Today was the day of the squad compulsories, my favorite round. During the competition I took some notes via Twitter which I will now put into a post.
Like last year, I am pretty surprised by the high level of the vaulters. I guess the high qualification score made this possible.
Slovakia was the first junior squad this morning. They all had a very good tension. This is a very good requirement for their vaulting. It was pretty nice to watch. Denmark did a good job as well. Their horse not that steady, which caused some insecurities.
Austria had nearly the same outfits like Slovakia. Also, Finland and Hungary looked similar. Austria showed one of the best compulsories. They had high mills and backwards scissors but I would say there is some room for improvement with the other exercises. Two team members, Nicole Brabec and Lena Birkenau, also compete individually where they scored the first and third best round.
Italy followed the high level of the other teams which brought them the sixth rank after the first round. Their horse was lunged by Francesco Bortoletto who competes in the senior squad and as senior individual. I think this was possible before, but new is, that vaulters can compete in both championships. A few are doing it: They are part of the senior team at the European championships and compete as individual in the world championships.
The all girl team from the Czech Republic followed. They surprised me at many points with high swings and mounts. They were rewarded for their good training with the fifth place so far.
Then I mixed up Hungary and Finland because of the similar colors. Hungary did a well job. Unfortunately their swings were low. Next was Germany. The team from Nordheim presented clearly the best compulsory of the day. They were so secure in every exercise. Mara Xander, the European champion of last year, is part of hat team. I don’t know the catsuits make it or if German teams often look pretty adult. They came in with such a confidence that it was a pleasure to watch.
Switzerland is represented by the team from Tösstal. They owned the third place with their performance which is 0,5 points behind Germany. Their horse Isabella is a very reliable base for them.
I think Russia, South Africa and Great Britain were the only teams with males. Russia consists of three boys and three girls. The vaulters are still on different level. I hope these international competitions help them to improve.
The US American girls had a nearly perfect greeting. Many flanks to the inside seemed to be hard and not easy to stand. One of the Americans was then the first to fall. The team vaulted very well on the borrowed horse. USA and South Africa are the only ones who had to lend horses. Which means that, unfortunately, they are the only squads from outside Europe.
The competition was finished with the team from South Africa. There were some level differences among the team members and the horse fell into trot during one standing. The canter looked fine to me (but I have no clue of horses. They all went so differently today, that I have no clue what would be right).
Tomorrow is freestyle day.
Please remember, I am not a judge. I am just writing this down if I would like to read a summary later.