First World Cup
Win for
Minderhoud

29 December 2018

Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands won his first FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier this weekend at Mechelen aboard Glock’s Dream Boy in the Grand Prix Freestyle.

Hungry for a win after placing third at Olympia last week and taking the Grand Prix in Belgium on Friday, Minderhoud and his Dutch Warmblood stallion gave a stunning performance that showed how hard the duo have been working and improving just since the London competition.

 

Sharing the podium with Minderhoud in Belgium on Saturday was Helen Langehanenberg of Germany and Maria Caetano of Portugal, who took second and third places in the Freestyle, respectively.

Saturday’s competition at Mechelen was Leg 7 of 10 for the Western European League, which can send up to nine riders to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden, next April.

The competition was tight, as some of the world’s best Dressage riders gathered to vie for qualifying points. After the first half of the event, Madeleine Witte-Vrees of the Netherlands was in first place on a score of 76.870 percent.

 

Up third in the second half of the programme, Maria Caetano turned in a new personal best, scoring 80.160 and showing off gorgeous transitions and impulsion with her cresty Lusitano stallion performing to dramatic music from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

 

Helen Langehanenberg was next in the arena, and her sleek, meticulous, fast-moving test won a score of 82.880 percent from the international panel of judges, enough to pass Caetano, who had momentarily taken the lead.

 

 

Whilst Judy Reynolds of Ireland, happily back on the World Cup circuit, and Therese Nilshagen of Sweden put forth valiant efforts, their performances weren’t enough to overtake Langehanenberg at 78.570 and 80.090.

 

Minderhoud was last to ride and knew what he had to do for a victory. Laying down a programme that highlighted both artistic subtlety and precise equitation with tremendous fluency, he garnered an 83.665 from the judges to move into first place and bring home his first World Cup gold.

 

Speaking about Glock’s Dream Boy, Minderhoud said: “He only did a few Grand Prix competitions before qualifying for Tryon (FEI World Equestrian Games) this year - it was a bit early for him in his career, so after that I gave him a long rest and then restarted at Olympia.

 

"That wasn’t the most easy show for him to come back to, and I was not so happy with how he felt…he had been going so well at home. But then I bring him to another show here in Mechelen ten days later and he is super - I mean super!

 

"Here he was much more focused, not like at Olympia where I had to survive it a little! Today I could ride to the point, and he was really trying for me!"

 

Nilshagen ended the day in fourth place, followed by Reynolds in fifth and Witte-Vrees in sixth.

"He was
really
trying
for me!"

Minderhoud’s win this weekend boosted him to third place in the league rankings, where he is tied with Maria Caetano on 59 qualifying points.

Benjamin Werndl and Dorothee Schneider, both of Germany, are tied for first in the standings on 65 points apiece. Langehanenberg moved into fifth place after Saturday’s silver medal, and she is now on 51 points.

 

But with 60 points left for the taking over the next three Dressage events, the berths to Gothenburg are far from decided.

 

To see who makes it to Sweden in the spring, follow all the FEI Dressage World Cup™ action on FEI TV.

 

Words by Patricia Salem

Images by Dirk Caremans

Qualifiers
Final