Natalya Yurkevich and Donpetro HL proved unbeatable for gold at the FEI Central Asia Dressage Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan last weekend.
Only host nation riders attended the 2013 edition which was pitched at CDI* level, with medals offered in both the Grand Prix Special and Freestyle. And it was FEI Bureau member and Kazakhstan NF Secretary General, Sergey Buikevich, who took silver in both classes with Ispovednik, while Janette Bouman and Volan clinched double-bronze.
This year’s three-day fixture took place at the Altyn Tay Riding Club which is situated within easy reach of the Kazakhstan capital city of Almaty and is also close to the Zhailskii Alatau Mountains and the famously beautiful Butakovka Gorge.
The Altyn Tay Riding Club is the biggest in the country and venue for national team training as well as international jumping and dressage competitions. Warm and sunny weather attracted more than 500 spectators to the event.
Yurkevich posted a winning score of 63.521 in Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Special. The Ground Jury consisted of Poland’s Wojtek Markowski, Germany’s Peter Engel, Korea’s Chang Kyoo Yang, Nataliya Petukhova from Belarus and Russia’s Igor Kogan. The highest mark awarded to the 45-year-old rider and her experienced 18-year-old chestnut gelding came from Markowski, who scored them at 64.792.
Buikevich and his handsome 15-year-old black stallion, Ispovednik, achieved a mark of 62.563 for silver while Bouman’s 59.542 with was good enough for bronze. Bouman’s ride, the 19-year-old Volan, was formerly competed very successfully by Buikevich who won both the Grand Prix Special and Freestyle at the Central Asia Championships in 2007 and again in 2009 with this horse.
Ksenia Dubovtseva and Darial finished just outside the medal placings this year with a mark of 53.833.
At the previous championships in Almaty two years ago, the medals were awarded at FEI Intermediate 1 and FEI Freestyle Intermediate 1 level, and Yurkevich had to settle for silver behind Buikevich in the first of these. But she reigned supreme in the Freestyle in 2011 and, last Sunday, did so again when Donpetro posted 66.725 for the win.
But it was silver medalist Buikevich who received the highest mark of the competition when awarded 68.875 by Judge at E, Russia’s Nataliya Petukhova.
The multi-talented 50-year-old rider, who represented his country in dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Geramany in 2006, also competes in the sport of endurance, and has enjoyed a busy summer season with his top endurance horse Neonovyi, on whom he finished second at the CEI 3* at Astana (KAZ) in June.
Bouman and Volan secured Freestyle bronze on Sunday with a mark of 64.00.
FEI Central Asia Freestyle Championship: GOLD - Donpetro HL (Natalya Yurkevich) KAZ 66.725; SILVER – Ispovednik (Sergey Buikevich) KAZ 66.225; BRONZE – Volan (Janette Bouman) KAZ 64.000.
FEI Central Asia Grand Prix Special Championship: GOLD – Donpetro HL (Natalya Yurkevich) KAZ 63.521; SILVER - Ispovednik (Sergey Buikevich) KAZ 62.563; BRONZE - Volan (Janette Bouman) KAZ 59.542.