Is 80% Grand Prix Club Smaller Heading to World Equestrian Games?

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Adelinde Cornelissen and Jeich Parzival, the most prolific producer of 80 per cent Grand Prix scores and over the longest period of five years. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, the most prolific producer of 80 per cent Grand Prix scores and over the longest period of five years. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 20, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The number of horses and riders scoring at least 80 per cent in the Grand Prix dropped sharply in 2013 after the London Olympic year boom when seven combinations from four countries broke the barrier for the competition that will decide the Nations Cup medals at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

Since Anky van Grunsven on Salinero became the first 80 per center in setting a world record of 81.33 per cent at Rotterdam in 2006, an analysis by dressage-news.com of events at CDI3* and above, showed, only 10 other combinations have achieved the feat.

Two combinations performed the feat in 2009, three in 2010, six in 2011, seven in 2012 and four in 2013.

The list would be no surprise to any dressage fan: Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas, Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, Laura Tomlinson and Mistral Hojris, Matthias Alexander Rath and Totilas, Carl Hester and Uthopia, Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill, Steffen Peters and Ravel, Kristina Sprehe amd Desperados and Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover.

The importance of 80 per cent in the Grand Prix cannot be underestimated as it is the test on which national pride rests as it usually (the Grand Prix Special was included in London in 2012) decides the team competition at Olympics, championships and Nations Cups.

Anky van Grunsven and Salinero creating new Grand Prix world record of 81.33 per cent at Rotterdam in 2006. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Anky van Grunsven and Salinero creating new Grand Prix world record of 81.33 per cent at Rotterdam in 2006. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Edward Gal of the Netherlands is the only rider with 80 per cent on two different horses–Totilas and Undercover.

Adelinde Cornelissen, his team mate, and Parzival hold the distinction of breaking 80 per cent more than any other combination, 13 times, and over a longer period, every year for five straight years from 2009 through 2013.

Great Britain’s Laura Tomlinson on Mistral Hojris was the first non-Dutch combination in the club and since then has been joined by Carl Hester and Uthopia and Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro.

Charlotte and Valegro have scored above 80 per cent on eight occasions, picking up world records in the three Grand Prix levels along the way as had Edward and Totilas before  them.

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The German partnerships of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill as well as Kristina Sprehe and Desperados joined the club in 2012, a year after Matthias and Totilas earned membership.

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California and Ravel, veterans of two Olympics, World Equestrian Games individual medalists and World Cup champions is the sole club member outside the European powerhouses.

How hard is it to attain 80 per cent?

Isabell Werth, one of the greats of the sport, has come within less than a half percentage point but not break through in 20 years at the top tier of the sport.

The top combinations are at such a level that in all but one case the pairs have achieved the 80 per cent result at least twice.

Edward Gal of the Netherlands and Totilas twice in 2009 and six in 2010.
Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands and Parzival twice in 2009, twice in 2010, three times in 2011, four times in 2012 and twice in 2013
Laura Tomlinson of Great Britain and Mistral Hojris twice in 2010, twice in 2011 and twice in 2012
Matthias Alexander Rath of Germany and Totilas once in 2011 and once in 2012
Carl Hester of Great Britain and Uthopia twice in 2011
Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and Valegro once in 2011, four times in 2012 and four times in 2013
Steffen Peters of the United States and Ravel once in 2011 and once in 2012
Helen Langehanenberg of Germany and Damon Hill three times in 2012 and five times in 2013
Kristina Sprehe of Germany and Desperados once in 2012
Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover twice in 2013

The Legend! Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal setting a world record in 2009. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The Legend! Moorlands Totilas ridden by Edward Gal setting a world record in 2009. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com