World Young Horse Championship 6-Year-Old Class of 2012. Where Are They Now? – Part 1 of 3
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July 29, 2015
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
When Woodlander Farouche became the world six-year-old champion the breakthrough as the first British-bred horse to win the title was only part of what later became apparent–just how many talented horses graduated in the Class of 2012.
At least another year or two will have to pass before the picture becomes clear, but three years on several of the 15 horses from the 2012 championships final are making their mark in the international competition arena. As expected, most are at Small and Medium Tour but several are heading to Grand Prix.
Farouche (Fürst Heinrich x Dimaggio) has an army of fans as the British Hanoverian is ridden by Michael Eilberg to rack up victory after victory at Prix St. Georges/Intermediate level–actually, undefeated in 10 international starts from young horse through Small Tour in the past three years. As a result, the duo generate scrutiny and excitement reminiscent of that applied to Great Britain’s team ahead of its historic gold medal performance at the Olympic Games in London the same year the mare was young horse champion–2012.
From the same Class of 2012 other prospective superstars emerged that, if their development continues, could mean they meet up again at world and European championships and Olympics beyond this decade. Some of the riders have changed from the championships.
Among them: Samba King that Matthias Alexander Rath rode to victory in the 2014 Nürnberger Burgpokal, Germany’s most prestigious Small Tour championship; fellow German Victoria Michalke undefeated on Novia 6 at Medium Tour this year; Sir Donnerhall II that overcame what could have been a career-ending show stall accident to return to international competition with Spain’s young star Morgan Barbançon; German-based American Jennifer Hoffmann and Florentinus V and several others.
The successes recorded by so many of the Class of 2012 graduates from what is officially called the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses prompted dressage-news.com to review the records of the past three years and will periodically check future results.
Farouche, though, that Ilse Schwarz of dressage-news.com who was present at both the five and six-year-old finals headlined as “breathtaking, near perfect,” has been a star by any standard. Much of that is due to how Michael has brought along the horse since watching her on the lunge line at three years of age .
“Quite early on, we knew she was going to be a bit different,” said the typically understated 28-year-old who rode Half Moon Delphia for Britain at the 2013 European Championships and 2014 World Games and has been selected on Marakov for this year’s Europeans.
“We started riding her at four, took her to a few shows and then we knew we had something that was a bit special.”
Training with his father, Ferdi, “we allow the horses to dictate within reason, but you have to put a challenge to them at times. It has to be in the horse’s best interests not to push them beyond their reach or you pay for it later on. With her we’ve been cautious. She’s 17.2 hands with long legs and we wanted to make sure we weren’t too greedy but develops naturally and mentally so hopefully she can stand the high level work when she gets to it.”
The pair are “playing with a bit of everything… piaffe, passage… five one-times changes” preparing for the Grand Prix.
“Things are looking really exciting at the moment. When we go past a mirror and I’m doing some passage that I felt was OK and I look in the mirror and it looks amazing.”
Medium Tour is the goal for early next year and, he said, “if she takes that on quite well then the Grand Prix. The nice thing is I can definitely see she will make Grand Prix but when and where we don’t know yet.
“I keep telling myself good things come to those who wait, You can easily get so greedy. The longest route is the shortest route.”
The annual championships have come around again, being staged at Verden, Germany next week where it has been held in recent years but moves to the Netherlands in 2016. The emphasis has changed over the years–sometimes focused on “breeding” other times on “performance.”
Some past champions went on to international laurels at Big Tour but a review of records in the past decade show that fewer made it to Big Tour than appears likely from 2o12.
The stallion Damon Hill that Ingred Klimke rode to the six-year-old championship in 2006 then was taken over by Helen Langehanenberg to climb to No. 2 in the world was one that did.
The spectacular Donna Unique as the 2010 champion ridden by Andreas Helgstrand logged a couple of winning international Small Tour performances before a succession of different riders, a sale that became embroiled in allegations of questionable commissions led to the disappearance from the public eye of the mare but is reportedly pregnant.
Part 2: 2012 World Six-Year-Old Championship finalists making their mark moving to Grand Prix