Simone Jäiser’s performance during the World Cup has been consistently strong and precise, but she seemed to reach a new high in Leipzig. Straight out of the gate she earned an artistic score of 10 from one of the judges, and scores over 9 from two of the technical judges. Her overall score now lies at 8,947. Numbers aside, she was pure poetry to watch. She has settled nicely into her longer freestyle, and you can see her confidence growing with each round.
Kristina Boe and Corinna Knauf followed up in second and third place respectively. Boe had a creative freestyle with some tricky moves that showed off her fantastic balance, but unfortunately she was not as solid as Jäiser, and finished with a final score of 8,263. Knauf’s freestyle was lovely, but unfortunately her horse slowed to a trot for a couple of strides. She finished with a final score of 7,975.
Drewell Cleans Up in the Individual Male Competition
It’s been a lot of fun watching Jannis Drewell over the course of the World Cup so far. The current European Champion’s energetic, Kung-Fu-inspired freestyle perfectly showcases his charismatic style, and of course, his great talent. Lunged by his mother on his long-time teammate, Diabolus, Jannis had the support needed to catapult him to a victory in Leipzig, and an overall lead with a score of 8,969.
The men’s podium was pure black, red and gold: Erik Oese followed Drewell with a score of 8,585, and Daniel Kaiser behind him with 8,386. Oese’s performance was very clean, well-executed and interesting to watch. Kaiser’s freestyle was theatrical and unique, but a bobble on the dismount bumped his score down a bit. Their horse, chestnut gelding Down Under, received top horse scores. Eric Oese had a wild card.
Pia and Torben Secure Victory in PDD
The German dream team of Pia Engelberty and Torben Jacobs impressed us all again this weekend. Their vampire-inspired performance was clean, dramatic, and daring. They finished with an overall score of 8,868, with the Italian team of Erika Di Forti and Lorenzo Lupacchini following in second place with 7,863.
The Italians had a truly beautiful freestyle, full of grace with a heavy ballet element, but their second place score was the partial result of an unfortunate fall early on in one of their performances. Joline Essenberg-Engels and Timo Gerdes of Germany came in third with an overall score of 7,658.
Though the final of the FEI World Cup has not yet been finalized , and the possibility stands that Leipzig will be considered the final, the outcome of this remains to be seen. Edit (January 18, 2016, 11:06 CET): time and date of the final will be announced this week. There are two options and both are in March. (If this was indeed the last of the World Cup, we witnessed the retirement of two very influential vaulters this weekend: Simone Jäiser and Pia Engelberty.)
I thought it was nice to see Patric Looser on the lunge for so many of the vaulters. He himself retired after winning the Individual Male title in Bordeaux for the 2011/2012 FEI World Cup, capping off a highly successful career that included the men’s individual gold medal at the 2010 WEG. Hopefully we will see Simone and Pia as coaches and/or lungers sometime in the not too distant future as well.