Fiontini, 5-year-old champion in 2015, returned to claim the 6-year-old title at the Longines FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Young Horses 2016. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)
Ermelo (NED), 1 August 2016 – The five-year-old Victoria’s Secret, the six-year-old Fiontini, and the seven-year-old Sezuan were the shining stars at the Longines FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses that took place at the headquarters of the Dutch Equestrian Federation in Ermelo (NED).
The event, which attracted over 20,000 spectators, is designed to highlight new and developing talent, and the progress being made by last year’s five-year-old champion, Fiontini, and the 2015 six-year-old winner Sezuan reinforced the very essence of this popular fixture.
Germany’s Beatrice Buchwald knows a thing or two about producing top-quality youngsters. The 27-year-old athlete steered DSP Belantis into silver medal spot in the six-year-old division last year and also produced the wonderful 11-year-old mare, Weihegold OLD, that will carry German star, Isabell Werth, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which begin in just a few days’ time.
With the Rheinlander mare, Victoria’s Secret (Vitalis/Fiermark), Buchwald topped Thursday’s five-year-old qualifier with a score of 93.40 per cent, pinning the KWPN mare Guadeloupe-Beau (Bordeaux/Vivaldi), ridden by The Netherlands’ Kim van der Velden, into runner-up spot on their mark of 89.80. It was Germany’s Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier and the Hannoverian Lordswood Dancing Diamond (Dancier/Wolkenstein ll) who slotted into third here when scoring 88.40, but this pair dropped right out of contention in Saturday’s Final.
The top-15 went into the Final, and it was the Oldenburg gelding, Quel Filou (Quarterback/Stedinger) ridden by Sascha Schulz, who presented the greatest challenge to the eventual champions. The Luxembourg rider, and the horse bred by Hinxlage Aloys and owned by Dressage Grand Ducal, posted a big 93.20 percent that included a maximum 10 for their walk.
But judges Kurt Christensen (DEN), Christoph Hess (GER), Francis Verbeek van Rooy (NED) and Isobel Wessels (GBR) awarded Buchwald and Victoria’s Secret marks of 9.5 for trot, 9.3 for walk, 8.9 for canter 9.8 for submission and a whopping 10 for perspective for the gold-medal-winning score of 95.00. The Netherlands’ van der Velden and Guadeloupe-Beau took the bronze on a mark of 91.00 percent.
Buchwald, the first winning rider of the weekend to be presented with a beautiful Longines watch, said she could hardly believe in her success. “Of course I was the favourite after winning the qualification, but that really does not make it any easier; it actually creates more pressure. However, Victoria’s Secret is not only an intelligent horse; she is also a mare with a lot of go and always wants to work. We could have easily ridden another round here!” she added. She is unsure what the future holds for this horse. “The owner purchased her when she was a foal and now lots of people are interested. Hopefully we can find a party that can support us, so we can have a great future together, because I would love to ride her again next year in the championships for six-year-olds!” she said.
The riders of both the six and seven-year-old champions are already in the air on their way to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and both of them have every reason to be feeling very pleased indeed after their results.
Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez and last year’s five-year-old winner, the Danish Warmblood Fiontini (Fassbinder/Romanov), won Friday’s six-year-old qualifier with a three-point winning margin over the chestnut KWPN stallion Five Star with The Netherlands’ Kirsten Brouwer on board. Close behind was Germany’s Ann-Christin Wienkamp with the Oldenburg stallion Sir Olli (Sir Donnerhall/Florestan) who posted a mark of 86.80.
In Sunday’s Final, however, Fiontini showed that extra sparkle that led to Olympic champion, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, to describe the mare as “incredible” when judging her last year. With marks of 9.5 for trot, 9.8 for walk, 9.7 for canter, 8.9 for submission and the maximum 10 for perspective, Fiontini strutted to a final scoreline of 95.80 percent for gold. Brouwer’s Five Star, bred by PG Bijvelds, Erp/ASM Bijveld and owned by T Wilaras, held on to silver with a mark of 89.00 and judges Kurt Christensen (DEN), Mariano Santos Redondo (ESP), Maria Colliander (FIN) and Sharon Rhode (RSA) kept Wienkamp and Sir Olli in third again for the bronze on a mark of 87.60.
Talking about Fiontini’s winning performance, judge Maria Colliander said, “The walk was a highlight, so relaxed in a wonderful rhythm. What was interesting was how well the horse collected in the medium-walk and before the pirouettes; a 9.8. The horse has lovely clear ground cover in the trot, although at times Severo must be careful that it will not become a passage. But I must mention that the extension totally blew us away. The canter has such an active hind leg and it so well placed under the body. Wonderful propulsion with a great extension and he came back so well: a 9.7. On the submission there is still room for improvement, the natural bending could be better and the one-change was not so fluent as the mare anticipated a bit, which caused tension: 8.9. What a talent for the future; she receives a 10 for the perspective.”
Fiontini’s rider, Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez, said the Danish Warmblood mare “gives you a fantastic feeling and is always focused. I am extremely happy that she could show her qualities here, so everyone could see her talent. She deserves that!”
Wow!” was the assessment of the judges’ spokesperson Mariette Sanders-Gansewinkel after Dorothee Schneider rode Sezuan to gold in the seven-year-old category. This was the first year for horses in this age group to take part in the Championship proper, and the German rider who will compete with Showtime in Rio de Janeiro next week had every reason be pleased with the horse who has now won three FEI/WBFSH Young Dressage Horse titles in a row, an historic first in every sense.
Their march to glory began when the dark bay Danish Warmblood stallion (Blue Hors Zack/Don Schufro), who was bred by Linette Jaeger and is owned by Gestüt Peterhof, received 10s for both canter and perspective in Friday’s qualifier which he topped by a huge margin when posting 88.420 percent. Runner-up here was the grey gelding FBW Fairplay H (Furst Hohenstein/Disco Tanzer) ridden by another German, Ines Knoll who posted 77.998 while third went to the Swedish Warmblood gelding Fiorucci HT (Florencio l/Rubinrot) with Sweden’s Jeanna Hogberg on board, who scored 77.619.
In Sunday’s Final, Sezuan stepped it up even further when scoring 89.005, earning 9.8 for both trot and walk, 9.4 for canter, 9.3 for submission and that all-important 10 for perspective. Hogberg and Fiorucci posted 80.253 for the silver medal while Knoll and FBW Fairplay just missed out on the podium when their mark of 78.544 was bettered by the 78.641 produced by yet another of the strong German contingent, Stefanie Wold with Saphira Royal who took the bronze. The latter, a dark bay Rheinlander mare (San Amour/Monteverdi), was bred by Herbert Werth and is owned by Johann Hinnemann, and her score was boosted by a 9 for submission.
Talking about the winning seven-year-old test, Mariette Sanders-Gansewinkel said, “Sezuan has a very energetic, swinging and uphill trot in which he shows a good cadence: a 9.8. The fantastic walk has a beautiful four-beat and also receives a 9.8. The canter is his best gait, with enormous power. But today he was a little tense right before the flying chances, therefore ‘just’ a 9.4. A technical piece of art, but the tension in the changes and the hind legs together in the first pirouette result in a 9.3 for the submission. And the perspective… well, that could only be a 10!” she said.
Dorothee Schneider was delighted about clinching her third world championships title in a row on the same horse. “This is something extraordinary. I want to thank the owners that I can ride him. Sezuan is a sensational horse with three excellent gaits who always wants to work with me in the test and always wants to make me happy!”
There was plenty for the event organisers to be happy about too. Project coordinator, Joris Kemperman, said, “Numerous participants showed interest in the classes for five and six-year-olds: so much that there were no spots left to hand out the wildcards. Also the championship for seven-year-olds featured a large field of competitors. Compared to last year, we were able to double the prize money to a total sum of 50,000 euro. We also had the first World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses at which Longines could award one of their magnificent watches to a dressage rider. But above all, we are extremely happy that people from all across the globe came to Ermelo to celebrate this first edition in the Netherlands!
Jan Pedersen, President of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses, said, “When it was decided to organise the World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo, I was a bit sceptical. Verden has always been a great success and has been able to develop over many years. However, I must say this is rather fantastic. The whole venue looks impeccable and it is well-organised. I received solely positive reactions from both the riders and the audience. It is obvious that the organisation invested a lot to make this a grand success. Especially the main arena looks incredible and the horses also seem to like it, they are all very calm.
“Every year I am impressed with the quality of the horses; it appears to improve each edition. Remarkable, because you would expect it to stop at a certain point. It proves that our breeding is still developing. This year we also saw absolutely fantastic horses; it is definitely more normal now to have horses scoring over 90%. Every year there are a few horses that stand out. In the five-year-old class the winning mare is truly something special, but also the 6- and 7-year-olds have phenomenal top horses. By now we have established a strong connection between successful young horses at these championships and their future in the Grand Prix. I expect to see most of them back in the Grand Prix and lots in future Olympic Games.”
Full results here
By Louise Parkes
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