Kasselmann’s spectacular show, “Horses and Dreams meets Great Britain” is surely the highlight of the show calendar. This year the super show at Hagen fulfilled all expectations. To have two horses in the Grand Prix at this show was a great privilege, and we really enjoyed not only competing but also watching the best horses in the world setting new records.
Charlotte Dujardin’s wonderful Valegro was an absolute showstopper. The entire crowd was silent while watching the most fluent and flawless performance I have ever witnessed. To see the horse in the flesh was spine tingling, and he deserved every one of his new world record points in the Grand Prix Special.
But wait, there was more to come. The performance of Totilas in the Grand Prix for the Kür, was of a different style, being a tiny bit less correct, but having an exuberance and expression that gave me goose bumps. It was wonderful to see the horse happy and concentrated, and in absolute harmony with his new rider. I felt so sorry for both Mathias and Totilas when it seemed the partnership was not melding, but finally it all seemed to come together, at this show. Every other competitor seemed to share the view that it was both wonderful and inspirational to watch, and really great for the sport of dressage.
There were some bright points for the Australian competitors also with Lyndal Oatley and her lovely Sandro Hit Stallion, Sandro Boy achieving his best performance to date in the GP for the Kür, with just over 70%. Lyndal rode with flair and determination, and pulled off a personal best, even beating her husband Patrik Kittel. She also did a super job in the Kür the next day.
My own Sandro Hit, Sancette put in some great work in the trot tour, but my too long warm-up meant he lost a bit of gas in the canter work. With 66.5% it was a reasonable preparation for the important first qualifier at Mannheim next week.
Next week all eight Aussie riders line up in the Grand Prix for the special. It is the first time Australia will have so many well-performed horses in contention for a spot at the Olympics, and with only three riders to be selected the pressure is on.
My plan is a couple of easy days to freshen Sancette up, and then gradually build up for Saturday’s test. I will have to take a bit more of a risk and ride him a bit hotter to get his best work. That means rest, a little extra feed, and shorter sharper work outs.
Today he and Umbro mooched around grazing and enjoying the sunshine. Tomorrow back to serious work.
Thursday we make the five-hour trek to Mannheim. And then… we will see!!
(PHOTOS BY CAROL NEWBY)
Rob Hanna and Clemens Dierks looking on…