Rotterdam Nations Cup in Photos

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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.

The Netherlands’ Nations Cup gold medal team of Hans Peter Minderhoud, Emmelie Scholtens, Madeleine Witte Vrees and Edward Gal. There was only one podium–the silver medal Swedish and bronze medal United States teams stayed on their horses in the background. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

The United States’ team of Adrienne Lyle, Steffen Peters, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Kasey Perry-Glass (standing) and Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover. This was also the first competition for the new Charles Ancona New York riding coats with red, white and blue trim and light weight material. The outfitter is active in the hunter/jumper community and includes Olympic gold medalist World Cup champion McLain Ward among their customers. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

An ecstatic Edward Gal after riding Glock’s Zonik to victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle that clinched the Nations Cup for the Netherlands. The duo also won the Grand Prix two days earlier in performances that avenged their defeat by the United States in 2017. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Patrik Kittel, the Swedish showman whose seeming boundless enthusiasm, startled Well Done de la Roche, 10-year-old Swiss Warmblood mare, after the Nations Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. The pair placed second. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

The single horse power of Rosamunde ridden by Steffen Peters was the focus of more attention than the sports car with hundreds of horses under the hood displayed in the background. Steffen and the 11-year-old Rhinelander mare in her first team event was the top placing American combination in what was the first selection event in Europe for the World Equestrian Games. The pair placed third in the Grand Prix Freestyle.© 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

The USA Olympic team bronze medal pair of Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet back in top form after a long break from competition and appearing to be heading to new performance heights. Kasey and the 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding placed fourth in the Nations Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Therese Nilshagen and the big moving Dante Weltino OLD riding to victory in the Nations Cup Grand Prix Special. Therese and the Oldenburg stallion, now 11 years old, emerged as stars at the 2017 European Championships. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Coming into a strange arena packed with thousands of Saturday night partygoers was not the best of times for a broken noseband on the stallion Salvino. Like a Formula 1 pit crew, groom Morgan Klingensmith, apparently always prepared, produced an extra noseband from her pocket and with the help of team mates Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Ashley Holzer with rider Adrienne Lyle keeping a close eye on what’s happening below. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Salvino receiving a kiss from Adrienne Lyle at the finish of the Nations Cup Grand Prix Special that scored 71.914 per cent despite some understandable tense moments after the equipment issue. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com