Wandres Pips
Dujardin to
Glory at Olympia

18 December 2018

Frederic Wandres of Germany won the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle at Olympia on Tuesday, taking Leg 6 of 10 for the Western European League in FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition.

Whilst tied with Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin on a score of 80.030 percent, Frederic Wandres received higher artistic marks from the judges to secure the top spot on the podium at the World Cup event, a popular highlight of the London International Horse Show.

 

Hans Peter Minderhoud of the Netherlands finished third following Dujardin’s silver medal, with a score of 77.990 percent, having won the Grand Prix event on Monday.

The Olympia stands were packed and the Champagne bars overflowed at this festive holiday equestrian tradition.

The atmosphere in the crowd was electric, as the arena glowed blue in anticipation of the 12 riders vying to see who would earn points to qualify for the FEI World Cup Finals in Gothenburg next April.

 

Only nine Dressage riders from the league will advance to Sweden, and the competition was stiff amongst the world’s best this week in London.

 

At the end of the interim break, Great Britain’s Lara Butler was in the lead on 74.170 percent, followed by Minne Telde of Sweden, who closed the first half of the programme with a charming freestyle performed to Christmas music.

 

Tempi changes plagued many of the riders in the second half of the evening, and the proximity of the ring to the crowd had a few horses more nervous than usual.

 

Riding second after the intermission, Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins Delicato, who came in second in the previous day’s Grand Prix, turned in a nice test for her 80.030 percent, but it wasn’t without errors.

 

Hayley Watson-Greaves, also of Great Britain, gave a fantastic performance with a high degree of difficulty on Rubins Nite, executing clean transitions and powerful extended work. But with a score of 77.005 percent, it wasn’t quite enough to challenge her countryman.

 

 

Wonderful Wandres

Next up, Frederic Wandres, 31, sporting a jaunty holiday bow tie, showed what his young Hanoverian Duke of Britain could do, and their huge canter and expressive movements won over the judges for 80.030 percent and higher artistic scores than Dujardin.

 

Neither Great Britain’s Richard Davison nor Hans Peter Minderhoud could touch that score, although Minderhoud went all out, demonstrating power and expression aboard Glock’s Dream Boy, a stunning black stallion new to the Grand Prix circuit.

 

In spite of having a few wobbly transitions where his horse went off his leg momentarily, Minderhoud snagged the bronze spot with 77.990 percent, thrilled to have taken two medals on two consecutive days.

1812-dressage-letters

The local riders didn’t fare too badly either, with all four of the British riders landing in the top six: Watson-Greaves in fourth, Davison in fifth, and Butler in sixth.

After this week’s World Cup event, Germany’s Benjamin Werndl and Dorothee Schneider are still at the top of the overall standings on 65 qualifying points apiece. Frederic Wandres has moved into third place on 50 points, and Hans Peter Minderhoud is now in 7th.

 

With another FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition in Mechelen, Belgium, just next week, the rankings may change again. Stay tuned to FEI TV to cheer for your favourite combos and see who will punch a ticket to Gothenburg.

Words by Patricia Salem

Images by Jon Stroud

Qualifiers
Final