban, Rotterdam and Aachen.

Dane Rawlins, organizer of Dressage at Hickstead, reported that a meeting of representatves of participating nations strongly favored using both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle to determine results, borne out by the full spectator stands although there were 29 musical rides in the Freestyle Sunday.

He was also critical of the leadership of Britain’s World Class program that spends millions of pounds in support of riders and horses but, he said, does not discuss competitons with organizers such as himself who host the country’s most important international dressage event and are urged by the FEI to stage a Nations Cup but barely cover costs.

Although the riders and officials of participating nations were enthusiastic about the future of the series that the FEI created in hopes of generating the same success as jumping Nations Cups, this initial year has garnered little media attention.

At the same post-competition news conference that riders and team leaders were expressing support for the Nations Cup series, Stephen Clarke, a judge at Hickstead who was also president of the ground jury at last summer’s Olympics in London, asked how many reporters were present.

The number was two, one from Britain’s Horse & Hound magazine and the other this correspondent from U.S.-based dressage-news.com that also covered the Rotterdam and Aachen competitions..

Results:

Judges
E: ISABEL WESSELS
H: MARION CUNNINGHAM
C: STEPHEN CLARKE
M: KARIN KRUGER
B: PETER HOLLER
DRESSAGE AT HICKSTEAD
CDIO3* FEI NATIONS CUP – Team Results
F
Rank Team Rider Horse Total %
1
GBR
2286 76.183%
NIKKI CRISP PASOA 697
MICHAEL EILBERG MARAKOF 727
GARETH HUGHES DV STENJKERS NADONNA 743
CARL HESTER UTHOPIA 817
2
USA
2258 75.258%
ARLENE PAGE ALINA 692
KATHLEEN RAINE BREANNA 757
SHELLY FRANCIS DOKTOR 745
GUENTER SEIDEL CORAL REEF WYLEA 756
3
GER
2198 73.267%
STEPHAN KOBERLE DARJEELING 701
JOHANNA VON FIRCKS NYMPHENBURGS ROCKPORT 710
MATTHIAS KEMPKES RICCOLETTO 710
JENNY LANG LOVERBOY 778
4
NED
2156 71.867%
LOTJE SCHOOTS RUBY 693
JOYCE HEUITINK WUP 681
LAURENS VAN LIEREN ULYSSES LA HAYA 720
KATJA GEVERS THRILLER 743
5
SWE
2143 71.425%
CAROLINE DARCOURT PARIDON MAGI 702
NATALIE OLDFORS WINNIE B 688
CHARLOTTE HAID BONDERGAARD TRIVIANT 708
SOFIE LEXNER CHARMING BOY 733
6
FRA
2054 68.450%
CATHERINE HENRIQUET PARADIESZAUBER 641
ALIZEE FROMENT MISTRAL DU COUSSOUL 702
JULIA CHEVANNE LUCIANO 182 711
    168.25 162.75 162.75 163.75 159.00
7
IRL
2042 68.050%
KATE DWYER REVE D’OR 648
DANE RAWLINS SYDNEY 685
ROLAND TONG POMPIDOU 709
    168.25 162.75 162.75 163.75 159.00
8
ESP
1925 64.175%
AGUSTI ELIAS DECO BCN 645
DIANA OSTARIZ GUMIEL 660
LAURO AGUILO HIERRO C 620
    168.25 162.75 162.75 163.75 159.00

Individual

Judges
E: ISABEL WESSELS
H: MARION CUNNINGHAM
C: STEPHEN CLARKE
M: KARIN KRUGER
B: PETER HOLLER
Dressage at Hickstead
DRESSAGE AT HICKSTEAD
CDIO 3* FEI NATIONS CUP
 
Technical/Artistic (Rank)
Rank Rider Horse E H C M B Total
1 CARL HESTER
GBR
UTHOPIA
82.25
86.00
(1)
76.75
86.00
(1)
78.75
84.00
(1)
78.75
85.00
(1)
77.00
82.00
(1)
81.650%
2 JENNY LANG
GER
LOVERBOY
76.00
80.00
(3)
76.25
80.00
(2)
78.00
82.00
(2)
74.50
77.00
(3)
75.75
78.00
(2)
77.750%
3 KATHLEEN RAINE
USA
BREANNA
75.25
81.00
(2)
74.25
77.00
(3)
74.25
77.00
(6)
71.75
74.00
(7)
73.00
79.00
(3)
75.650%
4 GUENTER SEIDEL
USA
CORAL REEF WYLEA
72.25
75.00
(7)
70.25
77.00
(6)
76.25
81.00
(3)
76.00
79.00
(2)
72.50
77.00
(4)
75.625%
5 SHELLY FRANCIS
USA
DOKTOR
73.00
78.00
(4)
71.50
79.00
(4)
72.50
77.00
(8)
71.25
76.00
(5)
71.75
75.00
(9)
74.500%
6 KATJA GEVERS
NED
THRILLER
73.50
77.00
(5)
71.25
76.00
(6)
74.00
78.00
(5)
72.00
73.00
(8)
72.50
76.00
(5)
74.325%
7 GARETH HUGHES
GBR
DV STENJKERS NADONNA
73.50
76.00
(6)
71.75
75.00
(8)
72.75
78.00
(7)
72.25
75.00
(5)
72.25
76.00
(6)
74.250%
8 SOFIE LEXNER
SWE
CHARMING BOY
68.00
74.00
(13)
70.75
78.00
(5)
72.25
76.00
(9)
72.75
75.00
(4)
69.75
76.00
(10)
73.250%
9 MICHAEL EILBERG
GBR
MARAKOF
69.25
74.00
(10)
72.00
73.00
(11)
71.25
75.00
(12)
70.50
74.00
(9)
71.50
76.00
(7)
72.650%
10 LAURENS VAN LIEREN
NED
ULYSSES LA HAYA
69.00
74.00
(11)
71.25
75.00
(9)
71.75
75.00
(10)
70.50
74.00
(9)
67.75
72.00
(16)
72.025%
11 JULIA CHEVANNE
FRA
LUCIANO 182
67.50
73.00
(18)
68.75
74.00
(15)
71.25
74.00
(13)
68.75
71.00
(14)
68.50
74.00
(12)
71.075%
12 MATTHIAS KEMPKES
GER
RICCOLETTO
68.25
74.00
(12)
67.50
75.00
(16)
69.00
74.00
(15)
68.50
72.00
(13)
69.00
73.00
(14)
71.025%
13 JOHANNA VON FIRCKS
GER
NYMPHENBURGS ROCKPORT
67.25
72.00
(21)
70.25
73.00
(14)
72.50
74.00
(11)
68.50
70.00
(16)
69.75
73.00
(11)
71.025%
14 ROLAND TONG
IRL
POMPIDOU
67.25
74.00
(15)
69.75
76.00
(10)
70.25
75.00
(13)
67.25
71.00
(17)
65.75
73.00
(18)
70.925%
15 CHARLOTTE HAID BONDERGAARD
SWE
TRIVIANT
67.75
73.00
(17)
64.75
67.00
(24)
74.75
80.00
(4)
69.25
72.00
(12)
66.50
73.00
(17)
70.800%
16 CAROLINE DARCOURT
SWE
PARIDON MAGI
67.75
72.00
(20)
68.50
72.00
(17)
67.75
71.00
(20)
67.25
69.00
(20)
72.00
75.00
(8)
70.225%
17 ALIZEE FROMENT
FRA
MISTRAL DU COUSSOUL
67.00
74.00
(16)
68.75
75.00
(13)
67.50
70.00
(22)
67.75
74.00
(11)
66.00
72.00
(20)
70.200%
18 STEPHAN KOBERLE
GER
DARJEELING
68.50
73.00
(14)
70.50
74.00
(12)
66.50
73.00
(19)
67.00
68.00
(21)
68.50
72.00
(15)
70.100%
19 NIKKI CRISP
GBR
PASOA
71.25
73.00
(9)
67.50
69.00
(20)
67.75
73.00
(17)
67.25
70.00
(19)
67.25
71.00
(19)
69.700%
20 LOTJE SCHOOTS
NED
RUBY
68.25
72.00
(19)
68.00
71.00
(19)
69.50
72.00
(16)
66.00
69.00
(21)
65.75
71.00
(21)
69.250%
21 ARLENE PAGE
USA
ALINA
72.00
74.00
(8)
67.50
69.00
(20)
67.75
71.00
(20)
66.00
69.00
(21)
66.75
69.00
(22)
69.200%
22 NATALIE OLDFORS
SWE
WINNIE B
67.50
69.00
(24)
69.50
70.00
(18)
66.25
69.00
(25)
66.25
68.00
(24)
70.50
72.00
(12)
68.800%
23 DANE RAWLINS
IRL
SYDNEY
66.25
72.00
(22)
67.00
69.00
(22)
68.75
71.00
(18)
68.00
71.00
(15)
62.50
69.00
(26)
68.450%
24 JOYCE HEUITINK
NED
WUP
67.25
71.00
(22)
63.75
69.00
(23)
66.00
70.00
(24)
67.25
71.00
(17)
65.25
70.00
(23)
68.050%
25 DIANA OSTARIZ
ESP
GUMIEL
63.75
67.00
(25)
61.75
67.00
(25)
66.00
71.00
(23)
63.75
67.00
(28)
64.00
69.00
(24)
66.025%
26 KATE DWYER
IRL
REVE D’OR
62.75
65.00
(27)
62.25
63.00
(28)
65.25
69.00
(26)
63.25
69.00
(25)
62.25
66.00
(27)
64.775%
27 AGUSTI ELIAS
ESP
DECO BCN
60.25
67.00
(28)
62.75
65.00
(26)
60.00
65.00
(29)
64.25
68.00
(25)
62.50
70.00
(25)
64.475%
28 CATHERINE HENRIQUET
FRA
PARADIESZAUBER
64.50
66.00
(26)
61.75
63.00
(29)
64.00
67.00
(27)
63.25
68.00
(27)
61.25
62.00
(28)
64.075%
29 LAURO AGUILO
ESP
HIERRO C
59.25
65.00
(29)
63.00
63.00
(27)
62.75
65.00
(28)
57.50
63.00
(29)
58.75
63.00
(29)
62.025%