Posted on March 05, 2016

On the third day of CHI AL SHAQAB 2016, the discipline of dressage could be witnessed in its highest form. 22 riders came forward to contest the Grand Prix, a competition which saved the best until last.

Day three Grand Prix 1 [].jpg

In Grand Prix Dressage, riders perform a sequence of movements specified in a particular test and are judged on their performance of these movements. As is customary in this sport, the test was displayed in an arena measuring 60 meters by 20 meters in the indoor arena in front of seven highly qualified judges invited from all over the world. Each movement is given a score from 0-10 by all the judges with zero being “not executed” and 10 meaning “excellent”. The total scores are added between judges and an average is produced in the form of a percentage. The highest percentage wins.

After a stunning display by the penultimate rider, Jessica vonBredow-Werndl (GER) who scored75.56% we thought we had our winner. But, just minutes later, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel produced the winning test, finishing on an impeccable score of 77.10%. Speaking after his test, he was thrilled with his performance and explained that he had been to every CHI AL SHAQAB event since it’s advent in 2013. “I’ve been to CHI AL SHAQAB every year since it started,” he said. “This is my fourth year here and I absolutely love being here. It’s such a great show and they take such well care of us. I am very happy with my performance today, the horse was amazing. I went in as the last rider, and she did such a super job.”

Day three Grand Prix 2 [].jpgKittel’s execution of this complex dressage test earned him a number high marks throughout his test from the seven judges. Third place was claimed by Judy Reynolds from Ireland who was delighted with scoring her personal best- achieving a score of 74.320%. Reynolds has been to CHI AL SHAQAB several times and loves coming here more than any other event. CHI AL SHAQAB 2016 is a crucial event for her as she is in line for one of the final individual places at the forthcoming Olympics, so good results like this are essential.

The entries list also included Danish Royalty- Nathalie zuSayn-Wittgenstein whose maternal grandfather was Danish King Frederick.  She is the niece of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne- Marie of Greece.  Although she finished 12th, was pleased with her score of 69.180 % on a horse that had been difficult to train. She explained how much she loves competing at CHI AL SHAQAB, riding a horse that was bred by her and her mother which makes the experience of competing extra special. ZuSayn-Wittgenstei was part of the national team at the last two Olympic Games (Beijing and London), winning a team bronze in 2008 and finishing 12th individually in London 2012.