‘I had goosebumps when I finished’: super stallion does the double at Hartpury CDI *H&H Plus*

  • Nikolas Kröncke repeated Saturday’s success in the NAF Five Star Hartpury CDI inter I with a win in the inter I freestyle on Sunday.

    Riding the 11-year-old Fidertanz stallion Flanell, Nikolas had good reason to be delighted with his score of 77.98% in the freestyle – this was only the German’s second international show for 17 years – his first being Wellington CDI in May.

    “It’s my first freestyle in ages, so I spent three hours locked up in the lorry listening to the music, and drilling it in so I knew where to go!” exclaimed  the 38-year-old commodities broker. “He felt really amazing again. I had goosebumps, like yesterday, when I finished.

    “It’s the best I’ve had him, by a mile. He’s a stallion, and he’s super-rideable, but he can be a little bit cautious, and he got into the arena and let me ride him. We went for it and it was a super feeling.”

    Nikolas owns the talented chestnut Flanell with his wife, Kathleen, a professional dressage rider and daughter of Dolf-Dietram Keller. Nikolas had great success at under-21 level in Germany – and last rode at Hartpury when he won double gold at the Pony European Dressage Championships in 1997.

    Andrew Gould and Tatiana Skillman’s handsome Zhivago stallion Genie have been on excellent form recently – taking the PSG winter national title the previous week – and Andrew delivered a freestyle mark of 76.39% to take second place.

    He said: “I’m over the moon – that was probably the best ride I’ve had from the three days here. Maybe he was a bit tired, but he was relaxed in there and he does like music, in all fairness – he rises to it. He was on the music the whole way through – I couldn’t fault him.”

    Third was Matt Frost on his own and Nicola Keenan’s nine-year-old mare Helga. The pair scored 75.43%.

    “It’s a brand-new routine for her, which I’ve put together with Tom Hunt. It arrived last week and I’ve practised it once, so I was thrilled with her,” said Matt. “She had a little loss of concentration in some of the trot, but I’m delighted with the way she’s been all weekend. It’s her first international show and I couldn’t ask any more of her.”

    Matt has been riding the Chagall mare for two years, and said that lockdown had helped them as he has been able to train her all the way to grand prix now.

    “Nicola and I have a great family relationship with Helga, and long may it continue,” he said. “She knows she’s the business – she’s so confident, and sometimes she listens to me and sometimes she thinks she knows better, but I’d rather have a horse like that. She’s really talented at the grand prix work, so hopefully next year we’ll be out at that level, and I’ve got high expectations of her.”

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