Weekend’s third international dressage class ended in Finnish celebrations when Anna von Wendt and Denzel took the victory in Westerback Knock Out Dressage. Sweden’s Charlotte Haid Bondergaard and Roberto Des Frettes continued their great weekend and took the second place before Dina Ellermann and Donna Anna from Estonia.

I had a strategy to keep Denzel calm because I know how easily he gets hot. And actually, he got quite hot at some point but I managed to control him well, I really had fun today. I think for me it’s a good thing that Denzel is a bit lazy but gets excited when he hears the audience, we have ridden here many times during the years and we know what it’s like at the arena during this class so maybe that was our advantage today, von Wendt said happy after the win.

The first round went really well, we didn’t do any mistakes. The second wasn’t as good, when you try to follow the other rider, it can affect your rhythm, as it did for us today. Passage was good and overall Denzel performed great today. Of course there were a few mistakes but some of the movements and combinations that you perform in the Knock Out you don’t necessarily train that much for the normal programs, von Wendt commented going through their performance.

Next year I’m probably riding with a new horse so this might very well be Denzel’s last Horse Show. My new GP horse is Sir Fashion, he is still in Germany and I’m going there next week to train with him, von Wendt said when asked about her future plans.

Anna von Wendt and Denzel. Photo Satu Pirinen.

Also the judges enjoy the Knock Out class.

This is a really fun class and neither riders nor the judges have to take this as seriously as the normal competitions. Still, we judge this the same way as any other class. It’s always interesting when the riders and horses are performing difficult movements one after the other, for example today Anna’s pair took a wrong way at first and the horse was really tense but then at the end they performed amazing piaffe and passage, whereas Anna’s start was great but at the end there was this special movement so sometimes we really need to use our imagination when judging this class, president of the Ground Jury Irmeli Summanen commented.

As Irmeli said, this format is really nice and fun to judge. The riders and the horses are really in contact with the audience and anything can happen. I think one of the best things in this class is that it is often very surprising and those who perform the best in normal classes aren’t necessarily best in this situation, Paula Nysten added.

Westerback Knock-Out Dressage. Starts 3, placings 3.

1) Anna von Wendt/Denzel, FIN, 2) Charlotte Haid Bondergaard/Roberto Des Frettes, SWE, 3) Dina Ellerman/Donna Anna, EST

See complete results...