Andersen Conquers
in Dramatic
Last Leg

16 March 2019

Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen won the last leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at ’s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands today...

Andersen's stunning performance saw him take the edge-of-the-seat tenth and last leg of the league.

 

Helen Langehanenberg's fantastic score of 84.875 pushed her German compatriot, and reigning series champion, Isabell Werth, off the top of the leaderboard.

 

Following Andersen's wonderful performance at the end of the night, Langehanenberg took second place and Werth placed third.

Langehanenberg's
best test ever

Only nine riders would progress from this league to the finals so with one last chance to gain points, there was absolutely everything to gain.

Normally this would be the top nine riders on the rankings but with each country only being allowed to send three riders and Germany dominating with six riders within the top twelve, it was still wide open.

 

Irish dressage hero Judy Reynolds on the fabulous Vancouver K. As the first Irish rider to ever have finished on the podium in a world cup qualifier, Reynolds was hoping to turn in a stellar performance to secure an appearance at Gothenburg.

 

Her husband Patrick was teary eyed with emotion in the aptly-named kiss and cry despite a mistake in both lines of one time tempi changes.

 

She still managed to go into the lead on 79.4%, but looked likely to be knocked off top position later in the day.

 

Patrik Kittel danced in to the sound of Guns N Roses to close the first half. Supported by his newborn baby Amelia in the Kiss and Cry (complete with sound cancelling headphones, of course!) on his horse Delaunay. He was awarded 80.7%, throwing down the gauntlet for the riders to come after the halfway break.

 

Maria Caetano started the second half off, but Coroado somewhat lacked his usual sparkle and had to settle for a 78.6%. Dutch rider Emmelie Scholtens pulled off a stylish test on Apache but on 80.4%, slotted in just behind Kittel with only six riders left to go.

 

Hans Peter Minderhoud missed out his joker line and was given zeros by all judges which affected his mark quite badly – he received an 81.6% and shot into the lead on Glock’s Dream Boy despite this, though one has to wonder what the score would have been without the mistake.

 

Benjamin Werndl made an entrance of note starting with a canter pirouette directly from halt.

 

The brother of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl is certainly making a splash on the circuit lately, and was lying third going into the s-Hertogenbosch qualifier but couldn’t quite pip Minderhoud to the post.

 

Next up was the master Isabell Werth. Having already qualified for the finals by virtue of being the current titleholder, Werth had nothing to lose.

 

She rode Emilio and despite getting off to a poor start – with 4s for her halt – she quickly made up for it and clinched the lead with 82.9% and only two riders left to go.

Langehanenberg and Damsey were the penultimate combination...

Langehanenberg stepped up to the plate, riding one of the best tests of their lives to top the leaderboard with 84.87% having never won a leg of the World Cup Qualifiers before.
 

 

Andersen, who placed second on Thursday behind Werth and Emilio, was last to go. 

 

Tensions were running high and Bachmann Andersen stayed cool and turned in a very neat performance beating his personal best with an 84.89% to clinch the lead by the skin of his teeth at the last minute.

 

Going into the freestyle day, smart money would have been on Werth – but s-Hertogenbosch has shown that this is anyone’s game with Werth bumped down into third.

 

There are nine spots at the Final available to riders from the Western European League and, as it stands this evening, Germany’s Langhanenberg and Dorothee Schneider will join their fellow-countrywoman and defending champion Werth when the action begins.

 

But despite finishing third, eighth and tenth respectively on the WEL League table, Germany’s Benjamin Werndl, Frederic Wandres and Fabienne Muller-Lutkemeier will miss out because only three riders from each National Federation are permitted to compete. 

 

As of this evening, completing the WEL line-up will be Bachmann Andersen, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud, Portugal’s Maria Caetano and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds.

 

An incredible qualifier and incredible riding has left everything open ahead of Gothenburg. Who will leave with the World Champion title? All we can say is that nobody can be discounted. Make sure to follow along on FEI TV.

 

Text by Sophie Baker

Images by © DigiShots