Young gun Schneiders wins final World Cup qualifier

Daniel Schneiders and his four-in-hand team on their way to victory in the last qualifier of the FEI World Cup Driving series.
Daniel Schneiders and his four-in-hand team on their way to victory in the last qualifier of the FEI World Cup Driving series. © Rinaldo de Craen/FEI

German driver Daniel Schneiders won his second FEI World Cup Driving qualifier of the season on home soil in Leipzig on Sunday, after driving two impeccable clear rounds to beat his experienced Dutch opponents IJsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde.

Following his first World Cup Driving start in October 2012 in Hannover (GER), where he competed on a wildcard, Schneider had set himself the goal for the summer of 2013 to qualify for the upcoming indoor season. After Christoph Sandmann (GER) and Chester Weber (USA) decided not to compete in the series’ 13th season, the German became the 10th driver qualified for the 2013/2014 series. After his win in Stuttgart, where he beat four-time FEI World Cup Driving Champion Boyd Exell (AUS), the 32-year old driver was the best again in Leipzig.

Dr Wolfgang Asendorf (GER) had designed a very good course, which was appreciated by the spectators and the competitors alike.

Schneiders, who recently sold his outdoor four-in-hand team in the USA, used the 13-year old KWPN Hermes as his wheeler horse for the second time this season. After his somewhat disappointing results at London Olympia where he had driven the gelding for the first time, Schneiders was now able to make full use of the horse’s potential, which resulted in two fabulous clear and fast rounds. Being the second man in the arena in the winning round, Schneiders decided to see how fast his team would go. The former pony four-in-hand driver crossed the finishing line in an incredibly fast time and the spectators in the sold-out Messehalle in Leipzig rewarded his phenomenal performance with a deserved standing ovation.

Last man in IJsbrand Chardon could afford one ball down, but after a second knockdown, he knew his chances for victory were lost. Chardon had to make a change in his team after one of his wheeler horses was slightly injured before he left for Leipzig. His relatively new trump Feles replaced the Lipizzaner gelding Fegyenc and Chardon was very pleased with him.

Reigning FEI World Cup Driving champion Koos de Ronde had a setback at the horse inspection where his most experienced wheeler horse Mario was found not fit to compete. The 20-year-old piebald gelding was the horse whom De Ronde could not afford to lose. He switched Palero to the right wheel instead, an unfamiliar position for the 10-year-old gelding. But luckily for him, last starter Michael Brauchle (GER) was unable to match his good performance in the warm-up competition, which he had won, and finished in sixth place, allowing Koos de Ronde to move up to third.

Tomas Eriksson (SWE) knocked one ball too many down and finished in fourth place, just ahead of wildcard driver Georg von Stein (GER), who had two knockdowns as well.


FEI World Cup Driving, Leipzig (GER), 19 January 2014:

  1. Daniel Schneiders (GER) 212,53
  2. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 215,66
  3. Koos de Ronde (NED) 240,73
  4. Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 121,48
  5. Georg von Stein (GER) 123,85
  6. Michael Brauchle (GER) 124,09

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