After four days of sport, Enfado P, Bazyli and Frodo claimed the three titles on offer at the inaugural edition of the FEI World Driving Championships for young horses in Mezőhegyes, Hungary. The competition took place at the Mezőhegyes State Stud, reknowned for breeding the Nónius horse and the Mezőhegyes Sport Horse. The international Ground Jury was chaired by Dr Klaus Christ (GER), with members Jan-Erik Pålsson (SWE), Joaquin Medina Garcia (ESP) and Klaus Peppersack (GER). The latter was officially thanked by the Chairman of the FEI Technical Committee Driving Károly Fugli (HUN) during the press conference as he will retire as an active Driving Judge due to the age limit rule.
The seven horses in the five-year-old category battled it out over three days in combined dressage and cones competitions. The horses were judged on the basic paces in dressage, the level of training appropriate to the age of the horse and overall impression to include character and education of the driving horse in the dressage and the cones. The most influential point was the character of the horse and the horse’s drivability.
The Sachsen-Thuringen heavy warmblood horse Enfado P, driven by Jovanca Marie Kessler (GER), set the highest scores in dressage. The gelding by Excellent P earned 17 points for the walk, nine for the working trot, seven for the medium trot and 18 on education. In the cones, the combination had a 0.3 penalty-point deduction for exceeding the time allowed, which resulted in the total score of 8.27 points.
Jovanca Marie Kessler is trained by the well-known German single driver and trainer Dieter Lauterbach. It is not the first time in her young career that Kessler has won an FEI medal, as she claimed bronze at last year’s European Youth Driving Championships.
The 19-year-old was very pleased with her performance: “I have had this horse since last summer and I have been working with him since February. I have more horses at home. I felt that my experience from competing at previous Championships helped me a lot here. This was the last competition of the season for Enfado P. I am planning to go to the next World Championships in Conty 2016, but it all depends on the horse.”
Her compatriot William Slater drove the Sachsen-Thüringen heavy warmblood mare Anni 95 to take silver. The daughter of Lord Brown I finished the competition with a total of 7.43 points. Slater was assisted on the carriage by his wife, the 2011 FEI World Pair Driving champion Carola Slater-Diener.
The bronze medal went to one of the Nonius horses bred at Mezőhegyes, the black stallion Mezőhegyes Nonius 8 Taksony, driven by Krisztián Németh (HUN), a professional horse truck, who finished on a total score of 6.43.
The 11 starters in the six-year-old horse-class had four days of competition, with two days of combined dressage and cones, and then the top seven going through to the dressage final. The last day consisted of a combined marathon and cones competition, which included two marathon obstacles, a water passage and several cones.
The Silesian horses, nicely driven by the very successful single driver Bartlomiej Kwiatek (POL), dominated this class. Kwiatek took home the gold medal with Bazyli, the stallion with which he won the CAI2* competition in Boguslawice (POL) last month. The son of his top horse Lokan finished on a total score of 15.16 penalty points. Kwiatek then drove his second horse, the black mare Frezja, to win the silver medal. The daughter of Regiment finished on a score of 14.70 points to stay just ahead of bronze medallist Claus Quast (GER) with Partitur 7. The Hanoverian mare by Weltruhm scored 14.29 points.
After his hugely successful day, Kwiatek said: “Mezőhegyes is a very nice place and the organisers did a great job to make it a high quality competition. My horses are very good, and I am very happy that I finished first and second place. They are not easy horses but they did their best, as well as my team. I was here with four horses in two categories and it was not an easy job to prepare everything and without them I would not have been able to do it. I have been driving Bazyli for a year now and I am really looking forward to compete with him and also with my other horses at the next FEI World Driving Championships for Young Horses. “
The seven-year-old division was the biggest class of the championships, with 19 starters that took on the same competition format as the six-year-olds.
Franz Schiltz (LUX) drove Frodo, a son of Florestan I, to gold with a finishing score of 16.46. The Oldenburger gelding was successful earlier this season already, when Schiltz came second with him at the CAI3* in Nebanice (CZE), where they made their international debut.
“I am very pleased with my horse Frodo, it was a pleasure to drive him today in the combined marathon”, Schiltz said. “I felt like I was suffering a bit in the second qualification round, but luckily that is not visible in the scores of the judges. My horse went very well in the combined dressage and marathon phase as well, he was easy to drive and I feel that he has good potential for the future. I have been training him for two years now.”
The silver medal went to Arie Dibbits (NED), driving the KWPN-gelding Dynamo (v. Sunny Boy). Dibbits and Dynamo are regular competitors at Dutch national events, and finished third in the young horse class at the CAI3* Dillenburg (GER) 2015. Mezőhegyes was their first big international experience together.
Rudolf Pirhofer (AUT) took home the bronze medal with the Austrian warmblood Bambuccat on a score of 14.02. The combination, winners of the young horse class at the CAI3* Altenfelden (AUT) this year, proved they are a pair for the future again in Mezőhegyes.
1. Enfado P – Jovanca Marie Kessler (GER) 8.27
2. Anni 95 – William Slater (GER) 7.43
3. Mezőhegyes Nonius 8 Taksony – Krisztián Németh (HUN) 6.43
1. Bazyli – Bartlomiej Kwiatek (POL) 15.16
2. Frezja - Bartlomiej Kwiatek (POL) 14.70
3. Partitur 7 – Claus Quast (GER) 14.29
1. Frodo – Franz Schiltz (LUX) 16.46
2. Dynamo – Arie Dibbits (NED) 14.43
3. Bambucca - Rudolf Pirhofer (AUT) 14.02