Anky van Grunsven takes dressage into new era at World Cup Qualifier in London

Anky van Grunsven

At the centenary Olympia Horseshow dressage stepped into a new era. Anky van Grunsven presented her brand new Freestyle composed by virtuoso Wibi Soerjadi, called ‘Dance of devotion’. The judges unanimously agreed on the victory of the Olympic gold couple (83,050%).

Along with this British dressage also stepped into a new era as Laura Bechtolsheimer reached for the unique score of 75,333% in Grand Prix, a score never received by a British dressage rider before. The huge applause and cheering of the home crowd unfortunately tonight was still in the mind of 12 year old Mistral Hojris, resulting in a lower score and fifth position. The runner up position now was for the popular Finnish Kyra Kyrklund and Max, who did a very good job with their Cabaret-Freestyle (76,500%). British Carl Hester ended at fourth position with a nice swinging and controlled test riding Dolendo of mrs Ann Cory. He was overjoyed as he hadn’t ridden a Freestyle since 2003, however the Grand Prix-score of Laura Bechtolsheimer appealed to him even more.

At the press conference a lot of remarks were given about Freestyles, developments in dressage and what Freestyles have brought to dressage. Kyra Kyrklund said: “When we sell our sport, we cannot sell the same piece year after year. I feel it’s our responsibility to bring good new things from time to time.”

Anky van Grunsven said it was not about new Freestyles but about looking closer at horses and Freestyles which brings improvement. A new piece however brings extra tension as a freestyle only can be experienced in full when showed in the arena. Anky felt very nervous before she entered the full house Olympia filled with expectation. “Normally I only have to take care of my horse IPS Salinero before entering such a packed arena. But now I had to take care of one my horse, two my new choreography, three my new music. It was quite a challenge!”

Anky said she felt a bit disappointed when she had left the arena because she sometimes was ahead of the music. “The good thing was that I felt it and did notice it. And I know the first time cannot be perfect. But still I do hope for a perfect ride.”

Chairman of the judges Dr Volker Moritz however was full of praise. “It was a very special atmosphere tonight and I was very impressed by the new Freestyle of Anky van Grunsven. It fitted the horse very well and I rewarded it with very high marks.” Judge Stephen Clarke added: “It was very subtle, very clever, very difficult. I think this Freestyle has every chance to grow as it needs a little exposure and probably practice.”

Compared to Anky’s gold winning Freestyle with the French chansons, not only the degree of difficulty in the technical performance has risen, also the degree of difficulty in the music added to the atmosphere and impression. Composer Wibi Soerjadi witnessed the performance himself and said: “This was not a translation of the movements of the horse into music. It was an expression of emotion. This ‘Dance of devotion’ was played by 70 musicians and had 16 different melodies and voices coming all together to express the endless mastership of this pair. That was what I intended to express.”
According to the judges he succeeded in that quite well.
Anky van Grunsven will bring Painted Black to the next World Cup™ in Mechelen and will show her home crowd in Amsterdam an even better timed new Freestyle, she promised.


1. IPS SALINERO Anky van Grunsven NED 83,050%
2. MAX Kyra Kyrklund FIN 76,500%
3. AFRIKKA Anders Dahl DEN 73,550%
4. DOLENDO Carl Hester GBR 73,100%
5. MISTRAL HOJRIS Laura Bechtelsheimer GBR 72,450%
6. PAGANINI Jeroen Devroe BEL 72,200%
6. LUXFORM’S NIMBLY Alex van Silfhout NED 72,200%
8. PREMIER Aat van Essen (NED) 72,050%
9. MR PRESIDENT Stephanie Coxford GBR 71,150%
10.ZANCOR Anna-Katharina Lüttgen GER 70,650%
11. QUANTUM TYME Evi Strasser CAN 70,450%
12. CALIMUCHO Julia Chevanne FRA 70,050%
13 DREAM OF HEIDELBERG Emile Faurie GBR 68,300%
14. RANDON Michal Rapcewicz POL 67,800%
15. PROBLESK Iryna Lis BLR 66,400%


Please note that due to a change of rules for the season 2007-2008 the actual title defender does not receive World Cup™ Points! This time title defender Isabell Werth was the winner in Odense and Frankfurt but for this reason is not listed in the rankings. Also Canadian Evi Strasser didn’t receive World Cup™ Points in London.

1. Anders DAHL (DEN) 46
2. Jan BRINK (SWE) 40
4. Patricia CALLAGHAN (NED) 32
5. Victoria MAX THEURER (AUT) 30
6. Laurens VAN LIEREN (NED) 28
7. Louise NATHHORST (SWE) 24
8. Emma KARLSSON (SWE) 20
10. Silvia IKLE (SWI) 19
10. Catherina HADDAD (USA) 19
10. Jeroen DEVROE (BEL) 19
13. Wayne CHANNON (GBR) 18
13. Aat VAN ESSEN (NED) 18
15. Tinne VILHELMSON (SWE) 17
15. Andreas HELGSTRAND (DEN) 17
15. Kyra KYRKLUND (FIN) 17
18. Stephanie CROXFORD (GBR) 15
18. Heike KEMMER (GER) 15

Photo credit: Kit Houghton/FEI

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