PARZIVAL RIDDEN BY ADELINDE CORNELISSEN BEATS TOTILAS ON WAY TO GP SPECIAL WORLD RECORD

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Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in the lap of honor for their victory in the European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in the lap of honor for their victory in the European Dressage Championships Grand Prix Special. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WINDSOR, England, Aug. 27–Parzival ridden by Adelinde Cornelissen of The Netherlands set a new world record in the Grand Prix Special at the European Championships Thursday, beating Moorlands Totilas for the gold medal.

The score for Adelinde and Parzival was 84.042 per cent, breaking a record that had been set just 20 minutes earlier when Edward Gal and Totilas were awarded 83.042 per cent, including 32 marks of 10. Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris won the bronze medal with their highest score ever of 80.083 per cent and only the third individual medal awarded to Great Britain in the history of these championships.

European Championships Grand Prix Special medalists (l to r) Edward Gal, silver, Adelinde Cornelissen, gold, Laura Bechtolsheimer, bronze. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
European Championships Grand Prix Special medalists (l to r) Edward Gal, silver, Adelinde Cornelissen, gold, Laura Bechtolsheimer, bronze. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, president of the ground jury, may have offered the best description of Thursday’s drama.

“Today has been been the greatest moment in the history of dressage,” he said. “We have never seen the sport at this level. One has to praise the courage of the riders to go in to the arena under this incredible pressure.”

Adelinde was the last of 30 riders in the Grand Prix Special. She was warming up in the arena adjoining the competition ring, hearing the collective gasps of the crowd at the extravagant movements of the nine-year-old Totilas and the standing ovation the pair received when the provisional scores indicated a new world record.

As Edward later explained, mistakes caused by tension were costly.

Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas received scores like this. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas received these scores... © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
For this passage tour. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
For this passage tour. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
And some like this. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
And some like this. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Then, home town favorite Laura Bechtolsheimer rode her 2008 Olympic mount “more determined than ever before” to produce “the best test I have ever ridden” that was “very special for it to happen in Great Britain.” The British crowd showed their appreciation with thunderous applause.

Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris on the ride of her life.  2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris on the ride of her life. 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ecstasy of the moment. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ecstasy of the moment. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I had no idea of the other scores before I went into the arena and do as I always do, ride my test as well as I can,” said Adelinde, a 30-year-old former school teacher whose 12-year-old Jazz gelding is the first horse she has taken to Grand Prix.

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in their consistent ride at the highest level. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival in their consistent ride at the highest level. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I thought I was second as I looked at the wrong scores when I was finished, and congratulated Edward. He said, ‘What do you mean? You won.'”

Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival garnered their share of 10s. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival garnered their share of 10s. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Just a day earlier, Gal and Totilas had set a world record Grand Prix score of 84.085 per cent to lead the Dutch team that included Adelinde to their second consecutive European Championships gold. And a month at Hickstead just 40 miles (64km) from these championships on the parklands of Windsor Castle. Gal and Totilas set a Grand Prix Freestyle world record.

In recognition of the achivements of Totilas, the KWPN (Royal Dutch Warmblood Association) awarded Tosca and Kies Visser, the stallion’s owners, certifying Totilas as a breeding stallion.

Tosca and Kies Visser, owners of Moorlands Totilas, and Edward Gal. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tosca and Kies Visser, owners of Moorlands Totilas, and Edward Gal. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com