Günter Seidel & U II Claim Fritzens CDI4* Freestyle
FRITZENS, Austria, June 26–Günter Seidel and U II, competing at their first European show and a year since the American was thrown from the 10-year-old gelding in an accident that broke his pelvis, won the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Manfred Swarovski Memorial Tournament CDI4* Sunday.
Günter of Cardiff, California, and UII scored 78.275 per cent, the highest awarded the pair since they began their international Grand Prix career 16 months ago. They competed only in California before this competition.
Great Britain's Emma Hindle and Lancet 2, her mount from the 2008 Olympics and 2009 European Championships silver medal team and now 18 years old, was second with 77.175 per cent and Italy's Valentina Truppa on Eremo del Castegno was third on 76.350 per cent. Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and Come On III placed 11th with a score of 68.400 per cent.
Earlier Sunday, Günter and Sundayboy, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Kennedy, were second behind Canada's Belinda Trussell on Anton in a consolation Grand Prix. Belinda and Anton scored 71.560 per cent with Günter and Sundayboy second on 70.390 per cent and Austria's Renate Vogelsang on Fabriano third on 68.723 per cent.
Günter is a three-time Olympic bronze medalist and the winner of team silver at the WEG in Jerez in 2002 and team bronze in Aachen, Germany, in 2006. He had not competed in Europe since the 2006 world championships.
In 2010, U II, a KWPN gelding by Jazz, was shipped to Europe for he and Günter to train with former American team coach Klaus Balkenhol at Rosendahl, Germany. The planned to compete at this same competition last year and some national shows in preparation for the U.S. selection trials for last year's WEG in Kentucky.
However, in the first ride two days after the flight, Günter was thrown from U II and broke his pelvis. It kept him out of the saddle for six months.
He and Steffen Peters and Ravel are scheduled to compete on the U.S. team at the CDIO Nations Cup in Aachen next month.
Günter and U II were 2008 U.S. Developing Horse Champions. Both U II and Sundayboy are owned by Jane and Dick Brown.
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