“The performances of these riders with different abilities in the arena cannot be appreciated enough. It is special empathy and blind understanding between horse and rider that makes para-dressage so attractive to the public. The audience can almost hear two athletes’ hearts beating together for a common cause in the arena,“ the hosts Evelyn and Klaus Haim-Swarovski said with admiration.
In any case, Pepo Puch and his colleagues will present themselves in top form as this year’s big goal is the qualification for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA, 11 to 23 September).
“Everyone who wants to go to Tyron has to participate in the show at Schindlhof, of course a lot depends on how fit the horses are,“ Dr. Eva-Maria Bachinger, Para representative/speaker in the Austrian Equestrian Federation, said.
Since February, Pepo Puch, six-time European champion and two-time gold medalist at Paralympics, has been competing in international competitions with his new horse Sailor’s Blue, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding – they have achieved impressive results and victories at the CPEDI in Genemuiden (NED), Ornago (ITA), Mannheim (GER) and most recently in Casorate Semptione (ITA).
“Blue is always very motivated and dedicated, a horse always wanting to his job well. A really great partner who always reminds me that riding is a virtue. And if you approach the task with the necessary humility and gratitude with and for your sports partner, then you will be rewarded for it,“ the Swiss-based Styrian, who won two world championship silver medals at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France, analyzed.
The 52-year-old Paralympics gold medalist is also grateful and proud when it comes to the equestrian successes of his 11-year-old daughter Lou, who won two titles in show jumping at the Vorarlberg State Championships (pony and juniors) in early June.
In addition to defending champion Pepo Puch (who celebrated his sixth champion title here in 2017), the 22-year-old Julia Sciancalepore, last year’s bronze medalist, will participate as well. On 1 November 2017, the lively Carinthian was the first para-rider to be included in the Austrian Army Sport Center. She will compete with her only six-year-old gelding Henrich IV with whom the Grade 1 rider (currently ranked 14th in the FEI World Ranking List) achieved more than 70 percent at the international para-dressage show in Stadl-Paura (Upper Austria) and took third place twice.
Further participants at Schindlhof: Paralympics contenders Thomas Haller (Haller’s Faustus) and Michael Martin Knauder (Contessa) as well as Karin Krammel (Darco), Michael Kuntner (Stockholm), Katrin Öhner (King Louis), and Susanne Wernard (Santos).
One thing is already certain: during their performances at the “Alpenstadion“ in Fritzens, the “paras“ will conquer again the spectators’ hearts.
24th Manfred & Hilde Swarovski Memorial Dressage Show
Concours de Dressage International, CDI4*
Friday, 29 June 2018
||#1 FEI Prix St. Georges
||Preliminary event (Team Test) Austrian Championships (AC), Para-Dressage, all grades
||#2 FEI Grand Prix de Dressage – Qualification for Special
Saturday, 30 June 2018
||#3 FEI Intermediaire I
||1st part (Individual Test) AC Para-Dressage, all grades
||#4 FEI Grand Prix de Dressage – Qualification for Freestyle to Music
Sunday, 1 July 2018
||#5 FEI Grand Prix Consolation for non-qualified pairs
||#6 FEI Grand Prix Special (with the top-15 from #2)
||2nd part (Freestyle to Music) AC Para-Dressage, all grades
||show program and the award “Who is wearing the most beautiful hat?“, presented by Mirjam Weichselbraun
||#7 FEI Grand Prix Music Freestyle (with the top-15 from #4)
Winners Manfred & Hilde Swarovski Challenge Trophy:
1995 Bianca Kasselmann, GER
1996 Austrian Championships Dressage– no CDI
1997 Bianca Kasselmann, GER
1998 Christilot Boylen, CAN
1999 Markus Gribbe, GER
2000 Thorsten Dietz, GER
2001 Günther Seidel, USA
2002 Austrian Championships Dressage– no CDI
2003 Anja Plönzke, GER
2004 Rafael Soto Andrade, ESP
2005 Silvia Iklé, SUI
2006 Victoria Max-Theurer, AUT
2007 Victoria Max-Theurer, AUT
2008 no overall winner; Music Freestyle was cancelled due to bad weather
2009 Austrian Championships Dressage– no CDI
2010 Ulla Salzgeber, GER
2011 Carl Hester, GBR
2012 Carl Hester, GBR
2013 Valentina Truppa, ITA
2014 Victoria Max-Theurer, AUT
2015 Victoria Max-Theurer, AUT with Augustin OLD
2016 Isabell Werth, GER
2017 Isabell Werth, GER
The Manfred & Hilde Swarovski Challenge Trophy will be presented to the most successful pair (percentages from GP and GP Special respectively GP and GP Freestyle will be added; the highest score from the Special Tour respectively Freestyle Tour wins) of the CDI4* Schindlhof. The winner may keep the valuable Swarovski crystal trophy for a year. A rider is only allowed to keep it for good after she/he has managed to win three times. In 2014, now 13-time Austrian State champion Victoria Max-Theurer was the first rider to achieve this.