Dutch riders dominated their home Para equestrian competition held 26-28 May in Roosendaal claiming the team title and adding valuable qualifying points for August’s International Equestrian Federation (FEI) European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Leading the charge was Rio 2016 gold medallist Sanne Voets. On Demantur, Voets won all three grade IV classes – the team test, individual and freestyle. In the individual test, she saw off Belgium’s Manon Claeys in second place and Dutch teammate Lotte Krijnsen in third.
In the freestyle, Voets beat Claeys into third place with South Africa’s Beijing 2008 double gold medallist Philippa Johnson-Dwyer taking second.
Voets said: “It’s amazing to see how Demantur has developed in the last year. He has much more power now. And he’s not just physically stronger but mentally too. I know I can rely on him in the arena and I believe that’s the result of the many hours we spend together.”
Voets’ teammate and reigning European champion Frank Hosmar won the grade V competitions on his double Rio 2016 bronze medal winning horse Alphaville N.O.P (known as Alf). In the individual test, he beat Russia’s Natalia Martyanova* into second place with Belgium’s Arthur Dieusaert in third.
It was a Russian two-three finish in the freestyle, with Martyanova taking second spot again, and Natalya Zhavoronkova in third*. Hosmar ended first on his other horse Guetta.
He said: “Alf was really great to ride in the individual test. Everything was really easy and smooth and he felt 110 per cent controlled. In the freestyle I rode ‘all or nothing,’ and that went well. He cantered like a king and his trot had a lot of expression. It felt really great.
“Guetta is a new horse at these competitions but I’ve owned him for six years, since he was four months old. The plan is to train him for the upcoming Championships, although Gothenburg is probably too early for him. For the moment, he is in training and I hope I can keep both horses competing in the run up to Tokyo 2020.”
The grade I competition was dominated by Germany’s Elke Philipp on Regaliz. She took the freestyle title ahead of Singapore’s Laurentia Tan – making a welcome first return to competition since Rio 2016 – and Great Britain’s Julie Payne. Tan was second behind Philipp in the individual too.
Danish Thobias Thorning was equally dominant in the grade III competition. Riding Bruunsholms Caribian, he beat Germany’s Claudia Schmidt and Great Britain’s Amanda Shirtcliffe into second and third respectively in both the individual and freestyle tests.
*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games. For further information please click here:https://www.paralympic.org/russian-paralympic-committee-suspension