Fürst Heinrich, King in Verden

The 5-year old Westfalian stallion Fürst Heinrich and the 6-year old Brandenburger mare Poetin claimed the champion's titles at the annual World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany.

Although the overall scores were not as high as at the 2002 World Championships -- only the winners were able to put an overall 9 on the score board this year -- the 2003 edition of the event was not less interesting.

Out of 37 competing 5-year olds, the Westfalian licensed stallion Fürst Heinrich (Donnerhall x Florestan) was the most talented. Ridden by German Holga Finken, Fürst Heinrich scored solid 9's for his walk and trot and even a 9.6 for his canter. With an overall score of 9.30, Finken steered the Gestut Sprehe owned stallion to victory.

Earning the silver medal with 8.84 points in the championships finals were Hilltop Rousseau (Ferro x Roemer) and Nicolette van Lierop. A small American victory was embedded in the achievement of the KWPN licensed stallion, as Hilltop Rousseau is owned by Hilltop Farm and Harmony Sport horses. The bay stallion was especially praised for his canter work for which he scored a 9.00. In the first qualifier, Van Lierop and Rousseau got 8.48 and finished fifth.

Receiving the bronze medal was the lovely FWB French Kiss. Under Katrin Burger, the black licensed Baden Wurttemberger stallion, who is also bred out of a Florestan x Donnerhall line, won the first qualifier with 8.82, but finished third in the finals with 8.74. FBW French Kiss already became the 2002 German Young Horse Champion in the 4-year old division in Warendorf and will defend his title again in three weeks.