The Longines FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses 2023 came to a close yesterday at Ermelo in The Netherlands after four spectacular days of sport and the crowning of a whole new generation of champions.
A total of 129 talented young horses lined out in the three age categories which were each hotly contested.
The DWB mare Quinn G. took the Five-Year-Old crown while the KWPN gelding My Toto topped the Six-Year-Olds and the Hannoverian gelding Danciero reigned supreme in the Seven-Year-Old division.
In the battle for the Five-Year-Old title, Denmark’s Anne-Mette Strandby Hansen and Valerie B (Revolution/Blue Hors Zack) won Friday’s Preliminary Test with big marks across the board for a total of 9.48 points. The Helgstrand-owned DWB mare, bred by Karin Og Peer Guildbrandsen, was awarded 9.7 for both Trot and Perspective while Walk and Canter earned 9.5 and Submission earned 9.
Runner-up was Sweden’s Carl Hedin and the SWB stallion Skyline to B, while third spot went to another Helgstrand ride, the DWB mare Quinn G (Quaterhit/Fassbinder) with Betina Jaeger in the saddle.
However it was Quinn G. who rose to take the main honours in Saturday’s Final when producing a brilliant test that earned a massive score of 94.800%. The mare, bred by Stutteri G – Helene Geervliet, posted 9.7 for both Trot and Submission, 8.5 for Walk, 9.5 for Canter and a sensational 10 for Perspective. The spectators couldn’t contain their excitement when the pair came down their final centreline.
“I saw you smiling during the test, and this must have been a lovely ride”, judge Ulrike Nivelle (GER) said afterwards. Jaeger pointed out that “after the third place in the qualification on Thursday we practiced our transitions, and I was so eager to show off her qualities here – and we succeeded! She is such a happy horse that always wants to work for me, with her ears pointed forward. As soon as she sets foot in the arena she is on fire and gives it her all!”
Such was Quinn G.’s absolute dominance in this class that she finished 6.2% ahead of silver medallist No Limit (Geniaal/Florestan), a Westphalian gelding bred by Marcel Roerdink, owned by Monika and Thomas Ritzinger and ridden by Australia’s Simone Pearce who only took up the reins six weeks ago. Their score was 88.600% while bronze went to the Hannoverian stallion Beck’s who scored 88.200% with Thomas Schulze onboard. Skyline to B and the Preliminary class winner Valerie B finished just off the podium in equal-fourth place on 88.000%.
A total of 44 horses contested the Five-Year-Old category.
When you get two 10s on your scoresheet then you are always likely to be in the driving seat, and so it was for Denmark’s Anna Kasprzak and her black Hannoverian gelding Danciero (Dancier/Fuechtels Floriscount) who stole the show in the Seven-Year-Old Final yesterday morning.
In Friday’s Preliminary Test they already posted 9.3 for Perspective, 9.2 for Walk, 9.1 for Trot, 9 for Submission and 8.6 for Canter for a total of 83.325% to pin Leonie Richter and last year’s Six-Year-Old champion – the Oldenburg stallion Global Player OLD – into runner-up spot by the narrowest of margins. Fellow-German Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer and Diaton finished third in Friday’s class, but The Netherlands’ Kirsten Brouwer steered the KWPN mare Lightning Star into bronze medal spot yesterday, pushing Diaton down to fourth place in the final analysis.
Bred by Zg Broers U. Weber, Danciero won silver at the WBF Championships in Verden (GER) two years ago with Eva Möller in the saddle, and there was great anticipation of a mighty battle for the medals between some really hot combinations. As Friday’s Judge at C, Henning Lehrmann said, “the final will undoubtedly be sensational since the numbers one through six are seriously talented horses”. And it was indeed a battle, with German superstar Isabell Werth eventually finishing fifth with Valdiviani ahead of Denmark’s Susanne Barnow and Skovdals Dexter in sixth. A total of 40 combinations started out in this category.
It was a convincing victory for Danciero in the end however, the gelding’s two 10s for Submission and Perspective backed up by 9.8 for Walk, 9.6 for Trot and 9 for Canter for a final tally of 86.829% that left them well clear of Richter and Global Player in silver on a score of 83.129 while Brouwer overtook Wego-Engelmeyer for the bronze.
“The first word that comes to mind is ‘harmony’, I wrote it down in capital letters”, said judge Maria Colliander (FIN) about the winning pair. “He (Danciero) is clearly a happy athlete and you two have a beautiful partnership together,” she added.
“It is easy to be a good rider on this horse, he gives so much of himself”, Kasprzak insisted. “He gave me an amazing feeling today, he felt a bit more focused than Friday and his walk was better as well. I am super happy with the result but even more so with his progression. It means a lot to me that he received the 10s for those two aspects and I am eagerly and confidently looking forward to the future.”
In contrast, the Six-Year-Old title race was completely unpredictable to the very end.
A total of 45 lined out in Friday morning’s Preliminary Test won by Sweden’s Jeanna Hogberg and the SWB gelding Be Allex (Ampere/Dalwhinnie) who finished eighth a year ago as a 5-year-old, while Denmark’s Victoria E Ballentin steered last year’s 5-year-old champion Lyngbjergs St Paris into second place ahead of The Netherlands’ Dinja van Liere and the KWPN stallion Mauro Turfhorst in third.
But the top three from the Consolation Classes from each category also qualified for the Finals, so when Dutch superstar Hans Peter Minderhoud and My Toto won Saturday’s Small Final in which Germany’s Lena Waldmann and Cher Celine OLD finished second ahead of Denmark’s Anders Uve Sjobeck Hoeck and Hesselhoej Double Up then they qualified for yesterday’s final showdown.
The black KWPN gelding My Toto (Glock’s Toto Jr/Voice) had finished all the way down in 17th place on Friday, but now that they were through to the final the Dutch duo were going to take full advantage. Scoring 88.600% for a test that sparkled they took the gold ahead of Leonie Richter with the Hannoverian Vitalos FRH (88.400%) while Germany’s Beatrice Hoffrogge and the Oldenburg stallion Zuperman took the bronze. Vallentin and Van Liere had to settle for equal-fourth place while Waldmann finished sixth at the end of the day.
Owned by Aat Both and Lida Both-Van Loef and Miga Horses, My Toto put a 9.5 and a 9 on the board today for Canter and Perspective and judge Adriaan Hamoen said the horse’s test “was the most complete today, he was forward, happy and showed off his exceptionally powerful canter.” It was a nerve-jangling afternoon for breeder/owner Aat Both who said “after retiring as chairman of the organising committee, I was looking forward to a relaxed Sunday. Then this happens! I assure you this is even more nerve-racking. He was the first to go, so it was a waiting game!”
For Vitalos, bred by Josef Bramlage and co-owned by Hengsthaltung Helgstrand and Schockemöhle, this was a second silver medal as the horse also took silver last year as a 5-year-old.
After her runner-up placing with Global Player in the 7-year-olds it was Leonie Richter’s second time on the podium. “It is an amazing feeling, I am so happy, especially since this horse (Vitalos FRH) deserves this result. He does everything for me, he truly has the best character. In my eyes he can do no wrong!”
(Ed. note) Canadian Tanya Strasser-Shostak made the trip to Ermelo to ride the six-year-old Oldenberg stallion Mr. Morrison OLD (Morricone x Florestan) at this championship, thanks in large part to a GoFundMe campaign which raised $15,447 of a$30,000 goal. Owned by her mother Evi Strasser and the breeder Gestüt Bonhomme GmbH & Co.KG, the pair placed 33rd in the first qualifier on Friday with 74.400% and 30th in the Small Final on Saturday with 72.000%.
Evi Strasser remarked on Facebook, “We couldn’t be more proud of Tanya Strasser and Mr Morrison representing Canada with 2 nice rides at the Young Horse World Championship in Ermelo❤️. The future for both of you looks bright. ❤️Thank you to all who supported Tanya and Mr Morrison on this journey and made this dream come true.”
Watch some video highlights of Tanya and Mr. Morrison here:
Complete results here.