Text and Photos by Astrid Appels - copyrighted - No Reproduction Allowed
Two Florestan sons, Florencio and FBW French Kiss, were the winners of the 2004 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany, July 9-11, 2004. While FBW French Kiss dazzled the crowds with his beauty, correctness and overall lightness, it was Florencio was rose to stardom with his three extraterrestrial gaits.
Florencio, a Westfalian licensed stallion by Florestan x Weltmeyer, was beautifully presented by the Dutch Hans Peter Minderhoud. In the first round, Florencio was the distinct winner with 9.66 in total, scoring 9.80 for trot and canter and 9.5 for his walk. There was no doubt that this horse would excel in the final round as well.
After his Sunday rider, Judge Jennie Loriston-Clarke commented on the ride, saying, "What a wonderful horse, this is a really exciting combination. We give him 10 for the canter because it's so uphill and with engagement. He gets a 9.7 for the trot and not a 10 because he was a bit too much bent to the left. The walk gets a 9.8 because it shows so much overtrack."
Receiving a standing ovation from the crowds, Minderhoud and Florencio left the ring as heroes of the day.
Florencio is owned by Henk Nijhoff and Eugene Reesink, but right after the show Reesink sold his half to Paul Schockemohle for a monstrous amount of money. Florencio, who bred about 500 mares this year, will still be distributed through stallion station Ludwig Kathmann.
A Little Bit of History Made by Susanne Hassler and Royal Prince
The Rhinelander bred stallion FS Lord Loxley (Lord Sinclair x Weltmeyer) finished in silver position under the elegant young rider Jana Freund. Bred by Gestut Sonnenhof in Belgium and owned by Josef Wilbers from Germany, FS Lord Loxley scored 9.14 overall in the finals for his high quality powerful and engaged movements.
Young Horse specialist Dr. Ulf Möller steered the Holsteiner stallion Amidou (Alcatraz x Langata Express xx) to the bronze. Though Amidou is a bit croup high and should put the hind legs more under the body, he was beautifully presented by Möller. Amidou showed an active hind leg and was uphill throughout his tests. They got an 8.98 final score from the judges.
Ranking in fourth position and writing history for American Dressage were Susanne Owen Hassler and Royal Prince. Never before has an American finished this high in the rankings of the World Young Horse Championships. Hassler and Royal Prince were a combination in which fluency, elegance and rhythm were the highlights.
Royal Price (Rohdiamant x Prince Thatch xx) has a lovely front leg and remained in balance in both his rides. Susanne Hassler did a superb job presenting this horse at the Championships. With an 8.84 score, the duo finished fourth in the ranking.
It's such a great experience to be here," Susanne Hassler said. Her husband, Scott Hassler, who served as chef d'equipe for the American Young Horse team in Verden, was also very pleased with his wife's achievements. "A bronze medal would have been great for America, but we're very happy with the fourth place. She (Susanne) wanted to have great ride and she did," Scott said.
Dorie Addy-Crow and Sir Sinclair Didn't Make the Cut
While Susanne Hassler shone at the Championships in Verden, there was mainly disappointment for the other American competitor, Dorie Addy-Crow. Aboard the KWPN stallion Sir Sinclair (Lord Sinclair x Flemmingh), Addy-Crow finished 21st out of 42 competitors in the first round. Though Sir Sinclair scored well on his gaits (trot 8.2, walk 8.0, and canter 7.5), the general submissiveness of the horse was not there during the ride.
In the first round Sir Sinclair showed off his very rhythmical movements, but he was leaning too much on the rider's hands and was not electric to the aids. "He was warmed up too long and simply wasn't there for Dorie in the test," trainer Belinda Nairn-Wertman said.
Knowing that Sir Sinclair, who is owned by Iron Spring Farm, has all the qualities to be a Finals' horse, Dorie Addy-Crow was very hopeful to finish in the top three of the consolation finals and qualify for the finals that way. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
In the consolation round the combination scored 7.32 and placed fifteenth. "We don't understand this and are very disappointed," Bill Wertman said. "The horse went so much better today and we were sure he would finish in the top three." Belinda Wertman added, "for 20 seconds we were so happy, until we saw the scores. I can't understand it."
It was hard for Camp Wertman-Crow to see the positive in the whole World Championship experience after a disappointing 15th place in the consolation final. "Mary Alice invested so much to bring this horse over here. It's not right to be so unfairly judged after all the time and money you have put into getting here," Bill Wertman said in frustration.
Sir Sinclair definitely has three very strong gaits. Hopefully next year he'll qualify again for the championship and prove the judges wrong!
FBW French Kiss Wins, American owned Bugatti Hilltop 12th
As usual, the quality of horses in the six-year old division was a bit lower due to the high technical level of the tests. Nevertheless, the winner amongst the 6-year olds was last year's bronze medallist, the top quality dressage horse and licensed breeding stallion FBW French Kiss.
Ridden by his owner Katrin Burger of Gestut Schlossäcker, FBW French Kiss (Florestan x Donnerhall) had no problem convincing the judges of his beauty, grace and wonderful rideability. Though in the first round, FBW French Kiss ranked only 12th with 8.24 points. His score was understated because the black pearl showed superb fluent transitions and a breath taking walk.
The matter was corrected in the Finals, in which FBW French Kiss reigned supreme. "His walk is the highlight. We give it a 9.7 because you rarely see one like that. If it was a bit more active, we would have given it a 10," the judges commented. FBW French Kiss scored high for all three gaits, but it was his rideability and correctness which led him to victory. An overall 9.16 made them win the 6-year old Championship with great distinction.
The American 6-year old combination was Bugatti Hilltop, a Hanoverian branded stallion by Bergamon x Rubinstein I, owned by Hilltop Farm and ridden by German Michael Klimke. In the first round, Bugatti had to go in the worst footing possible after a whole day of torrential rain showers. He still finished 11th with 8,32 points. In his Finals' ride, showed a very good canter that was uphill and with much rhythm, and a good trot that could have been a bit more engaged. Because of some tension and a high croup in the flying changes, Bugatti lost a few points on submissiveness. The pair finished 12th overall with 7.72
Text and Photos copyrighted Astrid Appels - No Reproduction Allowed
Horsesdaily Coverage of the 2004 World Young Horse Championships
Eurodressage Extensive "On the Scene" Coverage of the Championships with photos, articles and complete scores.
Video Clips of the Winners in Verden