Dujardin and Valegro win European Championships for a second time in a row.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro have confirmed their status as the duo to beat in the dressage freestyle and yesterday reclaimed their European crown in Aachen, Germany.
Coming in second place we find the home pair of Kristina Broring Sprehe and Desperados FRH. The German pair gave the performance of their lives, but their score of 88.804 was not enough to wrestle away the European title from Dujardin and Valegro who scored 89.054.
Despite the absence of Totilas and the expected head to head with long term rival Valegro, it was still a thrilling spectacle for the fans thanks in part to the splendid performance from home favourites Sprehe and Desperados. The duo made up for the absence of Totilas as well as Edward Gal and Glock’s Undercover, ensuring a competitive final and forcing Dujardin and Valegro to raise their game as they kept their European crown.
Gal’s and Undercover’s absence was because of a loss of blood from the horse in the previous trial, the Grand Prix Special, and the organisers excluded the pair based on the regulations that are in place to protect the health and safety of the horses. There was no mistreatment behind the injury, and it was simply a result of a bite on the horse’s lip, but the regulations prevented their participation in the freestyle.
Focusing back to yesterday and the unstoppable Dujardin-Valegro performed to the music “Taming dragons made easy“. Just 2 errors were made, perhaps down to tiredness and the pressure of the events over the previous days, but it didn’t stop them repeating their European victory from 2013 at Herning. Speaking afterwards, it was confirmed by the dressage star that Valegro will now be given a deserved two or three weeks off before preparations get underway to secure qualification to the Olympic Games in Rio.
Kristina Sprehe meanwhile said that it had been her best freestyle experience in her life with an incredible Desperados. The penultimate pair to strut their stuff, Sprehe revealed that compatriot Isabell Werth was practically holding her hand because of the tension before she took to the arena.
The final podium slot went to another female star in the form of Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer Salt with the 14 year-old Delgado (82.714 %): a horse of real quality, but one that has always struggled with injuries throughout its career which have compromised its performances. The pair however have been one of the surprises of the European Championships and Beatriz now adds a third place finish at the games to a runners-up spot at the 2002 World Championships. Interestingly, the music for her freestyle performance was a creation put together by Beatriz’s friends.
The rest of the results were as follows:
4th Isabell Werth GER Don Johnson FRH
5th Hans Peter Minderhound NED Glock’s Johnson TN
6th Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvèn SWE Don Auriello
7th Jessica von Bredow-Werndl GER Unee BB
8th Carl Hester GBR Nip Tuck
9th Diederik van Silfhout NED Arlando NOP
10th Karen Tebar FRA Don Luis
11th Patrick van der Meer NED Uzzo
12th Morgan Barbançson Mestre ESP Painted Black
13th Gonçalo Carvalho POR Batuta
For a full breakdown of the results see here: http://results.aachen2015.de/show/7/event/34/competition/3/result/