Para dressage top level with five triple winners
“We are the champions” - Freestyle is all about interpreting the music and the para equestrian dressage riders premiering at CHI AL SHAQAB choose it accordingly.
It was an exciting finale for their first entry in Doha’s prestigious event with convincing winners. All five grades presented high level sport with the leaders set in stone from day one. Three convincing Dutch and first places for the para legend Lee Pearson from Great Britain and German Elke Philipps rounded off an event that athletes consider a milestone for their sport. “This CHI offered a great opportunity for para sports in general”, said Dr. Jan Holger Holtschmid, chief judge from Germany.
French chanson “Formidable” gave the headline for Sanne Voets and Zoya Sollenburg taking the win in Grade 3 on 76.417, completing their golden triplet in Doha. Last year the European and world champion already had chosen the music herself, following advice of her friends. Over time she advanced the safe test to the current technical level. “When we get to Rio I will ask an expert for the music,” said the Dutch who sees Doha as her rehearsal for the Paralympics 2016 with two horses in a full time programme.
Dutch grade 4 rider Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. finished on 75.333 for their freestyle, making that their third overall win in Doha. The judges liked their interpretation of his signature music “Tainted Love” and “Slave To The Rhythm”, giving her 79.333 for artistic value. The pair had two little mistakes in canter in the beginning of their performance but found their way to convincing forward rhythm immediately. “He felt so fluently in the trot, I can’t describe it”, the tall athlete said afterwards. The gap to rivaling Michele George from Belgium was wider on the third day. Riding Saganne, the multiple Olympic and World championship gold medalist had chosen music from the award winning animated film “Wallace and Grommit”. “I watched that with my kids the other day and immediately liked it,” she said. “But the mare was feeling the heat and was a little tired.”
Rixt van der Horst completed the Dutch winners trio, staying ahead again in grade 2. Riding black gelding Uniek she scored 74.833 in front of Demi Vermeulen (NED) getting very close (74.750). “I was a little bit tense today, but he coped wonderfully”, van der Holst said on her partner of only 18 months. “He fits my handicap.”
Lee Pearson lived up to his reputation as the top para dressage rider of all time, taking the third CHI-win on Zion. “It was a hard fought title with the standard of the sport getting closer to the yet unbeaten British team.” Scoring 78.167 Pearson was pleased again with his WEG horse, that he trains since six years. He was not happy with his first lateral movement but more so with the event in total. “In the arena it is all about sport, but outside it is about the volunteers of Doha. Their friendliness and helpfulness is outstanding.” Alexander Durban, managing the para equestrian discipline in Doha seconded the multi medalist Pearson. “ Every detail was taken care of to prepare for the athletes with their special needs.”
World’s No.3 Elke Philipp from Germany stayed ahead in Grade 1a for the most impaired riders scoring 77.833 in front of her competitors from Singapore, Laurentia Yen Ti Yan and Gemma Rose Jen Foo “Regaliz and I we know each other so well, but he outdid himself today”, she beamed following her intricate programme that made a performance in walk look incredibly exciting.
Para Equestrian dressage has left the days behind when only aged and dull school horses were thought safe enough for riders with impairments. ”The quality of the horses in Doha was remarkable,” said Dutch judge Hanneke Gerritsen. “Not every horse can do para dressage. You want them responsive and agile, neither spooky nor lazy. A horse for para equestrian needs to be agile but sensible.” And that is no different to the requirements for equestrian sport in general. Every rider wants that, regardless of any grade or level. CHI AL SQAQAB 2015 showed that para equestrian dressage has truly arrived.
Results Para Equestrian Dressage – Freestyle
1. Elke Philipp/ Regaliz (GER) 77.833
2. Laurentia Yen Ti Tan/ Ruben James (SIN) 74.500
3. Gemma Rose Jen Foo/ Cassis Royal (SIN) 68.833
1. Lee Pearson/Zion (GBR) 78.176
2. Nicole den DULK/ Wallace (NED) 77.417
3. Anne Frederique Royon/J’Adore (FRA) 67.500
1. Rixt van der Holst/ Uniek (NED) 74.833
2. Demi Vermeulen/ Vaness (NED) 74.750
3. Natasha Baker/ Cabral (GBR) 74.000
1. Sanne Voets/ Zoya Sollenburg (NED) 76.417
2. Roberta Sheffield/ Double Agent (CAN) 72.417
3. Ann Cathrin Lübbe/ Cypres (NOR) 68.667
1. Frank Hosmar/ Alphaville N.O.P. (NED) 77.750
2. Michelle George/ Saganne (BEL) 75.333
3. Carolin Schnarre/ Del Rusch (GER) 73.167
Source: press release Al Shaqab 2015
Datum: 8 maart 2015