Dream becomes reality for Minderhoud at Olympia
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It was a night of firsts on the opening performance of this year’s Olympia London International Horse Show. Tonight’s FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix Qualifier, supported by Horse & Hound, was the eagerly awaited pilot of a new shortened test followed by instant rider reaction and scores in a bid to widen the appeal.
It was a first London victory for the winner, Hans Peter Minderhoud, despite numerous trips to the iconic venue, riding Glock’s Dream Boy N.O.P., the Vivaldi ten-year-old stallion in his first season of Grand Prix and competing in his first indoor show.
Home favourite Charlotte Dujardin, who was ‘borrowing’ Hawtins Delicato from his regular rider Carl Hester, was first to go and our first ‘guinea pig’ to ride the test. Despite having not competed Lady Anne Evans and Ann Cory's Diamond Hit ten-year-old since April, Charlotte seemed to get a great tune from ‘Del’ and but for a blip in the one-time changes, it was a fair clear round which the judges awarded 73.026%.
Charlotte held the advantage for much of the competition but then Olympia debutant Frederic Wandres looked like a contender with the British-bred Hof Kasselmann owned Duke of Britain. The duo have several 75%+ scores on their record and their performance this evening looked worthy of something approaching that level. The new format of the post-test rider interviews and dramatic revealing of the scores certainly added to the pressure and as a number of plus 70% marks were revealed, the tension grew… 72.632% was the final reveal, not quite enough.
A similar tense wait was endured by the crowd during Hans Peter’s reveal and 73.895% was met with warm applause, despite the score relegating the home nation to second.
Hayley Watson Greaves and Rubins Nite were next best Brits in fourth with 71.526% after a clear round and some really great work from the Rubin Royal 14-year-old. Richard Davison followed close behind with Gwendolyn Sontheim’s home bred Bubblingh on 71.368% while National Champions Lara Bulter and Rubin Al Asad, owned by the Bechtolsheimers completed the top six on 71%.
“I’m very pleased with him. Tonight was new for us as riders as we’ve never had to get off and talk; it was difficult for us but it was cool when the scores came up. The old Grand Prix really suits stallions as you can get them forward straight away with the extended trot, we didn’t have that in this test. I found it hard to get into a rhythm but it’s good to try and improve the sport,” said Hans Peter afterwards.
Charlotte said; “I’m pleased really. Going first, I didn’t get to watch anyone do the new test. He’s just ten and it’s his first season Grand Prix and his first indoor show. Riding here is incredible, like nowhere else; it’s like the crowd can touch you they’re so close. The new test rides very quickly; it’s not easy to get a flow. As riders we need to discuss it and work with the judges to improve.”
For Frederic, it was a slightly different opinion; “It depends what horse you are riding but I found the test quite fluent. I felt more nervous than ever as it was new and my first trip here. My colleagues told me I must come to Olympia and it’s the nicest show I’ve ever been to, such a super atmosphere – I had to take a deep breath when I saw the arena.”
For full results – click here
Times for tomorrow night’s Grand Prix Freestyle, supported by Horse & Hound – click here
Remember, you can watch on the BBC red button tommorow night or via FEI TV.