No American Glory at the 2007 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses

Jessica Jo Tate and Donnermuth Best Performing U.S. Combination

Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/Eurodressage

This year, no American owned and ridden horses were able to draw the spotlight on them in the individual finals at the 2007 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany, August 2-5, 2007. All American combinations stranded in the consolation finals with Jessica Jo Tate and Donnermuth as the highest placed U.S. pair of the show.

Tate and Donnermuth, who is bred by Eberhard Schulte-Böcker and owned by Candace Tate, placed seventh in the consolations finals after finishing 17th in the qualification class with a score of 7.86. In the first round, the black Rhinelander gelding by Don Bedo out of Wonne (by Worldchamp) excelled in his light footed, lovely trot work that featured outstanding traversal movements. The walk had good overtrack but the horse was not through on the bit and this persisted in the canter which became short and lacked forwardness.

In the consolation finals the next day, Tate was able ride the same fantastic trot out of Donnermuth which was naturally uphill and well engaged. The walk was good in its overstep but could have been more relaxed. In the canter the horse was tense and hurried, lacking ground cover and throughness over the back. The judges awarded the combination 8.1 for trot, 8.0 for walk, 7.4 for canter, 7.3 for submission and 7.7 for general impression. This totaled into an overall score of 7.7 and a 7th place.

Tate and Donnermuth were in Europe since mid-July preparing for the Championships at Michael Klimke's place. The combination was absolutely lovely to watch and shows enormous potential for the future.



Lars Holmberg and Mix Max Finish in 11th Place

The second American 6-year old combination competing in Verden were the Californian based Lars Holmberg and his Danish warmblood licensed stallion Mix Max. The elegant duo placed 11th in the consolation finals with a score of 7.46.

In the qualification round, Holmberg and Mix Max played it safe trying to show a correct ride, but it resulted in a flat appearance. Mix Max has a superb front leg, but lacked engagement in his trot. The canter could have been more powerful and the walk was ok, but should cover more ground. They scored 7.08 which ranked them 28th.

In the consolation finals, Mix Max was more expressive, but the elegant trot still lacked power and activity from behind. The walk improved from one diagonal to the other and showed really nice strides in the extension. The canter was soft and expressive, clear in rhythm and he showed obedient and good flying changes. The judges scored the horse 6.8 for trot, 7.4 for walk, 8.0 for canter, and 7.5 for submission and general impression. This totaled into 7.46 and an 11th place.

Mix Max DVH 840 is a Danish warmblood stallion bred by Jorgen Olsen and owned by Lars Holmberg, who is based in Sylmar, California, where he runs Holmberg and Wadeborn Dressage. His dark bay sire is by Milan out of Gitte (by Bajazzo xx).


Christopher Hickey and Cabana Boy, the American Delegation in the 5-year old division

American Christopher Hickey and his American warmblood gelding Cabana Boy were the best performing U.S. pair in the 5-year old division. They placed 10th in the consolation finals after just missing out on a berth in the individual finals with a 15th place in the qualification round.

Hilltop Farm's Cabana Boy performed a decent first round, but the horse was not really settled in the ring. Though the trot work showed good power, Cabana Boy was not enough through the back and soft on the bit. The contact was unsteady throughout the ride which resulted in a lack of activity from behind both in trot and canter. The hind legs should have moved more under the body instead of out. The walk was good with one hoof overtrack but has more potential. They scored solid 7+ marks for gaits and submission and their total score of 7.42 placed them 15th.

Unfortunately, in the consolation finals the contact issues with the bit were not resolved and though there were great moments in the ride, such as the extended canter and the trot with long reins where the horse chews on the bit, the judges scored the pair 7.56 in total which ranked them in tenth place.

It's has been busy times for Christopher Hickey. Right after winning the individual gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he flew back to Maryland, U.S.A for a two-day stopover at Hilltop Farm before heading to Germany to join Cabana Boy on their newest adventure: competing at the 2007 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden. Hickey headed to Ulla Salzgeber's stable in Bad Worishofen in South Germany for some final training and fine-tuning of his horse before traveling to the World Championships up north in Germany.

Because of the Pan American Games, Hickey's preparation of Cabana Boy for the Championships was not ideal. It showed in the contact issues with the bit which unfortunately covered up the horse's athletic ability and potential in the show ring. Fortunately, the pair will get their rematch at the 2007 USEF/Markel National Young Dressage Horse Championships in Kentucky in September, where they can prove their top class once again.

Nevertheless, Christopher was very happy to have competed in Verden. "It's been great," Hickey said. "He's such a fantastic horse." Hickey aims at bringing Cabana Boy all the way up to FEI level and the World Young Horse Championships were an ideal stepping stone to achieve international recognition along the way. "We train our horses to upper level and it's good to represent U.S. breeding here in Europe with this Contucci son. I'm very thankful to Jane MacElree for giving me this opportunity."

Cabana Boy is bred by Douglas and Shannon Langer of Maple Run Farm and owned by Hilltop Farm in Colora, Maryland. The bay American warmblood gelding is by Contucci out of a Bordeaux dam.


David Blake and Lord Albert Finish Sixteenth in 5-year old Consolation Finals

Californian David Blake and his Hanoverian gelding Lord Albert finished 16th in the 5-year old consolation finals after a 24th place in the qualification round.

In the first round, Blake and Lord Albert stood out in the trot work by showing a fantastically cadenced trot, but with not enough power and suspension. The hind leg in the extended trot was a bit slow and missed push. The walk was limited with little freedom in the shoulder, but the canter was better and showed potential. Unfortunately, the contact with the bit was quite unsteady. They scired 7.9 for trot, 6.1 for walk, 7.2 for canter, 6.9 for submission and 7.3 for general impression. Their overall score was 7.08.

Fortunately, the combination improved in the consolation finals with more engaged trot work and a canter that bounced more off the ground. The judges recognized this improvement and pushed their overall score up to 7.16 and a sixteenth place.

Blake discovered Lord Albert in the stables of Shannon and Steffen Peters and purchased the horse in February 2007. Lord Albert is a Hanoverian gelding by Londonderry out of a Brentano II dam and is bred by Albert Schmidt from Ankum, Germany.

Text and Photos by Astrid Appels of Eurodressage

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