Two years ago, when Selten HWwon the Markel/USEF National Four-Year-Old Young Dressage Horse Championship, hedecided heliked being national champion.In fact, heliked it so much that the following year, with rider Elizabeth Ball, he came back and took the Five-Year-Old National Championship. This past weekend, at the 2010 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship, Selten and Ball did it again when they won the national title for Six-Year-Old horses.
Selten HW (Sandro Hit x High Princess by Hohenstein) was bred in the U.S. by Roger and Irene Hoeflich-Wiederhold and they were on hand to see him take his third national Young Horse Championship title and thus, make history as the first to win the Four-Year-Old, Five-Year-Old and Six-Year-Old divisions. His Four-Year-Old win was with Michael Bragdell. “They were there watching him, along with many of our supporters, and we all had a great time,” Ball said of the National Championships, held at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois. She and Selten won with a score of 8.692 earning a victory that Ball called “a great honor. I’m so happy to have been part of the Young Horse program three years in a row. It’s a wonderful program.”
The national title capped what has already been a stellar year for the duo. “This year, he’s averaged 86 percent in competition and he’s been undefeated,” Ball said of Selten. “He’s proven himself to be quite successful.” Whether or not Ball and Selten will head into the Developing Horse competition next year remains to be seen. “The Developing Horse program is possible,” Ball said. “But, I want to be careful and I want to be sure that he’s strong enough to do it with the same success he’s had so far. He’ll tell us if the Developing Horse will be too much or not.”
Ball credited a large team of supporters, including her groom, her family and her entire network of friends and supporters at her barn, for the tremendous success that she and Selten have had over the years. “So many people make up my support team. For every horse and rider combination, there is a whole group of people behind them who are making sacrifices and cheering them on and without them, we wouldn’t be in the show ring.”
Although she’s gotten some assistance from Guenter Seidel along the way, Ball has essentially brought Selten along on her own. Selten, however, has made the road to success relatively easy because of his great desire to be a winner. “He wants to win. You can feel it,” Ball said of her partner. “When he comes to a show, he becomes the best of all the parts he does well at home. He just brings it all together when showing and becomes so focused and so reliable. He’s only six, so he’s not yet perfect, but it’s not for lack of trying.”
When asked if she thought she’d one day look back and think of Selten as a horse of a lifetime, Ball said, he already is. “I think that already, no matter where the future goes, it has been an amazing ride and unlike anything else I’ve had.” Ball can only think of one other ride she’s had that comes close to Selten and that was Bolshoj. “Consistency” is clearly a word that describes Selten. “He goes out and does his job every time,” Ball said. What adds to Selten’s success is the extraordinary way that he can move his body “and it helps that he’s tall, dark and handsome. He’s very elegant.”