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Dutch dressage team wins on home turf


The Dutch dressage team have won today’s FEI Nations Cup. Team captain Rien van der Schaft’s equipe already had a good start on Thursday by taking first position in the Grand Prix. In the scenic atmosphere of the Kralingse Bos, they continued down the same road, though the Swedish team ensured a thrilling competition by competing head-to-head with the Dutch right until their final rider Tinne Vilhelmson’s performance. The Swedes came up second. The American team were third. Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. were the stars of the Dutch team by taking the win in the Grand Prix Freestyle in striking fashion. Swedish rider Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino Old were victorious in the Grand Prix Special.

Dutch team captain Rien van der Schaft had plenty of cause to celebrate tonight in Rotterdam. ‘’There were so many highlights in Edward’s test. That’s fantastic to see, and I’d almost consider it his trademark. Hans Peter performed very well too. These guys prove that they can bring their best when the moment demands it. They really give it their all. As team captain, that makes me very happy. It feels really good when your riders are able to deliver something extra, like they have done tonight. Hats off to all four riders. Besides Apache, who is by no means old, they all have really young horses, which promises a lot for the future.''  

Van der Schaft is also pleased with the Nations Cup format. ‘'This Nations Cup concept is a good thing for dressage as a sport. It ensures that you don’t just win if one rider has a score over 80%. You really need the whole team to do well. That ensures excitement in the competition right until the last moment.’' The FEI Nations Cup rankings are calculated with place points. In Thursday’s Grand Prix, the three best results per country counted towards the end result. The same applied tonight for the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle combined. Tonight, The Netherlands beat Swedes by one point.

The riders

Edward Gal and his beautiful horse Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. already won Thursday’s Grand Prix and tonight did the same in the Freestyle. ‘'Zonik felt really good. In the warm-up area he reacted very strongly to Patrik Kittel’s mare and in the ring he was a bit nervous, but he carried on wonderfully. I was glad we got to ride in this stadium today, because he has to get used to an atmosphere like this. We made an error in the pirouette that cost us, but I’m very pleased. There were some really good parts’’, says Gal, who received a score of 80.075%. With this victory, Gal finishes a fantastic week at CHIO Rotterdam. He won all four categories he competed in, two with Glock’s Zonik N.O.P. and two with Glock’s Voice.

Hans Peter Minderhoud pushed to the limit in the Grand Prix Special with Glock’s Dream Boy. His efforts paid off, as he rode a terrific test. ‘’It's the best test I’ve ridden so far with this horse. Dream Boy doesn’t get spooky in this entourage and he never complains, but just does his thing. I’m really happy with it’’, he says right after his test.  

Emmelie Scholtens rode here elegant stallion Apache to a fourth place in the Grand Prix Special and was pleased with that result. ‘’For me it was the first time riding here in the big arena. I forgot a part of the passage and that’s frustrating, but I’m very happy with Apache and can only be proud.’'

Madeleine Witte-Vrees did not ride the Grand Prix she had in mind with Cennin, and she wasn’t satisfied with her performance in the Freestyle either. ‘'There were too many errors. For us, this wasn’t good, we’ve already scored higher than 80%, then this just isn’t good enough’’, the rider says.

Explaining the music

Packed stands had plenty of quality dressage action to enjoy this evening. After every test, Laurens van Lieren provided his expert commentary and for the Freestyle he was assisted by famous Dutch bariton Ernst Daniel Smid who gave his insights on the musical part of the test. This certainly provided spectators with a lesser knowledge of music with new insights.

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