Dutch Delight at Top, Germany Holds Its Own in 2nd, Britain, USA, Canada Bunched Behind
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Sept. 27–The Dutch dressage juggernaut set the stage Monday for their first ever World Equestrian Games team gold medal while Germany made a recovery that gave them a good shot at the reserve championship while Great Britain, the USA and Canada were bunched in a battle for the bronze.
With Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas and Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, the number one and two combinations in the world scheduled to perform Tuesday, the Dutch team was within reach of their goal after Imke Schellekens-Bartels on Hunter Douglas Sunrise put the Netherlands at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of competition in the world championships. Hans Peter Minderhoud, the fourth team rider on Exquis Nadine, was in third place individually in the premier title of the sport horse world that is contested only once every four years and is being held outside Europe for the first time.
All of the nations filling the first five spots atop the leaderboard have saved their best for the second day of competition in the Kentucky Horse Park’s spectacular Main Arena. Rain and chilly temperatures did not dampen the enthusiasm of fans for what may be the most exciting dressage showdown at WEG, the sixth since the first Games in 1990.
Aside from the Dutch duo for Tuesday, Germany has 2009 European team bronze medalist Matthias Alexander Rath and Sterntaler UNICEF and the remarkable Olympian Isabell Werth on Warum Nicht FRH.
And Great Britain has 2009 European Championship silver medal pairs Carl Hester and Liebling II and Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris, the third ranked combination in the world.
The USA cannot be ruled out with 2009 World Cup champion and 2009 Aachen CDIO titlist Steffen Peters and Ravel scheduled for the last ride of the day that is sure to keep everyone on the edge of their seats as the team results could come down to that performance. The score for the world class and increasingly confident pair of Tina Konyot and Calecto V could set the stage for the final showdown.
Team standings after first day:
1. Netherlands 145.702; 2. Germany 140.340; 3. Great Britain 138.341; 4. United States 136.170; 5. Canada 135.702; 6. Denmark 134.553; 7. Australia 134.383 and 8. Sweden 134.255.
On Monday, Imke and Sunrise went to the top of the leaderboard individually with a score of 73.447 per cent, with team mate Hans Peter and Nadine in third place on 72.255 per cent. Imke and Sunrise displayed the form that won them team gold at the 2009 Europeans while Hans Peter and Nadine showed the form that won the Netherlands silver at the 2008 Olympics.
German team rookie Christoph Koschel on Donnperignon slid into second place and raised his nation’s hopes for silver with a score of 72.638 per cent.
Earlier, Anabel Balkenhol on Dablino scored an uncharacteristically low 67.702 per cent. There were huge disparities in the judges’ marks–the greatest for any combination–with Germany’s Evi Eisenhardt placing Anabel and Dablino first on 72.786 per cent while the USA’s Linda Zang awarded the pair 62.979 per cent and seventh place.
Fiona Bigwood and Wie-Atlantico de Ymas posted a personal best of 70.128 per cent that got Britain off to a great start in its quest to repeat its silver medal performance at the 2009 European Championships while Maria Eilberg and Two Sox who were on that team scored 68.213 per cent to put their side into third place in the team standings.
The USA’s Todd Flettrich aboard the 14-year-old Danish gelding, Otto, scored 66.553 per cent in their first outing for the U.S. team as it was for Katherine Bateson-Chandler who rode Nartan for a mark of 69.617 per cent and fifth place individually. Both riders are based in Wellington, Florida.
“I think I had a mistake in the one tempis, and of course the last centerline,” Todd said later. “His forte is piaffe/passage. I came down the centerline and I brought him a little quicker to the piaffe. I thought he was there and I relaxed for a second and he said, ‘Okay!’ and he just halted. It was an honest mistake and unfortunate. It cost me a lot of points and I had some really beautiful scores before that.”
Katherine, who has been riding Nartan since the horse was acquired by Jane Forbes Clark in March, recalled that while grooming for six-time U.S. Olympian Robert Dover her first big championship was at the WEG in the Netherlands in 1994.
“It’s awesome now a few years later to be riding at a World Championships,” she said. “We have the most incredible team. We have a rapport like I’ve never seen on a team before. We’re all really close, close friends. We’ve had the best time ever and it’s just been a great experience.”
Complete Grand Prix scores from Day 1:
||I. Schellekens-Bartels||Hunter Douglas Sunrise||73.447||1726|
||H. Minderhoud||Exquis Nadine||72.255||1698|
||F. Bigwood||Wie-Atlantico de Ymas||70.128||1648|
||S. Hansen||Gredstedgårds Casmir||69.106||1624|
||E. Kanerva||Sini Spirit||68.851||1618|
||R. Sanna||Jaybee Alabaster||68.809||1617|
||M. Eilberg||Two Sox||68.213||1603|
||M. Telde||Larina – Höm||68.000||1598|
||M. Galiza Mendes||D´Artagnan||67.489||1586|
||C. Castilla Ruiz||Jade de MV||67.319||1582|
||S. de Klein||Prins 32||66.511||1563|
||P. Kittel||Watermill Scandic H.B.C||66.255||1557|
||P. Jorissen||Le Beau||64.809||1523|
||C. Kalseth||Carte d´Or||64.170||1508|
||Y. Kitai||Sig Fairytale||64.000||1504|
||L. Tavares de Almeida||Samba||63.574||1494|
||G. Chelius||Flamenco R||61.149||1437|
||J. Reynolds||Remember 143||61.021||1434|
||H. Kitahara||Why Me||58.170||1367|