Today's dressage apotheosis was undoubtedly the FEI World Cup Freestyle at Jumping Mechelen. Fifteen of the best dressage riders in the world showed their most spectacular freestyle there, with a Dutch delegation that clearly dominated the test. The icing on the cake of the Dutch party was the fantastic golden performance by Dinja van Liere in the saddle of the KWPN stallion Hermes N.O.P. (by Easy Game).
The judges remained sparing in handing out top scores until Britain's Charlotte Fry entered the arena as the eleventh one to go. Fry pulled out all the stops with the black Dutch KWPN stallion Everdale (by Lord Leatherdale), riding an amazing harmonious freestyle that was worth a whopping 83.725%. At that point, the rider placed herself at the head of the standings with a lead of almost seven percent. When the judges thought they had seen the best with that, they had not yet seen Dinja van Liere in the ring. Riding the also KWPN-bred stallion Hermes N.O.P. (v. Easy Game), van Liere dazzled everyone by immediately taking over Fry's leading position with a final score of no less than 85.815%. During Emmelie Scholtens' subsequent freestyle, the judges again brought out their highest points. She too rode a KWPN stallion, the 14-year-old Desperado (by Vivaldi), and placed second with 83.865%.
From then on, the final score never dropped below eighty percent, as the last two riders to enter the ring also set a rock-solid test. Denmark's Nanna Skodborg Merrald danced on the Hanoverian stallion Blue Hors ST. Schufro (ST. Mortiz Junior) to 80.620%. Marieke van der Putten managed to do even better by piloting the Totilas son, Torvesletens Titanium RS2, to 81.355% and thus fourth place.
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Photo: © Houou Tomita for Equnews