With plenty of energy to the podium — Dujardin wins the CDI4* Special in Hagen

With plenty of energy to the podium — Dujardin wins the CDI4* Special in Hagen

(Hagen a.T.W.) Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Imhotep underlined their great start into the 2024 season with victory in today’s CDI4* Grand Prix Special, Preis der MEGGLE Group GmbH. The British pair topped the leaderboard with 70.064 percent and was put first by all members of the ground jury. Compatriot Carl Hester rode Fame into third place on 75.809 percent. Best German combination was again Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth OLD, who split the British pair with 76.532 percent. The following three placings were back in German control, with Ingrid Klimke and Franziskus FRH showing a great test for fourth place on 75.181 percent ahead of the Rothenberger siblings. Sönke placed fifth on Fendi (74.234), and just pipped his sister Semmieke with Flanell (74.128). The Special was held in the big jumping stadium to simulate some of the grand Championship atmosphere that awaits at Paris 2024. 

The winning pair looked to be clearly enjoying themselves piaffing and passaging around the spacious arena. Charlotte was really pleased with Imhotep, or Pete, as he is called at home: “I’m still having to balance and slow him down a little bit. Sometimes that can affect the frame a little bit. But I love having a horse that is so keen and willing. His work ethic is second to none and he’s so much fun to ride. He’s like a ball of energy and never seems to run out of energy”

For the British Olympic team aspirant Hagen proved the perfect start to her Paris campaign: “For his first show of the season he’s still excited. I was really pleased with my ride, there was just the last bit, the simple transition from canter to trot — something I never normally worry about. It just goes to show, it can just catch you out. But my pirouettes and my piaffe were really good. It’s a great start to the year and coming away from here we both learned a lot.” 

Bluetooth more confident

Wandres and the Bordeaux gelding Bluetooth OLD looked to be getting more secure and confident with each part of the test. A feeling that the rider confirmed: “In the Grand Prix I rode perhaps a bit shyly — maybe because it’s the home ground, I don’t know — but I was really angry with myself. It happened, I had to draw a line under it and move one to the next test. Yesterday I just worked him lightly over the back with plenty of transitions and that showed today. The piaffe and especially the transitions developed much better than on the first day. The last piaffe felt amazing! He showed a very good test, there’s still more room for improvement, but we are looking to be on our peak for the summer.”

Frederic Wandres & Bluetooth OLD (c) Stefan Lafrentz

It was back to normal today with Fame’s temperament and attitude Carl Hester confirmed: “He was much more rideable, a pleasure really! This is a lovely arena to ride in for horses that are little bit claustrophobic. I just had the mistake with my pirouette, which was very expensive and my mistake. However, I was really happy to finish the competition with a ride like that. For us it’s not just about the points, but about having the feels as well to see where we are up to”

Trial and error

National coach Monica Theodorescu emphasised how it important it was to have the Special in the jumping stadium today: “I think we saw some great performances and some great horses here. The CDI4* tour was held in two different arenas, it was not so easy. As Carl said, this is different: Some horses like a more open space, some like it more closed. We are at the beginning of the season, so we are still working on a little bit of trial and error, what is better, what is better there…. There were some very good parts already.”

Overall she was pleased with the performances of her squad members: “Franziskus is already very consistent, he’s done one show prior and improved already. With Sönke and Fendi it’s a little bit of trial and error to find the right support for the horse. Semmieke had a great ride today. So this is where we are at the moment and there’s a lot more to come.” The national coaches’ homework and observations will continue at the Nations Cup in Compiegne (FRA) next week and then five-star CDI in Munich the week after. 

About the new presentations

All three riders had plenty of opportunities to experience the new prize giving concept that is trialled at Horses & Dreams meets Portugal this year. Carl Hester showed his thumbs up: “From Charlotte’s and my point of view, this is the way forward. It’s definitely better for the horses and their welfare. We still bring the horses in, so the public can see them for a lap of honour and it’s good that that’s not been fully taken away. We are very happy with this arrangement, it feels more relaxing as well.” Wandres agreed with his colleague: “Thank you to Ulli Kasselmann, who worked this idea out together with Monica. We are giving it a try here in Hagen and I hope that a lot of shows will follow our idea. This is the right step in the right direction.”

Fun fact on the side: The background music to Charlotte’s and Imhotep’s test sampled some of the elements of Dujardin’s London 2012 freestyle music with Valegro. “Normally I don’t hear, what’s going on around me,” Charlotte remarked, “but it was nice to hear that today! Pete has no idea however.” 

Diamante Negro wins the first final ticket for the NÜRNBERGER BURG-POKAL

The first finalist for the NÜRNBERGER BURG-POKAL has been confirmed: Juliane Brunkhorst won the first qualification of the 2024 season on the eight-year-old DeLorean son Diamante Negro with 75.682 per cent. ‘Hagen has an incredibly large and strong starting field, so it’s very special to win here,’ beamed the professional rider from Hamburg. ‘You know the competition and can’t afford to make any mistakes. Diamante Negro has developed a lot over the winter, everything is much more mature. The whole test was simply superb from start to finish, it was seamless. Diamante has an incredible amount of rhythm and balance in all paces and is very sure-footed.’ In second place with 73.658 per cent was Charlott Maria Schürmann with the Dante Weltino-daughter Dante’s Pearl. Dustin Huber, from NÜRNBERGER General Agency Dustin Huber, equestrian specialist for NÜRNBERGER Insurance, praised the successful start to the season: ‘We saw many beautiful and talented horses with great prospects for the future.’


Bildinformation: Charlotte Dujardin & Imhotep (c) Stefan Lafrentz