Daniel Bachmann Andersen has won the first leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup Western European League in Denmark – on a horse with one eye.
All five judges put Daniel and Blue Hors Zack into pole position, while Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg was second, ahead of Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven.
“I felt I had a chance to win, but I knew I had to be humble,” said Daniel, who was competing on home turf. “Helen and Tinne could also do good so I had to ride really well!”
It was six-time Olympian Tinne who broke the 80% barrier with Don Auriello. However their mark of 80.90% was immediately bettered by Helen, who has a brilliant record at the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals.
Her score of 81.40% with the 16-year-old stallion Damsey FRH put her out in front, but her lead was short-lived. Daniel and ‘Zack’ were awarded some big scores, including two 9.9s for degree of difficulty, which gave them a total winning mark of 83.37%.
What makes their victory even more impressive is that Zack is blind in one eye.
“He’s not just my horse, he’s my friend and my partner, he’s everything to me!” said Daniel. “He was given up a bit by other riders who had him before, he wasn’t easy because he’s very sensitive, so I had to get into his heart and get him to trust me. Now what we have is very special!”
You can watch the World Cup series on Horse & Country as we have highlights of the FEI World Cup Dressage, FEI World Cup Jumping WEL (Western European League), FEI World Cup Jumping NAL (North American League) and FEI World Cup Driving.
FEI World Cup Dressage: Herning premieres on Friday 26 October at 8pm.