Picking up where they left off when taking Team gold at the ECCO FEI World Championships this summer, Danish riders completely overwhelmed the opposition at the first leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2022/2023 Western European League series on home ground in Vilhelmsborg, Aarhus (DEN) today.
Yesterday Carina Cassøe Krüth and the 11-year-old mare Heiline’s Danciera led the rout in the Short Grand Prix in which Denmark claimed all of the top four places. And today they did it again in a slightly different order in the Grand Prix Freestyle in which Cassøe Krüth remained at the head of affairs while her world championship team-mates Nanna Merrald Rasmussen and Daniel Bach Andersen finished second and third and her trainer, Andreas Helgstrand, finished fourth.
With her brand new Freestyle, Cassøe Krüth grabbed a big lead when posting a score of 85.925, all five judges – Mariette Sanders-Van Gansewinkel (NED), Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Susanne Baarup (DEN), Elke Ebert (GER) and Maria Colliander (FIN) – placing her first.
However her compatriots were also in flying form and, with just three of the 15 starters left to go, Bachmann Andersen produced a lovely confidence-giving ride on the 12-year-old gelding Zippo M.I. to score 81.330 for temporary second place on their Freestyle debut.
Second-last into the ring, all eyes were on Helgstrand and the fabulous 8-year-old Jovian who has already been super-successful as an even younger horse. And the double Olympian, whose training and sales business is a driving force in equestrian sport, produced a lovely Freestyle at the stallion’s first attempt. Breathtaking extended trot earned 10s and 9s galore, and although the horse lost balance and broke in tempi changes and has clearly more to learn about piaffe, the quality of movement and scope for development suggests a really exciting future for the pair who are only on the very first steps of their journey together.
Putting 80.000 on the board they slotted into third only to be demoted to fourth by the final combination of Merrald Rasmussen and the 11-year-old stallion Blue Hors St Schufro. This pair who won the Freestyle in Falsterbo, Sweden this summer overtook Bachmann Andersen and Zippo for runner-up spot when putting a healthy 82.610 on the board. But no-one could overtake Cassøe Krüth and the horse she steered to that team gold and individual seventh place at the championships staged in Herning two months ago.
Talking about her new fun-themed party-style Freestyle, Cassøe Krüth said, “I think I already had a bit of a party with the old one but I wanted to keep the same vibe but not the same music so we stepped it up!”
“I always think music is very personal and Freestyle is very personal, and I want to tell the audience a bit about myself and what I like and where I come from through my Freestyle and I think I grew up with this music. I was a teenager in the 90s and into every boy band and it was part of my life when I was a bit younger.”
It was all new to her, and to Danciera. “I didn’t get to ride it before. I heard it a bunch of times so I knew where I had to be for every note but I thought when I rode it today it took me through it. There was so much beat and rhythm and it tells me what to do,” she said.
She’s as excited as everyone else about what’s happening in Danish dressage right now.
“The sport is at a very high level and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop! It seems we are all going to continue producing horses and Cathrine (Laudrup-Dufour) also has new ones on the way, so as long as we have really good partnerships with our horse owners so we have good horses and we keep on educating them then I think it’s looking very positive for Danish Dressage sport!” she pointed out.
The second round of the 11-leg FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2022/2023 Western European League will be held in Lyon, France next weekend.