Rotterdam is a vibrant modern city. When it was re-built after WW2, a decision was made to make it new, not to try to re-create it, so it was a fitting setting for the emergence of a new era in competitive dressage.
No, we are not trying to get caught up in the ‘but is it classical debate??’ We saw tests that were correct and fresh – there are so many words that we have to steer away from now, can’t say light or we get branded with the being part of the lightness school, we can’t say classical or spectacular… Let’s just say that when the crowd responded to Carl Hester’s test with Uthopia, the sound that flowed over the largely Dutch crowd said it all, the test was beautiful and joyous. And it was at the same time spectacular, classical and light and it didn’t looked forced. It had the lot. His protégé, Charlotte Dujardin and her ride, Valegro, showed Carl can teach as well as ride, the Carl and Charlotte were the stars of the show.
Carl, Hans-Peter, Patrik and Lyndal
And if we go in tight, we see some enthusiastic spectators – Edward Gal, Hans-Peter Miderhoud, Patrik Kittel and photographer/wife, Lyndal Oatley.
Carl watches from behind the light pole
Carl said he got more pleasure from watching Charlotte’s test, than riding his own. He watched on his own, hiding behind a pole at the entrance gate.
When the test finished, he was spotted by the cameramen, but they had to wait while he wiped away a tear or two.
V for Victory for the Brits
Charlotte’s experience as a showie was evident. Both Valegro and Uthopia were beautifully turned out – complete with V’s for victory on their rumps.
Portuguese rider, Portuguese horse.
Maria Caetano and Xiripti represented Portugal. THM readers met Maria when our group visited the family stud in 2007. Here’s a lovely pirouette.
Parzival was, well Parzival. I remember when I first saw Adelinde and Parzival at Aachen in 2008, they had a freshness then that I think is gone. True the Jazz son is spectacular, but that’s it. His Dying Swan score from his winning Kür may well be a prophecy.
How'd be Matthias??
Poor Mattias Rath, who would be him? The strain of trying to create a partnership with the black jewel shows. There are too many awkward moments, too many communication breakdowns, sad to see when you remember Windsor and Kentucky, and the magic farewell to Totilas’ sire, Gribaldi, at Den Bosch.
Photographers can always catch good or bad moments. My experience is that with top performances, you have very few, if any bad moments. It’s now much easier to find bad Totilas moments.
Into the Freestyle for Poland, Beata and Martini
We met Ton de Ridder, Australian Dressage team adviser, at the warm-up ring. He was very enthusiastic about his new pupil, Beata Stremler from Poland, and her horse Martini. The pair made it to the Freestyle and scored 74.446.
Fuego was his usual dynamic self, amusing the spectators, but never compromising correctness – the fact that Eduard is a pupil of Jean Bemmelmanns is always apparent.
Anky was there giving a commentary for the television coverage, she’s still a hero with the locals. Here she is having the finishing touches made to her hair before the Freestyle.
The seven judge team seemed to work, there were no horror results. So all-in-all, a great show and the end of an era ushered in by the Brits, will make for an exciting finish on their home territory in 2014.
Full in-depth report in the October Horse Magazine which will be posted to subscribers on Wednesday. If you subscribe now, you can beat the price rise and get 12 magazines delivered to your door for $70. If you want the stories behind the results, don’t miss out – plus subscribers have a chance to win a beautiful bridle from the Grainge Bridleware collection – exclusive to Saddleworld.