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WoSJ Exclusive; Corradina II – the Championship Horse

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina II. All photos (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina II. All photos (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Corradina II should be a household horse name for those who are familiar with the international showjumping scene. The grey mare by the famous Corrado I x Sandro  is one of those horses who shows her quality when there is a big occasion, and she has proved herself as a true championship horse for her German rider Carsten-Otto Nagel.

Born on the 15th of June in 1998 – and bred by Prof. Dr. Hartwig Schmidt – Corradina went on to Moorhof Stable as a four-year-old, where Carsten started riding her. The Holsteiner mare has had a successful career ever since; winning the 5* Grand Prix of St Gallen in 2010, the World Cup in Stuttgart in November 2010 and she has a bronze medal from the German championship in 2009 – not to forget plenty of prizes from the world’s biggest Grand Prix and the Nations Cups.

In 2009 she had a real breakthrough, when she jumped her way into many hearts – winning the bronze team medal and the silver medal in the individual final at the European Championships at Windsor. For those who were present, she marked herself as a horse that made the two rounds of the final look easy – it didn’t seem like the 1.60 fences where much of an effort for Corradina, as she popped around the final without touching a fence!

Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina II - a golden pair.
Carsten-Otto Nagel and Corradina II - a golden pair.

At the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky Corradina yet again showed herself as the ultimate championship horse. Together with Carsten she jumped two clear rounds in the team final – the only horse on the German team to do so –  and secured the team gold for Germany. Yet another piece of glittering metallic was earned by the lovely mare and this at her first WEG. With the way Corradina was jumping throughout the championships (she only had one pole down during the entire event), it looked as though Nagel would be one of the serious contestants for a place in the prestigious top four final. But that was not to be; the pair was only a marginal 0,18 penalties away from taking part in the famous final and from competing for yet another medal. Their total score earned them the fifth place.

“I wasn’t to upset about not making it to the top four; and my sponsor [Stall Moorhof] was certainly not! They really didn’t want anybody else to ride Corradina, so they were quite happy about the outcome,” Carsten explains. And how does he think the other riders in the final would have coped riding this great mare? “Well, Corradina looks quite easy to ride from the ground – but in reality she is not that straight forward. That being said, I think most of the riders in the final were of such a caliber that they wouldn’t have had a problem with riding her,” the German rider says.

With such championship success it’s interesting to get Nagel’s views on how he gets Corradina in such spot-on form. “First of all I don’t like to have too many starts on her before a championship. Corradina usually has a 2-3 months break in the spring and early summer. After the break I have taken her to two or three smaller shows and then to another few, but quite big shows – like Aachen. Our Chef d’Equipe has also put Corradina on a couple of Super League teams to test her form, and if it is good that has been enough to be selected. This careful way of matching her has also proved as an excellent way to get her into form for the big tests ahead at the championships,” Nagel explains.

Corradina II.
Corradina II.

Although Carsten is a careful planner when it comes to Corradina’s season, it doesn’t always work out as easily as one might think. “Last year she had a break that was a little too long, and in Aachen she wasn’t particularly good. As a consequence we had to give her a few more shows than originally planned, and adjust to what was her current form at that moment. And in Kentucky she turned out to be in perfect form, “Nagel smiles.

It comes as no surprise that Nagel isn’t a rider who takes his horses to every show there is. “I mean, it depends on what you want – but you can’t take the horses to everything. It will empty the horses completely. Today’s sport features many shows and a lot of money, but it comes with a price. It takes a lot out of the horses; the travelling, the staying away from home and of course the competing. The travels are long nowadays; from Vigo to Gothenburg to Doha. To keep the horses in the sport over a longer period of time, you need to be serious about them as individuals and pick their events carefully.”

Nagel rates his perfect partner Corradina highly; “She is great; the kind of horse who tries to do her best at all times. Corradina does require that you adapt to her style though; she doesn’t like being ridden in a round form, she likes it more long and open. She is definitely a type of horse that knows what she likes and not,” he lets us know.

So does the great mare have any equal fantastic successors to follow in her footsteps? “I have some good younger ones that are coming along nicely, but they are not yet ready to take any big wins. At home I also have a really good Holsteiner gelding called Cazaro by Chambertin. He is 11 years old now, but has had two years off and now he is jumping again. Cazaro is a top horse, who is one to watch,” Nagel says.

Corradina and Nagel out strolling at the vet-check in Kentucky.
Corradina and Nagel out strolling at the vet-check in Kentucky.

Well, Corradina is surely not up for giving away her place on the throne yet. First it’s the Olympics in London in 2012. Count Corradina in for the fight for the medals; she knows she can do it. And so does her rider.


Photos by Jenny Abrahamsson/Text by Jannicke Naustdal - copyright © 2011.

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