Tears for Dalera in the Deutsche Bank Prize
The best part comes last. And on the dressage arena in Aachen that is the Grand Prix Freestyle, the Deutsche Bank Prize. The names of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB will decorate the board of the eternal winners for the first time.
The wonderful freestyle routine of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl und TSF Dalera BB begins with the classic by Caterina Valente: “Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe“ (The whole of Paris dreams of love”. The title of the songs vary during the course of the test, but the love between the rider and her horse was tangible in every hoof step today. Dalera may not have stood quite still by the salute again, eager to commence, but that really was the only fault this exceptional pair made today. Dalera danced, Jessi led, lightly, inconspicuously, wonderful. Finally, the last salute, Jessica hugged her mare’s neck, the crowd stood up and cheered them. Jessi waved to the crowd and wiped her teary eyes. “I was very emotional, as everyone could see,” she confirmed later. “It is because of this incredible mare. She leaves her heart in there for me. It is the arena that affects me, it such a pleasure to perform there and she always listens to me. Yesterday I had big mistakes because I made the wrong decisions, today I didn’t take any wrong decisions so we had no mistakes, because she just listens to me…” Once again her eyes welled up with tears. “I just wanted to add that it has always been my childhood dream to be on the winners’ board.“
It is not the first dream that Dalera has fulfilled for the Olympic gold medallist, European Champion and World Cup winner. Now she also has an entry on the eternal best list in the Deutsche Bank Prize.
The week in Aachen came to a close with a fantastic second place for the Danish team World Champion, Nanna Skodborg Merrald with her World Cup runner-up, Blue Hors Zepter. The judges awarded the pair 88.730 percent for their performance, which was a demonstration of the classic schooling of horses. That was her best Freestyle result to-date. Aachen was only the pair’s fourth competition together. They have only been working together for just over six months. The chestnut gelding is 15-year-old. Or young, depending on how you look at it. Because together with his new rider he is in better form than ever. And Nanna is convinced that they haven’t exploited his potential. Because like Dalera, Nanna said Zepter is a horse that has “a big heart and always want to fight for you”. That is what makes him so special. “I now just have to figure out how much I can ask of him and what is too much. I actually found some new buttons here in Aachen. No, I don’t think we have reached the limit in his potential yet.“
Third place went to the partner country, Great Britain, thanks to Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep. The British rider, Charlotte Dujardin, once set a world record to the Freestyle she performed today. That was with the legendary Valegro, whose horseshoe decorates the Walk of Fame in Aachen. Her new Valegro is called “Pete” and at least as a “youngster” – which is not all that long ago, he is only ten – he was so wild that Dujardin and her trainer Carl Hester decided it would be best for him to live out 24 hours a day. “He bucked everyone off,” revealed Charlotte. He is not quite as wild in the meantime, but he still lives out at grass round the clock together with a friend, when he is not out following in Valegro’s hoof steps, like today. Those are mighty hoof steps to fill, but he is certainly on the right track. He already came third today with a score of 88.415 percent, which is also a new personal record for him and his rider is convinced there’s plenty of room for development: “Pete is a very young, inexperienced horse, so I am delighted with the result. But there is more to come!”
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