A clear-cut victory in Kristiansand, Norway, on Thursday has rocketed Sweden to within two points of The Netherlands at the top of the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2014 pilot series leaderboard.
There were four countries in action at this fourth leg of the series, and the hosts, lining up for the first time this season, finished second ahead of Denmark in third place and Finland in fourth.
Kristiansand is a major equestrian centre in Norway, staging international jumping and dressage events. It was the venue for the FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships in 2009, and this week’s FEI Nations Cup Dressage took place alongside the 2014 Nordic Championships for Ponies, Juniors, Young Riders and Para-Equestrian athletes.
The FEI Nations Cup Dressage competition was hotly contested, with the biggest score of the day from experienced Swedish anchor partnership of Charlotte Haid-Bondegaard and Triviant.
First to come before the Ground Jury of Lone Dichmann (DEN), Torunn Knævelsrud (NOR) Gotthilf Riexinger (GER), Magnus Ringmark (SWE) and Irmeli Summanen (FIN) was Sweden’s Emilie Nyrerod, and she made the perfect start when posting a score of 67.840 with Miata. She would finish eighth individually at the end of the day, as the Swedish team filled four of the top nine placings.
Nyrerod and Miata rose to prominence in 2012 when dominating the U25 tour in Sweden and pipping considerably more seasoned combinations when winning the Kur at Astorp.
Swedish rider Rose Mathisen was sixth into the arena with Bocelli who posted a mark of 67.760, but with only the best three scores from each team being taken into account this would be the discard at the end of the day because Caroline Darcourt and Paridon Magi brought the first half of the competition to a close with a score of 68.080 and then Haid-Bondergaard raised the game even higher.
Fifth-last to go, Haid-Bondergaard and Triviant swept home to a score of 70.500 which was the icing on the cake and the second-highest Grand Prix score of the rider’s international career. The final scoreline showed Sweden with just over four points of an advantage over Norway in second, while the Danish side were more than two points further adrift and Finland almost three points more in arrears.
In the individual rankings, Haid-Bondergaard finished first ahead of Nyrerod while Norway’s Cathrine Rasmussen lined up third with Fernandez, the former ride of London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist and World No 1, Charlotte Dujardin from Great Britain. Sweden’s Anna Svanberg and Hermes, who were not part of the team, filled fourth place while Darcourt and Paridon Magi finished fifth and Norway’s Ellen Birgitte Farbrot, also not a team rider,was fifth with Tailormade Akon Askelund. Jim Rasmussen carried the Danish flag into sixth place when scoring 68.020 with Broholm’s Highlight.
Haid-Bondergaard’s Triviant was previously ridden by Germany’s Matthias Rath, who rode the horse into eighth place at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in 2010.
“I have had the feeling for the last four to six weeks that my horse is more quiet and much better to ride – it’s like he is listening to me more and we are having fun now!” the 47-year-old said.
“I could feel a change when we competed in Hamburg (GER) although we made too many mistakes in the Grand Prix there. After Hamburg he had a small break and then we did the National Swedish Championships, and in the Grand Prix and the Kur I had a great feeling.”
Looking ahead, she added “my ambition of course is to go to the WEG in Normandy, but I’m not getting too stressed about it, I’m taking one competition at a time, if it happens, it happens, and if not then we just continue to have fun!” she said.
1. Sweden 206.420: Paridon Magi (Caroline Darcourt) 68.080, Triviant 2 (Charlotte Haid Bondergaard) 70.500, Bocelli (Rose Mathisen) 67.760, Miata (Emilie Nyrerod) 67.840.
2. Norway 204.320: Tobajo Pik Disney (Trude Hestengen0 67.900, Pro-Set (Lillann Jebsen) 67.480, Carte D’Or (Camilla Kalseth) 63.840, Fernandez (Cathrine Rasmussen) 68.940.
3. Denmark 202.080: Acapello Foldager (Malene Folmer Jensen) 65.700, Jojo AZ (Agnete Kirk Thingaard) 67.340, Volstrupgaards Cassiopeia (Allen Skov) 67.340, Goerklintsgaards Fanero (Lena Leschly Aamann) 67.580.
4. Finland 199.300; Wizard ll (Elisabet Ehrnrooth) 64.940, Soraya ll (Stella Hagelstam) 67.760, Adonna (Johanna Heikkila) 63.280, Solos Lacan (Eevamaria Porthan-Brodell) 66.600.
Standings in the FEI Nations Cup Dressage 2014 pilot series after Round 4:
1. Netherlands - 30
2. Sweden - 28
3. Denmark - 20
4. USA - 15
4. Belgium - 15
6. France - 11
7. Great Britain - 9
8. Canada - 8
8. Norway - 8
10. Spain - 7
11. Australia - 6
11. Germany - 6
11. Finland - 6
14. Colombia - 4
14. Russia - 4