Helsinki International Porsche Horse Show

 

A case of

 

split

 

seconds 

 

Helsinki saw a string of strong rider and horse combinations whose main objective was the second leg of the World Cup. Two dark horses, however, came closest to capturing the trophy.

 

Text and photos Camilla Alfthan

 

The defending world champion, Steve Guerdat and his top horse, Nino des Buissonnets, had travelled to the Finnish capital just as Daniel Deusser and his Cornet d’Amour, Kevin Staut and his long time accomplice, Silvana, and a string of other well known combinations of the show jumping circuit.

However, it was Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher who made his mark at the 31st edition of the Helsinki International Porsche Horse Show by winning three speed classes. The first two aboard his 12-year old gelding Callisto.

 

Dark horse on the block

 

New kid on the block, Jessica Mendoza on Spirit T – in the World Cup they came second.

 

 

“He is my speed horse – very careful and fast,” said Dreher who came a mere 0.26 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Ireland’s Shane Breen and Acoustik Solo Du Baloubet in the opening International of 140 cm.

The second speed class, the International Top Score, consisted of a formula where each cleared fence yielded different amounts of points. The riders chose the order of the obstacles within a time frame. By the end of it, they had to jump the Joker fence which added – or deducted –  200 points depending on whether the fence stayed up or not. Dreher and Callisto accumulated 1070 points  – before it was time for Sunday’s speed challenge, the International Final against the clock (1,45 m), which the German won aboard his 11 year-old gelding, Cool And Easy.

“Cool And Easy is my second horse at the moment but he is coming better and improves all the time. I hope he will be the number one sometime. I’ve ridden him now for one year,“ said Dreher who was not the only rider to repeat himself.

 

Cool And Easy

 

Dreher’s Cool And Easy in the shower. 

 

The Netherland’s Jur Vrieling made a double with Arezzo VDL. Both times it was a case split seconds when the duo came 0,17 ahead of Finland’s favourite, Anna Julia Kontio and Fardon, her snowy white 14-year old gelding in Friday’s FEI ranking class against the clock, Helsinki Champions International 150 cm.

 

“I like the audience here in Helsinki. It’s always nice to start good already from the first day.”

 

“I like the audience here in Helsinki. It’s always nice to start good already from the first day,” said Vrieling who went on to win Saturday’s Helsinki Classic International 150cm – once again on the same horse and just 0,74 seconds ahead of Finland’s  star rider, Anna-Julia Kontio and Fardon.

“In the beginning I thought I would not be fast enough, because on one line we did an extra stride. But in the end it was enough. Anna-Julia (Kontio) came close again,” Vrieling said with a grin.

 

 

For the world cup class, it was also a case of split seconds. 38 horse-and-rider combinations started in the competition. 13 jumped clear in the first round and qualified for the jump-off against the clock – 10 of them jumped clear. The course design by Netherland’s Louis Konickx called for quick thinking and swift reactions.

After an exhilarating jump-off, it was Switzerland’s Romain Duguet – team bronze medallist from the European championships in Aachen earlier this summer – who won his very first World Cup aboard his 11-year old selle francais, Quorida de Treho.

The duo came just a fraction of a second – 0,11  – faster than the emerging, British talent, Jessica Mendoza and her horse, Spirit T. who  were leading on the score board during most of the jump-off until Duguet entered the ring with only two more riders to go.

 

“My plan was that I had to try everything. I still had Martin (Fuchs) and Daniel (Deusser) starting after me in the jump-off, so I had to try to be as fast as possible,” said Duguet who described his season so far as “fantastic” as well as his horse, Quorida de Treho.

“She’s really special, she jumped many clear rounds in a spectacular manner. She’s cool and careful. This is her second five star season – I’ve had her since she was seven.”

 

“My plan was that I had to try everything..I had to be as fast as possible.”

 

19-year old Jessica Mendoza, who was recently named Britain’s Talent of the Year, was also happy with her feat.

 

0,11 seconds faster

 

Romain Duguet’s Quorida de Treho had already impressed during the European Championships in Aachen. In Helsinki, they won the World Cup.

 

“I did not expect to get such a good result in this class, so I’m very happy. The mare keeps jumping for me, and she really wants to do clear rounds,” said Mendoza who earlier this year helped Britain secure a place for the Olympics in Rio. The teenager’s biggest leap so far may have been her own career.

 

“I did pony Europeans and then went straight from there to seniors. This year has been amazing as I stepped up to the seniors.I have great team mates who have a lot of experience and who support me,” she smiled.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser came third on Cornet d’Amour who helped him win gold during the 2014 World Cup finals in Lyon.

“I was very happy with my horse the way he jumped the jump-off and the way I rode it. It was a jump-off where you didn’t have too many options – all the riders had to go the same way. So it was just a matter of having a very smooth jump off. I missed nearly half a second, but I’m very happy, “ said Deusser who beat Steve Guerdat by 0,48 seconds while the Swiss came 0,04 seconds faster than Hans-Dieter Dreher on Embassy II.

“The course was brilliant!” the German continued.  “It’s not easy building in such a small indoor arena, but we never had really tight turns that were against the horse. Even in the first round today, all was very smooth over the first five jumps – the tricky part was the triple followed by the double.

Making the show arena bigger after last year shows that the organizers are motivated to make it a better show for all of us,” said Daniel Deusser about the main ring which had been enlarged by several meters after the inaugural show last year.  

 

 

Mild and colourful

 

The pictoresque surroundings dressed in autumn colours. The next Helsinki Horse Show takes place October 20-26 2016.

 

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