ASTRIX DOES THE DOUBLE, BUT WOODLAND FAROUCHE IS THE SHOW-STEALER by Louise Parkes
Lausanne (SUI), 8 August 2011 – Over 50,000 visitors descended on Verden, Germany for the FEI World Championships for Young Dressage Horses 2011 over the weekend as the KWPN stallion, Astrix, claimed his second gold medal in succession with The Netherlands’ Emelie Scholtens on board. But the sensation of the event was the Hannoverian mare, Woodlander Farouche ridden by Great Britain’s Michael Eilberg, who took the coveted 5 Year Old title with a spectacular score of 9.72%.
Staged in the heart of Lower Saxony, these Championships have long been recognised as the cradle of the equine dressage stars of the future, and this year’s crop of youngsters were a truly exciting bunch.
The British-born Woodlander Farouche, bred by Lynne Crowden in Monmouthshire, England, became the talking point of the show when scoring 9.28 to win last Friday’s 5 Year Old Qualifier. The judges awarded scores of 9.5, 9.2 and 9.7 for trot, canter and walk, and 25 year old Eilberg described the mare, which he has been riding since she was three years old, as “an incredible horse”. Looking forward to Sunday’s final he added, “There is of course more pressure to come, but it is a good feeling that she has already presented such an outstanding performance. This strengthens the self-confidence of both of us,” he pointed out.
Second place went to Damon’s Divene, daughter of the double World Champion stallion Damon Hill out of a Rubin Royal dam and bred by Christian Becs. Helen Langehannenberg steered the horse to a final score of 8.76, while two others shared third place. Belgium’s Tom Franckx-Goen was awarded a mark of 8.64 with the Dutch-bred IPS Bon Bravour, and Germany’s Jessica Michel matched that with the Hannoverian Swing de Hus.
In Saturday’s Final, Woodlands Farouche was even more impressive when the daughter of Furst Heinrich/Dimaggio was crowned champion with a superb score of 9.72. Breeder Lynne Crowden could not hold back her tears of joy. The judges complimented Eilberg’s excellent riding style after he collected marks of 9.4, 10 and 9.8 for trot, walk and canter, 9.6 for submissiveness and 9.8 for overall impression. “It is a pure please to ride such a horse,” said Eilberg afterwards. He previously competed Farouche’s dam, Dornroschen. “They are very similar characters,” he commented. “Both show up in the arena with the intention of doing their job!”
The silver medal in the 5 Year Old division went to Damon’s Divene (9.12) and rider Helen Langehanenberg was delighted with the result. The mare is bigger than her sire, Damon Hill, with which Langehanenberg competes successfully on the German team. “Their work ethic is the same,” Langehanenberg commented, “simply fantastic!” The KWPN stallion Bretton Woods, by Johnson/De Niro and ridden by The Netherlands Emmelie Scholtens, improved from sixth place in the Qualifier to take bronze in the Final. By the Derby winner De Niro, this horse is already sold to Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff (Kronberg) and Paul Schockemohile (Muhlen).
GOT THE EDGE
Meanwhile, the black stallion who took the 5 Year Old Championship title in 2010, Astrix, got the edge in the 6 Year Old Qualifier with a score of 9.16. Ridden by 25 year old Emmelie Scholtens, the Dutch-bred son of The Obelisk/Olivi was awarded 9.2, 9.5 and 9.2 for his basic gaits and 9.2 for overall impression. Another member of the Dutch contingent, Laurens van Lieren, steered Presidents Avanti, a stallion by United out of a Farrington dam, to a score of 8.8 for runner-up spot, just squeezing in ahead of the third-placed Westphalian gelding St Emilion by Sandro Hit which was nicely presented by Dorothee Schneider. St Emilion earned the highest mark of the day for suppleness – 9 – and was only the tiniest fraction behind second-placed Presidents Avanti with an overall mark of 8.78.
In yesterday’s Final, Astrix again had the winning score, but it was the Rhineland stallion Damon Jerome which finished second under Germany’s Uta Graf while St Emilion was, once again, third. Astrix dominated with scores of 9.6 for trot and 9.2 for walk. Emmelie Scholtens was a bit breathless but very happy afterwards, and confessed to having hoped she would achieve the back-to-back double of 2010/2011 victories with this horse. The scores were close however, with Astrix returning 8.70 and the silver medal winning stallion, Damon Jerome which is half-brother to the 6 Year Old silver medal winning horse Damon’s Divene, notching up 8.68.
“He has three fantastic basic gaits and he is very easy to ride,” Graf said of her silver medal winning ride. “It is basically very simple – if you have a first-class horse, you can also shine as a rider,” she added. Third-placed Schneider earned 9.0 for submissiveness with St Emilion, the highest score of the day. “He was a bit careful and shy today and impressed by the audience, but this is of course the same for all these young horses,” Schneider pointed out.
On Saturday alone, a total of 20,000 spectators turned up to enjoy the Dressage and Jumping Festival in Verden which may move its date in 2012 in order to avoid a clash with the London Olympic Games. Verden show director, Rainer Kiel, said that alternative date options for next year’s edition of this hugely popular event will be considered over the coming months.
5 Year Old Final: GOLD – Woodlander Farouche (Michael Eilberg) GBR 9.72%; SILVER – Damon’s Divene (Helen Langehannenberg) GER 9.12%; BRONZE – Bretton Woods (Emmelie Scholtens) NED 8.88%.
6 Year Old Final: GOLD – Astrix (Emmelie Scholtens) 8.70%; SILVER – Damon Jerome H (Uta Graf) GER 8.68%; BRONZE – St Emilion (Dorothee Schneider) GER 8.42%.
For more details on the FEI World Championships for Young Dressage Horses 2011 go to www.verden-turnier.de.