Things are progressing fast for Debby de Graaf and the just 10-year-old Kai Galloper (Uldrik 457). End of June this year they had their debut in the Grand Prix. After that they appeared in the ring half a dozen of times and last weekend they presented themselves abroad for the very first time. And with success!
At a national competition in Turnhout (BE) Debby and Kai Galloper scored 63.8%. Debby is very pleased with her test and the score too; she has now had her debut outside our national borders and it was the first time she rode the short (FEI) Grand Prix, which is a new challenge because the separate exercises follow at an even quicker pace than in the normal Grand Prix.
Short Grand Prix
‘I got a phone call from the organisation on Monday saying they had changed to a shorter Grand Prix instead of the usual one, as listed on the programme’, Debby looks back. ‘I felt a bit alarmed by that, but still, it’s nice to compete against different riders in a class and to be judged by different Jury members as well.’
No time to think
On Thursday during her training session she set to work practising the lines of the test with her trainer Daniëlle Heijkoop. ‘The test differs considerably from the normal GP. The biggest challenge is the pirouette, one-time tempi changes on the A-C line and then the other pirouette. That happens so fast, there’s no time at all to think.’
‘I did not manage to keep Kai perfectly straight during the tempi changes of that particularly difficult exercise – or rather exercises. The second pirouette worked out well and was satisfactory, but we got low scores for the tempi changes. We also had good parts in the test, like the piaffes – good for an average of 7 – and the two-time tempi changes. Kai always scores high on extended paces. But there are not many of those in this test so there was not much opportunity to compensate for a lesser part.’
It’s only two years since Debby started Kai Galloper (Studbook name Knillis V. Fan de Miedwei (Uldrik 457 x Doaitsen 520) in the Z2; so the pair have already made huge progress. And if anything, this competition proves there is more in the pipeline for them.
‘We’re still novices at this level, these exercises are relatively new to both of us. Kai has fully mastered the exercises as such, but stringing them all together is quite a puzzle’, Debby explains. ‘But we’re getting better and more adept at it and how cool is it that Kai has made such a good impression?!’
This month the combination’s calendar includes a sub top competition in Nieuw and St Joosland and in January there is the sub top multi-day event in Tolbert they have signed up for. ‘And that event abroad has certainly whetted my appetite for more’, this Stud Galloper stable rider says with a laugh. ‘So when there is another opportunity abroad I’d love to see my name on the starting list again.’
Otto Van Wissekerke
Also getting in action at the CDN in Turnhout was Patricia Mannaerts. She rode the 9-year-old Sport Elite stallion Otto Van Wissekerke (Beart 411) to a fantastic result of 67% in the Prix St. Georges. (cd)