The Netherlands has again claimed the FEI Nations Cup Dressage leg at Vidauban in France, a year after winning the first leg in the inaugural pilot series.
The 2013 series champions fielded a three-man side, with Tommie Visser (Vingino), Laurens van Lieren (Ulysses La Haya) and Diederik van Silfhout (Arlando) pipping Belgium for the honours by almost a full five-point margin, while Sweden finished a close third ahead of Germany in fourth place.
The winning individual score was recorded by Italy’s Valentina Truppa with her hugely experienced Fixdesign Eremo Del Castegno, but they were not part of a team.
The French fixture presented the second leg of the second pilot season for this team event which is proving a big winner with dressage riders all around the globe. The first leg took place at Wellington in Florida (USA) just over a week ago with an historic victory for the host nation.
Riders from six nations – Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and Russia – lined up on Friday and just 16 marks separated the first team from the last, as France slotted into fifth place ahead of Russia in sixth.
Scores over 70 percent for both Visser and Van Lieren put the result beyond doubt. Ground Jury members Jean-Michel Roudier from France, Australia’s Susan Hoevenaars, Poland’s Wojtek Markowski, Maria Colliander from Finland and Great Britain’s Isobel Wessels awarded 70.460 to Visser who competed after the first break in the class of 23 competitors.
Visser knows a thing or two about performance as he is also a singer and TV presenter, so standing under the spotlight is unlikely to faze him. He reached the semi-final of “Holland’s Got Talent” in 2012 and presented a TV show about horses, but he said that his stage appearances “which I only do for fun anyway” are being put on hold while he concentrates on his career in the saddle.
Riding the 12-year-old Vingino, he bounced into the limelight last December when winning both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI3* Roosendaal (NED). He said he was “quite pleased” with the Dutch-bred gelding who racked up a quality score this time out. “I was experimenting a bit today, both in the warm-up and in the arena. I only got him six months ago, and we are getting better and better but I am taking my time with him,” the 29-year-old said. “There was a bit of tension in the canter, but otherwise it was really good,” he said.
And he enjoyed a good laugh during the prize-giving, because Vingino is a very big horse. “When they put on the blanket for the winners it was very funny, because it was really short on Vingino – at least a half metre of him was not covered by it!” he said.
Youngest team member, 25-year-old Diederik van Silfhout, was delighted with the result he achieved with the nine-year-old stallion Arlando who posted a mark of 69.300, leaving him in seventh place individually. “He’s really hot and wants to do too much most of the time, so we said we would come here and take it all very slowly and quietly to see how he would be. And today he was really relaxed and worked with me instead of doing his own thing!” van Silfhout said.
At 32 years old, Laurens van Lieren was the oldest member of this Dutch team, and the rider who earned team gold and individual seventh place at the FEI European Championship in Turin (ITA) seven years ago when at the height of his partnership with Ollright, slotted into third place individually when posting 70.060 with Ulysses La Haya.
Van Lieren was a key player in the campaign that saw the Dutch clinch the inaugural FEI Nations Cup Dressage pilot series title last year, competing with Ulysses La Haya at both Aachen (GER) and Hickstead (GBR).
The Dutch total was 209.820 while Belgium slotted into runner-up spot with a combined score of 204.880. Claudia Fassaert posted their best mark of 69.540 with Donnerfee while Francoise Hologne-Joux and Wodan scored 68.260 and Philip Jorissen and Le Beau were awarded 67.080. Julie de Deken completed the Belgian line-up with Lucky Dance whose mark of 65.040 was the team discard.
Cecilia Andren Dorselius and Lennox were the biggest scorers for Sweden with a mark of 69.340 while Charlotte Haid Bondergaard and Triviant posted 67.880 and Mads Hendeliowitz and Weihenstephaner put 67.400 on the scoreboard. The fourth member of the Swedish side, Jeanna Hogberg, was eliminated with Liza Minelli and the final Swedish tally was 204.620.
Like the winning Dutch, the German team was also only three-strong but 22-year-old Sanneke Rothenberger produced an impressive 69.600 with Wolke Sieben to help achieve fourth place, joined by Stephan Koberle and Darjeeling (67.920) and Bernadette Brune (63.740) for a team total of 201.260. The French total was 200.100 and Russia posted a final total of 194.180.
The next leg of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2014 series takes place in Rotterdam (NED) on Thursday, June 19.
1. The Netherlands 209.820 – Vingino (Tommie Visser), Ulysses La Haya (Laurens van Lieren), Arlando (Diederik van Silfhout).
2. Belgium 204.880 – Donnerfee (Claudia Fassaert), Wodan (Francoise Hologne-Joux), Le Beau (Philip Jorissen), Lucky Dance (Julie de Deken).
3. Sweden 204.620 – Lennox (Cecilia Andren Dorselius), Triviant (Charlotte Haid Bondergaard), Weihenstephaner (Mads Hendeliowitz), Liza Minelli (Jeanna Hogberg).