Equestre Internationale News
CDI-W December 11-14
next 'hot bed' in the FEI World Cup Dressage Season
Anky is back
third leg of the FEI World Cup dressage Western European league
season, which takes place in Maastricht, The Netherlands this
weekend, promises to be a hot bed of excellence and excitement.
Olympic and five-time World Cup champion Anky van Grunsven makes
her return to the international grand prix arena in Maastrict,
nearly a year after sustaining a complex fractured to her thigh
in a fall while training. Riding the nine-year-old Gestion Salinero,
with whom she won the freestyle here last year, van Grunsven will
debut a brand new
programme created by her music gurus, Cees Slings and Victor Kerkof,
entitled 'L'Esprit Chanson'.
The Dutch heroine faces a tough challenge; German team riders
Heike Kemmer and Isabell Werth are both bringing their European
gold medal horses, Bonaparte and Satchmo, Berlin winners Hubertus
Schmidt and Wansuela Suerte are also starting in Maastricht and
Holland's top European championship rider Antoinette Falandt will
make her world cup season debut with Jarwo.
Van Grunsven is ready. " I have competed in two national
shows with Gestion Salinero, so we could get going again, and
he has been really good in training, but of course it is very
different in a big atmosphere, and he is still 'a baby'. The new
Kuer is completely different and really good, and I just want
to see how it goes and to get into the rhythm of it again."
She and her Gestion team mate Edward Gal, who starts in Maastricht
with Gestion Lingh, are both out to get the final in Dusseldorf
next April. After Maastricht, Mechelen in Belgium, and both the
Dutch shows Amsterdam and Indoor Brabant, are on their agendas.
Heike Kemmer, who heads the rankings on 52 points, will be out
to increase her lead and could draw well ahead in the absence
of her closest rival, Britain's Emma Hindle, who is now resting
Wie Weltmeyer having achieved 50 points.
So far, this world cup season has been remarkable for the very
high standard, with nearly all competitors scoring 70 per cent
or over in the freestyles. In Maastricht, the qualifying grand
prix (Friday 12th December, 10.45) will be nail biting as 21 riders
from eight nations fight for the fifteen places in Sunday morning's
freestyle to music.
further information: www.jumpingindoormaastricht.nl
L'Esprit Chanson: An insight into the creation of Anky's kuer.
seeds of the new freestyle were sown last August in France. Cees
Slings usually comes up with the concepts, but with his wife Mirjam
seriously ill for most of this year, Slings had his mind focussed
only on her recovery. Vic Kerkoff had a melody in his head though,
and over dinner with World Cup Director Joep Bartels and his wife
Tineke, talking about an idea for a show to live music, the trigger
Based on a collection of famous French hit songs, the composer/arranger
team had carte blanche to do something new and innovative. One
key feature, never done before, is Anky on vocals!
Cees Slings explained: " Anky sings on the melody of 'Une
Belle Histoire'. She had never sung in a studio before but she
did it really easily, and we were very happy with her vocal abilities.
That's Anky in top form, always giving it a try."
The music is full of surprises, and perhaps a little humour, as
Salinero will perform piaffe and passage to Edith Piaf's 'Je ne
regrette rien', and the arrangement took painstaking attention
to detail and a lot of time.
Slings commented: " We had to film the test five times, because
Salinero is developing fast. Even when Anky did her first try
out performance, to get her and Salinero get used to the audience
again, Sjef called us immediately afterwards - the passage and
piaffe were even more improved and he wanted to try and alter
the tempo just for this section" Sjef Janssen, Anky's trainer
and partner, designs the ground pattern for her freestyles.
Slings and Kerkoff have been working with Anky for eight years
now. Primarily composers, they have managed to combine innovation
with what they see as " the conservative dressage and judging
world". Slings said: " Our priority is melody and arrangement,
so the whole test is a more or less continuous thing; It has to
be like a very good film score - over before you know it, but
the melody is in your head and heart although you don't notice
until you hear it the next time, or see Anky ride again."
As for the concept, Slings added: " It all came about from
that dinner in France. As Joep Bartels paid the bill, I reckon
Anky owes him a dinner!"