Day of Triumph for Hanoverian Verband, Winners of Both 5 & 6-Year-Old World Championships Wore Their Brand
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Editor’s Note: Ilse Schwarz, is an Australian based in Wellington, Florida, training horses and riders at all levels but specializing in training young horses. She currently has four horses at or near Grand Prix that she has developed from foals or unridden young horses. Ilse covers major championships and premier horse shows in Europe and the United States for dressage-news.com.
By ILSE SCHWARZ
ERMELO, Netherlands, Aug. 6, 2017–It was a day of triumph for the Hanoverian Verband, with winners of both the five and six-year-old World Young Horse Championships bearing their brand Sunday.
Don Martillo and Lordswood Dancing Diamond are spectacular specimens from this studbook.
The home crowd was ecstatic with a second place finish for the KWPN stallion Governer with Adelinde Cornelissen, as it has been a while between high placings for Dutch horses.
Rather than discussing each age group individually (we have already posted stories with the final results for each division) I find myself wanting to discuss the overall way of judging, where the sport is heading. What am I taking away from these championships that will continue my personal development in the sport?
The finals are almost more spectator friendly than the preliminary finals because we get to hear how the judges have come to their conclusions. So even if you don’t agree with the scores, you know exactly how the judges formulated them. Of course I view this day as a mini-exam. I love developing young horses, my own and my students, and I absolutely want to know that I am training in the right direction. Have I studied and prepared enough that I would have the same comments? Did I miss anything or disagree with an observation? Did I see something that isn’t addressed… and why didn’t the judges deem it worth considering?
I find this experience almost essential if you wish to be successful in the young horse classes. You really get to be SURE of what the judges are looking for, and after four days of immersing yourself in detailed observation of extraordinary young horses and their riders, your eye is really fine tuned. I also believe the judges’ eyes get a little more refined throughout the competition, too. Lets face it, you never see this number of quality presentations at any other competition. I am off to look at young horses Monday, the poor animals will have very high standards to meet!
The comments from the judges after the extraordinary test of Ann-Kathrin Pohlmeier and her partner of three years, Lordswood Dancing Diamond, showed that when the judges saw what they wanted they were ready to give the marks.
They started with thanking Ann-Kathrin for showing everyone how the test should be ridden.
“The consistently active trot generated the ultimate grade for the Hanoverian gelding, we give him a 10. This horse possesses so much natural ability. He extends and then collects with so much ease while simultaneously his technique in the hind leg is outstanding.”
For the walk the Dancier son received a 9.3, for the uphill canter an 8.5.
“We really appreciate the nice contact and therefore award him a 9.8 for submission.”
He also received a 10 for perspective as there was nothing the judges cared to change about the way this horse is being presented toward the development of an FEI dressage horse.
As a general comment over both divisions, the judges were really looking for a correct way of going, a correct way of riding and an absolutely relaxed and willing horse.
Australian judge, Susie Hoevenaars commented after the ride of Dorothee Schneider on the five-year-old mare, Sisters Act OLD, “that this mare has three pure, natural gaits that were presented to their highest potential.”
This is what we love to see. The trots that were a more rider-created passagey movement were not well rewarded, especially as this often created a wide behind carriage. It also became obvious just HOW difficult it is to maintain a perfect rhythm and frame in those horses where the rider was perhaps as responsible for the gait as the horse, this was most often seen in trot.
Swinging backs, uphill tendency, hindlegs that come UNDER the center of gravity and carried were terms we would hear again and again. Riders that had their horses dependent on the reins for their balance, horses whose necks got a little tight or short or who had a tilting poll, especially in the lateral work, were all noticed and addressed. The horses needed to be showcased in true balance. They were also quick to penalize any increase in tempo in the extended gaits, and more than one horse had their trot score decreased just because of that.
Over the course of the day I think it would be fair to say that the score for submission was the largest deciding factor in the rankings.
Fundamentally, the horses all have such top gaits that it was the way they were presented that sorted out the standings. The judges were not shy in admitting that they really thought hard about the rankings of the top group.
For example, when deciding the trot score for Don Martillo, who immediately followed Ferrari in the order of go, Christoph Hess explained how the judges deliberated.
“If we compare the trot (of Don Martillo) to that of Ferrari, the latter may have a more expressive trot. However, the trot of Don Martillo is so powerful and so relaxed, this stallion also receives a 9.7 (the same score as Ferrari).”
In fact for many of the horses who were to score very high marks for at least one of their gaits, the deliberations lasted for some time.
In both divisions, the third ranked pair were probably not placed higher because of lower than expected submission scores.
In the five-year-old championship, Hesselhoej Donkey Boy had issues in two transitions in and out of canter. In the news conference, the rider, Jan Møller Christensen, was quick to blame himself for the errors, which the judging panel appreciated. But a submission score of 8.4 assured him of the bronze medal. It was heartening to hear Jan Møller hope that he keeps the ride on the stallion and has the chance to present him again as a six-year-old.
Quel Filou has the most amazing soft yet powerful trot that covers ground and also has tremendous cadence, freedom of the shoulder and ability to adjust between collection and extension (the trot scored 9.8).
As he started the test, I think there were quite a few who thought that he could win the class.
However, an error of course and some fairly large tension in one flying change did the damage. Severo Jurado Lopez commented later that even with him making a mistake the horse could win a medal, such was his quality.