FEI Dressage European Championship 2023 – written by Stinna Tange
It has been a beautiful and hot day here at the FEI Para Dressage Championship in Riesenbeck where we have witnessed the riders from Grade IV and V deliver outstanding results in the individual competition.
Compared to yesterday, there have been very few surprises as the top riders in both grades all rose to the occasion and showed what they are capable of.
With both grades having the gold and silver medalists scoring so close to each other, we’re assured nail-biting excitement in the next few days!
Grade IV Individual
Last year at the FEI Para Dressage World Championships in Herning (DEN), Demi Haerkens was very close to the gold in her debut, but saw herself beaten by fellow Dutch Dressage queen Sanne Voets.
Today at the FEI Para Dressage European Championship, Demi had her comeback as she claimed her first championship gold medal on the stunning mare EHL Daula N.O.P. with a score of 77.556 %, with Sanne Voets and Demantur RS2 N.O.P. taking the silver. In bronze, and finally back on the podium for the first time since Tokyo, was Belgium rider Manon Clayes riding Katharina Sollenburg with a score of 73.444 %.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed and very very happy! In the warm-up she felt so fresh and nice in the contact so I had a feeling that this might be the day. She was very good on the aids in the test and lovely in the contact. I am just very very happy” Says Demi Harkens. “We have been doing a lot of fine tuning this last year, and today that paid off”.
Grade V Individual
Grade V took place under the burning September sun, but it was not only the weather that was hot. Michèle George and Best of 8 made the temperature rise even further as they danced their way to the top of the grade with a 76.308 score. Just behind her was the experienced pair Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. with 76.00%. In bronze was the German rider Regine Mispelkamp and her mare Highlander Delight’s with 74.205%.
“You can’t compare medals or championships. I try to be better every time and I try to have fun every time, people sometimes forget that horse riding is supposed to be fun”. Michèle said.
“I have a very special relationship with my horse and taking her out to competitions is only a small part of it. The important part is the partnership you develop by enjoying your horse and having fun riding, so when medals come it is only a plus”
The competition continues tomorrow, Thursday 6 September with the Team competitions for Grades I, II and III.
Watch it all on FEI TV