Brigitte Wittig and Balmoral W Win 2013 Louisdor Cup

 
Wed, 12/25/2013 - 21:59
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Brigitte Wittig and Balmoral win the 2013 Louisdor Cup Final in Frankfurt
Photo © Barbara Schnell
2013 CDI Frankfurt

Brigitte Wittig and her home bred Westfalian gelding Balmoral W (by Breitling W x Diego xx) were the winners of the 2013 Louisdor Cup for Developing Grand Prix Horses, held during the 2013 CDI Frankfurt in Germany on 19 - 22 December 2013. On Sunday morning, a field of 12 horses contested the Cup Finals by performing the Grand Prix test.

Since 2007 Germany's developing Grand Prix horses between the age of eight and ten no longer need to contest with older and more experienced horses. The young horse Grand Prix allows them to slowly mature and grow into the big Grand Prix sport by asking the same movements, but on a less intensified level. After several qualifications during the past season the best young GP horses met for the Louisdor Cup final.

This year's Louisdor final saw a clear winner in Brigitte Wittig's Westfalian branded gelding Balmoral W, which scored an impressive 73,894% to stay well ahead of the runners-up, Nadine Capellmann and Dark Dynamic on 70,936%.

The ten-year-old Balmoral W is another Wittig breeding-product descending from the pairing which seems to guarantee success: Sired by Wittig's former international Grand Prix horse Breitling W out of Wolfram's top brood mare by Diego xx. Actually the brown gelding can neither deny his sire nor his training and is already a quite mature horse at this level.
The passage is very cadenced and expressive, in the piaffe the horse shows a nice rhythm, but during the attempt to take weight on the hindquarters Balmoral travels forward instead, while showing much push-off in front. The extended walk had enough over-track and was executed with a nicely stretched top line. Also the canter tour proved the maturity of the Japanese owned gelding with its nice flying changes with good impulsion. The pirouettes were controlled but could be executed with more lowering of the haunches.

Sharing the same age with Balmoral W, Nadine Capellmann's upcoming Grand Prix- orse Dark Dynamic presented himself with similar maturity. The black Hanoverian gelding by Don Vino is a sympathetic, compact horse whose cute face is clearly influenced by dam's sire Hohenstein. Dark Dynamic executed quite a nice, energetic trot tour with the half passes with correct bend amd yielding, although there could have been  more flow in them. The rein back, sometimes not an easy task in the electric atmosphere of an indoor show arena, was very obediently executed. The piaffe-passage tour revealed much promise. In particular the piaffe is already very nice; the horse quickly picking up and holding a clear rhythm, showing expressive active steps and beginning to take weight behind. However, he did not keep proper self-carriage in this movement yet and occasionally came very deep. While the extended walk could show more overtrack and more stretching in the top line, the canter tour was solid and lightfooted without major mistakes. No doubt Capellmann has a second strong horse in the making, which could easily take her retired mount Elvis' place in near future.

Last year's Burgpokal finalist Rohjuwel, presented by reserve European champion Helen Langehanenberg, finished the Louisdor final clearly behind the top placed horses, scoring exactly 69%. A year younger than Balmoral W and Dark Dynamic, the compact bay stallion made his rider work hard to pull the best out of the Rohdiamant offspring. The Oldenburger was very regular in his trot work, especially the half-passes were nicely executed, but all in all there could be more engagement from behind. In the piaffe the horse was diligent and pushed-off diagonally, but is not yet able to take any weight behind and comes quite deep with his neck, which will surely improve with one more year of experience and more strength. In the extended walk the horse was relaxed and stretched nicely. The canter tour was without mistakes, but in the half-passes the horse needs to become more balanced and collected and the flying changes were quite short. The canter pirouettes were already pretty well done, still a bit big, but in good rhythm.

In this class one or even two years' difference in age was often clearly seen unless there is an extremely talented horse which can make up for the missing experience and strength with its great natural ability. Even though the first two placed horses scored over 70%, the overall quality of this year's Louisdor Cup Finals was not as exciting with five finalists staying below 65%. It will be interesting to see how the 2013 finalists will progress over the next season.

by Silke Rottermann for Eurodressage.com
Photos © Barbara Schnell

Related Links
Scores: 2013 CDI Frankfurt
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Finalists Known for 2013 Nurnberger Burgpokal Final in Frankfurt
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