Brits on form at CHIO Rotterdam
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British riders showed capable form in the CDIO5* FEI Nations Cup™ at CHIO Rotterdam in the Netherlands (23 – 26 June 2022). Richard Davison with Bubblingh and Gareth Hughes with KK Dominant produced strong performances in the hotly-contested CDIO competition. Lottie Fry did a masterful job with a nervous Dark Legend, and Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z acquitted themselves well on what was the biggest stage of their career so far.
In the Grand Prix, spearheaded by reigning Dutch Champions Dinja van Liere and the 10-year-old KWPN licensed stallion Hermès (Easy Game x Flemmingh) on a sizzling 79.739%, the established British pairing of Richard Davison and Bubblingh (pictured) impressed to finish inside the top ten amongst strong company. Bubblingh (Lingh x Picandt), owned by Gwendolyn Sontheim and bred by Richard himself, rode into ninth place - the 16-year-old’s abundant energy tactfully channelled by Richard to score just shy of 71%.
“The Grand Prix, I was quite happy about,” commented Richard. “The VIP area behind the end of the arena was lively with people enjoying their lunch, and when Bubblingh heard that behind him (cantering down the centre line) he didn’t feel like halting. That was expensive. But he settled down, clawed the marks back and I was happy.”
The starter list included many of the world’s big guns on track for the World Championships in Herning so provided a challenging platform for Lisa Marriott, competing in her first ever Nations Cup, with Valucio DH Z (Va-Vite x Bollvorm’s Libero H). Rising to the challenge, the Lancashire-based rider and her plucky little horse, known at home as ‘Rocket’, delivered a creditable 67.391% in the Grand Prix, putting them 25th.
The nature of this Nations Cup competition means that two riders from each team go forward to the Special, and two go forward to the Freestyle. Richard and Lisa, both selected to compete in the latter, each performed well. Richard and Bubblingh, riding to their popular Gangsta’s Paradise programme, did a super job for 75.515% to claim sixth whilst Lisa and Valucio, debuting their new freestyle, achieved 12th place on 69.420%.
“The atmosphere was hyped - it was Rotterdam at its best - and Bubblingh did a good job,” commented Richard. “It was a great team, and it was nice to have a new team member in Lisa.”
The Freestyle was claimed by popular Swede Patrik Kittel with Blue Hors Zepter on 80.465%, with Dutch teammates Emmelie Scholtens and Indian Rock (78.590%) and Thamar Zweistra with Hexagon’s Ich Weiss (78.085%) completing the high-scoring podium.
Gareth Hughes, with Claudine Kroll’s 13-year-old Diamond Hit x Rubin Royal stallion, KK Dominant, delivered a harmonious Grand Prix test, with three mistakes keeping their score in check for 69.870% and 14th place. A canter stride in the right trot half pass was costly, as was a mistake behind in the two-tempis and a glitch at the end of the one-tempis. Otherwise, it was an accomplished performance that notched up plenty of eights. Going on to contest the Grand Prix Special, they posted a super 70.298% for fourth place.
“It was the biggest competition Dominant has been to and he was great - he coped so well,” commented Gareth. “We had the three mistakes in the Grand Prix, but I was really happy with the work in between. He felt fantastic.
“In the Special, he really stepped up, produced a clean test and probably felt the best he’s ever gone. I was delighted. Everything at Rotterdam is so close. There’s a lot of hospitality around the arena so on the finals night, with the Special and Freestyle, there’s a lot of noise and subtle movement with people enjoying themselves. The horses cope so well.”
Lottie Fry did an admirable job of nursing a nervous Dark Legend through the Grand Prix after he took an aversion to a TV camera. Lottie rode with great tact to refocus and reassure the 14-year-old Zucchero x Tango gelding, completing the test on a score of 65.413%. In the Grand Prix Special they posted 68.979%, despite some tension and a costly error in the one-time changes on the centre line between pirouettes, putting them eighth.
The Netherlands, fielding a strong all-female squad, enjoyed an emphatic victory in front of their home crowd, followed by the USA and then Sweden. The American and Swedish teams completed on an equal team total, however the Americans’ Grand Prix results decided the tiebreaker.
Results: top three and British placings
CDIO5* Grand Prix
1. Dinja van Liere and Hermès, 79.739% (NED)
2. Patrik Kittel and Blue Hors Zepter, 76.130% (SWE)
3. Ashley Holzer and Valentine, 72.957% (USA)
9. Richard Davison and Bubblingh, 70.956% (GBR)
14. Gareth Hughes and KK Dominant, 69.870% (GBR)
25. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 67.391% (GBR)
26. Charlotte Fry and Dark Legend, 65.413% (GBR)
CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Patrik Kittel and Blue Hors Zepter, 80.465% (SWE)
2. Emmelie Scholtens and Indian Rock, 78.590% (NED)
3. Thamar Zweistra and Hexagon’s Ich Weiss, 78.085% (NED)
6. Richard Davison and Bubblingh, 75.515% (GBR)
12. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 69.420% (GBR)
CDIO5* Grand Prix Special
1. Dinja van Liere and Hermès, 77.957% (NED)
2. Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer and Saphira Royal, 72.553% (GER)
3. Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF, 71.191% (USA)
4. Gareth Hughes and KK Dominant, 70.298% (GBR)
8. Charlotte Fry and Dark Legend, 68.979% (GBR)
FEI Nations Cup™ Team Standings
1. The Netherlands - 25
2. USA - 39
3. Sweden - 39
4. France - 54
5. Great Britain - 61
6. Belgium - 71
7. Switzerland – 77
The Nations Cup team classification is determined by adding up points from the three best results per team in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle. The higher the placing, the fewer the points allocated, thus the team with the lowest total points wins the Nations Cup.
Photo © LL-FOTO.DE
Words: British Dressage/Joanna Bowns