By CHRISTOPHER HECTOR of The Horse Magazine/Photos– K H Frieler
FRANKFURT, Germany, Dec. 13, 2018–The debate will go on forever over the worth of young horse classes as a predictor of future glory at the top level. But the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal, the prestigious German class for horses aged 7 – 9, competing in a modified Prix St Georges test, at the end of the year Frankfurt Show, is an established gold mine. Since the event started in 1992, the winners have claimed eight Olympic gold medals, five silver and four bronze.
Weihegold – a winner at Frankfurt, a winner at Rio…
The winners include Rubinstein (Rosenkavalier/Angelo xx, 1994), Chacomo (Calypso I/Marmor,97), Relevant (Rubinstein/Goldlöwe, 98), Bonaparte (Bon Bonaparte/Consul,01), Wahajama (Warkant/Acapulco,02), Elvis (Espri/Garibaldi), 04), Whisper (Welt Hit I/Weltstar, 05), Augustin (August der Starke/Rohdiamant, 07), El Santo (Ehrentusch/Rhythmus, 08), Blind Date (Breitling W/Donnerhall, 09), Weihegold (Don Schufro/Sandro Hit, 13) and Vitalis (Vivaldi/D-Day) in 2016.
The Dutch stallion Vitalis makes the honor roll, not because of his competition career, which stalled at small tour level, but because he is currently well-and-truly the flavor of the month in Germany. Vitalis dominated the October Hanoverian licencing with six of the 12 premium stallions, carrying his blood, three own-sons, one of which, out of a Dancier mare, sold for €2/US$2.255 million to the new power bloc, Schockemöhle/Helgstrand. A month or so later, American horse breeder, Leslie Malone added to the hysteria at the PSI auction when she bought V-Plus (Vivaldi/Fürst Romancier) for €1.2/S$1.35 million.
Vitalis – Flavor of the month
Horses that made the final in the past, but did not win the class who went on to glory include: Farbenfroh (Freudantanzer/Aarstein), Beauvalais (Bolero/Grande), Diva Royal (Don Frederico/Warkant), Desperados FRH (De Niro/Wolkenstein II), Damon Hill NRW (Donnerhall/Rubinstein), Showtime FRH (Sandro Hit/Rotspon), Piccolino (Prince Thatch xx/Ganymed I), Renoir (Rubinstein/Winston), Warum nicht FRH (Weltmeyer/Wenzel I), Sterntaler-Unicef (Sion/Manstein), D’Agostino FRH (De Niro/Shogun xx) and Bella Rose (Bellisimo/Cacir aa).
And, of course, there were a number of exceptionally talented horses that disappeared into the stables of the rich and untalented…
Belissimo (Beltain/Romadour II) disappeared for a couple of seasons after starring at the Bundeschampionate and the World Young Horse Champships, so he missed the Burg-Pokal, but he is certainly this year’s most influential stallion. He is the sire of Kira Wulferding’s Bohemian Rhapsodie (De Niro) while two of his sons present finalists–-Brianna, another of Kira’s rides, is by Bulgari (Belissimo/World Magic) out of a Rhodiamant mare, while Hubertus Schmidt’s Bonamour is by Bonifatius (Belissimo/Lauries Crusador) out of a Rousseau mare.
Beautiful – Bohemian Rhapsodie
The first horse out in the warm up class, is the Belissimo daughter, Bohemian Rhapsodie with one of my very favorite riders, Kira Wulferding, in the saddle. It is just such a joy to watch such tactful, correct and effective riding. The chestnut mare is so relaxed and rhythmic, she never loses the beat, even when she lengthens the trot. If we want to be picky, the flying changes got a bit swingy, but I cannot imagine a better foundation on which to build a wonderful Grand Prix. It’s eight in the morning and, I guess, the judges are still waiting for the coffee to cut in to really hand out the marks, and they are mean to only award a 72.049 per cent.
A few horses later, Dr Best ridden by Nicole Kirschnik, demonstrates how fine the line is. The brown gelding is just that little bit tense, probably in any other country in the world, you would not notice it but after Kira’s test it is obvious, and we don’t need the sweat lines on the neck in the canter to confirm the impression. We are also starting to see the fault lines in the ground jury with scores ranging from 69.268 per cent and eventual 12th with Peter Holler to 73.659 per cent and 4th with Evi Eisenhardt. Last year the judges were so loopy that at the winner’s press conference, Isabell Werth said that she thought Hubertus Schmidt should have been in front of her and won on Escolar!
Bluetooth is one of the more interestingly bred horses in the line up. The top line is Dutch, Bordeaux (by the Krack C son, United out of a Gribaldi mare), while the mare is by the Rubinstein grandson, Riccione, out of Loreana (Don Schufro) who is a daughter of that glittering star of Paul Schockemöhle’s mare band, Loretta.
Bluetooth and Ingrid Klimke
I love Ingrid Klimke, she is not only a warm, charming friend, but her training and riding are a beacon for the correct principles of equitation the world over, but I cannot pretend to like her test on Bluetooth. The gelding was sold for a record price at the PSI auction. He is a long backed creature and in the big trot it looked like two horses loosely joined. Every time Ingrid asked something, the tail swished. It became very agitated in the collected walk between the walk demi-pirouettes, and the canter ones were a real mess. Sitting behind the line of threes, you could see why, Bluetooth did not want to take the weight on his hind end, in the changes he kept popping his inside leg away from his body. It was an awful test, and Dietrich Plewa at M, called it that way–69.878 for his eventual 11th. However Dieter Schüle at C, and Evi Eisenhardt at B scored it 74 plus, to end in 2nd on their score sheet at the end of the day!
Friederike Hahn and Die Fürstin finished the day in third. The test was accurate, with some excellent canter work, although it looked a bit rushed at times. It was first with Dr Eisenhardt on 74.878, but 8th with Dr Plewa on 70.366–they ended in 3rd, once again, I share Dr Plewa’s viewpoint.
A win in the warm up class for Brianna and Kira
While everyone got hysterical about Charlotte and Freestyle at the WEG, my favorite from Stal Hester was Carl’s Delicato, so soft through the body, so truly on the aids, and Kira Wulferding’s horses share that quality. This time she is riding Brianna, just seven years old and the baby of her team. Story is she took Brianna to the qualifier at Redefin, just to keep the nine-year-old front-liner, Bohemian Rhapsodie, happy – and the youngster won the class! Again it is lovely deliberate, rhythmic work, expansive without being spectacular, exciting because it is so correct. Three of the judges–Peter Holler, Katrina Wüst and Dieter Schüle–had Brianna winning, Evi Eisenhardt, who definitely missed out on her short black, had the mare, eighth.
Second place went to Dorothee Schneider’s second ride, First Romance. This was Dorothee in full concentration mode, she is so professional under pressure. Great half passes, relentless rhythm, a smooth seamless test, only the canter demi pirouettes and an unwanted change at the end of an otherwise super big canter, let them down, but watch out for them when it counts in the final!
Dorothee and First Romance, watch out for them in the final…
The final is scheduled for Saturday