Westpoint Wows the Crowds in 6-year old Finals

Sun, 08/09/2009 - 00:00
2009 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses

Emmelie Scholtens and the KWPN licensed stallion Westpoint (by Jazz x Michelangelo x Le Mexico x Cadmus) wowed the crowds and won the 6-year old Dressage Horse Finals at the 2009 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden. Scoring an overall mark of 9.0, Westpoint outclassed all finalists with his high quality basic gaits and good presentation and earned the gold medal. The silver went to Dorothee Schneider on Florinero, the bronze to Anna Sophie Fiebelkorn on Imperio.

The Finals were being judged by Bernard Maurel (FRA), Maria Colliander (FIN), Wojtek Markowski (POL) and Angelika Frömming (GER). Unlike in the 5-year old finals, this panel was more reserved with their points and didn't start throwing them around. Only slowly towards the end of the class the points went up.

Champion Westpoint got big marks from the judges and was the clear winner of the class. The black stallion showed a great, lightfooted trot with an active, energetic hind leg. He was hurried in the shoulder in left and 10m circle which made the start of the left half pass a bit difficult. The lateral movements to the right were better.

The horse nicely lengthened his stride and covered ground in the extensions but he broke into canter on one diagonal. The extended walk was excellent: huge in its great cover and clear in rhythm. The pirouette left was good but then he lost the clarity in rhythm before and after the right pirouette

In canter, the horse makes big uphill strides but the hind leg could move even more under the body. The flying changes were jumped well, but the first generated some tension in the horse before the change and was a little bit short. The only thing that disturbed the beautiful silhouette the most was that Westpoint often came behind the vertical: slightly in trot, quite a lot in canter. The poll was never the highest point with this horse. But movementwise, the horse was active behind at all times working in an uphill frame. 

The judges were full of praise of this horse. "It's a mover!" Fromming exclaimed. They liked the canter the most because there was "real spring", "good ground cover", "an uphill tendency and an open frame." In trot they praised the activity behind but also remarked that "the frame was constricted."

For the submission they acknowledged that there was a "tiny problem with the bending" especially in the lateral movements left but the changes were "straight, good changes". They also spotted the tightness in the neck and preferred a "more open throatlatch." They scored the horse 8.8 for trot, 9.0 for walk, 9.5 for canter, 8.4 for submission and 9.3.. It totaled 9.0.

At the press conference she said, "I am so happy . I hoped for this, but I never expected it. He's a great horse and it's fantastic that other people can see it.

Scholtens and Westpoint had already participated at last year's World Championships, where he finished 23rd in the consolation finals with 7.3. "He was too much stallion last year," Scholtens admitted. "So I did some normal shows with him to make him more relaxed."

Westpoint has had a busy first few years as a competitive breeding stallion. He participated in the Pavo Cup twice and did the KWPN/KNHS Stallion Competition. He won the Pavo Cup once, but was was twice defeated by perpetual Dutch rival Wynton.

Emmelie Scholtens was moved to tears during the national anthem. She is leaving her current employer Stal Laarakkers, where Westpoint is stabled, to start her own business together with boyfriend Jeroen Witte at Stal Nico Witte. At the moment, she won't get to take Westpoint, which is owned by VDL stud in the North of Holland, but she is hoping that this victory might convince the owner to let her keep the ride.

Last year at the 2008 World Young Horse Championships, the most talented and high quality 6-year old won (Fiona Bigwood's Dramatic), even though his test was not so earth shattering on a technical and submissiveness' level (ridden by Jana Freund). This year, not the most talented horse finished in silver medal position, but he was certainly the best presented horse of the day. Silver medallists Dorothee Schneider and Florinero (by Furst Heinrich x A Jungle Prince) scored a total of 8.72 points.

The eye catching black stallion is quite ponyesque in his appearance due to a shorter front leg, but he moves regularly and with much rhythm. Though his trot extensions are ground covering, they are limited in scope. The traversal movements were lovely with Florinero moving well out of the shoulder.

In walk the black could have had more activity from behind, especially in the collected walk. In canter the hind leg also lacked this impulsion, though Schneider always had the horse nicely on the bit and uphill. He made an unscripted flying change in the extended canter and the first change occurred too early to the aids, but the other flying changes were fine.

The judges were impressed by "the accuracy of riding and the way all movements were prepared." The horse scored 8.6 for trot, 8.7 for walk, 8.5 for canter, 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for general impression.

The show in Verden was Schneider's debut at the World Championships. "It was gigantic, the atmosphere in this arena," Schneider confirmed. "My horse really was with me in this competition and we made a beautiful round. Schneider's Florinero is owned by Sven Rothenberger. The black stallion came in training with Dorothee when he was four years old. He made it to the Bundeschampionate Finals as a 5-year old. "He has developed really well. Training him is fun. He's very rideable," Schneider admitted.

When asked if Florinero is going to stay with her or go back to Sanneke or Sönke Rothenberger as a Junior Rider's horse, Dorothee answers. "I don't know but Sven told me I can ride him in the Nurnberger Burgpokal."

The bronze medal went to last year's silver medallists, Anna Sophie Fiebelkorn on Imperio (by Connery x Balfour xx). The bay Trakehner stallion has an astonishing trot with so much suppleness, swing over the back and elasticity. The trot volte and half pass left were extremely smooth and ground covering. He tilted his head in the half pass right and in the second extension Imperio pushed himself high. The extended walk was big but could have been more energetic. In the collected walk he clearly went short long behind taking bigger steps with his left hind leg. He started grinding his teeth in the collected walk and strike off to canter and showed real resistance against in the bit by tossing up his head in the medium canter. The canter lacked some true engagement from behind though the stallion kept his balance in the counter canter. The first flying change was in two phases and the second croup high, but the third and fourth were fine.

The judges scores Imperio's trot a 9.5, his walk 7.6, his canter 8.2, still an 8.3 for submission despite the unrhythmical walk, two mediocre changes and the resistance against the hand. With 8.5 for general impression, he totaled 8.42. Good for bronze.

"He had such a long breeding season," Fiebelkorn explained at the press conference. "He's only been off it since ten days so I'm super happy. He gave it all."

Just missing out on a medal was Kathrin Meyer zu Strohen on the liver chestnut Hessian stallion Rassolini (by Rubioso N x Silvano N). The stallion is breath taking in looks but probably was more on top in the qualifier instead of the finals test. Though very well presented and ridden, Rassolini lacked push from behind in trot. He was pushing his hind legs out, especially in the trot circle left and the start of the half pass was not fluent.

The extended walk was lovely but could have been more energetic. The collected walk was excellent with lovely small walk pirouettes. The canter was nicely uphill and active and all flying changes were well executed. His overall score was 8.28 with 8.1 for trot, 7.9 for walk, 8.4 for canter, 8.6 for submission and 8.4 for general impression

Tied in fourth place with Rassolini was the Bavarian branded Birkhofs Denario (by Denaro x Fair Play). The former South German Stallion Licensing Champion also excelled in his rideability, more so than with his gaits. The cute grey stallion looks very ponylike with its short front legs. In trot there was much fluency in the execution of the different movements, but in the extended trot rider Nicole Casper let her stallion quite free in the frame so the grey came above the vertical.

In the extended walk the stallion was nicely forward, but there was a loss of rhythm in the collected walk. The pirouette left lacked impulsion and the right one was blocked. In canter the stallion is uphill but stiff in the hind leg and the croup gets high. The first three flying changes were good, the fourth one late to the rider's aids. He scored 8.2 for trot, 8.1 for walk, 8.4 for canter, 8.2 for submission, 8.5 for general impression. Total = 8.28

Desperado OLD, the 2008 World Champion in the 5-year old division, landed fifth place with 8.22. His trot has much spring and activity and he crosses his legs well in the half passes. In walk he had a very clear rhythm though there was a loss of suppleness in the pirouette right. Three flying changes went well, the last one was quite tense. Rider and owner Nadine Plaster upheld a perfect contact with the bit on her Dressage Royal x Rouletto offspring. The dark bay gelding lacks some stretch in the frame, especially in the trot and canter extensions. 
Trot: 8.1, walk 8.4, canter 8.2, submission 7.9 and general impression 7.9.

Dutch pair Madeleine Witte-Vrees and the KWPN stallion Wynton (by Jazz x Matador II) finished eighth. The trot work was hurried and lacked bending, especially in the corners on the left lead. The contact with the bit was also unsteady which caused the horse's head to bop. In canter there was hardly any collected canter even though the changes were good. The best gait was the walk. It was outstanding with good relaxation and ground cover, but the judges' score of 7.8 was totally undervalued and unrealistic.
Trot and canter 8.1, walk 7.8, submission 8.0, general impression 8.3. Total 8.06

Austrian duo Sabine Dürrheim with the Oldenburger Hans Im Gluck (by Harvard) tied with Witte-Vrees and Wynton on 8th place. The trot and canter tempo was much too high, but the walk was one of the best of the day. 
Trot 7.5, walk 8.9, canter 7.8, submission 7.9, general impression 8.2. Total 8.06

Ninth place went to Danish Lone Madsen on Heslegards Rolex (by Rubin x Louis). The very cadenced grey came into training with Madsen only three months ago when she took over the ride from one of her amateur students. The pair scored 8.02.



Tenth: Patrick van der Meer on the NRPS licensed stallion Karolus van Wittenstein (by Krack x Partout). This chestnut stallion has lots of bounce and suppleness in his gaits, but the contact with the bit was extremely unsteady. The stallion very often came above or behind the vertical or even slightly against the bit. Van der Meer did his best to make the entire image look soft and never jerked or yanked the bit, but stayed soft with his hands. The flying changes were quite problematic so when the judges gave a score of 7.6 for submission, the only thing you could do was slap your own forehead in astonishment.

Insa Hansen on Lena Teichert's Hanoverian gelding Wells Fargo (by Welser x Fabriano) finished 11th. The duo scored 7.7 for trot, 8.0 for walk, 7.9 for canter, 7.8 for submission, 7.9 for general impression and 7.86 in total

Twelfth: Danish Fie Skarsoe on Tanja Kayser's Oldenburg gelding Rash (by Ron William x Cordeur). 
8.4 in trot, 6.9 in walk, 7.6 in canter, 7.8 in submission and 8.0 for general impression: Total 7.74

Thirteenth: Thomas Lassen on UNO Don Diego. It's quite an achievement for a dam to produce two World Championship finalists. UNO Donna Unique won silver in the 5-year old division, UNO Don Diego (by Dressage Royal x Falkland) placed 13th in the 6-year old finals. He scored 7.66 in total. The horse was very tense.

Fourteenth: Swiss combination Nicola Heyser Burger on the super trotting mare U.S. Latina (by Rubin Royal x Landjonker). The trot and canter were tense so the scores dropped to a 7.64 total mark.

Fifteenth: Swedish combo Malin Rinne and Scharmeur (by Schwadroneur). Even though the horse has very gifted gaits he was totally dead in the mouth and showed his tongue constantly. Amazing that it still scored 6.4 for submission. Isn't it a rule that a horse which shows its tongue can't score higher than a 6.0? Commentator Angelika Fromming brushed the fact under the carpet by stating that the horse was "indisponiert," which means "not feeling well." Errrrr??!!

Back to the 2009 WCYH index