Rebecca at Warendorf

Winners in the six year olds – Fior and Frederic Wandres

Rebecca Ashton reports from the Bundeschampionate and she took the photos

The biggest problem reporting on the Bundeschampionate is just the sheer size of the event. There are hundreds of horses competing over the five days in dressage, jumping, eventing and driving from ponies to three-year-old riding horses to seven-year-old showjumpers. All the top trainers are there; Hans Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen seems to be helping every second horse. Isabell Werth has come straight from the Europeans to help a couple of young riders on their hot three and four-year-old stallions.

Isabell and Hans-Heinrich

New business partners Andreas Helgstrand and Ulf Möller are side-by-side at the three and four-year-old arena. Even Swedish success story from the Europeans, Therese Nilshagen, has a lovely looking stallion in the five-year-olds. She’s joined in the saddle by others from the Europeans, Helen Langehanenberg, Renee Tebbel over in the jumping arena and Ingrid Klimke in eventing. You really don’t know which way to turn. And I haven’t even mentioned the shopping. With the state studs advertising their auctions, to clothing and tack, you’ll need more stables and more wardrobe space by the time you’re finished here….plus a detox from all the alcohol. It’s a little like Oktoberfest come early. Luckily I have a reporting job to do, which allows no time for such distractions!

The inspiring Christoph Hess, Dr Schüle and Dr Fourage, part of the Seminar

I was fortunate to run into the wonderful Christoph Hess. He’s such a generous man and so keen to pass on his knowledge and help others learn. He was kind enough to let me sit in and listen to his ringside comments in the six-year-old finals, helpful to this Aussie whose German needs a little work! This was part of his annual Young Horse Seminar that he runs every year at the championships.

Fior and Frederic

The six-year-old winner, the Fürstenball/ Sandro Hit stallion Fior 2, came straight through from Wednesday’s first round having scored 8.7. Wednesday’s winner, another Fürstenball, Flambeau 136, and Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier just missed out on a medal on the last day.

Flambeau and Anne-Kathrin Pohlmeier

The pair danced into the arena and the walk scored a 10, making Christoph Hess call the horse “…a walking machine”. The canter was a little weaker than the trot and walk earning the pair 7.5 to just weigh on their total of 8.5.

Kira and Brianna

Third place was that seasoned professional Kira Wulferlding, who has ridden around 20 horses here at the Bundeschampionate over the years and it shows. She’s one of the best jockeys here. Today she rode the Bvlgari/ Rohdiamant mare Brianna 9. Kira has such amazing feel. Christoph points out her skill before the first lengthening, “Look there, she waited for the hind leg to come rather than push and over ride.” There were a few riders who had been over riding the lengthenings and not getting very good results, so this was worth the mention. There was a break into the canter during the second trot half pass which knocked the submission mark a little, but the correction afterwards was so swift and smooth, Christoph noted the good training, “You can tell it’s trained in a good way without tension or punishment.” Rhythmic walk pirouettes, good changes and the judges noted the horse’s good balance, rhythm and straightness and good potential for collection and there’s the mark for potential: 9. Kira said later that the horse’s best point is her concentration. “She’s always listening to me.” Final score for the pair was 8.6.

Borja Carrascosa Martinez and Forbes

Second place Forbes 7 is Fidertanz/ Rohdiamant and ridden by German based Spanish rider Borja Carrascosa Martinez, who actually used to have the ride on the winning horse back when it was a four-year-old. Forbes is uphill and doesn’t miss a beat. The rhythm of the big horse is perfect, the shoulder free, the trot elastic and the changes uphill and bold. The judges point out how the super quality was not compromised in any of the lateral work. There are three 9s: walk, potential and overall impression.

The couple are trained by that master of dressage Jean Bemelmans who rides the horse regularly as well. Jean later jests, “Still there are some things I can do well and he (Borja) has his strong points. If the horse gets a little bit naughty, I put Borja on! Thank god he was good today! Borja can present the horse so nicely and he doesn’t make any mistakes. Now we put the double bridle on in winter. The horse is already doing what he needs to do for his age. Next year we try for the Nürnberger Burgpokal final.”

Fior – the trot and canter make up for the walk

First placegetter Fior’s trot is just so elastic and swinging which makes up for the walk, which you could argue is the horse’s weakest pace. Frederic Wandres rides the walk pirouettes cleverly, keeping the second close to the centreline and allowing the movement to keep the horse together as collection at this pace looks a little tricky for the stallion. The judges like the horse’s uphill tendency and cadence, its easy-going nature and good balance. The pair receive a 9.5 both for trot and overall impression with the rest of the scores coming in at 8.5, the walk perhaps a touch over marked.

Frederic later also acknowledges that the walk is perhaps more of a challenge for the stallion than the other paces. “In the trot and canter, he always feels proud and wants to shine. Also, the walk line in this test is a little bit difficult for all the horses. With the shoulder in, half passes, walk pirouettes, four flying changes, the test is more like a Prix St Georges. I prefer the test from Wednesday,” but the final score of 8.9 is enough for the gold medal. The stallion is owned by Ulli Kasselmann and Frederic, who has been working at PSI for eight years is one of the yard’s top riders:

“I’ve been riding the horse since the beginning of the year. I felt instantly that if I had him well motivated and in good shape, we could go far. The test today is quite challenging and I think he handled the difficult parts well. Ok I had one change not good, but this can happen with a young horse so I think it’s ok.”

It was more than ok, Frederic!

Dr Dietrich Plewa, who conveyed the judges’ thoughts over the competition summed things up afterwards, “It was important that these three were at the top. The horses had a lot of expression, but were supple. Some horses still get a little bit tense, especially in the six-year-old class with difficult work like the changes. We used to have a problem with short necks but now we see almost all horses in good frames, also in the lengthened paces.”

As a general impression, the horses looked solid and balanced although often good lengthening was lacking and a couple of the stallions were a little high in the hocks and not truly stepping under the centre of gravity. You’d have to say, the flamboyant flashy types were hard to find in this class. Maybe even a couple will reach Grand Prix! Fürstenball had eight six-year-olds here at Warendorf, three making it to the final. Bordeaux had four progeny, and Rock Forever three. We’ll see the final five-year-olds tomorrow.

The three and four-year-old horses are always a big crowd puller at the Bundeschampionate. They’re the only ones sent by their breed organisations. It can be risky for a breeder; if your stallion doesn’t do well here, you might see orders down on the season.

Candy OLD with Hermann Gerdes

The winner of the four-year-old mares and geldings as well as the stallion winner remained the same as the winners of the first go round. The Sir Donnerhall/ Fürst Heinrich mare Candy OLD with Hermann Gerdes on board scored 43.5 with 9s for trot and conformation, dropping just .5 for their mark in the final. Feel Free, a Foundation/ Sandro Hit mare ridden by Anja Engelbart was second in both classes.

Feel Free and Anja Engelbart

In the stallion class, Devonport 3 reigned supreme. In the final, the Dancier/ Ravallo stallion under Rieke Schnieder scored only 9s and 9.5s. The guest riding judges today were Marcus Hermes and Bettina Hoy.

Rebecca asked Bettina about the finalists:

“Candy OLD is so light footed and energetic with 3 exceptional movements. Even I could imagine doing the piaff passage movements down the last centre line of the grand prix with stunning expression.

Devonport 3, has 3 super paces but the best ridabity , soft mouth and exceptional interieur a real cool customer in any atmosphere”

Best Bloodlines in the world available in Australia from International Horse Breeders: like Fürstenball:

Rock Springs



One thought on “Rebecca at Warendorf

  1. There has been a significant change in the training of dressage horses if you look back to say 10yrs ago,yes the horses are Better, more up hill in their build,but it’s the correct training that maketh the horse,that & the connection, relationship you have as their caretaker,we have all the tools available but dressage is the dance of the horse,containing that energy, after years of building the top line & muscle required for the collection to DANCE,no force,just fluid movement’s of greatness.Utmost of importance is the horses mental & physical wellbeing,if trained correctly &nurtured then we would all be rewarded with a horse that is ready to dance.I truly think Furstenball is the perfect dressage horse,a modern, elegant, beautiful dancer!!!

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