In the second part of the T1 test after the lunch break yesterday some pleasant sights were presented. The arena had been heated up properly, the audience had found its favorites and the atmosphere was fantastic.
Yoni Blom on Bjartur frá Aquadraat. Photo: Henk Peterse.
The first rider, Yoni Blom from the Netherlands, made a nice introduction to the test. Quiet music influenced the eye, her grey horse Bjartur frá Aquadraat danced with her and presented both the slow tölt as well as the transitions clean and calmly.
Even if one might assume some ‘gentleman agreement’ between the two, the result was well worth seeing, and despite low scores they were one of the most harmonious tem among the 61 participants.
Kiljan frá Blesastöðum. Rider is Gry Hagelund from Norway. Photo: Henk Peterse.
The Norwegian Gry Hagelund on Kiljan frá Blesastöðum captured not only the audience’s hearts; also the judges were impressed by their performance and evaluated their round with an overall score of 7.73.
The horse was neither heavy on the bit nor showed discomfort with its tail. Kiljan is a good example that horses can forget hard hands when presented with an equestrian alternative.
In every tournament judges have to face criticism and deal with the accusations of bias or ignorance. This year’s judges showed a clear sign of realism.
The world cup experienced chestnut stallion Jarl frá Miðkrika reached a total score of only 7.40 with his rider Steffi Svendsen. The hindquarters of the stallion scurried weakly, while its front legs still moved with greatness.
Under the influence of the curb bit Jarl’s mouth was open throughout the test and its tongue fluttered bluish. The judges made use of the full range of score to show their discontent.
The next participant, Muni frá Kvistum with its Norwegian rider Anne Stine Haugen, managed to reconcile. Muni danced in harmony with its rider through the test; there were no discussions or signs of defense.
Given the hardness of a sporting stage, Haugen rides with a soft hand and a good seat and the horse gives back an amazing charisma.
Here you can see a video of the two.
Among the participants of the last block only Samantha Leidesdorf on Farsæll von Hrafnholt gave a really powerful presentation. The T2 shows clearly where horses reach their physical limits. Farsæll vom Hrafnsholt seemed spirited. However, it didn’t score high enough for the final.
Then the Viking entered the arena.
Jóhann Rúnar Skúlason approached in slow walk, stopped, and like in a movie stretched out his fist towards the audience. We couldn’t help but looking for the axe. Then the horse started moving, as always, closely connected to its rider.
Jóhann’s round was evaluated by the judges with an incredible overall score of 9.2. There was nothing to complain about. Everything was perfect: the slow tölt, the transitions, the breathtaking fast tölt.
However, one searched in vain for the horse Hnokki. We saw tremendous power and strength on the track, and also a subdued, trained creature that seemed only beautiful while running—for which nature has created it.
Yesterday morning Jóhann had announced that he would ride to victory and aimed to score 9.2.
Here you can find a video of the two.
Dagmar Trodler reports for Iceland Review from Berlin.