Irish rider Anna Merveldt second in four-star Austrian Dressage Freestyle To Music Grand Prix

Irish rider Anna Merveldt continued her strong start to the 2023 season with a podium finish at the four-star show in Gössendorf, Austria, at the weekend.

Anna and the 13-year-old Lusitano stallion, Esporim, owned by Mario Greco and Giovanna Mazza, scored 74.425 per cent to take second place in the Grand Prix Kür (Freestyle to Music) class on Sunday (2 April).

Last month, on Saint Patrick's Day, the Irish Olympian placed second in the international dressage Grand Prix at the three-star show in Ornago, Italy.

Anna performed her new freestyle to music programme at Gössendorf CDI4* in Austria for just the second time this season.

Anna Merveldt and Esporim.Anna Merveldt and Esporim.
Anna Merveldt and Esporim.

The choreography and floor plan reflect a high degree of difficulty, consisting of an intricate pattern of technically advanced movements including canter pirouette to piaffe pirouette transitions, along with two tempi to one tempi canter changes across the diagonal and a passage and piaffe trot sequence to a Spanish-themed soundtrack.

She commented: “I'm really pleased with today. It was a good freestyle test all the way through and we were with the music right down to the last beat.

“Esporim was too fresh yesterday (Saturday) but he was with me all the way today. I was really delighted to receive a score of 76.100 per cent from Dutch judge Monique Peutz-Vegter at C, as it was just our second time performing this freestyle programme.”

Austria's Christian Schumach scored 74.975 per cent with TE Quiero SF for the win, with another Austrian rider, Bettina Kendlbacher and Don Alfredo. completing the podium in third on a personal best 73.800 per cent.

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