The winners of two World Cup dressage leagues have earned their spots in the 2013-14 Final at Lyon, France in April.
Australian Mary Hanna earned the single available qualifying spot for riders from the Pacific region when winning the Pacific League Final in Melbourne, Australia in November. The four-time Olympian pipped last year’s Pacific champion, Rozzie Ryan, whose husband, Heath Ryan, finished third. Whether Hanna takes up the opportunity to travel to Europe for the Final remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Tatiana Dorofeeva was the runaway winner of the FEI World Cup Dressage Central European League 2013/2014 which concluded at Minsk, Belarus last October.
Runner-up on home soil at the second leg in Nizhniy Novgorod last June, the 48-year-old Russian rider posted the winning Freestyle score in Moscow in September, while third place at Minsk a month later sealed the cleanest of series victories. Dorofeeva finished a full 17 points ahead of nearest rival, Katsiaryna Varchenia from Belarus, in the final league standings, and these two riders have qualified for the Final.
Russia’s Inessa Merkulova claimed third spot on the Central European League table ahead of Poland’s Katarzyna Milczarek, while another of the strong Russian contingent, Marina Aframeeva, slotted into equal-fourth place. Russian dressage riders were on top form all season.
A total of six qualifying legs took place in the Central European region, with riders also permitted to take points from other leagues.
The 2013/2014 Central European season began in Lipica (SLO) last May, where Elena Sidneva and Romeo Star headed the line-up with Germany’s Matthias Kempkes (Riccoletto) and Sylvia Zimmer (Broadway) slotting into second and third places.
Dorofeeva only came out of the starting blocks at round two in Nizhniy Novgorod (RUS) in June, but instantly made an impact when finishing second behind Russian counterpart Alexandra Korelova who also won the Grand Prix at this event with her 17-year-old black stallion Baikal. All of Dorofeeva’s success throughout her World Cup campaign was achieved with Khorovod, the 14-year-old bay gelding with which she also competed at last summer’s ECCO FEI European Championships in Herning, Denmark. At Nizhniy Novgorod they scored 70.850 while Korelova won through with a mark of 73.125, and Ukraine’s Svetlana Kiseliova and Parish finished a close third when posting 70.825.
At round three in Brno (CZE) in June, it was Poland’s Katarzyna Milczarek and the experienced Ekwador who scooped the honours ahead of Austria’s Belinda Weinbauer and Debut Dallas while Norway’s Ellen Birgitte Farbrot and Tailormade Akon Askelund finished third. But when Dorofeeva returned to action on home ground in Moscow in September she had it all her own way. Ground Jury member, Francis Verbeek von Roy, awarded an artistic mark of 77.000 that was backed up by further strong scores from Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Maribel Alonso de Quinzanos (MEX), Yuri Romanov (RUS) and Raphael Saleh (FRA) for a total of 73.725 to clinch maximum points.
It was a strong day for the Russian squad, as Inessa Merkulova (Mister X) lined up second ahead of Regina Isachkina (Diaz) in third while Katsiaryna Verchenia from Belarus (Redford) finished fourth.
The fifth leg took place at Wroclaw (POL) in September and when Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj (Smeyers Molberg) claimed pole position ahead of Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre (Heimliche Liebe) in second and Australia’s Hayley Beresford (Jaybee Alabaster) in third, it was Milczarek who earned the best of the Central European points when slotting into fourth ahead of Sweden’s Malin Hamilton (Fleetwood).
But Dorofeeva tidied it all up with another strong result at Minsk (BLR) in October when third, behind Merkulova, in the class won by yet another rising Russian partnership, Aframeeva with Vosk.
All of the Pacific League events took place in Australia, and at the opener in Melbourne last March it was David Shoobridge and 00-Seven who emerged victorious ahead of Caroline Wagner (Tango V) and Kerry Mack (Mayfield Pzazz). Shoobridge’s winning score of 73.575 left him more than four marks clear of his nearest rival. At the third leg of the series in Brisbane in July, Sheridyn Ashwood and Prestige VDL pinned Sue Hearn (Remington) into runner-up spot while Anjanette Harten (UQG Aladdin) was next in line.
Ashwood had to settle for second behind Hanna at Sydney in October where husband-and-wife team, Heath and Rozzie Ryan (Regardez Moi and GV Bullwinkle), clinched third and fourth places, and when the action returned to Sydney again the following month it was Heath Ryan who topped the scoreboard on that occasion. His score of 72.600 ensured the 72.250 earned by Ashwood was only good enough for second place while Jayden Brown (Furst Friederich) finished third.
At the series Final in Melbourne in December it was Hanna who had it all her own way. Ground Jury members Susan Hobson (NZL), Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), Mary Seefried (AUS), Stephen Clarke (GBR) and Anne Prain (FRA) combined to award the winning mark of 72.600 to the rider who has been coached by both Kyra Kyrklund and Clemens Dierks during the past 18 years. Hanna’s dark bay Hanoverian gelding Sancette was being trained by America’s Steffen Peters when the Australian rider first climbed on board in 2010, and is by Sandro Hit. Together the partnership achieved their ambition of competing for Australia at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Second place at the Melbourne Final went to last year’s champion, Rozzie Ryan with GV Bullwinkle who recently celebrated his 18th birthday, while Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi finished third.
FEI Pacific League World Cup Dressage Final 2013/2014
1, Sancette (Mary Hanna) AUS 71.825;
2, GB Bullwinkle (Rozzie Ryan) AUS 71.450;
3, Regardez Moi (Heath Ryan) AUS 71.375;
4, Diamantina 4 (Maree Tomkinson) AUS 69.600;
5, Ferero (Chantal Wigan) AUS 69.425;
6, Tango V (Caroline Wagner) AUS 68.375;
7, Mayfield Pzazz (Kerry Mack) AUS 67.625;
8, Django of Cacharel (Jeremy Janjic) AUS 64.500;
9, Carlyle (Nadia Coghlan) AUS 59.300.
FEI Central European World Cup Dressage League 2013/2014 :
1. Tatiana Dorofeeva RUS – 52
2. Katsiaryna Varchenia BLR – 35
3. Inessa Markulova RUS – 34
4. Katarzyna Milczarek POL – 33
4. Elena Sidneva RUS – 33
6. Marina Aframeeva RUS – 32
7. Alexandra Korelova RUS – 31
8. Svetlana Kiseliova UKR – 28
9. Alena Mastsianitsa BLR – 24
10. Zaneta Skowronska POL – 19