Sunday, 3. December 2023

Aachen Dressage Youngstars 2023: First-class youth sport just before Christmas

When the most talented young riders meet up for the Aachen Youngstars, it is always like looking into a crystal ball: Because this is where the stars of tomorrow meet up, it is the future participants of the CHIO Aachen, who ride into the dressage arena or jumping ring in the Albert-Vahle Arena. This weekend it was the turn of the best dressage riders, followed by the show jumpers from Thursday onwards.

The routes are short at the world-famous showgrounds at the Aachen Soers. So, it is no wonder that most of the dressage riders used the opportunity to take a glimpse at the Deutsche Bank Stadium situated right next door. Because in this impressive arena, which was especially constructed for the dressage sport, the Werths, von Bredow-Werndls, Dufours and Dujardins compete in the summer every year. And don’t all of the aspiring young riders dream of competing at the famous CHIO Aachen?

Emotional finale in the Ponies

Lilly Marie Collin most certainly does. Having travelled to Aachen as the current number 1 in the Pony world rankings and three-time reigning European Champion, she had set herself high goals for her last show in this age class. And Lilly delivered too! She danced consistently to success through the arena of the festively decorated Albert-Vahle Arena together with her Cosmo Callidus NRW in all three competitions. On the last centre line of the final freestyle, the Prize of BFT Cognos GmbH, she was correspondingly emotional. “My aim was simply to have fun. But then I realised that this really was our last salute here,” the 16-year-old said shortly after her ride, while wiping a few tears from eyes. But it wasn’t long before the joy and gratitude overweighed the sadness. The young dressage rider was overjoyed about the fantastic freestyle routine and at claiming the title of Indoor Champion 2023, presented by UVEX, and full of gratitude to her pony, which has led her from one victory to the next for the past three years.

Children: Home victory for Lynn Greven

The local matador Lynn Greven from Roetgen had one of the shortest journeys of all and at the end the biggest smile on her face. With her victory in the Prize of federal promotion of children dressage, the 14-year-old claimed the crown as Children Champion 2023, presented by UVEX, which almost left her speechless. Which is no surprise because the days before travelling to the Aachen Soers were already pretty emotional for the 14-year-old. Her top horse, Falcon HP, with whom she claimed the title at the Rhenish Championships this summer, took ill just before the show started. The 10-year-old is fortunately top fit again, but she wasn’t able to ride him at the Aachen Dressage Youngstars. The experienced 17-year-old Stedinger descendant, Sergio, who is owned by her trainer, Nathalie Braun, served as the last-minute replacement. And he had an early Christmas present for his young rider: The judges awarded the pair 77.834 percent for the harmonious test the pair conjured up in the Albert-Vahle Arena early on Sunday morning. “He simply gave all for me,” beamed Lynn Greven after her ride, which not only ensured her the victory in the Prize of federal promotion of children dressage sports, but also the title of Indoor Champion, presented by UVEX. Whether she profited from the home advantage? “More from the pressure,” the young dressage rider from Roetgen laughed, she namely competed at the Aachen Dressage Youngstars the first time this year. “Being able to ride here, really is something special.”

Special moments for the Young Riders

And she is not the only one who thinks so. Theresa Nabbelfeld and Emma Caecilia Lienert also experienced very special moments in the Young Riders competitions. The final freestyle went perfectly for both of them on Saturday evening, especially for Theresa Nabbelfeld and her Devalero. The young rider from Westphalia accentuated the strengths of her 13-year-old sports partner perfectly to the sounds of Disney’s Vaiana. “It was an incredible ride today,” beamed Theresa Nabbelfeld. “My horse felt fantastic and we were totally in time with the music throughout the whole of the freestyle routine.” The three judges were obviously of the same opinion and rewarded the pair’s performance with a new personal best score of 74.842 percent. But Emma Caecilia Lienert also had plenty of reason for joy. During the festive prize-giving ceremony as well as the silver rosette she also received a very special distinction: Thanks to her consistently, outstanding performances across all three competitions, the 20-year-old was honoured with the title, Young Riders Champion 2023, powered by UVEX.

Birgit Rosenberg, who was visibly happy and highly satisfied, drew a positive balance. Above all the huge enthusiasm of the young riders pleased the ALRV Board Member: “We see happy faces all around, the atmosphere is wonderful and the sport really is fantastic.” It is remarkable to see that Aachen is already something very special and the venue here at the Soers simply exceptional even for the youngest riders, the CHIO Head of Sport, stated.

British victory in the Juniors Classification

Some of the aspiring young riders take long journeys into account to compete here. Such as Isla Sully from Great Britain for instance. It was the 15-year-old from Glastonbury’s first time in Aachen – and what a success. Together with her Vagabond de Massa, she enchanted the Albert-Vahle Arena and improved each time she entered the arena. Her reward: The victory in the Prize of the Grün Software Group. In the final freestyle on Sunday, she danced to an impressive score of 74.792% with her 14-year-old gelding. That meant the victory in the WOTAX Prize and simultaneously the title of Indoor Junior Champion. “Being able to compete in this fantastic atmosphere and then also being so successful on top is something very special for me,” the British rider stated, sparkling even brighter than the Christmas lights.

For the organiser, the ALRV, the Aachen Youngstars – dressage classes this week and jumping classes next week – are an important part of the CHIO Aachen CAMPUS and the related youth concept. “Promoting and supporting aspiring young talents and enabling them to compete at professionally organised shows is a matter close to our hearts,” explained Birgit Rosenberg. She is already looking ahead to next week: “It was lovely and we are now looking forward to the Aachen Jumping Youngstars which starts on Thursday.”

(Photo: CHIO Aachen CAMPUS/Jasmin Metzner), it shows Lilly Marie Collin with her pony, Cosmo Callidus NRW.

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