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Like Father, Like Son for Emmelie Scholtens & Indian Rock

Emmelie Scholtens (NED) and Indian Rock - winners of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2024 - Neumünster (GER). © / Stefan Lafrentz

There aren’t a lot of ways to improve a six-hour drive home from a horse show.

But winning the ninth leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League? That’s a great place to start. And it’s just what Emmelie Scholtens of the Netherlands did on Sunday in Neumünster, Germany, topping the podium for the second day in a row after also taking the closely-contested Grand Prix on Saturday.

On a score of 81.565%, the Dutch rider squeaked just ahead of series leader Patrik Kittel of Sweden with Forever Young HRH on a score of 81.145%, and Matthias Alexander Rath of Germany with Destacado FRH (80.425%). The best part: she did so with a partner that’s very close to her heart.

“[I’ve] know Indian Rock since he was three years old. I started everything with him, his whole education, all the way to Grand Prix,” Scholtens, 38, said after her win. “[Indian Rock is] special to me because I rode his father, [Apache], and he reminds me of him.”

In fact, in 2019, Scholtens and Apache finished eighth at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. And now, after a win in Sunday’s qualifier in Neumünster, Scholtens is within striking distance of the 2024 Final—and may need to reconsider her season.  

“I didn’t think before about going to the Final, but I’m considering it now,” Scholtens said. “[Indian Rock] feels like my horse, but he’s not my horse, so I have to discuss with the owners. [To] be honest, it’s also an exciting year this year because of the Olympics, so I also have to watch out that everything isn’t too much for him.”

Scholtens (NED) and Indian Rock. © / Stefan Lafrentz

Fortunately, Scholtens is well-qualified to judge the 11-year-old KWPN stallion’s capabilities. Paired together on the international scene since 2018, they previously competed at the World Championships in Herning, Denmark in 2022 and at the European Championship in Riesenbeck, Germany last summer.  

“He was a little bit scared because of the prize-giving from [the Grand Prix] yesterday, but he is such a brave horse. I said, ‘It’s fine, you can go in,” explained Scholtens, referring to Neumünster’s notoriously intimate arena and enthusiastic crowds. “[Indian Rock] is a fun horse to go to shows with because he’s easy and he feels [like] he wants to give his all.”

Currently sitting in 9th place on 39 points in the Western European League standings, the pair will have plenty riding on their next FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier performance in three weeks. Fortunately, Scholtens will also be competing on home-turf at ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, where she’ll face off once again against Kittel, this time on Bonamour. The Swedish rider currently boasts 72 points and is qualified for the Final on no less than three different mounts.

The good news? For her part, Scholtens couldn’t have more faith in her own longtime partner. “[Indian Rock] has the best character,” she said. “He’s a stallion but he is so sweet. He’s special to me because of his father, also, but it’s about every day how he is when you are with him.”

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