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Western European Dressage World Cup Qualifiers Decided

All the competitors in the last Western-European Qualifier for the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final to be held in Las Vegas, April 18-22, 2007, rode like they had already entered the Final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, March 22-24, 2007.

"It was an amazing group of riders indeed with amazing Final-worth performances", said Jury President, Dutchman Ghislain Fouarge, who was recently confirmed as one of the judges for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Two qualifiers ago in Neumünster, Germany, Isabell Werth rode her best Freestyle ever, rewarded with 83,60%, now at probably "the best indoor World Cup™ Qualifier ever in ‘s-Hertogenbosch" as she called the Indoor Brabant Horseshow, she received 82,40% for her winning test.

"I am most happy with Hannes, (aka Warum Nicht FRH) who was very concentrated and in a powerful shape. The piaffe and passage went better than in [the] Grand Prix and apart from the little unevenness in the extended trot and apart from his anxiousness to stand still at the final halt, I have no comments", Isabell said. Highlights again were the piaffe and passage and the fitting variety between the half passes in passage and in collected trot. The worst problem Isabell had to cope with in ‘s-Hertogenbosch had been the dark-red-colored carpet in he stables which Hannes refused to pass. Stewards took care for a lane of sand over the carpet to direct Hannes from the stables into the practicing arena. "No carpets in Las Vegas I’m sure", Isabell smiled.

The grey mare Blue Hors Matiné partnered by Aachen 2006 WEG bronze medalist, Andreas Helgstrand. The enthusiastic audience all rose when the big passaging Matiné came by when leaving the arena. However, Andres Helgstrand was happy being the runner up: "This is the best indoor show I have been until now and I am most happy with the performances of Matiné, who has been suffering from an injury. Now she is fully back and I definitely plan to bring her to Las Vegas for sure", Andreas Helgstrand said.

Swiss rider, Silvia Iklé, was riding in her third World Cup™ Qualifier with 13 year-old Salieri. Alas, the Swiss Equestrian Federation and Iklé’s trainer had decided not to compete in Las Vegas. "For the Swiss team the Olympic qualification to reach for at the European Championships in Italy is the main goal for 2007 and Salieri and me are part of that goal", Silvia Iklé explained.

‘To go or nor to go’ to the Final in Las Vegas was more or less the most important question the competitors had to deal with after the dressage. For Dutchman, Edward Gal, reaching the fifth position with his black stallion Gribaldi, the answer was easy. "Of course I’ll go and I am going to win", the runner up of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in 2004 and in Las Vegas in 2005 partnering Lingh said.

Jan Brink ended sixth with Briar has yet to make up his mind as Sweden still has to earn its Olympic qualification. He will decide after having checked his vet and the healthiness of 16 year old Briar at home. The same goes for British-based Finnish rider, Kyra Kyrklund. Highlights were her test with Max were their transitions and the cheerful and sunny looks of the test and horse which placed the pair fourth. Bad luck struck Butch rider, Laurens van Lieren, as he had to withdraw his chestnut Hexagon’s Ollright due to a slight injury.

Isabell Werth, and Hannes won the World Cup™ Qualifiers in Maastricht, Neumünster and now ‘s-Hertogenbosch and was the runner up at London-Olympia. With this latest victory, they have moved forward to the shared winner’s position in the Western European League with Dutch rider, Imke Schellekens-Bartels.

On March 27, 2007, the Dressage Committee will decide the wild cards that will be presented for remaining places in the Final. German Ellen Schulten Baumer, who sufferered from the loss of her Lesotho, has already decided not to travel to Las Vegas. This leaves an unfamiliar position for Isabell Werth to be the only German representative in the World Cup™ Dressage Final. "It’s like I come from a developing country", Isabell joked.

The organizers of the 40 year-old Indoor Brabant Horseshow have applied to host the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in 2008.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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