Lövsta Future Challenge Series Final Won by Nicholia Clarke on Komsi Komsa, Tina Konyot on J Everdale Runner-Up

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Nicholia Clarke on Komsi Komsa in the Lövsta Future Challenge Final. © 2024 SusanJStickle.com

By ILSE SCHWARZ

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 29, 2024–The final of the Lovsta Future Challenge series was run immediately before the final Friday Night Freestyles for 2024 so the VIP was full, the spectator stands actually had spectators and the young Grand Prix horses, aged between nine and 11 years had some atmosphere to experience.

It turns out that the first three horses were the ones to watch for the class. All the participants were on talented horses, any one of them with the skills and talent to win. As can happen with younger horses at this level, in an arena with real atmosphere and five judges on the panel, so perhaps the riders also noticed the atmosphere. Pretty much everyone had moments of tension, mistakes and a dose of reality! Also, each and every horse showed moments of great beauty, promise and a clear future in the sport. And THIS is what this series is all about. Giving developing horses, and their riders, the opportunity to experience CDI conditions without the same pressure.

The series is becoming increasingly popular since it began five years ago with 48 horses competing this year over the season to be one of the 10 in the final.

The winner of the class was Nicholia Clarke on the nine-year-old KWPN gelding Komsi Komsa (Apache x Osmium). Komsi Komsa is an unassuming chestnut gelding who just went about his job in a beautiful soft frame, one big spook but no mistakes. He has a beautiful sit in the piaffe and good transitions in and out of it. Both canter pirouettes were very good, which was not to be the norm through the class, and the test was uniform in good quality throughout. He did not have the biggest gaits of the horses in the class but was ridden to the top of his ability at this stage of his career presenting a harmonious test that was a delight to watch.

Nicholia trains with Debbie MacDonald and her husband, so, she joked, “ I can’t get away with anything. I constantly have eyes on me.” She spends summer in Montana and the winters in Wellington. “I bought him as a four-year-old so we’ve been on the journey together and it makes it all that much more rewarding”

Second place went to  Tina Konyot and J Everdale (Everdale x United), a 10-year-old KWPN gelding with the barn name “Grover.” This is a gelding with a lot of quality, character and a few quirks. Grover was very reluctant to enter the stadium but once in the arena he let Tina have the controls, after a big hesitation at the end of the first trot extension. His passage/piaffe tour is something most of us only dream about feeling. The passage is expressive and well developed, beautiful sit in the piaffe and very correct in his mechanics.
Tina Konyot and J Everdale. © 2024 SusanJStickle.com

Tina has had Grover for the past three years. “I found him in a facility here where I was leasing stalls. And they wanted to sell him and they asked me if I would ride him to market him. But by that time he had already thrown five people. So he was a bit of a naughty boy.” It is apparent that the naughtiness is gradually being transformed to expression. They are a super fun combination to watch.

“Today was a good day. I had one big spook in there and a couple little mistakes, but I’m very proud of him.”

Third place went to Kelly Layne, an Australian based in Wellington, and the nine-year-old Hannoverian gelding Living Diamond, (Livaldon x Furst Rousseau). Kelly was the first to go and presented a test that was just fun to watch. He shows a good passage, a piaffe that is still green in balance, but lots of talent. He had mistakes in the one tempi changes.. it turns out that the 11 he achieved today is the most he has ever done… and the final centerline proved challenging but Kelly was thrilled with him;

 “I was so impressed with how he handled it. He’s really green at this, but he just went in there. He stuck with me the whole way. He’s owned by my young rider, who’s 17 and lives in Jamaica. She’s been riding him in the CDIs in the young rider classes here. And this weekend, she had to go back to Jamaica and so I thought, you know what? I qualified, so lets give it a go! I’m so happy.”

Antonia Ax:son Johnson, whose Lövsta Stuteri sponsors this class is clearly happy with how the series is developing both in dressage and the equivalent series held for show jumpers at the Winter Equestrian Festival. She commented, “I think just listening to these three riders speak about their horses, it really tells a story about why we are working with horses, riding horses, and why we love dressage. Because so much of the sport is now questioned. And I think these comments about love for your horses that are, essentially, young teenagers, basically, was really very, very beautiful to hear.”

Results:

Lövsta Future Challenge – YH Final
Rank Competitor Score E H C M B
1.
Nicholia Clarke (USA)
Komsi Komsa
68.657% 68.289 66.842 66.447 70.394 71.315
2.
Tina Konyot (USA)
J Everdale
68.368% 66.973 69.605 67.763 69.210 68.289
3.
Kelly Layne (AUS)
Living Diamond
67.183% 65.526 65.789 69.605 68.815 66.184
4.
Christoph Koschel (GER)
Destare
66.841% 66.315 66.842 65.526 68.026 67.500
5.
Andrea Woodard (USA)
Kaliber
66.630% 64.736 67.236 67.368 68.157 65.657
6.
Charlotte Jorst (USA)
Straight Horse Cosmo
66.236% 63.552 66.578 66.842 67.368 66.842
7.
Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN)
Jaccardo
64.078% 59.473 65.263 64.868 65.921 64.868
8.
Amanda Perkowski (USA)
Sonata MF
63.894% 63.026 64.605 64.868 66.315 60.657
9.
Beatrice Marienau (USA)
Issey
63.736% 61.578 64.736 64.605 64.210 63.552
10.
Hannah Bressler Jaques (USA)
Jim
62.894% 63.684 62.500 65.000 64.210 59.078
Find details on Equestrian Hub