With their combined total of 82.280% in the 2011 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trial for 5 year olds at Dressage at Flintridge CDI* Y/J, June 26–29, Sabine Schut-Keryand the bay Hanoverian stallion Sanceo qualified for this summer’s FEI World Breeding Championships in Verden. “He’s so light, and each day he got better in the contact,” judge Natalie Lamping told DressageDaily. “He’s a stallion, and they can be a little fussy, but Sabine rides so tactfully. When you see him, you can see a Grand Prix horse. He looks like he’s doing it because he wants to do it, not just because someone’s making him do it. And that’s what these classes are about—to show that the horse has the ability to carry himself and do the higher collected work but also cover ground and extend.”
In the 5-year-old Preliminary Test, which counts for 40% of the final score, Schut-Kery, of Thousand Oaks, CA, and Sanceo (by San Remo out of St. Pr. Hauptstutbuch Rivera) took a commanding lead with an 81.200%. Judges Linda Zang, Gary Rockwell and Lamping praised the horse’s cadence and described his canter as “light and airy.” In the Final Test, which counts for 60%, their marks went up to an 83.000%. Schut-Kery was very pleased with the result but hasn’t yet decided whether they’ll travel to Germany for the championships or to the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships in Wayne, IL, Aug. 26–28. “You have to really think what’s best for the horse. I have to be smart and stay focused on the end goal. It’s also the decision of the owners [Alice Womble-Heitmann and Dr. Mike Heitmann of Horsegate Ranch in Hempstead, TX]. But I certainly feel honored by the scores he received.”
Sanceo, Schut-Kery says, “is the whole package. He is so handsome, with that cute face and those round eyes, and he has beautiful gaits. But I love his personality—he is so honest and loyal. In the warm-up [for the Preliminary Test] he was not so energetic, and still he tried so hard. That’s who he is. To me, willingness and work ethic and loyalty are almost more important than extravagant gaits. But I have everything in that horse.” Sanceo's sire, San Remo (by Sandro Hit) won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Young Horse Championships in Verden. His sire Sandro Hit won 1999 World Young Horse Championships held that year in Arnheim.
Schut-Kery and Sanceo join Emily Wagner and Wakeup, who won the Central Selection Trial for 6 Year Olds at Dressage at Lamplight in Illinois, in earning the 8.2 to qualify for Verden. The third and final Selection Trial takes place at the VADA/NOVA Summer June Dressage show in Leesburg, VA, June 3–5, and approximately 25 horses are expected to compete.
Willie Arts and Janice Kissel’s Dutch Warmblood mare Bakara (by Sir Sinclair out of Thea), in only her third competition, were second in the 5-year-old class, scoring a total of 75.120% (73.800% in the Preliminary and 76.000% in the Final). L.J. Banks and the Westfalen mare Sonnenkonigin (by Sandro Hit out of Ferragana) were third, earning a total of 72.920% (71.600% in the Preliminary and 73.800% in the Final).
There were just two entries in the 6-year-old division: Sherry Van’t Riet and her own Oldenburg gelding Sir Deauville (by Sir Donnerhall out of Estella) and Bekki Vrono and her own Oldenburg gelding Soleil (by Sonny Boy out of Ricoletta). Van’t Riet, of Monte Nido, CA, won with a combined total of 70.920%. In the Final Test, Sir Deauville displayed some unplanned movements. “He’d started winding himself up in the warmup,” said Van’t Riet. “Then during the test, at the second flying change he went straight up in the air and leaped. But he came down, and we finished the test.” Though the pair’s scores for both the canter and submission were consequently impacted, the judges commended the horse’s ability and gaits. Vrono and Soleil earned a combined total of 67.440% (67.200% in the Preliminary and 67.600% in the Final) for second place.
Watching the action ringside, Markel’s director of equine development John Seger said, “I’m a big fan of everybody involved: [USEF Young Horse coach] Scott Hassler is the lifeblood of the program, and the USEF has really been a great partner. It’s an association we value and appreciate.” The classes for 5- and 6-year-olds have been a highlight of the Dressage at Flintridge show since the event became the Western Selection Trial for the FEI World Breeding Championships. This year was no different, though show manager Glenda McElroy said that 6 of the 12 horses originally expected to compete scratched over concerns about the EHV-1 outbreak in the Western United States.