Emma Hindle and Brookhouse Studs chestnut stallion Wie Weltmeyer made a special trip from their base in Germany to prove their worth as the lynchpin of the British team for Athens at the senior selection trial at Addington Manor Premier League.
The partnership performed an effortless test, ridden with total commitment to win on a score of 72.2%, in spite of two mistakes.
“He was really on form today a star,” said Emma. “However, I took a few too many risks, like in the last trot extension I asked too much and he lost his footing.
“He is now a very established grand prix horse so I dont need to train the movements so much, but it is important to keep him mentally happy and gauge the build-up to each show so that he peaks for the competition. He can hold that for five or six days and then I carefully let him down again.”
A compulsory showing of the short-listed combinations in the FEI grand prix test at Addington Premier League was an element of the British Dressage selection procedure for the forthcoming Athens Olympics. As might be expected, the first nine places went to the short-listed combinations but the order must pose some salient questions for the selectors.
Emma and Wie Weltmeyer have already fulfilled the main criteria for selection, which requires good results at international shows under FEI international judges, after a successful winter season abroad culminating in securing a place in the highly competitive World Cup final in Düsseldorf.
Peter Storr and Gambrinus had everything to go for and they did, coming home in second place. Returning to competition after an almost uninterrupted break following the World Equestrian Games in 2002 due to injury, they repeated their form from The College Premier League show, earning their second place on a score of 70.7%.
Nicola McGivern, riding Active Walero, and current Mercedez-Benz National Champions Richard Davison and Ballaseyr Royale were in third and fourth places respectively with only 0.4% between them.
For Nicola, it was a nightmarish repeat of their last premier league outing, with Walero napping before the start of the test. Tension was evident in the first part of the test, before Waleros talent and quality shone through for them to hold on to third place.
The new pair on the scene, businessman Wayne Channon and the Ferro stallion Lorenzo, are short-listed for a British team for the first time, and came a commendable fifth. The combination, who looked at ease with each other and confident at the level, produced a flowing, mistake-free test.
Olympic contenders Carl Hester and Escapado were missing from the line-up because Escapado is sidelined with a badly bruised sole, but it is hoped that he will recuperate in time to be in consideration for the team.
Chairman of selectors David Trott said: “The selection is not the closed shop that everyone thinks and the results today have made it a far more open team than people were prepared to consider.
“However, international results carry most weight; Emma has proved herself again and again in this respect. Other combinations will now compete abroad before our final decision, which must be made by the 1 June. Our intention is that Aachen will then be a dress rehearsal for Athens.”
- Read the full report from the Addington Manor Premier League, sponsored by Belstane Marketing, in the current issue of Horse & Hound (13 May 04)