Wellington’s Future Challenges for Young Horses

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Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Devanto, another of the horses she has started their competition careers in Florida, in the Global Dressage Festival. © 2022 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 28, 2022

As a seven-time Olympian for Sweden, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén knows a thing or two about developing horses to top sport. Over the past decade, she has started the competition careers of several horses in Florida, including Don Auriello that in addition two Olympics, she rode at two World Equestrian Games, two European Championships and five World Cup Finals.

As the main rider for Antonia Ax:son Johnson’s Lövsta Stuteri that includes an extensive sport horse breeding operation in program, Tinne has been key in developing the Lövsta Future Challenge series for young dressage and jumper horses in Sweden.

Lövsta launched the same program for developing Grand Prix dressage at Global three years ago, and this winter added jumper horses at the newly named Wellington International.

The developing Prix St. Georges was started a year earlier and operates alongside the Grand Prix as a Future Challenge event sponsored by Summit Farm.

With qualifiers in Global’s centerpiece arena before panels of FEI judges and spread over the three months of that saw a total of 54 combinations of which 11 entries went to the St. Georges final that was won by Charlotte Jorst on the nine-year-old Zhaplin Langholt.

The Grand Prix qualifiers had 13 combinations with six entries in the final won by Jennifer Williams on the eight-year-old Joppe K.

Giving young horses the possibility to going into the international arena with the best judges and with the kind of different atmosphere than a smaller show, Tinne said, “is exactly what we want to achieve.

“I think, is super. We’re really, really happy.

“We hope that more riders are brave enough to do this. To maybe start a bit earlier to think that this is a possibility to go. It’s not easy. That’s why there’s not so many there also.

“As a rider, for sure I can understand that it’s not so easy to have a horse ready at this age. You can’t just decide to do it. You have to aim for it really early. So I hope now that this gives us more and more starters, that we do this and keep hanging in there and having more riders having the guts to do that.

“I think the quality is great and I also love the fact that it is young horses. They are inexperienced, there are mistakes here and there, it’s supposed to be, it’s OK. Or somebody’s tense, they turn around. It’s OK, because it should be educational.

“It’s not already five star top Grand Prix. It’s young horse Grand Prix. And it should be that quality is the most important part. The faults, that’s part of the way, that’s what we’re going to teach them.”

Sarah Tubman, who rode the Summit Farm First Apple to individual gold at the 2019 Pan American Games gold, said development of young horses was a founding purpose of Summit.

Sarah Tubman and First Apple at the Global Dressage Festival © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“So for us, sponsoring a class like this that gives the younger horses, even younger than the medium tour horses, a chance to get in the international ring, again, in front of super judges, is just a great stepping stone,” she said. “It’s something right before maybe you would go into a CDI. You can kind of test the waters and see how they handle the bigger atmosphere.

“And also being a young horse rider myself, it’s so nice for us riders to get some press, and to get some prize money, and to get a little bit of extra pat on the back, because I think all of us know it’s a super hard long path.

“So I think it’s fun to have something that’s a little half baby step stepping stone that you still get rewarded for. It’s also very important, as we all know, for the owners. It’s exciting. It’s something we get a cooler for. We all love coolers and prize money.

“And I think for the United States this is really important.”