Sönke Rothenberger & Cosmo Win Valencia CDI3* Grand Prix In 1st Show Since Olympic Gold
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Mar. 10, 2017
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo posted a personal best score to win the CDI3* Grand Prix at Valencia, Spain Friday in the first competition since the partnership won team gold at the Olympics last summer.
Sönke and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding were awarded 78.940 per cent that surpassed their previous best of 78.600 per cent set at Hagen, Germany a year ago. Video of the ride is available here.
Sönke placed second on Favorit with a score of 71.900 per cent, At the other end of the scale from the ride on Cosmo that was the youngest horse in Rio de Janeiro. Sönke and Cosmo led Germany to team gold at the 2014 European Young Rider Championships as well as taking individual bronze. The pair moved up to Under-25 division for short time the following year before starting Big Tour in September 2015.
He began riding Favourit in June, 2014 after his sister, Sanneke, competed the horse for a year. Favourit had been acquired by the Rothenberger family in 2012 following a successful career with Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén who rode the horse for Sweden at the 2009 European Championships and the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky as well as the 2010 World Cup Final.
This competition was what Sönke described as a “pre-start” to the outdoor season in Germany after Cosmo took a well deserved vacation after Rio.
Although he was 21 and Cosmo was nine years old in achieving one of life’s goals by participating at the Games, he told dressage-news.com that “life just continues the normal way.”
“Every show is a new task, a new obstacle. new things to do and you start from scratch,” he said, “and you try to do your best. It’s not like you go and say, ‘Now I’m an Olympic champion and whatever I do here doesn’t matter.’ It’s not like that, at least not for me.
“That was my first championship as a senior. so if he stays sound we probably have nice lot of competitions to come.”
He credits his parents–both Olympic equestrians–for always there training–“we talk about riding 24/7… dinner, breakfast. It is our life.”
And he points out that his sister, Sanneke, two years older–he also has a younger sister, Semmieke–has won “a lot more medals” from ponies a decade ago through junior, young rider and under-25 championships as well as riding on senior Nations Cup medal teams.
The Olympics, he explained, are different because it is not only the rider’s health but also the heath and performance of the horse “all coming together right in the Olympic season that is really rare. I’m just fortunate to have Cosmo came into my life when I was very young and he was very young. It all worked out perfectly… also a lot of luck.”
Being named the FEI Rising Star in 2016 was “the icing on a fantastic year.”
While he loves to compete in jumping, he has put that off while he finishes a college bachelor’s degree and continues to compete in dressage.
He is still deciding whether to pursue a masters degree and take a year off.
The whole family, he said, plans to compete at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in 2018.
Results: Valencia Grand Prix