The 2016 edition of the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses staged at the Zangersheide Stud in Belgium more than lived up to expectations, with massive entries of high-quality horses and edge-of-the-seat excitement in the competitions in all three categories. The first title of the weekend went to the 5-year-old KWPN stallion Garant, ridden by The Netherlands’ Willem Greve.
In the first 5-Year-Old qualifier a total of 111 horses jumped clear from a field of 228 starters. As course designer Luc Musette explained, “it is not possible to build the fences any bigger, and the quality of the young horses ensures you have a lot going clear!” It was a bit tougher in the second qualifier with 74 clear from 225 starters, but today 20 of the 50 starters made the cut into the Final jump-off, so this was never going to be an easy one to win.
One of the sensations of the weekend was 16-year-old Irish schoolboy Michael Pender who first put the ISH mare Z Seven Canya Dance (Can Ya Makan/Cavalier Royale) into pole position with a foot-perfect run in 39.04 seconds only to overtake his own target time with his second ride Z Seven Caretina (Coltaire Z/Caretino) who broke the beam in 38.86 seconds. He looked to have gold and silver in the bag until last man in, The Netherlands’ Willem Greve, pushed him off the top step of the podium when just 0.4 seconds quicker with the KWPN stallion Garant (Warrant/Verdi TN).
“I bought the horse in May and my home rider competed him in some national shows. I think he is a real Grand Prix horse” said the Dutch gold medallist. “The course designer did a great job, it was difficult enough, the time was short but you didn’t see any horses crashing. If you wanted to go fast in the jump off in the final that was your own decision. I never went fast before with Garant, but I knew he had the quality to try it. If you come to these Championships you need a little bit of luck to get to the finals but participating is already a super experience for the rider and the horse. I try to come here every year”, Greve said.
Pender was plenty happy with silver and bronze. “These medals are the biggest thing I’ve won until now - I’m still going to school but I definitely want to be a professional rider!” said the young Irishman who was on the Irish team at the Junior European Championships this summer. “I had a win at Dublin Horse Show and I already did some jump-offs with my horses. They are careful and they have scope so I knew I could go for it today!” he added.
GOLD - Garant (William Greve) NED 0/0 38.46
SILVER - Z Seven Caretina (Michael Pender) IRL 0/0 38.86
BRONZE - Z Seven Canya Dance (Michael Pender) IRL 0/0 39.04.
Full results here