Russia enters the race for the Olympics with spectacular record scores from Inessa Merkulova

Olympic Fever Rages as Final Competition Week for Olympic Qualification Begins 1 March 2016. All eyes went to Moscow this passed weekend, where the the biggest news was results from Moscow, where Inessa Merkulova scored 8% above her all time personal best.

At the 2016 CDI Moscow Inessa Merkulova RUS and Mister X receive their highest ever scores with an 82.204 in the Grand Prix and an 83.150 in the Freestyle, beating her previous highs of 74.46% and 81.375% achieved at the 2015 CDI Minsk last October. Inessa was already assured of winning the top Group C place so this did not change anything. But in the same competition Marina Aframeeva RUS and Vosk also blew away their previous highs with a 76.780 in the GP and a 78.430 in the Freestyle (previous records 71.900 and 75.630). That puts Marina into the second qualifying place for Group C with a net gain of 81 ranking points over the weekend putting her on 986 points today.

This has two effects, it knocks Beata Stremler of POL out of a qualifying place, though she will be competing in Dortmund this week; in addition, it puts pressure on the 6 top Olympic Ranking List (ORL) qualification places where Beata’s current 944 is very close to the 6th place score of 955. So Beata may be in contention for one of the 6 ORL places if she does not get the Group C place.

In Florida, Lars Petersen and Mariett DEN (Lars recently became a US citizen but is still competing for DEN) picked up points in the CDIW and is now at 955 points. This gives Denmark, at least for the moment, a 4-member team.

In Spain Goncalo Carvallo and Batuta climbed a few points to finish the weekend on 956 points, in the 4th ORL qualification place.

Lars Petersen shares 5th ORL place currently with Judy Reynolds IRL both on 955 points – which has now become the minimum ORL qualifying score. Judy competes in Doha this week and Lars may be competing in Florida. Lars entering the top 6 knocked Jorinde Verwimp BEL out of the top 6; both she and Jeroen Devroe will be competing in Lier this week looking to return to that top 6 and potentially give Belgium a 3-member team.

Status of the Olympic Summary:

Group A: Anna Kasprzak DEN 1090, and Mikala Gunderson DEN 1068
Group B: Victoria Max-Theurer AUT 1056 and Valentina Truppa ITA 1029
Group C: Inessa Merkulova RUS 1200 and Marina Aframeeva RUS 986
Group D: Megan Lane CAN 883
Group E: Yvonne Losos de MunizDOM) 639
Group F: Christian Zimmerman PLE 711
Group G: Julie Brougham NZL 805
ORL: Marcela Krinke Susmelj SUI 1005, Fanny Verliefden BEL 1000, Agnette Kirk Thinggaard DEN 989, Goncalo Carvalho POR 956, Judy Reynolds IRL 955 and Lars Petersen DEN 955.
Riders within 20 points of a qualifying score (on today’s standings): Jorinde Verwimp BEL 946, Beata Stremler POL 944, Jeroen Devroe BEL and Daniel Bachman Andersen DEN on 940 points. (Only one of Lars and Daniel can qualify as Denmark already has three “qualified”.)

These weeks are filled with top Sport! Two CDI3* and a CDI4* in Lier, CDI5*s in Dortmund and Doha, a CDIW in Wellington, and CDI3*s in Jerez de la Frontera, Hastings and Caselle di Sommacampagna

Source: Eurodressage

It was a Scandinavian Sweep at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival!

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello claims absolute Win at AGDF 7 with Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady in second place and Lars Petersen (DEN) and Mariett in third place.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello continued to display incredible consistency at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) as they made another huge statement in their second appearance this week, earning the win in the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group. 

 Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Don Auriello received a 79.775% for a commanding victory, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady collected second place with a 77.675%. Veteran pair Lars Petersen (DEN) and Mariett finished in third just behind their fellow Danish teammates with a 76.400% for a Scandinavian sweep.


Video: Grand Prix CDI, Wellington. Florida: Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and veteran partner Don Auriello, owned by Lövsta Stuteri, earned top honors in the competitive class and were the final pair to compete this afternoon, earning a 76.080%. 

Tinne about her freestyle: “It was an amazing feeling tonight. When you don’t have any problems in your test you can just let go and ride. You can go with the flow and I think that’s the feeling today, and I was very, very happy,” commented Vilhelmson-Silfven, who has represented her home nation of Sweden at every Olympic Games since 1992 in Barcelona, Spain.

She continued, “We’re actually changing the routine the whole time and changing the choreography a bit. We’ve been going back and forth for a while. It’s an ever-changing process.

 “I think when you ride a freestyle to the music, the highlight becomes when everything works out and you can follow it along the way it should be. I had that nice feeling today, and it was just right. I was happy with him overall, with the feeling he gave me and the balance we had together. I could move forward easily, and the only thing that I would be a little upset with was the first halt. He’s so on that he has no time to stop. Otherwise, it was great.”

“He’s the kind of horse that always gives his best and is always on my side,” she said. “He wants to please me the whole time and go into the arena with all of the people watching. He’s eager to go and that’s an absolutely stunning feeling to have as a rider, when your horse loves to perform.”

M. Gundersen, My Lady

Lars Pedersen, Mariett

Mikala Gundersen and My Lady, are on a winning streak. Coming off of their major win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* just two weeks ago at AGDF and also have found themselves consistently atop the leaderboard so far this season.

“I’m really happy with my test tonight. My goal was to have a similar test that I had two weeks ago, and I feel that I did. I was pleased with Lady, and she was very focused. She felt good throughout,” noted Gundersen.  

Even though Petersen and Mariett have been performed well this season, Petersen noted that tonight’s class felt like the first time the duo found the rhythm that makes them difficult to beat in the Grand Prix Freestyle class. Mariett, who is now 18 years old, was given off for a number of months after the FEI Reem Acra World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, NV, last April, and it has taken some time for the pair to get back into the swing of things so far this season.

“I’ve had a little bit of a hard time finding that rhythm with her again, so it’s getting better and better. Tonight I was really happy, and I think she was great. I think I could have been a little bit sharper at some points, and I don’t want to blame her because I’m so happy with her,” he said. “She’s 18 and is still fresh and going well.”


An ambitious group of Scandinavians are competing in Florida this season!

Antonia Ax:son Johnson of The Axel Johnson Group explained the organization’s deep ties with AGDF and the influence the winter circuit has had on dressage in European countries.

 “This is our sixth season here. Some of us sitting here, as Scandinavians, move here and stay here, while some of us come here and stay for months because it’s absolutely wonderful for our horses. They become so athletic, soft, and supple. I spoke with Tinne just after she arrived here with the horses and she said to me, ‘They’re different’,” said Johnson. “I’ve seen this horse since he came into our barn, and tonight I thought that he just made a beautiful dance for us. It was pure magic tonight, I truly think so.”

Source: Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle

Olympian Carl Hester is Awarded Global Dressage Visionary Award by Carol Cohen

The Global Dressage Visionary Award was established by Carol Cohen to recognize professionals and dressage enthusiasts who have put an incredible amount of effort into the growth and promotion of classical dressage.

“What an honor to win the same award as Robert Dover,” grinned Hester as Cohen presented him with the Global Dressage Visionary Award trophy, which Dover won earlier in the season. With a personality that is as spirited as Hester’s, it’s easy to see how the British Olympian is an instant fan favorite in the dressage community. Immense talent and work ethic compliment Hester’s personable attitude. Hester, who came from humble British Isle beginnings, was the youngest member of the British Olympic Dressage team when he was first named to the team, and he went on to win a team gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London. Hester is also responsible for the training of several world-class horses, including the subject of his new book, Valegro. The book, which chronicles the journey of making the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding into a World Champion with his student, Charlotte Dujardin, was recently released and is available for purchase.

Carol’s interview with Carl Hester as he is presented with the Global Dressage Visionary Award.

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Nanna Merrald and Akondo takes the U25GP victory at LöwenClassic 2016

It has been quite a weekend for Danish Dressage!

With at 2’nd place for Demnark in the team test at the LöwenClassic 2016, Nanna Merrald has set herself apart by winning todays U25GP with a score of 73,88% in the CDIO U25 – Grand Prix de Dressage. Together with the 14 year old gelding Traneenggaards Akondo, she proved to be outstanding. The combination has recently teamed up as her prior star horse Weltliebe found a new owner and is now part of Swedens team. 

In 2014 Nanna set the record of being the youngest contestant in the FEI World Cup – and she is still proving to be national team potential, this time with Akondo by Come Back II/M.v.Andiamo/DWB. 

Mikaela Gundersen and My Lady Near 80% Mark to Win FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*

What a great evening for Danish Dressage!c5a73b4f-deee-4d59-8d3e-8b2ac0ce1024

Competing in Wellington FL, Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady impressed the judging panel to earn a 79.075% for their first major win at AGDF this season. Fellow Dane Lars Petersen and Mariett followed in second place with a 76.600%, while Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 finished in third place with a 76.425%.

“Lady was really good. She was very good yesterday, but I planned to push a little bit more today and see if I could put her up a little bit higher in the neck,” Gundersen said. “I had that in the warm-up and then when I came in, when my music was supposed to start it didn’t, so I went to circle. Then the music started, and I tried to finish my circle, but Lady was like ‘No, no. Wrong way,’ and went for the centerline. Once I hit the centerline, she went into the passage, and I knew that we were good.”

The pair thrives in consistency, and they are usually expected to finish atop their respective classes. Gundersen noted that Lady is reliable in big atmospheres such as the freestyle, even though she is an incredibly sensitive horse, because she is so well-versed in their choreography and enjoys performing for a crowd.

Watch the outstanding ride:

Premium DW stallion Skovens Rafael moves to Sweden

Tullstorp Dressage Stable will station the Danish Warmblood stallion  Skovens Rafael (by Blue Hors Romanov – Don Schufro) in 2016.

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Wan’t to join the Falsterbo Crew?

This is your chance for a working summer vacation. Falsterbo Horse Show is looking for it 2016 staff – this is not an opportunity to miss should you like to take part in Sweden’s outdoor Equestrian Event No. 1!

Apply here

Klossinger Wins 2016 Piaff Forderpreis Selection Trial, Fifteen Riders Qualified for 2016 Show Circuit

Photo: Lisa-Maria Klössinger and New Lord at the 2015 CDI-W Salzburg

The fifteen riders which have qualified for the 2016 Piaff Forderpreis, the German Under 15 Grand Prix show circuit, are known. Twenty-seven combinations gathered in Warendorf, Germany, on 23 – 24 January 2016 for a training seminar, followed by a Grand Prix competition test. The fifteen highest scoring riders in the test qualified to compete on the 2016 Piaff Forderpreis circuit this spring and summer.

“The participation was again very good and it made us happy to see many new faces,” said German Under 25 trainer Jurgen Koschel. “It needs to be that way as at the end of last year many riders were finished with Under 25.”

All 27 combinations first rode under supervision of coaches Monica Theodorescu and Jurgen Koschel and then a training’s test took place. Each ride was filmed and got commented on by Monica Theodorescu, which the riders could take with them as home work.

Photo © Petra Kerschbaum
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2016 CDI Lier World Dressage Masters, can Kristine Moller repeat her 2015 success?

Danish Kristine Moller is all smiles as a winner at the 2015 CDI Lier World Dressage Masters

The first World Dressage Masters of the 2016 show season are scheduled to take place at the CDI Lier on 1 – 6 March 2016. The 2016 CDI Lier is promising to be a very unique event with two full competitions programmed in one week right before the cut-off date of 6 March for scoring points for the Rio Olympic Individual Ranking.

The World Dressage Masters, sponsored by VIAN Group, are returning to equestrian centre Azelhof in Lier, Belgium, where they hosted their first ever Belgian based CDI4* WDM event at the beginning of November 2015. The action packed programme at the time and outstanding facilities at Azelhof made it a given for the Vian Group WDM to return to that location to stage another exceptional show at the start of the 2016 show season.

The 2016 CDI Lier is divided into two events, a CDI 3* which kicks off on Tuesday 1 March 2016 with an Intermediaire A and two Grand Prix classes, and a CDI 4* which begins on Friday 4 March 2016 and runs through the weekend with classes for junior riders, under 25 riders, a small, medium and a 4* big tour.

At the 2016 CDI Lier Grand Prix riders have the opportunity to ride the Grand Prix test no less than three times in one week: on Tuesday 1 March, Friday 4 March as well as on Saturday 5 March. This provides an ideal opportunity to score more Rio Olympic Individual Ranking points and obtained the Minimal Eligibility Score for the Games.


A full programme of the 2016 CDI Lier can be viewed here.

For more information, visit

Photos © Chris Coessens

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Helen Langehanenberg Secures Ride on Damsey

 German Olympian  Helen Langehanenberg has secured the ride on the 14-year old Hanoverian Grand Prix stallion Damsey, which is owned by American Louise Leatherdale.

The licensed breeding stallion Damsey (by Dressage Royal x Rituatl) has previously trained and competed by Steffen Frahm under the supervision of Jonny Hilberath.

Frahm and Damsey made their international Grand Prix debut at the 2013 CDI Wiesbaden and also showed in Rotterdam and Lingen that year. The pair did not compete at CDI’s in 2014 and only did one international in 2015 at the CDIO Rotterdam.

When Frahm left stallion station Meyer, where Damsey is based, to work at Hof Kasselmann he lost the ride on the stallion. Damsey stayed in training at Hilberath’s and was briefly on the market, but today Stallion Station Meyer announced that Helen Langehanenberg has obtained the ride on the horse.

“We’ve been connected privately and on a friendly, sportive level with Helen Langehanenberg for years,” said Susanne Meyer. “Therefore we are happy that she has taken over the training of the horse. The next weeks it will show how well these two will connect.”

Photo Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey .
Photo © Kiki Beelitz
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