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Early riders left pissed off after eventing World Championships dressage

  • The first session of eventing World Championships dressage is now complete in Pratoni del Vivaro in Italy (15 September). Two riders from key teams both suffered disappointment, when their marks left them slightly wanting more.

    Astier Nicolas, the first of the French team riders, scored 30.8 with the elegant 12-year-old gelding, Alertamalib’or, whom he co-owns with Aliette Foreign and Nicolas Paul.

    “I’m a bit frustrated with a few mistakes. This horse is a bit less fresh at this end of the season and I think I made the mistakes because he ‘breaks’ a bit behind me,” Astier explained. “He is always very serious at his work and always very focused and did some lovely work too, but there too many mistakes spoiling the job.”

    Astier leads the eventing World Championships dressage leaderboard at this early stage of the competition, with Germany’s first team rider, Christoph Wahler, in third on 32.8.

    Christoph, who is riding the grey 13-year-old Carjatan S, got off to a tense start in their test, being awarded fours and fives for their first centre line and a two and two threes for the collected trot movement after moving off from the first halt.

    “That was very bad and I’m incredibly disappointed about the first half of the test,“ said Christoph of the gelding, whom he owns alongside Lena Thenies. “He was very relaxed and with me beforehand and he felt great all the days before when we worked him in here yesterday, in the stadium.

    “But then he spooked at something when I tried to get in trot after entering the arena – there was a drone flying up there and I don’t know if it was that or something else, I have no idea, but for some reason I didn’t get the trot. Then unfortunately that went through all of the trot work. I think the horse showed great movements as well in walk and canter and I think the halts were OK, the changes were OK, so it could have been a good test and now it’s just a big disappointment.”

    It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though, as Switzerland’s first team rider, Nadja Minder was absolutely delighted with the performance of her horse, Toblerone. They scored 31.8 thanks to a mistake-free test, which puts them into second at this stage of the competition.

    “You can’t do more than you can and he behaved very well. He gave everything for me in there, and I had no big mistakes – everything was great,” said 22-year-old Nadja, who said her first eventing World Championships experience with ‘Chocoline’ – which is Swiss German for a small piece of chocolate — is “totally unreal”.

    “It’s just a dream come true and I would have never thought four years ago that I can can do this at this age. Then Toblerone came along and made that dream come true.”

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