Special World Champion Valegro

Valuable Valegro and British Charlotte Dujardin collected their second world championship title at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Wednesday, delivering a score of 86.120 per cent despite three mistakes. Helen Langehanenberg riding Damon Hill FRH and Kristina Sprehe/Desperados FRH took silver and bronze for Germany. They finished the grand prix special test on 84.468 and 79.782 percent.

Special World Champion Valegro
© PSV Photos

Elegantly and powerfully as ever, double Olympic and European champion Valegro set the scoring board ablaze while at the same time showing he is not a machine. “He needed to go to the toilet while I needed a piaffe”, Dujardin summed up their slow start into the first on-the-spot movement. “Later on I tried even harder because I knew I had three big mistakes and was afraid it might have cost me the medal.”

Langehanenberg (32) had to settle for second place again despite a faultless grand prix special test without a premature halt on the last line that had harmed her in the team test on Tuesday. “I made sure he did not stop too early today on the last line,” she said.  

Bronze medalist Kristina Sprehe at her first world championship had to hold her breath until the last rider Adelinde Cornelissen had finished her test. The Dutch, riding Parzival, missed the metal by 0.454 points, mostly because of penalties for neglecting the 45-second-rule and entering the arena too late.

Several noticeable firsts at this world championship: Laura Graves in her first season at grand prix level bested US team veteran Steffen Peters. At the US-championships in June, her first big outing, she had still trailed him. “This great score is just the icing on the cake,” the Florida-girl training with Olympic rider Debbie McDonald said with a beaming smile finishing on 8th place. Breeding champion Glock’s Johnson did his very first grand prix special after Dutch Hans Peter Minderhoud had previously concentrated with him on freestyles.

Personal bests for Dutch Arlando NH with Diederik van Silfhout, finishing 9th, and for  Britons Halfmoon Delphi with  Michael Eilberg and Nip Tuck with Carl Hester. After a masterly ride in what is the horse’s third grand prix special, Dujardin’s trainer sees this brown gelding as “maybe my horse for Rio”.

Defending title holder Edward Gal rode Glock’s Voice to 25th place, with the horse loosing contact after the first piaffe. “It was like riding with damage control.” The black stallion replacing Gal’s present No.1 horse Undercover is already 12 years old but relatively inexperienced. He underwent a steep learning curve in Caen. “There is a lot going on here, in the stables, in the arena, that he is not used to and it is a pity he has to learn this during this competition”, Gal said retracing now to a spectator-and-trainer’s role at the Freestyle on Friday for his partner Hans Peter Minderhoud. The top 15 combinations are competing in the freestyle on Friday.   

Top 5 results:

  1. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR)/ Valegro – 86.120
  2. Helen Langehanenberg (GER)/ Damon Hill FRH – 84.468
  3. Kristina Sprehe (GER)/ Desperados FRH – 79.762
  4. Adelinde Cornelissen (NED)/ Jericho Parzival N.O.P – 79.328
  5. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE)/ Don Auriello – 78.235

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