The Dutch were in dominant form at the Reem Acra FEI World Cupâ¢ Dressage 2014/2015 Western European League opening leg at Odense in Denmark today, where Edward Gal pipped Adelinde Cornelissen for the main honours in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Gal posted a warning of his intent when topping yesterdayâs Grand Prix with Glockâs Undercover. And he returned this afternoon to confirm that both he and his sensitive but talented 13-year-old horse are a force to be reckoned with going into the winter season.
Cornelissen was also runner-up yesterday with her trusty chestnut 17-year-old gelding Jerich Parzival. Going last today, the pair scored 84.30. But this left them more than four percentage points behind Galâs winning mark of 88.625, while third place went to another FEI World Cupâ¢ Dressage double-champion, Germanyâs Isabell Werth partnering Don Johnson FRH.
The real battle was played out between the final pair, Gal setting out his stall with a performance that saw him collecting multiple scores of 10. Piaffe, passage and half-pass were highlights, and despite their best efforts Cornelissen and Parzival just couldnât rein them in.
Yesterdayâs Grand Prix winning score of 84.100 was a personal best for Gal, and todayâs result was the icing on the cake, going some way towards easing the deep disappointment of being unable to take Undercover to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Gamesâ¢ in Normandy this summer due to a last-minute inflammation in the horseâs spine. Gal instead rode Glockâs Voice in the Dutch side that took team bronze.
âIt was a very big disappointment at the time, but the health of the horse counts for everything and you have to move on, and today he felt really goodâ said the 44-year-old rider. He was particularly pleased because the arena at Odense presents a difficult environment for the gelding. âThe spectators are sitting very high up along the side of the arena, and the arena is not so big so they feel very closeâ Gal explained.
The noise of the crowd, and the intense atmosphere, have been a real challenge to this horse throughout his career to date. But Gal feels Glockâs Undercover is coming to terms with it, and with himself, as time goes on.
Under the spotlight
He has had the horse for two-and-a-half years now, and it has taken him all that time to gain his confidence and teach him to relax when under the spotlight. It seems all the hard work is really paying off.
âYesterday he was really good, and today he was even more relaxed in the Freestyle. In the prize-giving today his heart was beating normally. Before, you could feel it beating so fast because he was so afraid! But today I got a really good feeling and I could ask him to do more and I could ride him through his extensionsâ Gal explained this evening.
Heâs now looking forward to the remainder of the Reem Acra FEI World Cupâ¢ Dressage 2014/2015 season and is targeting appearances in London, Amsterdam and âs-Hertogenbosch over the coming months. âLondon is one of my favourites – I really like that showâ he said. And with the maximum 20 points on the leaderboard after todayâs great result, the 2010 champion has the Reem Acra FEI World Cupâ¢ Dressage 2014/2015 Final in Las Vegas already in his sights.
1, Glock’s Undercover NOP (Edward Gal) NED 88.625; 2, Jerich Parzival NOP (Adelinde Cornelissen) NED 84.300; 3, Don Johnson FRH (Isabell Werth) GER 80.275; 4, Herzruf’s Erbe (Ulla Salzgeber) GER 79.400; 5, Glock’s Flirt (Hans Peter Minderhoud) NED 77.425; 6, Jojo AZ (Agnete Kirk Thinggaard) DEN 74.975; 7, Favourit (Sonke Rothenberger) GER 74.750; 8, Uzzo (Patrick van der Meer) NED 71.700; 9, Darcia VH (Jeanna Hogberg) SWE 71.675; 10, Qui Vincit Dynamis (Fabienne Lutkeieier) GER 71.375; 11, Di Lapponia T (Paulinda Friberg) SWE 71.325; 12, Vitana V (Morgan Barbancon Mestre) ESP 70.975; 13, Broholm’s Highlight (Jim Rasmussen) DEN 70.650; 14, Goerklintgaards Fanero (Lena Leschly Aamann) DEN 67.375; 15, Tobajo Pik Disney (Trude K. Hestengen) NOR 67.300.