Patrik Kittel wins Freestyle at Mechelen

Swedish rider Patrik Kittel took the victory in yesterday’s Grand Prix and today’s Freestyle at Jumping Mechelen. Kittel says he loves the atmosphere and has been competing at Mechelen for ten years. But this year it’s the first time he wins the 5* competition. ‘We can make it a new tradition‘, Kittel laughs. ‘Delaunay is still a young horse. He’s very talented but I still have to see what I ask from him. Of course I want good results but he still has to be a happy horse.’ Kittel bought the horse as a 7-year old from Andreas Helgstrand for his wife Lyndal Oatley. ‘He was a bit too hot for her‘, he explains. ‘Now I’m riding him until he gets more experience. It’s a nice horse to ride and I think he showed his potential.’ Delaunay, whose nickname is ‘Dude’, is not the only tophorse in Kittel’s barn. ‘It’s a bit a luxury but I have four Grand Prix horses and two youngsters on the way’, he says. ‘Of course I am aiming for Rio next year but we’ll have to wait and see how everything goes. Anything can happen.’

Patrik Kittel - Delaunay

Patrik Kittel and Delaunay during the freestyle.

Dutch rider Tommie Visser came in second with Vingino. Just like Kittel, Visser loves to ride the World Dressage Masters competitions. He won the last two competition in Lier and Roosendaal. For Visser it has been a rough time after a legal battle about his horse Vingino but he finally has the feeling everything is back at the right place. ‘Lier was the first competition where I felt that the harmony had returned. I also had a good feeling about Roosendaal and Mechelen. I competed three times at the World Dressage Masters with some good results so yes, I love this competition.’ On today’s freestyle judge Mariette Sanders-Van Gansewinkel praised him for an excellent piaffe. ‘I think the piaffe and the pirouettes are the highlights in my freestyle’, Visser says. It’s something Vingino is good at.’ At this moment Visser is a member of the Dutch A squad but he realizes that there are a lot of great riders in the Netherlands. ‘I’m not really setting goals or thinking about placing myself for this or that. I just want my horse to have a certain regularity. When everything goes the right way, the results will be there and then we will see who is heading to Rio and who isn’t.’

Terhi Stegars, Patrik Kittel and Tommie Visser.

Terhi Stegars, Patrik Kittel and Tommie Visser.

Terhi Stegars from Finland became third with Axis TSF. It was her first time at Jumping Mechelen and she told us she was happy she decided to participate. ‘In Finland Christmas is a big deal so I never came here. I have been riding in Germany for some years and now I live in Luxembourg so I finally could compete here‘, she laughs. ‘I’m happy I’m here. It’s a nice place to be and I had a good test. Finland doesn’t have a team for Rio but I’m hoping to get qualified as an individual rider. It’s a bit out of my hands so all I can do is ride and get better.‘ Judge Sanders-Van Gansewinkel praised Stegars for her beautiful music during the freestyle. ‘I think it was difficult for us‘, Sanders-Van Gansewinkel says. ‘We had a lot of riders scoring 75% so you know that it’s a high level competition. I’ve seen some great things today also from the Belgian riders. It’s nice to see that they are 4th, 5th and 6th. I love Fanny Verliefden’s horse. It has an outstanding trot. Jorinde Verwimp is still young and maybe that’s why she’s not scared of the judges‘, she laughs. ‘Jeroen Devroe tries to get the best out of his giant horse riding difficult lines and choosing excellent music which really suits Eres DL.’

The Belgian riders decided to ride the lap of honour together. From the left to the right: Jeroen Devroe, Jorinde Verwimp and Fanny Verliefden.

The Belgian riders decided to ride the lap of honour together. From the left to the right: Jeroen Devroe, Jorinde Verwimp and Fanny Verliefden.

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