Anky van Grusven wins freestyle European gold

  • Anky van Grunsven (NED) swapped places with Isabell Werth (GER) to take freestyle gold at the European dressage championships in Turin, 2 September.

    Having settled for silver behind Isabell and Satchmo in the special, Anky had Salinero more relaxed on the final day. Her Slings and Kerkof freestyle impressed the judges, just as it had previously for Olympic and world gold.

    “I’m delighted with my result,” said Anky. “Keltec Salinero was calm and relaxed in training as well as in the competition. We’ve had a fantastic show at La Mandria and I’m happy I came to Italy.”

    Isabell and Satchmo performed a strong test with just a few small mistakes.

    “Satchmo was brilliant, but I had to take some risks during our performance and in a few circumstances the horse was not perfect,” said Isabell. “For example in one extended trot he lost a bit of balance.”

    Imke Schellekens-Bartels (NED), added a second bronze medal to her collection with Hunter Douglas Sunrise.

    “She just offered me a fantastic performance,” said Imke. “Even though she was a little tired she kept concentrating and stayed very soft. She really performed at her best.”

    Anna Ross-Davies — who was called up only two weeks before the competition when Carl Hester’s ride was withdrawn with a small injury — exceeded all expectations by being the only Brit to reach the kür where she finished 10th on Donald McTaggart’s Liebling.

    Asked how it felt to be the 10th best in Europe having only started at grand prix a year ago, Anna was speechless for the first time ever.

    “Lenny was heroic in the freestyle. I never expected to get there so we just went for it,” said Anna. “This whole experience has been extraordinary — the whole week I just couldn’t believe I was here. Going in to do my sound check with Ferdi Eilberg [team trainer] as Sjef [Janssen] came out from doing Anky’s music is a memory that will stay with me forever!”

    Read the full results

    Read H&H’s full report from Turin in this week’s magazine (6 September, ’07)

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