A sold out house of 9500 at the 's-Hertogenbosch Horseshow Indoor Brabant saw six Olympic combinations, and 15 competitors from seven nations.
Isabel Werth and Satchmo, pictured in Frankfurt. © Stfan Lafrentz/FEI
Satchmo had to leave the Grand Prix victory to Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero. In the Grand Prix last Thursday Satchmo didn't go to his full potential and stayed a bit on the safe side. But yesterday he was the first of the big gladiators to go into the Freestyle, and was fully co-operative. The piaffe although without resistance is not his best point and could have been more expressive, the extended gates and half passes were. The total image was one of harmony. Werth was very happy both with her horse, the great Dutch audience and the show which seems to improve yearly in every small detail.
"Of course I didn't expect to win today," she said. "However I always try and hope and Satchmo is very good in shape. He gave me a fantastic ride and I'm really proud of him."
And proud, so was Anky. She became third after a test with one huge mistake. IPS Salinero mistook her aids for a pirouette and fell out almost into a turning piaffe. "I had to bring IPS Salinero back to the canter and perform the pirouette again. As I was totally at the wrong side of the arena I decided to do a half pass instead and suddenly found myself back on track for another pirouette right at the music," Anky said.
"I cannot expect to win without showing routine and I'm proud IPS Salinero is as relaxed as he is now. He definitely needed this long pause and so did I, as not much of a riding challenge is left after a second Olympic medal."
Dutch champion Adelinde Cornelissen took her chance at her premiere with a completely new Freestyle. Forgotten were the problems of the qualifier in Amsterdam in which Parzival spooked and didn't even qualify for the Freestyle. Now he simply did one tempi changes and two tempi changes on the centreline without resistance. The advice was to enlarge the difficulties and change the music. I'm happy it worked out so well," Adelinde said. Not all judges agreed and varied in their placing between first and fourth position. In the end however, they were runners-up.
German Monica Theodorescu had a great ride with Michael Jackson's music, scoring almost an 80% as well. For Dutch Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud and the elegant mare Exquis Nadine the score of 79.20% was a personal record. Both have now qualified for the final in Las Vegas.