Just 13 horses contested the freestyle at the FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Omaha, USA, making it the smallest field at a final since 2009. It followed the unfortunate withdrawals of three high-profile combinations.
The Netherlands’ Dinja van Liere, who was widely expected to give eventual winner Jessica von Bredow-Werndl a run for her money, withdrew just minutes before she and Hermes NOP were due to enter the arena for their grand prix on Wednesday (5 April). It was later revealed by the Dutch federation that the Easy Game stallion “was not fit to compete”.
German pair Ingrid Klimke and Franziskus FRH finished fourth in the grand prix, but then withdrew ahead of Friday night’s freestyle, to the disappointment of fans who had hoped to see Ingrid bid for glory, 21 years after last riding in the Dressage World Cup Final.
There had already been question marks over the Fidertanz stallion’s soundness after he appeared slightly unlevel in his extended trot during the grand prix test. No bell was rung, however, and the movement received marks ranging from 6.5 to 8.5.
The following day it was announced that “Franz” had suffered a “misstep”, and would no longer be presented for the freestyle.
“I’m sad that we can’t compete in the freestyle here so unexpectedly. Franz’s well-being comes first and we have withdrawn him in view of the coming outdoor season,” said Ingrid.
Also scratching ahead of the freestyle was Dutch rider Marieke van der Putten and the Totilas son Titanium RS2. The pair had finished down the order with a disappointing 70.77% in the grand prix, and Marieke reported that the 11-year-old gelding has been “overwhelmed by the amazing arena”.
The day of the freestyle, the Dutch federation announced the pair’s withdrawal: “Titanium is showing mild colic signs, something he’s never had before. It’s a big blow for the entire team surrounding the combination, but it’s the right decision to pull the horse from competition.”
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