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FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2008

in s'Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; Equestrian Vision. RRP £19.99.

September 12, 2008

Of the 15 riders from nine countries who took part in the FEI World Cup dressage final in The Netherlands earlier this year, 12 are featured on this DVD. There are a few bloopers at the start - including Courtney King's three canter pirouettes, which netted her a zero score - but it kicks off with a lovely test from Australia's Rozzie Ryan, riding Donna Carrera.

All of the top 10 performances are shown on this DVD, in the order of judging.

The recording runs for about an hour and a half, and you can choose to watch without the commentary, by Richard Davison and Jamie Hawksfield. However, Davison, as usual, has some enlightening comments to share, and a few critiques - in the nicest possible way. These horses and riders are, after all, the top in the world at this time, and all put in lovely performances. A rider or two does have the odd "problem", but given the rock-concert-like atmosphere - as Davison puts it - the horses can be forgiven the odd indiscretion.

Anky van Grunsven and IPS Salinero, winners of the 2008 FEI World Cup Dressage Final. © Dirk Caremans/FEI
But the test of the winner, Anky van Grunsven and Salinero with 85.20%, is perfectly executed. Salinero seems to dance to the music, written especially for Anky's kür by composer Wibi Soerjadi. Salinero is in time to the beat and happy and relaxed the whole time.

Second place went to Isabell Werth and the enormous hanoverian Warum Nicht on 82.60%, who hardly put a foot wrong, either. Had he not made a mistake in the one tempi flying changes, who knows how much closer the score would have been?

Other highlights include the one-handed pirouttes by Kyra Kirkland and Max, who finished third. Then there was Laurnes van Vieren and Hexagon's Ollright, who performed to Queen music, with Under Pressure and Bohemian Rhapsody working very well with the passage.

Every step taken by Imke Schellekens-Bartels's mare Sunrise was choreographed perfectly, with music also by Wibi Soerjadi. They finished in fourth place.

Watch out for the stunning Danish horse Gredstedgards Casmir, ridden by Andreas Helgstrand. The striking bay horse is only nine years old and has a big career ahead of him.

The only criticism I would have of this recording is there are too many close-up shots of the horses' legs, when you'd rather see an overall picture - such as in the extended trot or flying changes. Other than that, it's great to be able to see the best of the best doing their thing.



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