Kelly Houtappels-Bruder, an Ontario native currently residing in Steensel, NED, established herself as one to watch at the upcoming 2018 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles after earning her second career win at the CAI 3* Saumur, held June 6-10, 2018 in Saumur, FRA.
Houtappels-Bruder piloted H. Hoogers’ 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Flip (Fidertanz x Caprilli) to superb scores in all three phases of the single horse division, battling through a field of 13 tough and talented entries for the top prize.
She started off strong with back-to-back third-place finishes, scoring 49.45 penalties in the dressage phase on June 8, and 99.24 in the marathon the following day. On June 10, Houtappels-Bruder navigated a faultless round through a challenging, technical cones course within the time allowed, bumping her up to first place on a final score of 148.69 penalties. The score represented a new Saumur record for Houtappels-Bruder and Flip, who took first place in 2016 on a score of 176.29 penalties.
“Saumur is always a special show,” said Houtappels-Bruder. “It is extremely challenging, but at the same time there is a wonderful atmosphere there. This year, with all of the rainfall, it was even heavier going for the horses than normal. We drove a conservative dressage test, a smooth and steady marathon, and double-clear cones. Improvements can definitely be made in the dressage and marathon, but in the work up to the World Championships in August we are right on track.”
Houtappels-Bruder continued, “I was so incredibly proud of Flip and how he worked for me. That horse has so much heart. Winning was nice, especially in this field of drivers, but the real reward is getting to drive a horse like Flip every day.”
For full results from the Saumur CAI 3*, click here.