Olympic bronze medallists and this year’s World Cup winners, German riderUlla Salzgeber and Rusty added another crown to their growing list oftitles, gaining the individual championship in Aachen.
Ulla and the 13-year-old Russian-bred gelding now look strong favourites togain their first individual gold medal in the forthcoming Europeanchampionships in Verden in August.
The pair gained a commanding lead in the grand prix and after a high-scoringgrand prix special produced a near foot-perfect freestyle to win the classand an overall victory.
After a disappointing start to the competition for compatriot NadineCapellmann and the exciting chesnut Farbenfroh, the combination went on toreverse their fortune with an immaculate test in the special to claim theclass.
Some slight tension from the excitable 10-year-old in the freestylemarred a new test to new music but the combination did enough to ensuresecond place.
Ulla, a former young rider champion said: “The tests were not perfect but Igained a dream score in the special. I knew Nadine would be breathing downmy neck, but it did not make any difference to me – I always ride to win.”
New girl to the German squad here, Heike Kemmer, rode a perfectly timedfreestyle with Albano to finish in overall third place her best result todate.
Emile Faurie (Reuters Rascher Hopes) and Richard Davsion (Hiscox Askari)both qualified forthe special and after two withdrawals 27th placed KirstyMepham (Dikkiloo) were allowed to start in the special as well.
Emile and Hilary Sawyer’s 10-year-old gelding Rascher Hopes performed alevel test of growing confidence to be rewarded withtheir bestinternational score yet, gaining more than 68%.
While finishing the class in 15th place, the combined scores left them final 16th place, just missing out on qualification for the final freestyle ride off. Emile said:”It was close and for a while I was excited to hope we couldcontest the freestyle. But for me the best is that the horse is provingconsistent and still improving.”
Richard finished in 22nd, while Kirsty was just behind in 23rd place.
While the German riders dominated the top five places popular Spanish riderRaphael Soto and the Andalucian stallion Invasor put in a strong challengewith a freestyle test of the utmost degree of difficulty to finish the bestof the rest in sixth place. The Spanish team had their best championshipresult to date, gaining third place in the team competition and for the firsttime all four riders qualified for the special and three contested the rideoff.
But the Spanish stallions and their riders proved their versatility andstamina also taking part in the regular in-hand displays put on by the RealEscuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre to promote next year’s World EquestrianGames in Jerez.
Click here to read the full results.