20 October 2013
Hannover: Flying start for Koos de RondeReigning FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Koos de Ronde (NED) won the first leg of this season at Hannover (GER). The Flying Dutchman had a flying start and stayed ahead of his strong opponents Boyd Exell (AUS) and IJsbrand Chardon (NED). The season opener in the Hannover Messe resulted in an exciting battle between the three top drivers, who pushed each other to the highest level already, which is very promising for the rest of the season.
Boyd set the fastest time in the Winning Round, but unexpectedly had a knock down. Second starter IJsbrand Chardon used a new leader in his team to raise the necessary speed in his four-in-hand and drove a clear round, but was slightly slower than Exell and finished third. Last starter Koos de Ronde knew he could not afford to make any mistakes and kept his head clear. The tension grew amongst the many enthusiastic spectators in Hannover as De Ronde drove at top speed through the much-praised course, designed by German O-course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf. The crowd cheered as never before when De Ronde, who also drove a new leader horse in his four-in-hand, was crowned the winner after a clear round.
New leader horses
Koos de Ronde was very successful last season with his experienced leader horses Night and Charley, but trained with the coloured Tommy and the chestnut Palero, one of the spare horses of his outdoor team. In the training, the four-in-hand went much better than with the previous leaders and De Ronde decided to take the risk, which resulted in a super performance at Hannover.
IJsbrand Chardon put a new Lipizzaner gelding to the test in his four-in-hand. The 9-year-old Feles, which also comes from the Dobrovitz family like the rest of Chardon’s indoor team, functioned as right leader horse in his four-in-hand.
Boyd Exell used a different wheeler horse, Clinton Star, for this first competition and although Boyd set the fastest time in the Winning Round, the unexpected knock down kept him from victory in Hannover.
Koos de Ronde’s team can be called colourful with two piebald, a chestnut and a bay horse, Michael Brauchle’s (GER) team was even more colourful. The metal worker used a grey, a chestnut, a black and a bay horse in his four-in-hand. The grey Eclair was previously owned and used by Daniel Würgler (SUI) who retired from the driving sport. The 13-year old chestnut gelding Armageddon only arrived at Brauchle’s stables two weeks ago and served as left leader. It was the gelding’s first time as leader horse. The bay Jamaika and the black Rapa Nui are part of Brauchle’s outdoor team. Brauchle drove this inexperienced team of horses to the fourth place.
Theo Timmerman (NED) did not have much luck in Hannover this weekend. During the first competition on Saturday evening he was not able to drive at full speed because one of his pole straps had become loose. In the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition on Sunday he took the wrong rein at gate B in obstacle one, which cost him precious seconds. Timmerman finished fifth.
Daniel Schneiders (GER) received the wild card from the organising committee. The 32-year-old farrier drove his team to the sixth place. Schneiders used the big ‘ponies’ Cabus and Costa in the lead. Cabus was part of Schneider’s team when he drove a pony team. Costa was used by his brother Dennis in single. Both horses are part of Schneiders’ outdoor team.
Koos de Ronde (NED): “Hannover just had it all. It is a great show with great spectators and a great course. The level of the course for the first competition is extremely high. It is going to be an exciting season. I used two new leader horses compared to last year and this season I will try to take horses who are in the best shape at that moment.”
Boyd Exell (AUS): “The team felt really good and I was surprised that we had a ball down. But it is good to know that this is still the fastest team in the world. With Clinton Star in the wheel, it created a new team feeling.”
IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I had a very good feeling in the first round with my new leader horse. In the Winning Round, the control was a little more difficult and I noticed that Feles lacked concentration. But he just needs to learn and I am pleased with him, he will for sure stay in my team. The sport has won in Hannover. It was a fantastic competition with a great course, a big compliment to the course designer. If I had to give the course design a number, it would be a 10.”