Renowned International Dressage Young Riders and FEI Junior Superstars Achieve Success Across the Atlantic

Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dana van Lierop and 10-year-old Equestricons Walküere win the FEI Young Rider division at the Florida International Dressage Youth Championships

Four young superstars, Antonia Arl from Belgium (age 14), Rosalie Bos from the Netherlands (18), Dana van Lierop from the Netherlands (19) and Vivien Niemann (21) from Germany traversed the Atlantic to compete in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby and Florida International Dressage Youth Championships at the 2015 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. The first time international youth riders of such notoriety have travelled to the annual Festival to compete in these championship classes. They increased the international presence in the FEI Young Rider and FEI Junior divisions.

Accompanying the girls were their coaches and Jochen Arl, owner of the Equestricons mares which, under U.S. restrictions are required to be held in quarantine for twenty-three days at the show grounds while being allowed to compete. Once their competitions have been completed, they all fly back to Europe.

With a full stable at their farm in Holland where Dana grew up, Coach Nicolette van Leeuwen this year oversees her daughter Dana prepare for the Young Rider division competitions. “With Rosalie,” explained Nicolette, “I travel up to her farm twice a week and coach her.”

In the Youth Championships at this year’s Festival, Dana and 10-year-old Equestricons Walküere, the horse which she has only been partnered with for three months, scored 74.28 percent in the FEI Young Rider Team Test and 74.868 percent  in the FEI Young Rider Individual Test, and 77.925 in the FEI Young Rider Freestyle (scoring an 80.500% from one judge). Masterfully crafted, Dana’s freestyle contained changes in direction with perfect steps from ten meter circles to half-pass with a change of bend and in the other direction.

Teammate Rosalie and Equestricons Bolita placed second with a 71.974 percent in the FEI Young Rider Team Test and 71.711 percent in the FEI Young Rider Individual test, and 73.450 percent in the FEI Young Rider Freestyle.

Dana won the Dutch National Champion nine times at different pony levels. In 2009, she won the Silver Medal for Ponies with the Dutch National Pony Team at the European Championships. She shared about the ponies, “I was lucky because I had many schoolmaster ponies to ride, and many people offered me to ride their ponies. I really learned a lot from the ponies. I really learned how to ride with a lot of feeling.  People really trusted me with their ponies to ride the tests.”L-R (Vivien Niemann, Dana van Lierop, Rosalie Bos during the Dutch National Anthem

Dana quickly trained up the pony levels in six months to become the Gold Medalist in the musical Freestyle at the European Pony Championships on the pony Equestricons Day of Diva and was also the first rider ever to get an 80% in the musical freestyle. She was also two-times  Bronze Medalist  at the European Pony Championships, winning aboard Arl’s own Equestricons Lord Champion, and then won the Dutch Championships in FEI Ponies.  

At the Junior level, she won the Dutch National Championships with her first horse and the individual Gold at the 2012 European Junior Championships held in Bern, Switzerland. She won the Under 25 Grand Prix in Vidauban, France, the same show grounds for this year’s European Junior/Young Rider Championships. Dana and Equestricons Walkuere currently ride for Holland’s Young Riders A-Team. This year she’s going for a spot on the Dutch National Young Rider Team for July’s European Junior Young Rider Championships.

18-year-old, Rosalie Bos also brought over Equestricons Bolita to compete in the Young Rider level classes. Bos, a European Junior Team Champion, earned silver and bronze medals finishing fourth individually in the 2014 Junior Championships last season. She is also the reigning Junior Champion in Holland and currently rides for Holland's A-Team Young Rider squad.Rosalie Bos and Equestricons Bolita place second at the 2015 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships

In her first of six years in Veterinary Medicine School, Rosalie has been able to do some classwork away from school. Starting with small ponies and moving up to sport ponies, she won the Dutch National Championships before moving to Juniors and now Young Riders, “I never had the pony that was a WOW, but more normal and we still did really well.  Then when I did get the WOW pony, it all fit together really nice. “ 

She moved to Juniors with her current horse Equestricons Bolita, was first reserve for the Dutch Junior Team, then last year not only made the team for Juniors, but won the Silver with the team and Bronze, individually. This year, she’s hoping to make the Dutch Young Rider Team for the European Junior Young Rider Championships in Vidauban, France in July.  She said, “There are some really good riders in Holland for the Young Rider Team, I’m going to really try to make it.”

She continued, “I train with Nicolette twice a week and our Chef d’Equipe once every other week to make sure we are making progress, and everything is going in the right way; to make sure I have the correct feeling. “

Coach for the riders, Nicolette concluded, “We really want to thank everyone for the experience here, the organization, the owners of the horses that our kids are able to compete here and learn what it’s like in America. The facility, the stabling, the people are all so welcoming to us. It’s really been a special few weeks to come here.”

Dana van Lierop and 10-year-old Equestricons Walküere win the FEI Young Rider division at the Florida International Dressage Youth Championships