The world’s leading dressage rider and her Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion, Keltec Salinero, have now taken the European championship title.
Britain’s Carl Hester finished an impressive sixth with Escapado. The pair was heading for another high score when an error in the half pass cost them the chance of an individual medal.
“The atmosphere is so charged at a championship like this and Escapado coped better than some,” said Hester. “I’m not disappointed. To be sixth at a European championship is a real achievement. It’s fantastic to be in this position and the horse was amazing, especially when you think how far we’ve come in a year, it’s beyond belief.”
Anky’s overall win came as no surprise as the pair won both the team test and the grand prix special. Keltec Salinero, the 11-year-old bay gelding by Salieri, was less tense than yesterday despite a bigger atmosphere. Even so, he did not regain the great form demonstrated in his initial grand prix.
“Salinero was definitely at his best on the first day,” said Anky. “Today I had to ride with long reins to try and get him to settle down.”
The wind and rain put many horses on edge including Sterntaler-Unicef, the horse of Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, who whipped round several times at the C end of the arena.
Anky did remain in control with Salinero, who performed the same imaginative freestyle that won him the World Cup in Las Vegas. But Anky admitted to taking fewer risks today and so the overall impression was not as spectacular as their Las Vegas win.
Anky last won the European title with Bonfire in her home country of the Netherlands in 1999. This is the first time she has won the championships on German soil.
The two most relaxed horses throughout the competition, Hubertus Schmidt’s Wansuela Suerte and Jan Brink’s Bjorsells Briar 899, were unfased again and finished in silver and bronze positions respectively.
Schmidt and the 12-year-old Hannoverian chestnut mare, Wansuela Suerte, performed a fluent test that earned them 80.525%.
Brink and Bjorsells Briar 899 — the 14-year-old stallion he rode to individual silver at Hickstead’s European championships in 2003 — impressed the crowd with a new kur to the number-one song in the Swedish charts.
The most improved combination in the freestyle was Juan Antonio Jimenez and Guizo, who moved up to fifth place after a score of 79,550% to a tango and waltz compilation. Their routine was technical and was carried out with flare, and without mistakes.
Individual European championship results
1. Keltec Salinero (A van Grunsven) (NED) 236.577%
2. Wansuela Suerte (H Schmidt) (GER) 230.870%
3. Bjorsells Briar 899 (J Brink) (SWE) 229.012%
6. Escapado (C Hester) (GBR) 221.048%
20. Mr G de Lully (F Bigwood) (GBR)
23. Wie Weltmeyer (E Hindle) (GBR)
28. Lorenzo CH (W Channon) (GBR)