Team Denmark pipped their neighbours from Sweden at the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage 2016 series on home ground at the Odense Horse Festival today. In a game of cat-and-mouse, the Swedes had a narrow lead after Saturday’s Grand Prix but were overtaken by their hosts in Sunday’s Grand Prix Special. And in a thrilling finale, the Danes held on tight to come out on top by an overall margin of just 0.317 percent following today’s deciding Freestyle.
Team Germany finished more than 20 points behind in third place while the three-member Australian side lined up fourth ahead of USA in fifth, Great Britain in sixth and another three-strong side from Finland in seventh spot.
The Scandinavian countries were in a league of their own going into today’s closing competition, with Germany already trailing by a 10-point margin.
Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard threw down a real challenge when posting a Freestyle mark of 73.975 with Jojo AZ. This pair have established a big fan-base throughout the last few Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage seasons and performed a charming new Freestyle for the very first time. It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as Jojo was affected by the strong winds sweeping across the showgrounds, while his rider struggled to follow her music. “I am not so familiar with my new Freestyle yet, but I love the music of Robbie Williams and the choreography. At the end of my test I show piaffe and passage in a heart shaped line in front of the judges” Thinggaard explained.
The question now was - would this be enough to leave her country out in front? There was huge suspense when Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen steered Dante Weltino OLD through an almost flawless test. But the lovely black stallion was also a bit tense today and the judges were not in total agreement. Nilshagen’s score of 75.425 secured individual victory in the Freestyle, but it wasn’t quite enough to swing the team scoreline back in her country’s favour.
It would a very happy home-side celebration for Thinggaard, Cathrine Dufour, Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Lisbeth Seierskilde.
Dufour won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special on the Danish Warmblood gelding Attergaards Cassidy. She was over the moon, especially after her performance in the Grand Prix Special scoring 75.961% and showing a very relaxed horse in a harmonious ride.
Commenting on the experience of the last few days Dufour said it was “super exciting, and the victory in the FEI Nations Cup today crowned a perfect weekend for me! I simply love riding in team competitions, and I find it very valuable to ride together with my colleagues in a team competition. It adds to the unity of the team”, she added after her side posted a final tally of 436.521.
Swedish rider Therese Nilshagen was also very happy with today’s quality test. “It is our first Grand Prix season, and he (Dante Weltino OLD) is only nine years old, so I am very pleased with the result”, she said. The final score for the Swedish side that also included Rose Mathisen (Zuidenwind 1187), Juliette Ramel (Buriel KH) and Paulinda Friberg (Di Lapponia T) was 436.204. Germany’s Kathleen Keller (Daintree 3), Brigitte Wittig (Bodega W), Marcus Hermes (Zinq Cabanas FH) and Svenja Peper (Disney World) posted 412.113 for third place.
This is the first official season for the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage series following three years at pilot level. Team USA won the opening 2016 leg on home turf at Wellington (USA) last month, and the remaining legs will take place at Compiegne (FRA) next weekend followed by Rotterdam (NED) in June and Falsterbo (SWE), Aachen (GER) and Hickstead (GBR) in July.
1. Denmark 436.521: Attergaards Cassidy (Cathrine Dufour), Jojo AZ (Agnete Kirk Thinggard), Blue Hors Hotline (Daniel Bachmann Andersen), Jonstrupgardens Raneur (Lisbeth Seierskilde).
2. Sweden 436.204: Dante Weltino OLD (Therese Milshagen), Zuidenwind 1187 (Rose Mathisen), Buriel KH (Juliette Ramel), Di Lapponia T (Paulinda Friberg).
3. Germany 412.113; Daintree 3 (Kathleen Keller), Bodega W (Brigitte Wittig), Zinq Cabanas FH (Marcus Hermes), Disney World (Svenja Peper).
4. Australia 406.129: Du Soleil (Kristy Oatley), Umbro (Mary Hanna), Diamantina 4 (Maree Tomkinson).
5. USA 403.524: Alcazar (Katherine Bateson-Chandler), Stafano 8 (Beatrice Marienau), XXL Rubino NRW (Jennifer Hoffmann), Currency DC (Susan Dutta).
6. Great Britain 400.007: Bubblingh (Richard Davison), Al Franco (Gillian Davision), Solo Bachelorette (Emily Kate Cousins), Aldborough Rubin Hall (Bobby Hayler).
7. Finland 393.471: Denzel (Anna Von Wendt), Skovlunds Gamin G (Mikaela Lindh), New Hill Julitrea (Stella Hagelstan).
Detailed results are available here
More information about the FEI Nations Cup™ 2016 Dressage series can be found here