Grandioso and Martin Dockx Finish in the Ribbons in the Kur Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen07.07.2013
Grandioso III and Daniel Martin Dockx were an unknown pair a year ago when they rode in their first Aachen CHIO. In 2012, their first year together at International Grand Prix, the CHIO Aachen was the occasion of their first 70% outside of Spain, and the rookie duo impressed many by finishing 15th in the Grand Prix Nations Cup on the first day of the competition. Now in 2013, following their role on the Spanish Team in the London Olympics and multiple Grand Prix victories since, Grandioso and Martin Dockx returned to Aachen to head a young Spanish delegation that was slated for this year's stand off in the "dressage cathedral" of Germany. A field of 8 nations and 37 riders, including the American A-team for the first time in several years, gathered together for a highly competitive preview of the European Championships.
Grandioso and Martin Dockx started out strong in the Grand Prix test on Thursday with 71.447, tying for 12th place with Mikaela Lindh of Finland and Skovland's Mas Guapo. The test had errors in the two-tempis and a miscount in the zig-zag, and so there was room for improvement. On Saturday, the pair rode a stronger Grand Prix Special, with more confidence, expression and technical accuracy, but still one costly error--perhaps to be expected as this was their first time doing the old (pre-Olympic) Special. Their final score of 71.854 held their 12th place position above many higher-ranked and more veteran pairs from other countries, and winning them a coveted spot among the top 15 in the Grand Prix Kur.
It was in the Kur where Grandioso and Martin Dockx showed the German dressage world that a new and ambitious Spanish horse and rider were on the horizon. Dancing effortlessly to the movie music from "Hemingway and Gellhorn", Martin Dockx demonstrated the strengths of the PRE horse in the most difficult movements--soft yet energetic piaffe, seamless transitions, floating passage, pirouettes on a dime, up-hill canter work and scopey trot tour including impressive airborne extensions. The Kur designed by Marlene Whitaker from North Carolina brought out the best in this horse and rider, and the judges agreed, awarding them 78.175%, a virtual tie with Anabel Balkenhol of Germany and USA's Steffen Peters. Grandioso finished in 8th place and continued to please the sold-out Deutsche Bank Stadium and national TV audience in the awards ceremonies that followed.