Germans and Dutch divide the gold at European Dressage Championships in Arezzo

Germans and Dutch divide the gold at European Dressage Championships in Arezzo

Germany clinched four of the six titles on offer while The Netherlands claimed double-gold at the FEI European Dressage Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2014 which drew to a close at Arezzo in Italy yesterday.
The Germans began by dominating both Team competitions, and then Junior team-member Anna-Christina Abbelen and Fuerst on Tour made it a personal hat-trick with victory in both the Individual and Freestyle.
Dutch rider, Anne Meulendijks, proved unbeatable with President’s MDH Avanti in the Young Riders Individual and Freestyle, and there was widespread praise for the Italian venue which last year hosted the FEI European Pony Championships. This time around however the heat was not so intense and competitors enjoyed ideal conditions and facilities throughout the busy week of top-quality competition.
A total of 131 riders from 24 nations competed at this 41st staging of these Championships. It was the first time for them to take place at Arezzo, but the fifth time to be staged in Italy following previous editions in Cervia in 1987 and 1991, in Rome in 2002 and at Barzago in Lombardia in 2005.
The Ground Jury for the Young Riders consisted of Maria Colliander (FIN), Irina Maknami (RUS), Isobel Wessels (GBR), Vincenzo Truppa (ITA) and Marietta Almasy (FRA) while the Junior Championship judges were Freddy Leyman (BEL), Barbara Ardu (ITA), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Eduard de Wolff van Westerrode (NED) and Peter Holler (GER).
Germany’s domination of the Junior division was overseen by Abbelen whose score of 77.054 with the nine-year-old Fuerst on Tour in the Team event set the tone for her amazing week. Joined by Julia de Ridder (Comtessa) and Jessica Krieg (Special Edition) who both scored 71.135, and Ellen Richter and Fontane who posted 72.243, Abbelen’s mark ensured a team total of 220.432 to clinch gold convincingly.
The Netherlands’ leading score was 71.757 from Rosalie Bos and Bolita with team-mates Marjan Hooge (Fulltime) scoring 71.459, Lotte Meulendijks (Tom Tom Go) providing the discard with 67.676 and Jeanine Nekeman (Vlingh) posting 72.243 for a team total of 215.459 and the silver medals. Denmark pipped Norway for the bronze, Amanda Overgaard (Horsebo Smarties) providing the discount score of 68.865 when Kristine Koch Bejtrup (Cavaler) posted 69.216, Sille Engermann (Fernet) posted 70.568 and Alexandra Sorensen (Camiro Mandoe) posted 72.703.
However Norwegian team-member, Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen, racked up a big mark of 73.568 with Belamour, and would make a big impact when taking both Individual and Freestyle silver.
After the Team prize-giving ceremony, Germany’s Abbelen said modestly “I am very happy with the success of my team and even more happy that my performance contributed to this very important result”. Team-mate, Jessica Krieg, said “the moment I entered the arena I felt that my horse was very tense indeed. I had to concentrate very much on riding the movements and keeping him calm and helping him as much as possible, but he went really well”.
Junior Individual
Andresen’s 75.763 in the Junior Individual Championship was less than three points short of Abbelen’s 78.447, while Jeanine Nekeman from The Netherlands took Individual bronze ahead of Denmark’s Alexandra Sorensen who just missed out on a podium placing when posting 73.658.
The Netherlands’ Rosalie Bos had to settle for fifth here, but in yesterday’s Freestyle she really impressed with a big score of 77.925 with Bolita for bronze medal spot. Norway’s Andresen and Belamour scored a remarkable 79.675 for Freestyle silver while once again Abbelen’s Fuerst on Tour was undisputed for gold as all five judges agreed. An amazing mark of 81.900 put this pair in a league of their own.
“I did not expect three medals!“ declared Abbelen at the post-competition press conference as the medals around her neck sparkled and shone. “I arrived in Italy a little demoralised because three days before coming here my trainer had a bad fall from a horse. This made me very sad, but thanks to the support of our federal trainer, I was able to continue my work” she explained. She enjoyed the whole Arezzo experience – “the conditions here are fantastic, from the arenas to the organisation….the top for a European Championships!” she said, and she was delighted with her Freestyle musical score. “It’s from the film The Lion King and it is music that I love. The first time I heard it, it made me cry!” she explained.
A total of 16 teams competed in the Junior category and there were 68 Individual competitors.
Young Riders
A score of 75.632 from Sonke Rothenberger and the seven-year-old Cosmo went a long way towards German domination in the Young Riders Championship. The Rothenberger family has a long and distinguished history in the sport of Dressage and the tall 19-year-old, who has returned to the discipline after taking some time out to pursue his interest in Jumping, put his team in front on the first day, and they never looked back. Florine Klenbaum boosted their position with a strong score of 73.842 with Don Windsor Old while Lisa-Maria Klossinger and FBW posted 72.079 and Juliette Piotrowski and Sir Diamond provided the discard mark of 69.921.
The German team total of 221.553 left them almost three percentage points ahead of the Dutch in silver medal position on a score of 218.711. Stephanie Kooyman produced the biggest Dutch score of 73.711 with Winston while Anne Meulendijks and President’s MDH Avanti posted 73.000, Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and Hexagon’s Baldacci posted 72.000 and Denise Nekeman and Boston STH scored 70.658.
In a perfect reflection of the team placings in the Junior category, Denmark again took bronze. Their score of 208.684 was made up by 70.026 for Kathrine Springborg (May Candeloro), 69.526 from Mille Larsen Warncke (Langkjaergaard’s Donna Fetti) and 69.132 from Emilie Holm Toft (Ramia Lox) while Anna Zibrandtsen (Detroit) posted 68.211. Austria finished just off the podium with a score of 205.789, their strongest mark achieved by Lea-Elisabeth Pointinger and Gino who registered 70.263.
There was a special post-competition moment when winning team member, Lisa-Maria Klossinger, clutching a teddy bear on her lap, was asked about the German Young Riders team’s recipe for success. “ It is Walter, our mascot!” she said. “He is a present we received from the reserve rider and I have to say that he really has brought us luck!”
Reason to be pleased
For both the German and Dutch Chef d’Equipes there was every reason to be pleased at the end of the Team Championships.
“I am really happy with the results!” said German team manager Maria Schierhoel-Otte. “I really did not expect such a great performance. I must say that the team has worked really well – especially we have found in the lead up to the Championships that the relationship between the home trainers and the Team trainers has been excellent. The riders have remained focused and concentrated on their work” she explained.

The Netherlands’ Tineke Bartels, joked “for us it was very important to do well – especially seeing that Holland did not do so well in the (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil!” Talking about the Young Riders Team Championship she said, “we had a lot of pressure and responsibility as the defending champions and we tried everything until the last to win! But we are very happy with the silver medals, and I feel sorry for our two young riders who are here and for who this will be their last year! It would have been nice for them to finish again with the gold!” she pointed out.
She was talking about Stephanie Kooyman and Anne Meulendijks who were on the Dutch 2013 gold-medal-winning Young Riders side. But there would be little reason to feel sorry for the latter, as she marched resolutely to the top step of both the Individual and Freestyle podiums.
Into her stride
Meulendrijks got into her stride when posting 77.237 for victory in the Individual Championship with her nine-year-old Dutch-bred bay gelding. All five judges scored President’s MDH Avanti highest, while four of them placed Germany’s Lisa-Maria Klossinger and FBW Daktari in third. However Judge at B, Marietta Almasy from France, placed Klossinger in the silver medal spot which she took at the end of the day on a score of 74.526.
Individual bronze medallist, Sonke Rothenberger, was marked from second to sixth place for his test with Cosmo that earned a mark of 74.500, and it was Denmark’s Anna Zibrandtsen and Detroit who just missed the podium here with a score of 73.289.
Meulendijks produced the only score over 80 per cent to add yesterday’s Freestyle gold to her haul of loot, while Klossinger was again in silver medal spot on a mark of 78.825. Freestyle bronze went to Belgium’s Jorinde Verwimp and Tiano who posted 75.425. They were members of the side that slotted into fifth of the 14 nations in the Team Championship earlier in the week. A total of 62 horse-and-rider combinations started in the Young Riders category.
Newly-crowned double-champion Meulendijks performed her Freestyle to a musical score from the film “The Holiday”, and after the prize-giving she said “ I am so happy… is a wonderful feeling! My horse was perfect – as was the organization of this wonderful event. I want to thank the Organising Committee, but above all I want to thank my father for all his amazing help!”


FEI European Dressage Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2014:

Junior Team Championship:

GOLD – Germany 220.432: Comtessa (Julia de Ridder 71.135, Fontane (Ellen Richter) 72.243, Special Edition (Jessica Krieg) 71.135, Fuerst on Tour (Anna-Christina Abbelen) 77.054;

SILVER – Netherlands 215.459: Fulltime (Marjan Hooge) 71.459, Tom Tom Go (Lotte Meulendijks) 67.676, Vlingh (Jeanine Nekeman) 72.243, Bolita (Rosalie Bos) 71.757;

BRONZE – Denmark 212.487: Horsebo Smarties (Amanda Overgaard) 68.865, Cavaler (Kristine Koch Bejtrup) 69.216, Fernet (Sille Engermann) 70.568, Camiro Mandoe (Alexandra Sorensen) 72.703.

Junior Individual Championship:

GOLD – Fuerst on Tour (Anna-Christina Abbelen) GER 78.447;

SILVER – Belamour (Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen) NOR 75.763;

BRONZE – Vlingh (Jeanine Naekman) NED 73.684.

Junior Freestyle Championship:

GOLD – Fuerst on Tour (Anna-Christina Abbelen) GER 81.900;

SILVER – Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen) NOR 79.675;

BRONZE – Bolita (Rosalie Bos) NED 77.925.

Young Rider Team Championship:

GOLD – Germany 221.553: FBW Daktari (Lisa-Maria Klossinger) 72.079, Sir Diamond (Juliette Piotrowski) 69.921, Don Windsor Old (Florine Kienbaum) 73.842, Cosmo (Sonke Rothenberger) 75.632;

SILVER – Netherlands 218.711: Boston STH (Denise Nekeman) 70.658, Hexagon’s Baldacci (Jeanine Nieuwenhuis) 72.000, President’s MDH Avanti (Anne Meulendijks) 73.00, Winston (Stephanie Kooyman) 73.711;

BRONZE – Denmark 208.684: Ramia Lox (Emilie Holm Toft) 69.132, May Candeloro (Kathrine Springborg) 70.026, Langkjaergaard’s Donna Fetti (Mille Larsen Warncke) 69.526, Detroit (Anna Zibrandtsen) 68.211.

Young Rider Individual Championship:

GOLD – President’s MDH Avanti (Anna Meulendijks) NED 77.237;

SILVER – FBW Daktari (Lisa-Maria Klossinger) GER 74.526;

BRONZE – Cosmo (Sonke Rothenberger) GER 74.500.

Young Rider Freestyle Championship:

GOLD – President’s MDH Avanti (Anne Meulendijks) NED 80.275;

SILVER – FBW Daktari (Lisa-Maria Klossinger) GER 78.825;

BRONZE – Tiano (Jorinde Verwimp) BEL 75.425.

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