January 28, 2008

Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero won the World Cup round in Amsterdam with their new freestyle, and are also leading the Western European league on points.

As the tension always builds up towards a final, a very strong field of competitors had entered the Amsterdam Horse show. "The first three were of a very special level. Anky, Imke and Kyra, they all were top of the bill. However they were followed by a strong second part with good competition. Especially Dutch Stephanie Peters showed great progress. Another surprise was British Camilla Sygall", Ernes commented.

Anky van Grunsven and Salinero successfully performed her new Wibi Soerjadi Freestyle to victory.
Photo: Karin van der Meul/FEI
"After a bit of an insecure start due to the very enthusiast but noisy crowd and some flashlights, I felt very happy with my horse IPS Salinero and my test, my debut for the Dutch of my new Freestyle", Anky van Grunsven said.

Just like in Mechelen, Imke Schellekens-Bartels became the runner up twice. She blamed herself totally for the mistake in the second pirouette. "I made an expensive mess around the second pirouette. Hunter Douglas Sunrise is not to blame, she gave me a great feeling. Another thing I noticed is the rhythm of the canter and my music. The canter is starting to change a bit. Probably we have to work a little on that in the Freestyle."

Riding the last qualifier in Neumünster doesn't fit in the training schedule of Schellekens. "Riding the World Cup Final in my home country would be great. In the standings three Dutch are ahead of me. Probably a wild card can be considered by the World Cup Committee", Imke Schellekens-Bartels hopes.

Kyra Kyrklund said that to get as high as possible at the Olympic ranking list is her first objective. She will ride in Neumunster in the last World Cup qualifier of the Western European League. "It looks like I have a good chance of competing in the Final after a good ride in Neumünster as well and of course I'll take my chance than", Kyrklund stated.

Her Cabaret-music is very well fitting to the horse that went in great harmony but sometimes could be a little more loose to the opinion of the judges. "To me the relaxation and harmony of Max and Kyrklund was outstanding. But I rewarded the music of Schellekens-Bartels with 0,5 more because of the degree of difficulty, also in timing", chairman Ernes explained.

The audience's biggest applause however was reserved for Dutch rider Jeannette Haazen. Together with her impressive horse Nartan and coached by her husband and trainer Chris, she finished eleventh. Her entry itself was a miracle. Last November when driving to the first World Cup Qualifier in Odense, Denmark, she crashed into an unlit, stationary car. Following major surgery and hospitalisation the couple was present again at the sixth World Cup qualifier in Amsterdam. Chris Haazen can not yet walk properly, but still manages to coach his wife.

Swiss Silvia Ikle, who has been in the news recently because of her dropout of the Olympic Games, stayed at home because of injuries received in a fall when teaching.

Amsterdam and Laurens van Lieren do not seem to hit it off. Two years ago during the World Cup Final in the city, a tray full of glasses and empty dishes crashed to the floor, frightening Hexagon Ollright. Just before leaving for Amsterdam, the horse developed some problem and Van Lieren cancelled his entry.

"My vet hasn't discovered anything at all, but Amsterdam is not the most important date in my schedule. At a meeting with team manager Mariette van Gansewinkel and team coach Sjef Janssen, we decided not to take any risk," Van Lieren explained.