Verden travel postcard and LONG overdue wrapup of young horse world championships

10 years ago ilse Comments Off on Verden travel postcard and LONG overdue wrapup of young horse world championships


The USA young horse championships are fast approaching, so it is with this motivation that I return to my World Young Horse Championship photos and results sheets to finish something that is now old news.

Due to Internet problems, my coverage of the-six-year old finals and the results of the American riders was somewhat abbreviated, so in the “better late than never” state of mind please enjoy the following photos and report.

The "old City" of Verden in glorious Germany. © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

Normally I would start my coverage of the young horse championships with a chatty, “here I am in glorious Germany” email, giving an overview of wherever I am staying, maybe some comments on the horses’ warm-up and something like a travel postcard… to make you all jealous, of course!

This time it is a wrapup, which will be completed on my return to Florida as, for the first time, I had total miserable luck with the Internet. The competition facility was having a hard time… likely because of all the live Olympic streaming being watched by 90 per cent of the press!! The hotel, which assured me of Internet in my room when I booked it, failed to mention that it was entirely intermittent and then slower than molasses in snow. Hence, the reason for my few reports which may have seemed “intermittent and slower than molasses in winter” to appear!

Visions of horses are everywhere in Verden. © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

On the day of the five-year-old finals I rushed to get a story put together and ready to post in record time when the class ended, thinking to myself how proud Ken (both editor and owner of dressage-news… and my husband) would be of me. I have a history of taking a little time to get my reports completed, largely because my regular day job is dressage rider/trainer, not reporter. It seems to take me a day or two (make that a week) to really get into the swing of photo editing, story writing and publishing.  Before posting my report, I diligently checked the Internet signal… 5 bars, I thought I should save the story anyway (history has proved this to be prudent) and hit “publish”… everything disappeared… no Internet. Oops, I thought, no matter, go to copy my saved version… yes I had copied it,  but in between proofing and publishing had forgotten to actually save it as a document… imagine Homer Simpson “duh” noises rattling around my brain. I was so annoyed with myself and the failing Internet that I packed everything (it was 7pm anyway), met my long suffering friend who was travelling with me (she was quietly reading in the car) and we went to the ” Verden ald stadt” (old city), something I had been promising myself every year, but in past years I would get so tied up in reporting on the show that it simply never happened.

Only in Verden, even the lingerie shops have an equestrian theme in the windows! © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

Let me say that the old city is delightful. My bad mood started to lift and really was banished away by one of the funniest window displays I have ever seen. I live in Wellington, Florida, a town that is ruled by equestrian pursuits, there are murals of polo in the MacDonalds, big photos of riders doing all disciplines in the supermarket, even posters of showjumpers in the gas (petrol) stations, I have also been to Lexington Kentucky any number of times and been amazed by the sheer amount of equine-related paraphernalia in the airport and surrounds. However, in all my travels I have never seen seen a lingerie shop with a scantily clad mannequin with a bridle casually slung over her shoulder and boots and a saddle tossed on the ground in front.. I laughed out loud (caused a few heads to turn) and my bad mood was broken. I am still chuckling thinking about it. My good temper was totally restored shortly afterwards by a spectacular latte macchiato.

Guaranteed to restore a good mood, the ultimate Latte Macchiato. © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

My hotel was in the village of Hoya this year. It was a good choice. Relatively close to Verden and a delightful village to boot. Plenty of restaurants with outdoor eating right on the river Weser…ok no Internet, but I could still edit photos whilst watching Olympic coverage on Eurosport. I watched some sports I had forgotten were even in the Olympics, such as the hammer throw, the steeplechase, the 5km walk and so on!

The charming village of Hoya, intermittent Internet but great atmosphere and restaurants! © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

Enough of the “travel postcard” and back to the competition.

The Americans, Jennifer Hoffman and Sabine Schut-Kery

Florentinus V and Jennifer Hoffman enjoy some extra enthusiasm during the awards ceremony for the small final © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

The USA was represented in the six-year-old division in 2012. As always, it is a difficult decision for the riders based out of the USA. If they decide to travel to Germany for the finals, it is virtually impossible to return and compete in the USA national championships at the end of August. Sabine Schut-Kery and Alice Womble, the owner of the Hanoverian stallion Sanceo (San Remo x Ramiro’s Son) made the commitment to compete in Germany. Jennifer Hoffman, who is based in Germany and has had tremendous success with her string of young horses during 2012, competed on the stallion Florentinus V (Florestan x Londonderry) owned by Gestut Letter Berg. This combination also represented the USA in the five-year-old division in 2011.

Jennifer Hoffman and Florentinus V © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

In the qualifying round, Florentinus showed his quality gaits with strong scores in trot (8.30), walk (8.0) and canter (8.50). There was good balance and bend shown in the half passes but Jennifer had to use some fairly strong half halts here and there, especially in the trot, to keep the stallion’s attention and this was reflected in the submission score (7.90). Still, an overall score of 8.18 would normally have been enough to make it straight through to the finals. This year it meant that she had to compete in the small final and finish in the top three in order to make it to the final. Florentinus showed much improved submission and a more relaxed, ground covering walk and were good enough to make it into the final. The downside of using the small final to qualify is that many horses, especially young stallions, are quite tired by the third day of competition. This was definitely the case for Florentinus. On the day of the finals he lacked any dynamic feeling and became very busy in the contact and anticipated the flying changes. It simply was not his day. The final score of 7.14 placed them 13th overall.

Jennifer had a very busy show also competing in several other divisions. She won both the qualifier and final of the three-year-old mare and geldings class with the Hanoverian mare Donna Lisa (Dancier x Wolkentanz 1), she also competed her own Westfalin stallion Rubinio NRW (Rubin Royal x Florestan) in the Prix St, Georges Nürnberger Burg-Pokal qualifiers.

Sanceo and Sabine Schut-Kery made a lovely impression in the collected trot © 2012 Ilse Schwarz/

Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo (by San Remo x Ramiro’s Son II) owned by Alice Womble earned the impressive final score 8.652 in the West Coast finals in California. When they entered the arena in Verden they made a very good first impression. They showed super easy, enormous flying changes (canter 8.20) and showed a lovely cadence and rhythm in the collected trot. Unfortunately the frame became a little unsteady in the first trot extension and they broke in the second extension. Despite these mistakes they still scored 8.40 for the trot. His walk was a real problem, only just maintaining a clear four-beat rhythm, this was heavily penaliszd with only a 6.50. The mistakes and the poor walk were reflected in both submission and overall impression scores (7.40, 7.50) for a final score of 7.60. Their score in the small final was not enough to earn this lovely stallion a place in the finals.