Switzerland, FEI News October 24, 2011: 1. MINDERHOUD WINS REEM ACRA OPENING ROUND IN ODENSE by Louise Parkes

Dutch rider, Hans Peter Minderhoud, was in reflective mood after winning the opening leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Odense, Denmark this afternoon with the 11 year old chestnut stallion, IPS Tango.  He has his sights firmly set on a place at the series final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands next April along with a spot at the London Olympic Games, but he knows he has a lot of work to do to get there.

It is a very different story for the Dutchman who enjoyed such a long and fruitful partnership with the great mare, Exquis Nadine, who was retired during the FEI European Dressage Championships in Rotterdam this summer.  He is now working with a horse that is something of a “work in progress” rather than super-experienced, but he was delighted with his result today.  “I’m not suprised that he won” the Dutchman said afterwards, “my horse is in good shape – even yesterday when we finished third in the Grand Prix.  He is really coming along” he added.

Runner-up was Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg with the aptly-named Responsible, while yesterday’s Grand Prix winner, Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven from Sweden, slotted into third with Don Auriello.  “He is only nine years old and in his first year competing in Grand Prix” she said of her horse.  “Perhaps he was a bit tired compared with yesterday, but I am very pleased with third place” the Swedish rider added.

One of the happiest performances of the day was the one produced by Norway’s Siril Helljesen and Dorino who finished fourth.  Their score of 75.525 was the target at the half-way stage of the 15-horse competition and held sway until the last five took their turn.

First to oust her from pole position was Minderhoud with his son of Jazz.  The 38 year old rider was determined to improve on his Grand Prix performance.  “Tango was scared of the sunlight coming through the curtains at the in-gate yesterday – it was windy and spooky, and he didn’t settle.  He took a long time to enter the arena, and in the first part of the test he turned right around on me!  Before the changes he became totally blocked – I was very eager to ensure he got his confidence back today” he pointed out.


Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer secured a superb back-to-back double when adding victory in the second leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2011/2012 series in Helsinki, Finland today to his opening-round success in Oslo, Norway last Sunday.  Once again riding Carlina, the 49 year old rider was one of nine through to the second-round jump-off against the clock in which he set a target that could not be matched despite some heroic efforts from those who followed him.

Malin Baryard-Johnsson nearly stole his thunder with a feat of derring-do that would challenge even the trick-riding expertise of the Ukrainian Cossacks.  In a heart-stopping “save” that had spectators on the edges of their seats, the Swedish rider managed to stay onboard her 11 year old gelding H&M Reveur de Hurtebise and finish third behind Holland’s Michael Van der Vleuten while the host nation’s Nina Fagerstrom slotted into fourth.

It was Schwizer who was wearing the biggest smile at the end of the day however, as, with the maximum 40 points already posting him to the top of the leaderboard, he is well on his way to the 2011/2012 series final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands next April.

“My compliments to the course designer – it was a real World Cup track” Schwizer said afterwards.  Brazil’s Jorge Guilherme set them a tough test in the small Helsinki arena.  “You have to build top courses for the European World Cup events” he pointed out.  “This is the Formula 1 of Jumping and it needs to be difficult enough while bearing in mind that we are still early in the season” he added.

In a starting field of 37 there were four retirements and two eliminations – the first of the latter taking out third-line rider Henk van de Pol and Kirfa de Kreisker from The Netherlands and the second occurring when Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and Kisby, going fifth from the end, ran into trouble at the last.  This vertical proved influential.  Ridden on a short five strides from the preceding double, the narrow stile consisting of just three white poles was merciless to those who, having had to push for the penultimate fence, arrived on a stride that was too forward.

Jorge however was quite satisfied when nine horse-and-rider combinations conquered his challenge to go through to the second-round decider.

Belgium’s Ludo Philippaerts set the pace with a double-error from Kassini Jack and Austria’s Iris Murray, who has coped admirably since stepping up in class with Night Flight in recent weeks, followed suit.  But Schwizer and Carlina made no mistakes, setting off with purpose and setting the target with a great clear in 37.58 seconds.  “I didn’t take too much of a risk – I could have gone faster, but I knew it was pretty good” he said afterwards of his round.

Ireland’s Billy Twomey was first to take that on, but took his foot off the gas after an early mistake with Romanov.  The crowd went wild however when home-grown star, Nina Fagerstrom, left all the fences intact with Talent, although she was more than two seconds off Schwizer’s target time.  And she was immediately overtaken for runner-up spot by The Netherand’s Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Verdo who clocked 38.30.

It was Frenchman Patrice Delaveau who looked most likely to oust the Swiss leader from his perch.  Setting off like a whirlwind he was well up on the clock turning to the last with Ornella Mail, but paid a big price for a massive stand-off at the last.  So when Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Untouchable also left one on the floor, then only Baryard-Johnsson stood between Schwizer and an exceptional start to the new season.


IJsbrand Chardon (NED) won the first FEI World Cup™ Driving competition of the season held in Hannover, Germany, this wekeend. His compatriot Koos de Ronde finished second, ahead of Tomas Eriksson (SWE) who was struck by fate in the winning round.

Second starter in the winning round Tomas Eriksson was well on his way to putting Chardon under serious pressure, driving his team of Swedish warm blood horses very fast, when fate struck. In the corner just before the last gate, Tomas’s left leader horse slipped and fell down. His right leader horse and his left wheeler horse also fell down which forced Tomas to stop. With the very fast help from his fellow competitors and his grooms, Tomas’s horses got back up and were lead out of the arena without major injuries.

Safe round
Chardon knew he had an advantage of nearly 10 seconds over Koos de Ronde when he entered the arena. The four-time world champion drove a fast but safe round and secured his first victory of the season despite one knock down. Chardon is competing with his team of Lipizzaner horses for the third season and feels they are getting better at every competition.

Change of horse
Koos de Ronde used one of his outdoor horses on his indoor team today. Koos normally competes with three coloured geldings from his father’s four-in-hand team, but due to an injury, he had to make a change. After an average performance in the warm-up competition on Saturday night, Koos knew what improvements were needed and drove his four-in-hands at his usual high speed through the course, designed by Germany’s Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf.

Domino effect
Triple FEI World Cup™ Driving champion Boyd Exell (AUS) finished in an unusual fourth place. Exell tested a new leader horse in the warm-up competition but drove his experienced team in today’s World Cup. He made a mistake in the second marathon obstacle and lost contact with his leader horses. This caused a domino effect which lead to additional mistakes. Exell still set a very fast time but since he was competing as a wild card in Hannover, he could not win FEI World Cup™ Driving points.

Lack of routine
Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) also had a contact problem with his leader horses, which resulted in three knockdowns. Dobrovitz finished fifth ahead of Rainer Duen (GER). Duen, who had competed in the 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 World Cup seasons, admitted his outdoor team of horses lacked indoor routine. His horses have to get accustomed to the indoor rhythm and Duen hopes they will be getting better throughout the season.

Too tricky
In comparison to previous FEI World Cup™ Driving competitions in Hannover, Asendorf had designed a less speedy and more technical course for the warn-up competition which, in the end, was less spectacular to watch. Asendorf decided to make some changes for the World Cup competition, which was much appreciated by both the competitors and the audience. The course was faster but still remained very technical.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email





Leave a Reply