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Germany leads after first steps towards medals

Dressage team riders have taken the first two steps towards the medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy. After two riders and continuous rain Germany is leading the provisional team ranking in front of the title holders from the Netherlands and the Olympic team champions from Great Britain.

Germany leads after first steps towards medals

The day started early for the German contingent with Fabienne Lütkemeier and D’Agostino FRH being the first rider out, scoring 73,586. Her lead held until Kristina Sprehe presented Desperados, delivering a ride with the stallion that all judges saw in first place with a wide margin lead of 78,814. “Normally he is nervous at the first competition of a show, but not today. I felt a little tension in the tunnel going in but in the arena he was fully concentrated and relaxed,” Sprehe mentioned after the ride. “If anything the pirouettes could have been a little better. But that was my fault. I should have taken more risks.”  

A pleased Monica Theodorescu, national coach for the team and individual trainer for Sprehe, is looking forward to Tuesday. “Fabienne rode a great test and Kristina was super strong. Not one wobbly moment. She really presented him with confidence. We can take a breather now until tomorrow.” The reigning European champions are keen to regain the world title that eluded them for the first time in Lexington 2010.

Defending champions Netherlands have been affected by two major exchanges in the team, bringing in Diederik van Silfhout and Arlando NH N.O.P. as their first starters. “Considering the horse’s little experience he did very well,.” van Silfhout was pleased after a rather careful ride. The only nine year old Arlando has done “only 8 or 10” grand prix up to now and Silfhout praised the team for “accepting me so well.” It was up to Hans-Peter Minderhoud and 12 year-old Glock’s Johnson’s TN to follow and push up the Dutch result with his score of 74,357. “The first part of the test was not as expressive as it could have been. The start bell came very suddenly and Johnson was still a bit stunned by the wet footing. You could well hear the swishing noises when he moved,” Minderhoud described his ride in the wetness of Caen.

The British team started out small with Gareth Hughes and inexperienced DV Stenkjers Nadonna, ranked 15th at the end of Day 1. The mare was clearly impressed by the atmosphere, leaving it to the teams “boss” Carl Hester to save the first day. Hesters Nip and Tuck delivered a personal best and a nice story about trusting your instincts. Hester: “He cost 1000 Euro as yearling and here I am at the World Championship with him, 24 years after my first WEG in Stockholm. This horse clearly shows that dressage isn’t just elitist.” The rider is full of praise for the Dutch gelding that he describes as “the biggest horse in the stable but so naïve.” He did his first grand prix test only in May this year, at Saumur. “My other horses, maybe, could have gotten higher marks but I know Nip and Tuck for so long, I knew I could absolutely  trust him and he proved me right.”

Provisional top 5 after Day 1:

  1. GER
  2. NED
  3. GBR
  4. ESP
  5. USA

Individual ranking:

  1. Kristina Sprehe (GER) – Desperados FRH (78.814)
  2. Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) – Glock’s Johnson TN (74.357)
  3. Carl Hester (GBR) – Nip Tuck  (74.186)
  4. Fabienne Lütkemeier (GER) – D’Agostino FRH (73.586)
  5. Diederik van Silfhout (NED) – Arlando NH N.O.P (73.414)

CLICK HERE to see the individual results

CLICK HERE to see the team results

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