Rebecca is impressed at the Bundeschampionate

Therese Nilshagen and DSP Dominy – look great training

Rebecca Ashton wrote the story and took the photos

The first round of five-year-old dressage horses this year was massive…75 starters; that’s almost 11 hours of dressage (ok…with some breaks) and I wonder how the judges can last that long. But narrow it down to 17 they did, and the general consensus was that the five-year-olds were of better quality than the six-year-olds this year.

and in the ring

The second horse into the arena was DSP Dominy (Diamond Hit M / Pour Plaisir) ridden by Swedish sensation Therese Nilshagen. I’d been watching this pair all week. The stallion is an eye catcher and whenever they were training or competing, you couldn’t help but stop and watch. The judges were brave enough to go high with their marks early in the competition, which was just as well with the combination coming out as ultimate winners.

Christoph Hess loves her riding

Christoph Hess is in my ear once more today and he can’t stop raving about Therese’s riding. “She is a very good rider. She doesn’t ask too much. She swings in the trot with the horse; swings her pelvis to her hand. This is sensitive riding, not strong riding. She’s listening to the horse and riding it as a five-year-old and not a Grand Prix horse. With this horse you can explain what the judges want to see.”

And it is just lovely, swinging, relaxed with just a little hiccup in the walk when the eventers through the trees look quite interesting to the stallion. 8.5 for the walk with 9s for everything else and a 9.5 for the canter for a final, and eventually winning score of 9. The judges love the horse’s elasticity and regularity, its uphill canter and the lovely connection. Dominy also shows excellent potential for collection, and with a canter like he has, Grand Prix should be fun!

Celebratory sip of Champagne for the winner

Judge at H, Elke Ebert explained later, “Our discussion was easy and we all really loved the test. The judge on the long side could see the walk best so we trusted his comment. This was a fluent test and a really happy horse.”

Rebecca talks to Therese next

I caught up with Theses after the prize giving, “It’s really amazing. I just got home from Gothenburg with Dante and that was really nice. Then I came here. I just wanted to make a nice competition here, so I’m a little bit overwhelmed with what happened just now. The first test, I made a mistake. I went into the arena before the other horse left and he got a little bit scared when the other horse went and he just wanted to go out so he got a little bit hot.”

“I’ve been riding him since the end of March. He was in our stable, but under another rider. He has a fantastic character and three good gaits. I’m very pleased to have a horse like him. He has a good mind, he’s electric but he’s still nice. We’ll try to make him M level over the winter.”

And will there be any holidays after such a busy month? “I will get a few days, yes, then I have to get my truck driving licence!”

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Beatrice Buchwald and Fürst William HC

The charming Beatrice Buchwald rode the Oldenberg stallion Fürst William HC (Fürst Wilhelm / Lord Sinclair I) into second place. The trot is elastic and the horse uphill and swinging. The transitions are perhaps not perfectly through, but really, it’s a tough criticism. The walk is the weakest gait and could be more active but the canter is beautifully balanced and there’s a big smile on Bea’s face at the end.

The judges note the stallion’s total concentration on the rider and they loved that the quality of the canter remained all the way through the counter canter, which allows a 9. They also mention the correct training of the horse which means a 9 for the general impression… 8.7 in total.

Beatrice has only ridden William for four months, “I know he has more potential. It’s risky with a stallion having ridden it for such a short time. Sometimes he can be really swinging in the warm-up, but then in the test it feels not so secure, but we do more comps together and get to know each other more and you can judge better the risk you can take in the ring. I’m really happy for the future.”

And her thoughts on Therese’s test? “I actually watched it. I was happy to see such harmony and my plan was to do the same.”

And guess who is helping? Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen

Third place is also a stallion, the black Westfalian Revenant (Rock Forever I / Sir Donnerhall) under Rudolf Widmann. There’s nothing like a flash stallion to bring some controversy. The crowd think it’s under marked, booing and jeering the judges. Christoph Hess thinks it’s over marked, he thinks the horse is too tight in front and to be fair, the neck does look pretty short. The canter is huge… or is it climbing? Is the back too tight affecting the ground cover? Is it truly seeking the bit?

Revenant and Rudolf Widmann – who is right, the crowd or Christoph?

The judges think it’s super elastic. Later when Elke Ebert was asked to comment, she explained, “It had a good attitude in the collection. It was not stressed. That’s its natural way of collection for this horse. It was not under pressure from the rider. It got high marks for its potential, but the walk was not high because of its lack of ground covering.” 7 for the walk and 9.5 for the canter for a total of 8.7. I’m sure there’s a video of it out there on the internet. See who you agree with.

Villeneuve and Laura Strobel

The only 10 of the competition went to the Rhinelander stallion Villeneuve 6 (Vitalis / Dancier) with Laura Strobel. The combination slotted into 4th place and the lovely, uphill, balanced trot thoroughly deserved the perfect score. The stallion is owned by the Max-Theurer family, so we might see this one wearing the Austrian flag under Vicki Max-Theurer in the near future!

The three-year-olds also had their finals today. It’s such a huge atmosphere for the youngsters and the question is always hanging in the air… should they even be there? A lot of the top riders and trainers think not. With the stallions, they get prepared for testing at two and a half years old, have their 30 day test, do their Bundeschampionate qualifiers and then end up here. That’s a lot for a baby… and watching them go around, they’re in some serious frames. Alas, they have to earn their keep, these breeding horses!

Eva Möller and Eternity

Eva Möller is an exceptional young horse presenter and rides the gelding Eternity 75 (Escolar / Sir Donnerhall I) beautifully. They add to their first round 10 for canter with another 10 for that pace and also the trot. They are unbeatable. Second for the Benetton Dream / Westernhagen mare Borgia 11 ridden by Ulrike Hatzl.

Rebecca’s choice – Eyleen

But I have to say I really like the 3rd place getter Eyleen 20 (Escolar / Laurentianer) and Andrea Krehenwinkel. Such a big swinging shoulder, nothing looks forced and maybe it’s more of the frame you’d like to see in a three-year-old.

Secret and Jessica-Lynn Anderson

The three-year-old stallion Secret 13 was the big talking point when we first saw the youngsters on Friday. He pulled in bigger crowds than usual, with everyone wanting to get a glimpse. The black Sezuan / St Moritz stallion didn’t disappoint with Swedish rider Jessica-Lynn Anderson piloting the horse to a win with a final score of 9. Finest Selection OLD (Follow Me / Lauries Crusader xx) with Lukas Fischer was right behind them in second. Finals saw the two stallions switch position. Even though Secret scored a 10 for the canter, the riding judge put the stallion at 17, the lowest score of the three horses ridden. They preferred Finest Selection who trotted away with the title meaning owner Dressurpferde Leistungsz Lodbergen walked away with two champion titles! They are also the owners of Dominy.

Victory for Finest Selection OLD

There are not so many jumping horses here this year but they still make a show of it. Unfortunately I don’t get to see a lot of it. The winner of the seven-year-olds is unbeatable over the whole show. Cheenook 8 (Carell / Cornet Obolensky) ridden by Sebastion Karshüning has been in the finals here the last two years, but at his final year at the comp, managed to gallop away with the black, red and gold sash.

Cheenook and Sebastion Karshüning – unbeatable

Kathrin Eckerman and  Cocominka EST

Kathrin Eckerman has a cracker of a final jump off on Cocominka EST (Cassini Boy Junior / Sandro Boy Junior) to win the 6-years-olds coming up from 4th in the 1st round back on Wednesday, while the five-year-old winner Diaron 2 (Diarado / Come On) with Patrick Stülmeyer also popped up from 4th position in the first round to take the title.

Sandra Auffarth and Gentleman – another star?

Over in the eventing, German Olympic rider Sandra Auffarth wasn’t going to let anyone pass her and the five-year-old stallion Gentleman 251 (Grey Top / Fabriano) winning both cross country days and the five-year-old event horse championship.

Ingrid Klimke and Asha P

Fellow Olympian Ingrid Klimke was over in the six-year-olds fresh from her Europeans victory. She was on the mare Asha P (Askari / Heraldik xx) and although they won the small final, the pair were a little away from the top of the table, leaving the number one position to Costbar 2 (Clarimo / Contender) and Marina Köhncke.

The show always finishes on Sunday afternoon with a stallion quadrille followed by a presentation of every champion from the week. It’s at that moment you realise what a privilege it’s been to be here, in the middle sport horse mecca Warendorf to witness the career starts of some incredible horses. Let’s see what the future brings.

Like to breed to Grey Top in Australia – go to: 

Or Vitalis? 

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