Dutch Take Gold, U.S. Silver at Rotterdam Nations Cup

Laura Graves and Verdades’ Grand Prix Special victory helped boost the U.S. team to a silver medal finish at the Rotterdam Nations Cup CDIO5*. Photo by Shannon Brinkman, courtesy of USEF.

Rotterdam, Netherlands – June 25, 2016 – The United States team held strong on the final day of Nations Cup competition Saturday at the Rotterdam CDIO5* to finish in the silver medal position behind the hosting Dutch team. Laura Graves on Verdades and Steffen Peters on Legolas 92 turned in the highlight performances of the day for the U.S., and Peters also picked up a win earlier in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special on Rosamunde.

Graves and Verdades took home top honors in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special. Their connection shone through in their accurate, expressive test, and despite a few bobbles, their score of 77.314 percent earned them the win.

“I couldn’t be more happy,” Graves said. “The feeling today, even though we had a couple big mistakes as he was a little spooky at the end by A, was really good. The feeling is like the feeling you ride in your dreams. I couldn’t be more happy with how our training is coming into the competition arena.”

She defeated several big names in the class, including the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen on Jerich Parzival and Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Johnson.

“This is our sport,” Graves commented. “This is why we come out and try again, because the best can change at any moment. It’s a real honor to be invited to ride here and to ride against these top riders.”

Peters and Legolas 92’s freestyle drew laughs and appreciation from the audience for its voiceover segments. The pair’s well-executed test, with just a little bobble during one transition, earned them an excellent score of 79.65 percent for second place in the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. Peters looked thrilled after his ride.

“Today was a day for the history books for the U.S. here at Rotterdam,” said Peters. “I am most pleased about Legolas. It was a full house in the arena with a very electric atmosphere. Going around the arena [before the test] I was waiting for him to act up, but he was perfect. It was one of his best freestyles. It is so exciting to be second at Rotterdam.”

Completing the U.S. effort were Shelly Francis and Doktor, who scored 72.8 percent in the Freestyle, and Kasey Perry-Glass, who rode Goerklintgaards Dublet to a mark of 71.765 percent in the Special.

Diederik van Silfhout stepped up to help the Dutch clinch the gold medal with a score of 79.475 percent in the Freestyle on Arlando N.O.P. Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival put in another solid performance, scoring 76.7235 percent in the Special, and Danielle Heijkoop rode Siro to a score of 73.675 percent in the Freestyle. Minderhoud and Glock’s Johnson TN N.O.P. didn’t have the test they were hoping for after winning Thursday’s Grand Prix, but still turned in a mark of 72.353 percent.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello debuted their new freestyle in winning style, taking first place in the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special and helping Sweden finish third overall

Sweden did their best to challenge the leading teams, and they ended the day in third place. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Don Auriello performed a beautiful freestyle, showing off their harmony and close partnership with brand new, difficult choreography that included a one-handed pirouette. They won the Freestyle with 79.75 percent, edging out Peters and Legolas by .1 percent.

“I’m extremely happy today,” Vilhelmson-Silfvén said. “It was new choreography and new music – the very first time. It was just great fun. It suited perfect. It was a fantastic feeling. It’s a lot of atmosphere and a lot of sound when you come in here, but he just loves that. I didn’t expect to win. I hoped for it, of course, and I fought for it, but didn’t expect it at all.”

France took fourth place in the Nations Cup, while Great Britain – short one rider after the withdrawal of Gareth Hughes and Classic Briolinca after an injury in the warm-up on the first day of competition – finished fifth. Germany and Belgium were out of the top five after the first day, so did not qualify to move on to the second day of Nations Cup competition.

Rotterdam CDI3*

The U.S. also had success in the CDI3* events earlier Saturday at Rotterdam. Peters earned a second victory on Rosamunde in the 3* Grand Prix Special after winning Friday’s Grand Prix. The young mare scored a 75.157 percent, putting her clearly at the top of the class.

“Rosamunde came in as the favorite today and that pressure is never easy, but she delivered just as well as yesterday and the judges rewarded her with a win,” Peters said.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde earned double victories at Rotterdam. Photo by Shannon Brinkman, courtesy of USEF.

Taking second in the Special was Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen on Dante Weltino OLD with a 73.882 percent, and not far behind in third place was the USA’s Allison Brock, who piloted Rosevelt to third place with a 73.176 percent.

In the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle, Shelly Francis rode Danilo to a score of 70.95 percent for fifth place. Guenter Seidel and Zero Gravity were 12th with a 66.675 percent. The Dutch rider Madeleine Witte-Vrees won the class on Cennin with a score of 74.625 percent.

Rotterdam is the last of three designated observation events that serve as part of the selection process for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, which will likely be announced early next week.

Results: CHIO Rotterdam

Nations Cup CDIO5*: Final Team Standings
(* indicates drop score; on the final day, the lowest Freestyle score was dropped. FS indicates a score from the Grand Prix Freestyle, while SP indicates a score from the Grand Prix Special.)

1. Netherlands – 460.167
Danielle Heijkoop/Siro/70.780*/73.675* (FS)
Adelinde Cornelissen/Jerich Parzival/76.140/76.725 (SP)
Diederik van Silfhout/Arlando N.O.P./76.240/79.425 (FS)
Hans Peter Minderhoud/Glock’s Johnson TN N.O.P./79.240/72.353 (SP)

2. United States – 455.649
Shelly Francis/Doktor/70.680*/72.800* (FS)
Kasey Perry-Glass/Goerklintgaards Dublet/74.580/71.765 (SP)
Steffen Peters/Legolas 92/76.040/79.650 (FS)
Laura Graves/Verdades/76.300/77.314 (SP)

3. Sweden – 444.573
Rose Mathisen/Zuidenwind 1187/69.620*/67.412 (SP)
Juliette Ramel/Buriel K.H./73.880/73.431 (SP)
Patrik Kittel/Deja/74.380/78.675* (FS)
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven/Don Auriello/75.720/79.750 (FS)

4. France – 429.961
Stephanie Brieussel/Amorak/67.740*/68.314 (SP)
Ludovic Henry/After You/69.240/69.925* (FS)
Pierre Volla/Badinda Altena/69.720/69.882 (SP)
Karen Tebar/Don Luis/74.440/78.375 (FS)

5. Great Britain – 423.600
Lara Griffith/Rubin Al Asad/71.360/71.137 (SP)
Michael Eilberg/Woodlander Dornroschen/67.860/70.975 (FS)
Laura Tomlinson/Rosalie B/72.660/69.608 (SP)
Gareth Hughes/Classic Briolinca/withdrawn

CDI3* Grand Prix Special
1. Steffen Peters/Rosamunde/USA/75.157
2. Therese Nilshagen/Dante Weltino OLD/SWE/73.882
3. Allison Brock/Rosevelt/USA/73.176
4. Adelinde Cornelissen/Aqiedo/NED/72.196
5. Tuny Page/Woodstock/USA/70.980
6. Mads Hendeliowitz/Jimmie Choo SEQ/SWE/69.353
7. Judy Reynolds/Vancouver K/IRL/69.333
8. Kristy Oatley/Du Soleil/AUS/69.039
9. Michael Eilberg/Marakov/GBR/68.922
10. João VIctor Marcari Oliva/Xama Dos Pinhais/BRA/67.549

CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Madeleine Witte-Vrees/Cennin/NED/74.625
2. Katja Gevers/Thriller/NED/73.575
3. Marlies van Baalen/Zinidi/NED/73.200
4. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén/Benetton Dream FRH/71.925
5. Emmelie Scholtens/Apache/NED/71.500
6. Shelly Francis/Danilo/USA/70.950
7. Lyndal Oatley/Sandro Boy 9/AUS/70.850
8. Stephanie de Frel/Zanyo/NED/70.675
9. Jill Huybregts/Zamacho Z/NED/69.125
10. Suzanne Hearn/Remmington/AUS/68.625

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