Formula One a Hit at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier of Neumünster

Formula One a Hit at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier of Neumünster

(Neumünster) The ninth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2023/2024 of the Western European League saw a fresh and authentic winner today, who thrilled the audience in the Holstenhalle with her four-legged partner. Dutch rider Emmelie Scholtens, who had already come out on top in yesterday’s Grand Prix, relegated Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Forever Young HRH to second place and the best German rider, Matthias Alexander Rath and Destacado FRH, to third place. Scholtens received 81.565 per cent for her performance in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle presented by VR Bank zwischen den Meeren. It was her first start in the Holstenhallen in Neumünster, but not her last, as she happily declared. 

Her freestyle was inspired by Formula One because Indian Rock reminds his rider of “a race car”. “Sometimes you’re really into the music and sometimes you’re not. But today it was perfect. It was a great atmosphere, Indian Rock did a super job. Yesterday was already good, but today it felt even better for me. I got goosebumps while riding and that’s a great feeling.” Scholtens and the impressive KWPN stallion have a long partnership: she has been riding him since he was three years old and already had his sire Apache under the saddle, who once paved her way into the big dressage sport. “He gives you everything, but you have to find the right balance. It’s always perfect at home, but it’s more difficult to strike that balance at competitions. I think I just need to ride more shows,” laughed the 39-year-old rider from Gorinchem. Today’s victory will be celebrated later, she said, as she has a little girl at home and a six-hour journey home ahead of her. And what are her future plans with the Apache son? “I didn’t have the World Cup Final in mind beforehand, I only rode the qualifiers, but now I’ll definitely be travelling to Den Bosch.”

Kittel half a ‘Boostedter’

Second place went to the Swede Patrik Kittel, who competed in Neumünster for the first time in 2001 and loves the enthusiastic crowd in the Holstenhallen: “They supported me a lot when I first came here and also afterwards. Boostedt near Neumünster was my first home when I came to Germany. It’s pretty cool to be riding here again after so many years.” His round with the Fürst Fugger daughter Forever Young FRH was scored 81.145 per cent. He had a pilot error, said Kittel: “After the changes I was supposed to end up on the left and I corrected that quickly, otherwise it was really good. It’s just about continuing to ride, having fun and enjoying being here.” Kittel, who has qualified three horses for the World Cup final as of today, is also planning to ride in the final stage in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED).

Matthias Rath moves to second place in the ranking

Matthias Alexander Rath (Kronberg i. Ts) placed third with the Hanoverian stallion Destacado FRH by Desperados. He also cracked the 80 per cent mark. His result today moved Rath up from sixth to second place, making him the best German in the Western European league, ahead of Isabell Werth (4th place) and Raphael Netz (7th place). The international dressage series now reaches the final two stages in Gothenburg (SWE) next weekend and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) at the beginning of March. Today’s winner Emmelie Scholtens is now tied with French rider Alexandre Ayache in ninth place in the standings. Patrik Kittel (SWE) is still in a comfortable first place with 72 points. The top nine finishers in this league qualify for the final from 16 – 20 April 2024 in Riyadh (KSA).

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ in Neumünster is the longest-serving leg in the dressage series calendar. Dirk Dejewski, board member of VR Bank zwischen den Meeren, emphasised the frenetic atmosphere and great emotion, but also the down-to-earth attitude that characterises the location: “That suits Schleswig-Holstein and that has also resonated with our team. I am delighted that we have been able to extend our partnership with the event for several years. And I’m particularly pleased to be sitting next to another Boostedter and a half,” joked Dejewski, alluding to Matthias Rath and Patrik Kittel.


PICTURE: Presentations in the FEI Dressage World Cup presented by VR Bank zwischen den Meeren, f.l. Emmelie Scholtens (NED), Dr. Hans-Christian Matthiesen (President of the Ground Jury), Anna Milne (FEI), Ullrich Kasselmann (host), Peter-Harry Carstensen (Former state premier of Schleswig-Holstein), Dirk Dejewski (sponsor VR Bank), Dr. Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (Home Secretary of Schleswig-Holstein) (c) Stefan Lafrentz