Danish based Simone Pearce wrote history for Australia by winning the 6-year old preliminary test at the 2017 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Ermelo, The Netherlands, on Friday afternoon 4 August 2017. The second group of participants on day two in the preliminary test shook up the ranking after some confusing judging.
Spectators who wanted to see the denouement of the 6-year old preliminary test had to move to second competition arena behind the main stadium, where the two tiny bleacers were too small to fit the eager crowds. Many people were left standing the entire afternoon to watch the class and for the second time missed out on any 7-year old action (the 7-yo consolation finals took place coincidingly).
The final ranking of the 6-year old preliminary test certainly had some surprises in store with Australia having a major historic hayday with its two European based riders; one topping the board (Simone Pearce - Feodoro), the other placing fourth (Briana Burgess - Gerion). While the 6-year old class did not become such a score parade as with the 5-year olds (only one 6-year old scored over 9.0), the quality was certainly no less.
Off to a Good Start
The second group and afternoon session began well with Finnish Yvonne Osterholm entering the arena on the Per-Arne Persson's Swedish warmblood mare Dorina (by Belissimo M x Don Schufro). The bay mare was very fluent in the trot work, not losing her balance on the bent lines and in the lateral movements, but she needed to be more steady at the vertical instead of her head bopping all the time. The rider had trouble sitting the big shoulder in left. A bit more collection in the trot movements would have been desirable. In walk she had two hooves overstep but the rhythm was not ideal. Also in canter Dorina rocked a bit but she produced good flying changes. She scored 8.36. and just missed out on a spot in the finals with a 13th place.
British Charlotte Fry returned with Anne van Olst's Graaf Leatherdale T (by Lord Leatherdale x Kennedy), a very tall, chunky and bit old fashioned looking bay with super powerful gaits. The trot was very cadenced, Fry rode brave canter extensions but in the extended walk the rhythm was not so good. The two flying changes were good, though the second one was quite early on the marker. The horse could be a bit more independent from the hand. They scored a 7.94 which we thought was quite modest.
Former young rider Jeanine Nieuwenhuis has two horses qualified for the 6-year old division. With her employer Tim Coomans' Genua TC (by Charmeur x Jazz) she scored 8.0 points. The chestnut is certainly a talented mover with a very active hindleg in trot and good cadence. The rider was standing in the stirrups in both trot extensions though and the half pass left lacked bending. The gelding is limited in his ground cover in walk and he jogged on the second diagonal. In canter the horse was still a bit green and leaned on the bit, needing the support of the rider. The first change was after the aids. Genua TC got 9 for trot, 7 for walk, and 8.8 for canter, for instance.
Australians Fly Their Flag
And at that point confusing judging began. The Munster based Briana Burgess entered the arena on Mary Hanna's Dutch warmblood Gerion (by Jazz x Don Primero). The sympathetic chestnut was ridden in a very forward fashion. In the trot the horse did not show a grain of collection and moved through the movements in medium trot, non stop. Of course the flow was good with smooth transitions from the straight to the lateral work, but in the half passes Gerion got a bit downhill and tight in the neck. The trot extensions had massive overtrack. In the walk the horse also generated at least two hooves overstep, but the clarity in rhythm was not ideal. The canter work showed better collection than the trot, but could have been a bit more uphill. The flying changes were well executed.
Gerion proved himself to be a very fine, talented horse, but the lack of collection, the sometimes tightness in the neck (though the contact was steady) and ideally he needed to move with more uphill orientation. The judges' panel including Susan Hoevenaars (AUS), Sandy Philipps (GBR), Susanne Baarup (DEN), and Christoph Hess (GER), however, absolutely loved what they saw and pulled out the big scores. Gerion got 9.2 for trot, 8 for walk, 9.5 for canter, 8.8 for submission and 9.2 for general impression. Their 8.94 total landed them fourth place at the end.
A long-time stable jockey at Andreas Helgstrand's dealing yard in Denmark, Australian Simone Pearce became the piece-de-resistance of the class, if I were to continue describing the class with French expressions. Owned by Bolette Wandt in partnership with Helgstrand, Feodoro is a tall, lanky Hanoverian gelding by Furstenball x Rosario. The horse began his test with a stretched but square halt. The trot was active and forwards but on the right lead the horse could have been a bit more collected. He moves with much cadence and a hindleg that reaches far under. Feodoro could be a bit more consistent in the bridle contact. The walk was gigantic and super clear in the rhythm but it makes one wonder whether he'll be able to collect that in the Finals' test. Also the canter was huge and Feodoro easily executed sweeping flying changes.
The judges were thrilled and rewarded the horse with 8.2 for trot, 10 for walk, 9.2 for canter, 8.5 for submission and 9.2 for general impression. Their total of 9.02 put Pearce and Feodoro at the top of the board.
German Claudia Ruscher and Ruscher-Konermann's Westfalian stallion Baccardi (by Belissimo M x De Niro) have had a good season in Germany this year and came to Ermelo with a chance for a high placing. The stallion was nice and soft in the bridle but needed to be more up in the frame. The trot work was fluent but there could have been a bit more bending in the ribcage. The extended walk had two hooves overstep but was rushed in its tempo. The canter work was top class with each stride uphill. Unfortunately Baccardi was not amused to do the first flying changes and did not listen to his rider's aids, then kicked out to the spur and spun round. The stallion ended up scoring 8.4 for trot, 8.5 for walk, 7.8 for canter (very low!), 6.8 for submission (understandable) and 7.6 for general impression. They ranked 24th with 7.82 points.
Governor Leads the Way for Holland
For the second year in a row, the Dutch have been hosting the World Young Horse Championships and although KWPN bred horses are highly sought after at the Championships this year the Dutch ridden horses have not able to promote themselves as serious medal contenders.
Best Dutch pair in the 6-year old preliminary test was Adelinde Cornelissen on G. Korbel's KWPN licensed stallion Governor (by Totilas x Jazz x Ulft). After the big moving machines that had shown in the arena on Friday afternoon so far, the black Governor all of a sudden appeared quite ponyesque. The black has not packed on significant muscle since last year, but for the first time, in a very long time, Cornelissen presented her youngster in a very pleasant, non-pressured way with a steady bit contact and more length in the neck. Governor was still crossing his jaws occasionally but there was not argument between hand and bit. Cornelissen's preliminary test was certainly one of her better presentations of young horses ever. Governor had a good rhythm in trot, the walk was very well regulated with a clear rhythm and the canter had good balance and very quiet, relaxed and proper lengthenings. The black is not the scopiest mover but is a very functional and trainable horse. The judges rewarded him with 8.5 for trot, 8.8 for walk, 9 for canter, 8.2 for submission and 8.8 for general impression. They placed 9th with 8.66 points.
German Frederic Wandres and the super tall, impresssive stallion Fior (by Furstenball x Sandro Hit) moved right ahead of them in eighth place with 8.78 points. Bred by Paul Schockemohle and owned by Ullrich Kasselmann, Fior is a very scopey mover. He lost a bit of his balance on the half voltes and the shoulder-in right was quick, but the extended trot was very uphill and with much freedom in the shoulder. In the medium trot Fior got a bit wide behind. In walk the horse is supple and has much overstep. The canter is very uphill but Fior can have a bit more swing over the back and chew more on the bit. The first change was good, the second came after the aids. The pretty stallion got 9 for trot, 8.2 for walk, 8.9 for canter, 8.8 for submission and 9 for general impression.
The Die Has Not Been Cast
If one looks at the result sheet of the 7-year old preliminary test one can be sure that the die has not been cast yet when it comes to the clear favourite for the gold medal. There is a big group of top quality horses able to score highly and it will be down to the technical execution of the test to determine who will get gold, silver and bronze.
Geman Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier certainly showed that her British owned Lordswood Dancing Diamond (by Dancier x Wolkenstein II) is a clear contender for a podium place. The black gelding received the highest marks for his gaits but there were several bobbles in his test, which made him finish second with 8.98 points. The trot was fluent and always up in the frame, but the gelding could carry even more from behind and he has a slight paddle. The trot extensions were strong. There was very little differentiation between medium and extended walk but the quality of the gait was very high. Also in the canter Dancing Diamond moves uphill with much scope but after the second flying change he dropped out of the canter and also the transition from canter to trot was very difficult. He scored 9.6 for trot, 9.4 for walk, 9 for canter, 7.9 for submission and 9 for general impression.
Jeanine Nieuwenhuis and Tim Coomans' Great Lady TC (by Bretton Woods x Osmium) were 16th with 8.16. The very tall mare is a big tank. She has the engine of a Sherman and moves with outstanding activity from behind and scope. The petite Jeanine struggled to keep the contact steady and light with the mare pulling on the bit. The trot is very powerful and cadenced, Nieuwenhuis rode big changes in canter, but failed to collect the mare properly after both extensions. Also in walk she has much overtrack. This bay mare is definitely one to watch in the future. She got 8.9 for trot, 8.2 for walk, 7.9 for canter, 7.5 for submission and 8.3 for general impression.
Danish Carina Cassoe Kruth and Stald Heiline's Danciera (by Furstenball x De Niro) placed 7th with 8.8 points. The black mare out of the dam that produced the late Hanoverian breeding stallion Dancier is a very feminine looking mare, elegant, lightfooted. In trot she could have been a bit more collected and more steady in the bridle, the ground covering extensions were a bit hurried. In the extended walk the mare has two hooves overstep but was slightly short-long in the striding. The canter was solid with good flying changes, but Danciera went a bit against the hand in the extended canter. She got 9.4 for trot, 8.3 for walk, 8.4 for canter, 9 for submission and 8.9 for general impression. Kruth has ridden two horses into the Top 10 in the preliminary test: Red Diamant fifth and Danciera seventh!
A surprise ride came at the end of the class in the mystery pair Csaba Szokola and the Oldenburg Siracusa (by Sir Donnerhall x Don Schufro). Bred by Paul Schockemohle and owned by Julia Nagyhazi, the Hungarian Szokola did an excellent job on a very talented horse. Siracusa might not be the most modern looking, but he was very well presented. The trot was nicely up in the frame with good balance despite the high tempo. Unfortunately the horse showed no bending whatsoever in the corners, something seen with more riders who choose to neglect that. The extended walk had good clarity and ground cover and in canter the horse was very obedient, always ears pricked, and he executed two correct flying changes. There could have been a bit more elasticity in this gait. He scored 7.8 for trot, 8.5 for walk and canter, 8.4 for submission and 8.5 for general impression, but that easily could have been a bit more. They finished 17th with 8.09 points.
Text and Photos by Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Eurodressage's Astrid Appels is on the scene taking photos at the 2017 World Young Horse Championships - If you are interested in prints or digital files for your social media, email us