Lena Stegemann and Ingo Pape's Hanoverian mare Scara Boa rode on the new wave of harmony in the dressage world and captured the victory in the 5-year old preliminary test at the 2013 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany, on the first day of competition on Thursday 8 August 2013.
It was a very interesting day today. Spectactors at the World Championships needed to show a serious willingness for adaptation to unusual conditions in order to enjoy the event to the fullest. For the first time in two months, in fact since the CDIO Aachen in June, the weather in Western Europe was dreary again with a chilly wind and rain dampening spirits the entire morning. As everybody had gotten used to holiday temperatures this summer, it was literally a cold shower to arrive in Verden for the show. Another peculiar seasonal change happened: Santa Claus was in town because that could be the only explanation for the way the judges were giving generous points especially at the beginning of the class. Whereas the judges' panel usually starts out with strict scores in the preliminary test and slowly moves up in the Finals, today it was a ticker tape parade of points. Only towards the end of the day, there was more reason in the point system.
The winning pair was one of the early morning combinations that got generously rewarded by a happy judges' panel, consisting of Ghislain Fouarge (NED), Annette Fransen-Iacobaeus (SWE), Kurt Christensen (DEN), and Dietrich Plewa (GER) Trained by Susan Pape, Stegemann did produce a wonderful test that earned high points, but the overall 9.62 was over-optimistic and set the mare Scara Boa (by Scolari x Wolkenstein II) too far apart from the other competitors (the second placed pair got 9.14), who on several other levels outclassed her in quality. Stegemann and Scara Boa showed a beautiful, rhythmical, well cadanced trot, moving smoothly through the curved lines without ever thrilling. She was very constant in the contact although she slightly crept behind the vertical. The extended walk was very nice with much ground cover and good relaxation and the canter was nice and straight, though in counter canter she could have been a bit more balanced.
Stegemann's test was far above average, but the 9.7 for walk and trot and 9.5 for canter were very generous. Her 9.5 for submission was well earned and with a 9.7 for overall impression Christmas came early for the young rider, who is assistent trainer at Ingo Pape's stallion station. She averages 9.62 and became undefeated. Stegemann also won the inaugural "submissivenesss award" for highest submission score. The prize was given by retired German judge Angelika Fromming in celebration of a "refound" emphasis on harmony and lightness as paramount to the discipline of dressage. The "wave" started at the 2011 European Championships where Great Britain won team gold and harmony was celebrated at the Olympic Games, where beauty and lightness in riding were thankfully more appreciated than spectalur gaits. Paradoxically, Scara Boa refused to do a victory lap during the prize giving ceremony. She parked herself in the corner, refused to move and when Ingo tried to give her a jump start by taking her softly by the rein, the red devil jumped over her owner, knocking him to the ground and lacerating his skin to blood behind the ear.
Dutch young horse specialist Emmelie Scholtens became the runner up aboard Ad Valk's Dutch warmblood licensed stallion Desperado (by Vivaldi x Havidoff). The gorgeous black stallion was up in the bridle in trot, nice and light in the forehand and active behind but this lovely silhouette was mainly obtained through the deligent support of the rider. The rein back was a bit rushed, the lengthening in walk was over the back with good overstep. In canter Desperado was uphill and active. The left extension was a bit explosive and the horse should have developed a better walk in the simple change after S. Overall Desperado is a very impressive horse and his scores -- 9 for trot, 9.4 for walk, 9 for canter, 9 for submission and 9.3 for general impression -- were much more agreeable than Scara Boa's marks. Desperado averaged 9.14.
The horse with the best trot today was without a doubt the third ranked Dutch warmblood stallion Dancer (by Vivaldi x Tango) presented by the 23-year old Kirsten Brouwer. The chestnut stallion is a real show stopper with his incredible looks. In trot he always had the poll as highest point, had super self carriage, moved gracefully with an elegant front leg and was active behind, even though he could still build more strength in the hind quarters. It was a pity that the stunner did not have the same quality in walk. As the stallion is quite compact the overtrack was good but he could lengthen the strides more. Also the canter was less elastic than the trot and the hind legs could have flexed more in the hocks but it was still an above average canter. The stallion could chew a bit more on the bit . The judges awarded him 9.9 for trot, 7.3 for walk, 8.9 for canter, 9.2 for submission and 9.5 for general impression. With 8.96 he finished third.
Belgian Tom Franckx surely never expected to finish so high in the ranking with the Dutch owned, Dutch bred mare Dolcherie (by Painted Black x Krack C). Before his departure to Verden he commented that he was "looking forward" to the show and that he would be "just going for a beautiful ride and we'll see where we'll end amongst all those young powerhouses." His petite dark bay mare is very reminiscent of her sire. She is light-footed in trot with good cadence but she did break into canter once and as soon as the rider lengthened the reins in posting trot at the end of the test her trot became quite plain. The rein back was mediocre. When she lengthened the walk, the first diagonal in medium was superior to the second in extended. In canter the mare gives a very ponyesque impression and could have more power and scope in the gait but the rhytmn was clear 3-beat. Despite that one break and a poor transition from canter to trot, Dolcherie was very obedient and Franckx presented her in a very soft and relaxed way. The judges were liberal with their marks and awarded the horse a 9.4 for trot, a 9 for walk, an 8 for canter, a 9.3 for submission and a 9.0 for general impression. With an average of 8.94 the pair surprisingly but joyfully ended in fourth place.
Blue Hors stud rider Maria Anita Andersen completed the top five aboard the Danish warmblood mare Svalegards Hottie, one of seven (!) Hotline offsprings competing in the World Championships this year. The chunky but tall dark bay mare has a very cadenced trot, showed good bending on the curved lines but could carry herself a bit more. She was hard in the contact, hardly foamed and ground her teeth, but nevertheless was obedient to the rider. The exnteded walk was huge. She takes big strides in canter but it all looked a bit heavy and the simple change was laboured. The judges awarded Hottie 9 for trot, 9.3 for walk, 8.8 for canter, 8.5 for submission and 9.0 for overall impression. The pair averaged 8.92.
While a Verden eye-catcher like Damon Hill, Florencio or Woodlander Farouche is missing this year in the 5-year old division, there is a large group of high quality horses here of which we will hear more in the future. A definite star for the FEI ring is Minna Telde's Swedish warmblood Bilan (by Bocelli x Donnerschlag). The pair was third to go in the morning and stood out straight away with high level work. The trot was very smooth and balanced, the walk was fantastic, the canter engaged but a bit too much forward. Bilan made an unscripted flying change but that had little effect on the submission score. They got 9.6 for trot, 8.4 for walk, 8.6 for canter, 8.0 for submission and 8.9 for general impression. They averaged 8.9 and ranked sixth.
Emmelie Scholtens and Ad Valk's Dorado (by Krack C x Rousseau) were the first combination to go at 9 AM in the morning. Spectators had to come early to the show to see Dorado, because the motorway exit to Verden already had a 3 kilometer long queue by 8.30 AM and it was bumper-to-bumper traffic to arrive at the venue on time. The beautiful chestnut Dutch bred stallion has an active trot, but paddles quite a lot in front. His canter is expressive and uphill. The stallion is quite hard in the contact and showed his tongue on the right side of his mouth. The duo got 9.5 for trot, 8.8 for walk, 9.3 for canter, 7.8 for submission and 9.0 for general impress
Grand Prix star rider Helen Langehanenberg saddled Damon's Satelite for the 5-year old division in Verden. Satelite is one of several siblings she's riding from the same line (by Damon Hill out of Rapunzel (by Rubin Royal) but the chestnut gelding can not match the quality of the elder Damon's Delorange, who won the 2012 Bundeschampionate as a 5-year old. Helen rode the horse extremely forward in trot, almost too quick. Most of the trot work was ridden in a medium trot, although there was good bending. In walk there was lots of overtrack but especially in the medium walk there was a loss in the clarity of the rhythm. Satelite was short behind in the canter strike off from walk and got a bit tense. The canter in general was engaged and uphill. The horse was totally relaxed when he was given the reins at the end of the test. Satelite got a exaggerated 9.9 for trot, a 7.0 for walk, 8.2 for canter, 8.8 for submision and 8.5 for general impression to average 8.48 and place 8th.
For French Jessica Michel the 2013 World Championships started with mixed emotions. Not her top horse Don Juan de Hus was her highest scoring mount, but the rather small and compact Hanoverian Hermes de Hus (by Hotline x Rohdiamant) became her point-snatching ride. The black stallion is a very elegant and lightfooted mover, especially in trot, but Michel rode him in a very high tempo and never shifted a gear down, neither in walk nor canter. The rein back was in two phases, the walk lengthenings had nice overtrack and rhythm but were quite hurried. Hermes produces nice uphill strides in canter, but was too rushed and needed a bit more relaxation. The stallion stretched nicely into the contact at the end of the test. They got 8.8 for trot, 8.5 for walk, 7.9 for canter and submission and 8.3 for general impression, to average 8.28 and rank 9th.
Michel received a wild card to compete the French owned Dutch warmblood stallion Don Juan de Hus (by Jazz x Krack C) for The Netherlands in Verden. She was the 12th rider to go in the morning and certainly challenged the spectators to have an opinion about her flamboyant liver chestnut stallion with its three extravagant basic gaits. The trot is big and expressive, with a lot of buoyancy. Don Juan moves typical Dutch, with a lot of knee action and roundness in the legs, which is quite spectacular to watch, but he was constantly deep and should develop more self-carriage so he can rise in the bridle. The walk was ground covering, but the rhythm not very clear. He should stride more smoothly forward into the contact. The canter is HUGE, there is no other word for it. He has so much scope off the ground, but that is also his problem. His canter work reminds of Florencio, who was never been able to properly collect for the FEI level work and was retired before ever reaching Grand Prix. Time will tell if Don Juan will be able to carry himself more from behind, but it looks like this horse is gifted enough to take the weight on the hind legs. Don Juan's canter at the moment is more a massive jumping high and forward and needs to be more balanced and closed in the frame to appear less "exuberant". The horse halts in a stretched way and the rein back was difficult for him. Jessica did ride him with a very soft contact. When the scores for this highly talented horse appeared on the board, a few people booed and whisteld and several more clapped in agreement. He got 9.4 for trot, 5.9 for walk, 7.5 for canter, 7.2 for submission and 7.3 for general impression. He averaged 7.46 points to finish 23rd.
This year the Dutch are on strong form and brought many lovely home bred horses to the show. Gerdine Maree and the cute black stallion Dream Boy (by Vivaldi x Ferro) finished just in the top 10 with a 8.24 total score. The working trot was active, quick from behind and up in the bridle but in the medium trot, the horse lost the balance and sped on the diagonal, in the extended trot on the right lead he became crooked to the right. In walk, the stallion achieves good ground cover and relaxation but could have had more freedom in the shoulder. The canter lengthenings were good, but in the collected canter the sympathetic stallion loses swing and clarity in the 3-beat rhythm. He got 8.9 for trot, 7.5 for walk, 8.3 for canter, 8.0 for submission and 8.5 for general impression.
Text and photos by Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Eurodressage photographer Astrid Appels took photos of all combinations competing at the 2013 World Young Horse Championships. Contact us if you are interested in prints of your photos!
Scores 2013 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2013 World Young Horse Championships