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Comments Off on Rotterdam Nations Cup in Photos
Photos and text by KENNETH J. BRADDICK
The Nations Cup in Rotterdam was won by the Netherlands, with Sweden taking silver and the United States bronze. Germany, France, Great Britain and Belgium also had teams participating.
International stars like Edward Gal on his Olympic mount Glock’s Voice, team mates Hans Peter Minderhoud and Emmelie Scholtens; Sweden’s multi Olympians Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Patrik Kittel with talented newer stars Therese Nilshagen and Juliette Ramel; a team from the United States that came at enormous cost to defend the title it won in 2017 with Olympians Steffen Peters and Kasey Perry-Glass and the highly ranked Adrienne Lyle and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz from the 2017 gold medal squad. Germany broke from its usual non-participation.
For all of the nations, it was an important event for combinations seeking to represent their countries at the world Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September. The WEG, like the Olympics, are held only once every four years so it’s important for athletes trying to make it and the fact that Tryon is THE world championships for all seven sports and para dressage governed by the FEI.
Despite the mantra of many, the FEI a leading voice, that dressage is not popular enough because it’s too difficult to understand, enter the FEI-blessed program for Rotterdam.
The Dutch organizers successfully pushed the FEI for a change in the scoring after the United States won this event in 2017 when a Netherlands’ team horse had to withdraw. After winning this year, the Dutch vigorously defended the format. It was, they said, similar to jumping in that the lowest number of points wins. But they admitted that spreading it over the three Grand Prix classes meant no one had a clue where any nation stood until the event was final.
That;s what made it exciting, said the organizers,
Huh? said spectators, riders, media and many officials who had no clue what to be excited about.
But they understood the individual classes that were all part of the team competition–hometown favorite Edward Gal on his Olympic mount Glock’s Voice winning the Grand Prix Freestyle as darkness settled on a Saturday night partying crowd. Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen on Dante Weltino OLD capturing the Grand Prix Special with a spectacular performance. Two days earlier, the combinations had finished one-two in the Grand Prix.
Good sport and some dramatic moments trumped confusion.