Damon Hill and Florencio Win 2005 World Championships in Verden

Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage.com

The Westfalian stallions Damon Hill and Florencio have won the 2005 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany. The two licensed sires were the undisputed winners of the qualifier test on Friday and in the Finals on Sunday they wielded the axe of power once more by being the only two horses to achieve a 9. mark at this year's Championships.

In the 5-year old division, Helen Langehanenberg rode Damon Hill (Donnerhall x Rubinstein) to a winning score of 9.02. Despite a small mistake in the transition from walk to canter, Damon Hill excelled in his three basic gaits and his rideability. Langehanenberg rode beautiful simple changes and presented her horse with much brilliance and energy in the two tests. The trot was Damon Hill's highlight gait for which he earned a 9.8.

German Holga Finken won the silver medal in the 5-year old division riding the licensed Oldenburg stallion Donnerball (Donnerhall x Alabaster). The bronze medal went to the South German Nadine Plaster aboard the Baden Wurttemberger bred mare FBW Dejavu (Dacaprio x Gluckspilz).

Damon Hill and Florencio Win 2005 World Championships in Verden

Florencio Prolongs World Champion's Title

It was no surprise that Hans Peter Minderhoud and the Westfalian stallion Florencio renewed their World Champion title in the 6-year old division. Last year, Florencio was the highest scoring horse ever at the World Championships and this year he eclipsed his peers once more. With an overall mark of 9.48 and a 10 for canter and 9.8 for trot, he showed a level of elasticity and engagement rare in a young horse.

The silver medal went to British Damian Hallam on the Oldenburg gelding Spirit Freedom (Sion x Figaro). Spirit Freedom showed great maturity for the 6-year old test requirements without looking overtrained. Their 8.90 score put them ahead off bronze medallist Carola Koppelmann on the Trakehner Insterburg (Hohenstein x Giorgio Armani), who got 8.72 placed in the Finals.

Damon Hill and Florencio Win 2005 World Championships in Verden

Susan Dutta and Currency DC Place Eleventh

The only American combination in the Finals on Sunday was Susan Dutta aboard the Oldenburg bred Currency DC (Clintino x Classiker). They scored 7.76 in total and ranked eleventh in the 5-year old Finals.

Judge Angelica Frömming praised the combination for showing a trot with good balance and rhythm, despite two mistakes in the rhytm in the medium trot (8.2). The walk had to be more loose with more shoulder freedom (7.0). The canter was well very decent but had to show more looseness in the back (7.80).

Dutta stood out in the pack by her professional presentation of her horse. Her quick seat and soft contact with the bit were admirable, as well as the very smooth ride she put down aboard 'curri'.

"We're very happy, it's been great to be here," her husband Tim Dutta commented after Susan's ride.

Damon Hill and Florencio Win 2005 World Championships in Verden

No Redemption for Donegal and Royal Prince in the Consolation Finals

Two American horses had to try to redeem themselves in the consolation finals, by placing in the top three to gain a berth in the finals on Sunday. Unfortunately, neither Donegal, nor Royal Prince, were able to rise to the occasion.

With the Davignport x Grundstein offspring Donegal, Hokan Thorn scored 7,28 in the 5-year old Consolation Finals and placed 16th. The judges liked the clear difference Donegal showed between the collected and medium trot, but wanted to see more engagement from behind. The walk showed a very clear 4-beat rhythm, the canter a clear 3-beat but self carriage failed. The general lack of active engagement and self carriage was the reason that Donegal's score did not go higher than 7.28.

In the 6-year old Consolation Finals, Susanne Hassler and Royal Prince got the chance to correct the mistakes they made in the canter work in the qualifier. Their score went up with almost one full point, but it was enough to get into the finals. Hassler started out with a lovely trot tour in which Royal Prince (Rohdiamant x Prince Thatch xx) looked more engaged and uphill than ever. Unfortunately, the rein back was again a problem and there was a hiccup in one flying change. Nevertheless, the highlight of the test was Royal Prince's walk which was active and ground covering. Hassler ranked 9th with 7,52 in the consolation finals.

Even though Verden has been a disappointing trip performance-wise, Hassler has learnt much from her latest trip to Europe. “It is another lifetime experience for me and one that is sure to benefit my partnership with Royal Prince and our further development. I am so deeply grateful to Jane MacElree for supporting us and allowing us this experience.”

Damon Hill and Florencio Win 2005 World Championships in Verden

The Officials talk

Canadian Lorraine Stubbs sat in the 6-year old judges' panel and stated that she had much fun judging the class. "There were good horses and it was an interesting final test with the flying changes and half passes ," Stubbs commented,. "The 5-year olds are easier, but with the 6-year olds you don't just judge the movements, but also the training and future potential as FEI horses."

FEI Dressage committee chairwoman Mariette Withages served as technical delegate in Verden. "It was a super show and on an organisational level the best one so far. The ring for the young horses was ideal and they didn't have to move arenas for the finals," Withages commented.

Danish Jan Pedersen, president of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH), was also very pleased with this year's edition of the Championships. "It has been a very nice show and the combination World Championships and German Dressage Championships worked really well. 'Verden' should become a tradition for organizing the World Championships," he explained.

Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage

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