Canadian Kelly Houtappels-Bruder of Ariss, ON, now a resident of Steensel, NED, drove her way to first overall in the CAI 3* Horse Single Division at the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Driving Competition – Sélestat 2022 event held from April 20-24, 2022 in the northeastern region of France.
Making their season debut, Houtappels-Bruder and her partner Flip (Fidertanz x Carprilli), a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding, whom she co-owns with husband Frank Houtappels, finished first overall, out of 23 competitors representing seven nations.
For the dressage phase, Houtappels-Bruder performed well setting a personal best and topping the field with a score of 75.70 and only 38.92 penalty points. After the duo’s strong start in the dressage, Houtappels-Bruder drove a solid marathon with her groom Meike Paridaans, in an extremely hard combination of clay and gravel, managing around the course smoothly, and finished in seventh place with 82.07.
“Flip can be quite unpredictable for the first couple shows, but we managed to keep him focused. All the work we put in over the winter building strength and expression really paid off and made up for a few small mistakes in the test,” said Houtappels-Bruder.
The athlete-and-horse combination ran a clear technical cones course, recording just .53 penalty points and finishing the phase in third place. “The cones were held after a day of rain, causing the course to be soggy and deep,” said Houtappels-Bruder. But, even so, once the scores were all tallied from the three phases, the pair found themselves atop the podium in the Single Horse division.
The winners are off next to Greven, Germany for a 3* in May, and aiming for the World Championships in Le Pin-au-Haras, France in September.