Impressions of World Young Horse Championships Day One

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My absolute favorite horse of the day. Elastic, swinging, cadenced, loose gaits from the large mare Casablanca  (Conen x Fidertanz) ridden by the Australian Simone Pearce.The moment she was awarded “10” for the trot was something irreplaceable–genuine joy. They are currently in third place on 9.16. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/


ERMELO, Netherlands, Aug. 3, 2017–Thursday was a full day of young horses doing dressage, five, six and seven years old all competing in preliminary divisions trying to secure the title of World Champion.

This is the first time I have spent significant time in Holland, most of my European travels have involved Germany, and there are definitely a few first impressions.

The Dutch have wind turbines everywhere…and I mean EVERYWHERE. There actually seem to be forests of wind turbines on my drive to the gorgeous KNHS show grounds. It turns out that there is a good reason for this. The wind was strong and relentless today.

I pity all of the vendors, as everything was at the mercy of gusts that would not have been out of place in the worst of our Florida summer storms. However, I am pretty sure that Holland secured at least a week’s worth of energy from wind- generated power today.

Enough about the weather, although those that know me understand that weather fascinates me almost as much as horses.

The classes for the five and six-year old horses are only half way through, and the quality is high.

In the past, I have always wanted to take home a handful of horses from this competition but this year I could fill a boat. They weren’t always well ridden or rewarded by the judges but so many have beautiful correct mechanics that will, in the right hands, clearly develop to successful FEI competitors.

The bloodlines are very modern, with no dominant standout sire or studbook.

To showcase this observation I present  a photo essay of fun horses from day one.

The first Dutch horse to be presented on day one, “Hollywood” (Fuerst Romancier x Johnson), an elegant mare ridden by Marije van Kersbergen. Some issues with the connection and frame kept the scores from being higher. Final score 7.74. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/
Adelinde Cornelisson, former world No. 1 with now retired Parzival, has several horses at these championships. The five-year-old stallion, Henkie, goes into day two ranked fifth on a score of 8.52. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/
The stallion Revenant (Rock Forever x Sir Donnerhall), ridden for Germany by Rudolf Widmann, was the first five-year-old to enter the arena with true presence. This feisty little stallion “wowed” with his trot (8.7) and canter (9), but his walk (7.2) and submission (7.8) pulled the score down. A final score of 8.4 and currently eighth place. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/
Helgstrand Dressage is making its presence felt in all divisions of these World Championships. Hoejgaardens Santos is not one of the superstars, but he is a tremendously fun horse to watch nevertheless. Ridden by Kenneth Damgaard, for Denmark, to a score of 7.86. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/
Emmelie Scholtens of the Netherlands was unlucky. Hero (Apache x Metall) was rather distracted and spooky. A final score of 7.96 did not reflect the quality of this five-year-old stallion, © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/
Andreas Helgstrand and Ferrari (Foundation x Blue Hors Hotline) ignore the steady rain and move to second place in the five-year-old division with a score of 9.42. © 2017 Ilse Schwarz/