Verden (GER), 12 August 2014
Photo Caption: Winners at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses 2014 in Verden (GER) were: (L) Six-Year-Old champion Dancer Forever ridden by The Netherlands' Kirsten Brouwer and (R) Five-Year-Old champion Sezuan 2 ridden by Germany's Dorothee Schneider. Photo: FEI/Karl-Heinz Freiler.
Schneider and Sezuan steal Five-year-old title: Brouwer and Dancer Forever top Six-year-old category
By Louise Parkes
The Danish Warmblood stallion Sezuan, ridden by Germany's Dorothee Schneider, and the KWPN mare Dancer Forever, competed by The Netherlands' Kirsten Brouwer, claimed the Five and Six-year-old titles at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Verden in Germany over the weekend.
A pilot project when first staged at the German venue 17 years ago, these Championships were modelled on the World Championships for Young Jumping horses at Lanaken in Belgium and, after visiting a number of other locations down the years, returned to Verden in 2013 and again this year where they took place for the 15th time.
After some consideration, the FEI determined the selection criteria so there are no more than 50 competitors in each age group. This year's Championships took place within the framework of an International Dressage and Jumping Festival that also attracted many top contenders from the senior ranks who used the tournament as the final test and preparation for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA).
FEI Director of Dressage, Trond Asmyr, who attended the event said "the quality of the horses along with their training and riding has improved so much over recent years. It's amazing to watch the fantastic standard of riding at this show which is staged by a highly professional organising team. They provide the very best conditions for both young and experienced horses which makes the competition just about as good as it can be, and the fixture is very popular with both the participants and the public" he pointed out.
Schneider and Sezuan (Blue Hors Zack x Don Schufro), a black stallion owned by Arlette and Edwin Kohl, set out on the road to success with victory in the first Five-Year-Old qualifier last Thursday. Scoring 9.68, they earned a maximum 10 for canter and always looked the ones to beat.
Fellow-German, Beatrice Buchwald, finished second here with DSP Belantis (Benetton Dream x Expo'se) on a score of 9.54 while the aptly-named KWPN mare, Eye Catcher (Vivaldi x Partout), slotted into third for The Netherlands' Kristen Brouwer with a mark of 9.52. Fourth place went to Germany's Ann-Christin Wienkamp with the Westphalian stallion, Samoura M (San Amour x Ferragamo) who would eventually claim a spot on the podium. The Ground Jury consisted of Ghislain Fouarge (NED), Andrew Gardner (GBR), Kurt Christensen (DEN) and Dr. Dietrich Plewa (GER), and 33 competed.
Only Fouarge remained on the judging panel for Saturday's decider in which he was joined by Jacques van Daele (BEL), Annette Fransen-Jacobaeus (SWE) and Liselotte Fore (USA). Once again Schneider and Sezuan earned a full 10 points for canter, posting 9.76 this time out to clinch the title.
Wienkamp and Samoura M, which is owned by Heinrich Mussmann, leap-frogged Buchwald and Brouwer to take the silver, while Brouwer earned the bronze.
Gold-medallist Schneider describes Sezuan as "an amazing horse - I've never had such a good one before" she said. She believes the pair are quickly developing a strong relationship and is delighted with the horse's ability to adapt since taking over the stallion which was previously competed by Denmark's Andreas Helgstrand.
Weinkamp admitted she had been a little conservative in the qualifying leg but that she really went for it on the final day. It paid off by bringing her right up to silver medal spot with a total of 9.34 that included 9.6 for trot.
The super-handsome Eyecatcher is a wonderful mover but made too many mistakes and had to settle for bronze. Owned by Titan Wilaras and Joop van Uytert the horse earned 10 for trot and 9.8 for walk, and it was quite an achievement for Brouwer who has only been paired with the talented stallion for the last month.
Buchwald and DSP Belantis finished just off the podium but the grey stallion, ridden by Isabell Werth's assistant trainer, looks a real star in the making.
Brouwer then steered Dancer Forever (Vivaldi x Tango) to gold in Sunday's Six-Year-Old Final. All of the top three in the Five-Year-Old line-up had earned scores above 9, but in the Six-Year-Old Final only the new champions, the 25-year-old Dutch rider and the chestnut stallion owned by G.A. Roza, managed to do so. Having finished ninth in the Five-Year-Old category last year, Sunday's result underlined the progress this super-talented winning combination have made over the intervening period.
Dutch riders dominated the qualifying competition when filling the top three places, and on this occasion Dancer Forever had to settle for runner-up spot behind the KWPN Dream Boy (Vivaldi x Ferro) who earned a score of 8.84 to top the class with Gerdine Maree on board. Emelle Scholtens and Desperado 254 (Vivaldi/ Havidoff) slotted into third, but there would be a lot of movement in yesterday's Final line-up following which Scholtens dropped to eighth.
It was Austria's Stephanie Dearing and Auheim's Del Magico (Dimaggio x Feinbrand) who rocketed up to silver medal spot while Maree and Dream Boy eventually claimed the bronze.
Sprang a surprise
Dearing and Stefan Hermann's Hannoverian stallion sprang a surprise when second-last to go. Judges Maria Colliander, Andrew Gardner, Kurt Christensen and Dr. Dietrich Plewa gave them a final total of 8.66 points, after awarding 9 for canter and 8.9 for general impression, and this pushed Maree and Tim Cooman's Dutch Warmblood, Dream Boy, down to bronze medal spot as they posted 8.64 when last into the arena. Dearing's excellent result was a first for Austria whose riders have never taken a medal at these Championships before.
For the second time in two days Beatrice Buchwald was just pipped for a place on the podium, on this occasion missing out by 0.02 points with Den Haag (Diamond Hit x Florestan).
Brouwer and Dancer Forever however put up a score of 9.04, having been awarded 9.8 for spectacular trot, 7.8 for walk, 9.3 for canter, 9 for submission and 9.3 for general impression. It was a convincing win and the rider said her horse did a terrific job and that his trot feels "absolutely amazing!".
Five-year-old Championship: GOLD - Sezuan (Dorothee Schneider) GER 9.76; SILVER - Samoura M (Ann-Christin Wienkamp) GER 9.34; BRONZE - Eye Catcher 6 (Kirsten Brouwer) NED 9.30.
Six-year-old Championship: GOLD - Dancer Forever (Kirsten Brouwer) NED 9.04; SILVER - Auheim's Del Magico (Stephanie Dearing) AUT 8.66; BRONZE - Dream Boy (Gerdine Maree) NED 8.64.