Netherlands Win Rotterdam Nations Cup Gold, USA Silver, Sweden Bronze
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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, June 25, 2016-The Netherlands won the CDIO5* Nations Cup gold medal Saturday with the United States taking silver and Sweden bronze and the Americans remained firmly at the top of the trans-Atlantic series leaderboard.
Laura Graves on Verdades won the Grand Prix Special and Steffen Peters on Legolas was runnerup in the Freestyle that kept the United States in second place after the Grand Prix as all three phases counted in the event that was the fourth of six Nations Cups.
The Freestyle and the Special were held in the large main arena with grand stands on three sides packed with thousands of spectators in a festive mood that is common at premier horse shows in Europe, especially the Netherlands and Germany.
Final standings of the Nations Cup in Rotterdam were 1. Netherlands 460.167; 2. United States 455.649; 3. Sweden 444.573; 4. France 429.961; 5. Great Britain 423.600; 6. Germany, and 7. Belgium.
Laura of Geneva, Florida and her 14-year-old KWPN gelding scored 77.314 per cent to win the Special with the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen on the 19-year-old Jerich Parzival second on 76.725 per cent and Sweden’s Juliette Ramel on Buriel, K.H. third on 73.413 per cent.
Kasey Perry Glass on Dublet was the second American in the Special and scored 71.765 per cent, well below their scores since the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding began Grand Prix five months ago.
For Laura Graves who “partnered” with Verdades when her family bought him as a foal, sight unseen except by video. She burst on to the scene in 2013, placing fifth inthe World Games Freestyle.
Satuerday’s Special, she told dressage-news.com, “may not have been a personal best scorewise, but for me a personal best ride feeling wise.
“For the first time in my life I felt this is the horse I have been hoping to bring to the arena. We did have a few funny mistakes. He was a little bit afraid of the short side but he was really, really honest about it. It made it a little bit tricky coming into our left pirouette.
“In general, everything was really steady, I thought the transitions were really improved and I can’t complain, We had a little hiccup in the ones (tempi changes) but I don’t know where that came from. A year ago I probably would have stopped with the hiccup but I rode the rest of the changes.
“You live and you learn and grow and hopefully get better.”
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén, a six-time Olympian for Sweden and riding Don Auriello that she plans to compete in Rio de Janeiro in August, was the top individual finisher in the Freestyle with a score of 79.750 per cent.
Steffen of San Diego, California on Legolas that is his main prospect for the American team, scored 79.650 per cent for second place individually and enough to clinch the silver medal for the United States.
Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Johnson that will also be his Olympic team mount made the all-too common navigation error in the Special, instinctively beginning the final extended trot on the diagonal as it is in the Grand Prix instead of straight down the long side before the centerline passage and piaffe tour. Hans Peter who won the Grand Prix two days earlier after a 10-month break from competition joked about mistake that had no impact on the Netherlands taking the dressage Nations Cup to match the victory for the Dutch team in the jumping Nations Cup.
This competition was the second of two Olympic selection events for the squad of seven American riders and nine horses vying for a place on the Olympic team. It was considered by coach Robert Dover a major success. The first event that was in France saw the U.S. win the Nations Cup following a victory in Wellington, Florida three months ago.
The companion CDI3* Grand Prix Special was won by Steffen on Rosamunde, the nine-year-old Westfalen mare that he is developing as a successor to Legolas.
The U.S. won the Nations in Wellington, Florida and in France and has a clear lead with two more events to go, in Sweden and Germany in July.
Standings in the Nations Cup series after Rotterdam, the fourth of six events: 1. USA 43; 2. Sweden 32; 3T. Netherlands 20; 3T. France; 5. Great Britain 17; 6T. Denmark; 6T. Germany; 8. Australia 10.