Dutch claim team dressage gold

September 29, 2010

A brilliant ride by Edward Gal on Totilas to score 84.043% sealed victory for the Dutch team in the dressage grand prix at the World Equestrian Games.


Edward Gal secured individual first place ranking on Moorlands Totilas and propelled the Dutch team to its first gold medal win at the Dressage World Championships. © Dirk Caremans

Edward Gal interview
Edward Gal in het Nederlands


Picture showing a small nick on Parzival's tongue.

Adelinde Cornelissen on her elimination


Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris © Dirk Caremans

Laura Bechtolsheimer (team silver, individual 2nd)


Steffen Peters and Ravel © Dirk Caremans

Steffen Peters (individual 3rd)
Isabell Werth (team bronze, individual 4th)
Isabell Werth in der deutschen

It is the first time that a team from The Netherlands has won the World Championships, scoring 229.75. The win was achieved without the services of Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, who were eliminated following movement number 5 of 33, the halt and rein-back, when the ground jury observed blood in the horse's saliva.

Ground jury member Stephen Clarke, who judged at C, said having to deliver the news to Cornelissen was "the worst moment of my career."

"She was so gracious," Clarke said. "She took it like a real professional."

Dr Wojtek Markowski (POL), the competition's technical delegate, said, "The rule is clear, and it is written to protect the welfare of the horse: blood coming from the mouth is contrary to the welfare of the horse and the horse must be eliminated for veterinary reasons."

Dr Markowski added that the FEI rule does not specify what amount of blood must be present; elimination is automatic if blood is visible in the horse's mouth. There was no suggestion that any abuse of the horse had occurred.

Cornelissen said that Dr Jan Greve, the Dutch team's veterinarian, examined the horse immediately after he returned to the stable. "There was a tiny spot on the tip of his tongue. It had stopped bleeding on the way back to the stable," she said.

Jerich Parzival was receiving scores of 80 percent when he was eliminated. Cornelissen added, "I am very disappointed. The horse was doing amazing at that moment. I am very happy that there is nothing seriously wrong with him."

Sjef Janssen, the Dutch team chef d'equipe, said, "We are very disappointed, but we understand the rule and accept the decision."

The British team claimed second place with a total of 224.77, with the Germans in third place on 220.60. The US team placed fourth on 218.13.

Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistal Hojris propelled the British team to their silver medal by scoring 82.51 percent, a performance that put her second individually. "It was definitely the best test and the best score of my life," she said. "I've never been able to ride him so full of energy and really relaxed before."

Teammates Carl Hester, on Liebling II, Maria Eilberg, on Two Sox, and Fiona Bigwood, on Wie-Atlantico Ymas, backed up Bechtolsheimer's outstanding score.

"I'm over the moon," said Hester. "I remember my first Championship over 20 years ago and not being at all nervous. 20 years on, I'm really nervous! I suppose the older and more experienced you are, the more people expect of you and you don't want to let them down. They watch on and think things never go wrong for you but they do! I had such a great ride.

"Liebling II wouldn't be the biggest mover like some horses here but he's very honest and workman like. He was relaxed in there but really on my aids. He's never let me down and is a professional at his job. I came here to do my job for the team and with that performance, that's what I've done."

"British dressage has been waiting for a superstar like Laura," said Hester. "I think the other three of us feel our horses couldn't have gone any better, and we're very proud."

Bechtolsheimer said that even before she started her test, herteam mates had given her a real boost with their performances. "Mistral Horjis found it easy from start to finish with no mistakes. He amazes me that he's so extravagant but still stays relaxed. He travelled well here and has been working in seventh gear ever since we arrived! I was just hoping I had him right for today and I guess I did."

Isabell Werth, the former World Champion and Olympic gold medalist, led the German team, scoring 75.40 percent on Warum Nicht. She has been a German team member for more than 20 years, and this is the first time Germany has not won the team gold medal at the World Championships since 1970. She noted that this was the first World Championship start for her three teammates.

"We needed a lot more points. We did a good job, but Laura did a super job. The Dutch and the British were just better this time, and we have to work harder," said Werth.

Stephen Clarke had high praise for the riders. "I think the level of riding was fantastic. They all really took risks and made it exciting to watch and for us to judge. It was a real nail-biter, especially from where I was," he said.

The Dressage World Championships continue today (local time) with the Grand Prix Special, after which individual medals will be presented. The top 30 riders in the Grand Prix will go forward to the Grand Prix Special. Dressage concludes with the musical freestyle on Friday night.

Monday's attendance was 12,115. Tuesday's attendance was 24,237.