Valegro & Charlotte Dujardin Win World Games Freestyle Gold, Damon Hill Silver, Parzival Bronze

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World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle medalists Chrlotte Dujardin (gold), Helen Langehnenberg (silver) and delinde Corneissen (bronze). © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle medalists Chrlotte Dujardin (gold), Helen Langehnenberg (silver) and delinde Corneissen (bronze). © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

CAEN, France, Aug. 29, 2014–Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin won the World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle gold medal Friday, the second individual gold to go with the silver she won with her team from Great Britain.

The score of 92.161 per cent for Charlotte and Valegro was dominating, though it was short of their world record of 93.975 per cent, but the 20,000 spectators that packed the soccer stadium converted to dressage arena couldn’t have cared less as they went wild with their applause.

Damon Hill NRW ridden by Helen Langehanenberg of Germany won silver–she also won individual silver in the Grand Prix Special as well as team gold–with a score of 88.286 per cent. It also was short of their best but the pint-sized rider described the performance by the 14-year-old Westfalen stallion as “perfect.”

Jerich Parzival with Adelinde Cornelissen took the bronze to match her Netherlands team result and made the rider proud that the KWPN gelding is still competitive at the top level of the sport although he is 17 years old.

Desperados with Kristina Sprehe of Germany was fourth, the United States combination of Verdades and Laura Graves fifth and Augustin OLD ridden by Victoria Max-Theurer of Austria 6th.

Charlotte and Valegro’s score above 90 per cent was one seven results above 80 per cent, one more than in the 2010 Kentucky WEG.

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in te Grand Prix Freestyle riding for their second individual gold and team silver medals at the World Equestrian Games. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in te Grand Prix Freestyle riding for their second individual gold and team silver medals at the World Equestrian Games. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura Graves, the 27-year-old rider on Verdades that her mother bought as a foal from a Dutch sales video, emerged as the star of these dressage world championships held once every four years. The fifth place finish for Laura and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding that began international Grand Prix just last February was a huge boost for American dressage.

She and Verdades are the first Americans to capture the attention of the highest levels of dressage since Steffen Peters of San Diego, California rode Ravel to a World Cup title in 2009, two individual bronze medals at the World Games in Kentucky four years ago, top performances at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and the CDIO champion at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.

Charlotte and Valegro added to their treasure trove of precious metal with double gold at the 2012 Olympics in London–the first ever medals for Britain in a century of the Games–gold at the Europeans and now two golds here.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” Charlotte said after the ride. “After London, I didn’t think it could get much better. Then the Europeans and now this.

“Any medal is a real achievement. To come away with two individual gold medals and a team silver is unbelievable. I could not ask for anything more.”

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in the round of honor after winning the second individual gold medal at the World Equestrian Games. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro in the round of honor after winning the second individual gold medal at the World Equestrian Games. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

What now?

“Retiring is definitely in mind,” she joked. “Obviously what I’ve achieved with Valegro is way more than I dreamt of doing. The challenge is to do it on another, younger horse. Hopefully I can do it again on another horse.”

Silver medalists, Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com
Silver medalists, Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com

Good humor was the theme of the medalists.

Asked about performing at such a high level, Helen said of Damon Hill: “He can speak and write. Every time you wonder how he can be better because the last time was perfect, the next time he is even better.

“If he was a little smaller he would be beside us on the sofa.”

Helen said she knew of media reports that the owners of Damon Hill were considering selling the horse, but to dressage-news.com she dismissed the prospect of splitting up the partnership.

Bronze medal for Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com
Bronze medal for Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival © Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

Adelinde, who has been competing Parzival at Grand Prix for eight years and won gold at the European Championships two years later, said the 17-year-old KWPN gelding feels like he is going on seven.

“He just keeps doing it over and over again,” she said. “He really deserved the medal today,” she added referring to their last WEG four years ago when the horse bit his tongue and was disqualified when blood was visible but the pair were awarded a team gold medal.

“As long as he keeps going we will keep going,” and Adelinde said she was looking to the Olympics in Rio de Janiero in 2016 when Parzival will be 19 years old.

For Laura Graves and Verdades who began competing at international CDI only six months ago at Wellington, Florida the results were beyond belief (see separate story).

Laura Graves and Verdades of the USA, from unknown into 5th place © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades of the USA, from unknown into 5th place © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news.com

Victoria Max-Theurer, the rider who already has three Olympics on her resume although she is only 28 years old, rode Augustin OLD for her first result above 80 per cent outside her homeland of Austria.

Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin OLD giving a triumphant fist pump after the rider posted her first score above 80 per cent outside her homeland of Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin OLD giving a triumphant fist pump after the rider posted her first score above 80 per cent outside her homeland of Austria. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Results:

World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle

H : Liselotte FORE C : Isabelle JUDET      M : Susan HOEVENAARS
E : Francis VERBEEK B : Elizabeth MC MULLEN
K : Dietrich PLEWA F : Stephen CLARKE
Rank Horse Rider Nat. % K % E % H % C % M % B % F % Moy.
1. VALEGRO Charlotte DUJARDIN 89.500
(1.)
92.250
(1.)
92.750
(1.)
94.000
(1.)
93.375
(1.)
89.875
(1.)
93.375
(1.)
92.161
2. DAMON HILL NRW Helen LANGEHANENBERG 87.750
(2.)
88.375
(2.)
88.500
(2.)
89.750
(2.)
86.875
(2.)
86.625
(2.)
90.125
(2.)
88.286
3. JERICH PARZIVAL N.O.P. Adelinde CORNELISSEN 83.000
(4.)
83.625
(3.)
86.750
(3.)
85.625
(3.)
86.875
(2.)
85.500
(3.)
88.625
(3.)
85.714
4. DESPERADOS FRH Kristina SPREHE 83.375
(3.)
83.000
(4.)
81.250
(4.)
81.625
(7.)
85.000
(4.)
83.875
(4.)
83.750
(6.)
83.125
5. VERDADES Laura GRAVES 81.125
(5.)
80.375
(6.)
79.250
(7.)
83.000
(5.)
84.750
(5.)
81.125
(6.)
84.625
(5.)
82.036
6. AUGUSTIN OLD Victoria MAX-THEURER 77.000
(9.)
82.000
(5.)
80.125
(6.)
82.750
(6.)
82.000
(6.)
80.625
(7.)
82.750
(7.)
81.036
7. DON AURIELLO Tinne VILHELMSON SILFVÉN 78.250
(6.)
79.000
(7.)
77.250
(11.)
83.125
(4.)
80.250
(8.)
79.750
(9.)
85.000
(4.)
80.375
8. HALF MOON DELPHI Michael EILBERG 77.375
(7.)
79.000
(7.)
80.625
(5.)
79.000
(9.)
81.500
(7.)
80.000
(8.)
80.375
(8.)
79.696
9. DONNPERIGNON Anna KASPRZAK 77.375
(7.)
78.000
(9.)
77.625
(10.)
79.125
(8.)
79.625
(9.)
82.250
(5.)
78.500
(11.)
78.929
10. LEGOLAS 92 Steffen PETERS 75.000
(11.)
73.750
(14.)
78.625
(8.)
76.375
(11.)
78.875
(11.)
78.750
(10.)
79.875
(10.)
77.321
11. ARLANDO NH N.O.P. Diederik van SILFHOUT 76.500
(10.)
77.125
(10.)
78.500
(9.)
76.375
(11.)
79.125
(10.)
76.875
(12.)
76.500
(13.)
77.286
12. NIP TUCK Carl HESTER 73.250
(14.)
76.625
(11.)
76.375
(12.)
75.625
(13.)
77.500
(13.)
76.375
(13.)
80.375
(8.)
76.589
13. DIGBY Nathalie zu SAYN-WITTGENSTEIN 74.625
(12.)
73.875
(13.)
75.000
(15.)
77.125
(10.)
77.625
(12.)
77.625
(11.)
77.125
(12.)
76.143
14. GLOCK’S JOHNSON TN Hans Peter MINDERHOUD 74.125
(13.)
75.250
(12.)
75.875
(13.)
75.250
(14.)
76.625
(14.)
75.500
(14.)
76.250
(14.)
75.554
15. PAINTED BLACK Morgan BARBANÇON 73.250
(14.)
71.875
(15.)
75.375
(14.)
73.375
(15.)
76.500
(15.)
75.000
(15.)
75.375
(15.)
74.393