A class of their own: Sonja Bolz wins “Piaff-Förderpreis” final

(acm/mps) She was in a class of her own early Friday morning when winning by a margin of over 100 points: Sonja Bolz (Kerpen, Germany) received 1,655 points from the judges for her performance in the “Liselott Schindling Stiftung” competition – the final of the “Piaff Förderpreises” at the 21st International STUTTGART GERMAN MASTERS Horse Show.

She therefore easily dominated the Grand Prix competition – the climax of the series for German riders under 25 – on the 14-year-old Holstein gelding Cockney, who has already been ridden by World Champion Nadine Capellmann. Two second places in the qualifying events in Bad Salzuflen and Verden plus the victory in the final qualifying in Heroldsberg gave one an indication of her class this year. This was confirmed by her win in the warm-up competition on Thursday. Consequently, the 23-year-old was the one to beat in the final. It was an experience that, for example, Johanna von Fircks (Nörten-Hardenberg, Germany) had to make when coming second on Royal Flash with 1,549 points. Third place went to Anna-Katharina Lüttgen (Kerpen, Germany) on Duvalier with 1,529 points.

“The “Piaff-Förderpreis” is designed to further the careers of young women and men riders so that they can move up to Grand Prix competition,” said show director Gotthilf Riexinger when afterwards praising the performance of Sonja Bolz and Cockney. After her success in her first ever final, the smiling winner – who is also a successful S-class jumper – recognised: “I’ve always heard that Stuttgart is one of the best loved shows for the riders. Therefore I was very proud even to be able to take part here. I naturally hoped to win. Especially, as I went into the competition as the leading rider after qualifying. But when it does actually happen, then it’s naturally something special. Bolz was full of praise for her gelding. “I’ve had him in for over a year in the stables but I’ve only been really able to build up a real relationship with him over the last few months. He’s a wonderful animal and always tries very hard.”