German Beatrice Buchwald and Andrea Klüfers' Rhinelander mare Victoria's Secret are on a golden medal course after winning the 5-year old preliminary test at the 2016 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Ermelo, The Netherlands, on Thursday 28 July 2016. Dutch Kim van der Velden and the KWPN mare Guadeloupe Beau finished second and German Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier and the British owned Dancing Diamond were third.
For the first time since 2001 the World Young Horse Championships have been relocated back to the The Netherlands. The event has been traditionally hosted in Verden, Germany, where it had its highly praised, peculiar charm and familiarity nestled on the green Verden race track course. Ermelo was brimming with excitement as it was able to bring the event back to The Netherlands after the show took place in Arnheim in 1999 and 2000. The FEI granted the three-year host right to Ermelo (2016 - 2018), where the Dutch Equestrian Federation and KWPN society are based.
Ermelo pulled out all the stops and created a very lovely environment for the show. The main show arena is very pretty with pink, white and blue hydrangeas (the Dutch flag colours) encircling the arena, a posh VIP arena on the left side, and a big grand stand at the short side at A and right side. For photography purposes there is not much vibrancy as the black background, dark grey (so far empty) seats and a less appealing white tent roof don't colour of the picture, but overall the atmosphere of the main show ring is more "championship" like than the white tent-encampment at Verden. Still spectators have cited to miss the "table set up" in Verden, where they could enjoy drinks and snacks and meet new people at those tables while watching high performance young horse sport. Verden and Ermelo are two worlds apart and both have their strong sides. For those who care, the food options in Ermelo are much more varied with a far better range of high quality, healthy food snacks than the German fast food of fries and sausages that ruled in Verden.
But let's take about the competition now!
With the exception of a few not so gifted movers, skinny horses and under developed youngsters from different nations being presented today, the majority of the pack was very well trained, lovely developed young sport horses. So far I didn't get goose bumps from any rider, but numerous 5-year old horses ranked at the top of the board in a field of 45 competitors were super high quality with a clear Grand Prix future ahead of them.
Today, the judges panel, which consisted of Christoph Hess, Isabell Judet, Francis Verbeek and Sharon Rhode, put German Beatrice Buchwald and the chunky, powerhouse liver chestnut mare Victoria's Secret (by Vitalis x Fidermark) first with a whopping 93.40 points. The second placed horse scored 89.80% and maybe the almost 4 point difference was slightly exaggerated, but Victoria's Secret still stood out.
Despite her bulk size Victoria's Secret is a very elegant mover with much shoulder freedom. She was very smooth and balanced in the trot work, especially on the curved lines. Her hindleg use was always engaged, reaching towards the point of gravity, but her right hock did wobble out a bit with each trot step she took. Buchwald presented the pair in a very relaxed, yet super expressive frame. She was good in the bridle, consistent at the vertical and able to relax well in the extended walk. The canter was nicely uphill, also in the counter canter. There was very little to remark on this beautifully ridden, well carried horse that is talented in all three basic gaits. She scored 9.2 for walk, 9.3 for trot, 9.5 for canter, 9.2 for submission and 9.5 for general impression, which as of this year is called '"perspective" instead of "general impression".
It was mare power in the top two. The Dutch duo Kim van der Velden and the chestnut lady Guadeloupe-Beau (by United x Vivaldi) is quite the opposite from Victoria's Secret. The dutch chestnut mare is much more refined and more of a tip-toe lightfooted ballerina, taking strongly after Jazz, even though this sire is far away in her pedigree. Her trot is very elegant and graceful with an ever active hind leg. There could have been more bending on the curved lines. The rein back was hesitant, but the extended walk outstanding. One simple change was crooked, but overall the canter work was uphill, with the right lead being the stronger one. The mare was very steady in the bridle and super consistent at the vertical, but she could be a bit more elastic in the contact. Guadeloupe-Beau is owned by the Thai pair Tom and Pak Pantapa and she scored 8.5 for walk, 9.1 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 9.2 for submission and 9.3 for perspective, to finish on 89.80%.
German Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier and the Hanoverian bred Lordwood Dancing Diamond (by Dancier x Wolkenstein II) landed third place. The athletic dark bay gelding has a super elastic, swinging trot with good activity and energy from behind. He could have shown more bending in the ribcage on the voltes. The trot extensions were ridden on the safe side and the second extension lacked a bit of regularity. The extended walk was superb. The canter work was very solid with again a conservative extension. In the canter collection the horse got a bit sour in the expression, but overall Dancing Diamond is a very gifted mover and Pohlmeier rode a high quality, clean test. They scored 8.8 for walk and trot, 8.6 for canter, 9.0 for submission and perspective to finish on 88.40%. The gelding is owned by the British breeders' duo Heather Stack and Alice Whitfield, the horse is bred by German Heinrich Ebeling.
Judge Francis Verbeek commented on the top three rides as following: “We have seen fantastic horses that possess lots of quality. Gorgeous horses that in general showed three good gaits. The top distinguished themselves today in, amongst others, rideability. The winner of today, Victoria’s Secret, is a horse ‘to die for’. She really does not look like a five-year-old: so constant and beautifully ridden, this mare has no weaknesses. She gave us goose bumps. Today she was by far the best, but that’s the thing with young horses: tomorrow it can all be different. The number 2 Guadeloupe-Beau was also pleasantly ridden. Kim really showed how you let a young horse perform a five-year-old test: no pressure, but honest and technically ridden. With beautiful contact and acceptance and a good length in the neck. Also Lordswood Dancing Diamond is an incredible horse that we marked high on submission and perspective."
German Tessa Frank and Helmut von Fircks' Hanoverian licensed stallion First Ampere (by Ampere x Weltruhm) slotted in fourth. The bright bay stallion has a very strong, well engaged trot with much suppleness but the balance should improve. The extended walk had good relaxation and energy, but could have been more relaxed. The horse was not immobile in the halt at entry and the rider's hand were quite restless, which led to a horse dropping behind the vertical. Still, First Ampere showed big strides in canter and as he develops more needs to obtain more uphill tendency. The horse curled himself a bit too much when he was given the long rein in trot. They scored a total of 88.00% with 9.0 for walk and canter, 8.6 for trot, 8.4 for submission and 9.0 for perspective.
Adelinde Cornelissen and the Dutch licensed stallion Governor (by Totilas x Jazz) were fifth with 86.60%. The pretty black stallion has a bit of the Jazz underneck and paddles with the right front leg, but his trot was very elastic and bouncy. Especially in trot the horse needed to be more open in the throat latch and resisted much to the hand by crossing the jaws in the rein back. The extended walk had huge overtrack and the canter work was beautifully uphill with a particularly strong canter extension on the left lead. Governor has very good balance and self carriage, but in the trot with the long rein he did not show sufficient stretch in the top line. They scored 8.3 for walk, 8.9 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 8.5 for submission and 8.8 for perspective.
Luxembourg's Sascha Schulz saddled the Oldenburg bred Quel Filou OLD (by Quaterback x Stedinger), which French banker Patrice Mourruau acquired for 1 million euro at the 2014 PSI Auction. The bright bay gelding is fun, athletic horse with a an active hind leg that reaches under the body. Schulz rode the trot in a far too high tempo and the working trot almost neared extended trot throughout the voltes and serpentines. Quel Filou has much scope and shoulder freedom in front. His walk is very active with a super clear rhythm. Also in canter the horse is very willing to work and put in the effort, but he needs to develop more self carriage. He curled himself instead of stretching into the canter in the final trot on the longer rein. The pair scored a very strong 86.40% with 9.3 for walk, 8.2 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 7.9 for submission and 9.0 for perspective.
British young rider Charlotte Fry has been working as an assistant trainer at Gert-Jan van Olst's stables in The Netherlands and has received the ride on numerous talented youngsters and confirmed FEI horses this year. The best ride she's got is the 5-year old Dutch warmblood Graaf Leatherdale T (by Lord Leatherdale x Kennedy), a very old fashioned looking, long backed bay gelding who has a fantastic work ethic and very strong gaits. The powerful hindlegs truly stood out and Graaf Leatherdale was solid in trot and canter with a hindleg always reaching under. In walk the rhythm was mediocre though. The pair scored 7.0 for walk, 9.1 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 9.0 for submission and 8.7 for perspective to score 85.20 and a 7th place.
Spanish Severo Jurado Lopez has a very busy weekend ahead of him with five horses to compete in Ermelo. In the 5-year old division he scored the highest on the black Dutch warmblood Grand Galaxy Win (by Apache x Jazz). The black is a very long-legged athletic mover, who easily achieves much overstep in the walk and trot lengthenings. In the extended walk the front leg strides were not entirely even, with the right front appearing shorter. The working trot was ridden in a high tempo, looking like a medium trot, which cloaked the young stallion's still under developed self-carriage and balance. The wobbly head position was more proof of that. The self carriage was better in canter, but the horse could have more uphill tendency. Still, Grand Galaxy Win presented a very appealing silhouette. he scored 8.0 for walk, 8.2 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 8.3 for submission and 8.7 for perspective (total 84.00%).
Dutch Benjamin Maljaars tied in 8th place with Grand Galaxy Win. Maljaars took over the job from Jurado Lopez as head assistant trainer at Van Olst Horses, when the Spanish Grand Prix rider moved to Denmark to work for Andreas Helgstrand. Maljaars brought the powerful black KWPN stallion Glamourdale (by Lord Leatherdale x Negro) to Ermelo and scored 84.00%. In trot the beautiful black stallion was a bit hurried and hollowed the back, but the horse was strong from behind. In the extended walk the stallion easily achieved two hooves overstep, but was rushed in the rhythm. The canter was very uphill, especially in the extension, with a strong hindleg, but in the counter canter he lost a bit of that upward tendency. The judges marked the horse 6.8 for walk, 8.4 for trot, a quite generous 9.7 for canter, 8.5 for submission and 8.6 for perspective.
Text and photos © Astrid Appels - No reproduction allowed
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Eurodressage Coverage of the 2016 World Young Horse Championships