The Last Will be First - Wandres and Fashion Prinz OLD Win 5-Year old Preliminary Test at 2022 World Young Horse Championships

Thu, 09/08/2022 - 23:40
2022 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses
Frederic Wandres and Fashion Prinz OLD win the 5-year old preliminary test at the 2022 World Young Horse Championships in Ermelo :: Photo © Astrid Appels

 - Text and Photos © Astrid Appels (this article expresses Appels' eye-witness account and opinion about the competition).

With the advantage of being last to go working to his benefit, German Frederic Wandres and the Oldenburg stallion Fashion Prinz OLD became the winners of the 5-year old Preliminary Test at the 2022 World Championships for Young Horse Championships in Ermelo, The Netherlands, on Thursday 8 August 2022. 

The Big Bang

The first class of the 2022 WCYH began early Thursday morning with 44 five-year old combinations putting their best foot forward to give the judges a strong first impression and finish in the top 12 for direct qualification into the Finals round. The weather forecast for the first day of competition had been ominous all week.

After a two-month summer drought in West Europe, the incessant heat finally came to an end, unfortunately today, with massive thunder storms and downpours of rain forecast all day. The weathermen weren't wrong as riders, grooms and spectators staying in the Ermelo area were literally "thundered" out of their beds with lightning striking hard at 6 AM in the morning..It pretty much rained all morning and some riders really got he brunt of it, while others rode in drizzle. In the afternoon the sky broke open and the sun peeped through, casting rays of sunlight over the championship arena and the prize giving ceremony round 15h30. 

A Few Impressions

The overall quality in the 5-year old class was high with very complete horses presenting itself for assessment. Only very few pairs rode down the centerline today of which one thought they could better have stayed home to practice a bit more. This is a good evolution reflecting the improved breeding, the better riding, and the overall better selection by the national federations. 

Ermelo WCYH ribbon
Judges Henning Lehrmann (GER), Monique Peutz-Vegter (NED), Lars Andersson (SWE) and Janet Foy (USA) did the sorting today and their top 12 and minimum qualification score to go directly to the finals ended up being 8.42 points.  Last year in Verden that mark was even higher (8.62 points) and in 2019 in Ermelo it was 8.44 points.

Before I discuss the top rides I'd like to make a note of a few random impressions. The five year old preliminary test asks for two diagonals of medium trot and two short diagonals of medium walk, one with the reins lengthened. Many riders rode the working trot as a medium trot and the medium trot was full throttle extended trot. Also in the medium walk, a lot of extended walk was shown, or there was hardly any differentiation between the first and second medium walk diagonal (in the second the horse really needed to stretch on the long rein). The required medium canter often looks like full blast extended canter. 

Quite a few riders still have some homework to do when it comes to halting square and doing a straight reinback. Some riders have the annoying habit to check whether their horse is halting square or if the tongue is sticking out right after their final halt and salute. Don't do that. It just looks bad in competition! 

The two best represented sires in the 5-year old test were Furstenball and Revolution, each with four offspring competing. Ah and the jumbotron was black all day because the panel had to cope with too much rain overnight and malfunctioned. They only started displaying the scores at the end of the class. Pity as the screen normally shows the information of the horse (breed, pedigree, breeder and owner), which is nice at a "Breeding" World Championship. 

Fashion Prinz Tops the Board

Wandres and Fashion Prinz OLD
The ground jury saw the winner in German Frederic Wandres aboard the Oldenburg stallion Fashion Prinz OLD (by Furst Romancier x Sarkozy). The pair had much to live up to at the end of the class, where the bar was set high by four other stallions and five mares in the top 10. The tall liver chestnut was ridden with much forward drive in trot. His medium trots had a lot of ground cover and suspension, but at times the horse dropped in the poll. Fashion Prinz showed a huge medium walk. While the horse looked a bit rushed in the trot, the canter was much more balanced and quiet, but overall he appeared croup high in his striding and could have had more uphill tendency. They finished with a square final halt

The judges were in awe with the test and generously rewarded the stallion with 9.5 for walk, 9 for trot, 8.5 for canter and submission and 9 for perspective. This became the winning total of 8.9 points.

Fashion Prinz is bred by Paul Schockemöhle and sold for 750,000 euro to the American Houston family at the 2021 PSI Auction.

Vitalos Impresses

Leonie Richter and Vitalos
Germany had a very strong run in the preliminary round as six of its eight team horses finished in the top 10. Maybe the horse that impressed the most today was Vitalos, a Hanoverian stallion by Vitalis x De Niro, presented by Leonie Richter. The tall liver chestnut has lots of natural elevation and elasticity. His trot was supple and cadenced. The medium walk had lots of ground cover, relaxation and a very clear 4-beat rhythm. In canter, the stallion could have taken a bit more weight on the hindlegs. When given the reins in trot, the nose could have stretched a bit more forward. 

The judges scored him 8.2 for walk, 9.4 for trot, 9 for canter, 8.7 for submission and 9 for perspective. This totalled to 8.86 points, which ranked them second. 

The tall chestnut is bred by Josef Bramlage and was bought by Paul Schockemohle as a foal. He later sold a share to Andreas Helgstrand. Vitalos was first licensed for Oldenburg through a special "home" licensing before being approved for Hanoverian breeding. 

Girl Power

The World Championships are a huge marketing tool for stallion owners and horse dealers to promote their horses, but it is even nicer when mares can break through that male hegemony. The Danish warmblood mare Lyngbjergs St. Paris led the way as the highest scoring mare in the field one of five mares in the top 10. 

Victoria Vallentin on Lyngbjergs St. Paris
The black beauty (by Blue Hors St. Schufro x Blue Hors Rockefeller) is presented by Danish young professional Victoria Vallentin and really made a splash. Unfazed by the rain pouring down, they showed elegant, lightfooted trot work with good overtrack in the mediums, although she appeared a bit rushed. The medium walk was well ridden even though she does not have the greatest overtrack. The canter was nicely uphill with good hindleg usage. The final halt was hand-ridden though and overall she could be a bit more open in the throatlatch. 

The judges scored the horse 7.8 for walk, 9.2 for trot, 9.3 for canter, 9.0 for submission and 8.8 for perspective. She was third with 8.82 points. 

Lyngbjergs St. Paris is bred by Bente Børjesson and owned by the rider in partnership with United Dressage, an investment company directed by Jesper Arent Jørgensen, Eskil Peter Lund,  and Christine Arent Risager. St. Paris already finished second in this year's Danish Warmblood 5-year old championship in Herning last March and was a silver medal winning mare at the 2020 Danish Warmblood elite mare show.

Judges' Flavour

The judges clearly expressed their flavour for the KWPN mare My Precious (by Ferguson x Vivaldi) who was lavishly scored today despite some flaws in the submission.

Kirsten Brouwer on My Precious
Under World Championship medal winning routinier Kirsten Brouwers, the liver chestnut showed off very elegant and soft footed trotwork, which could have flowed a bit more forwards. In the reinback she was visibly and frantically crossing her jaws, her lower mandible zigzagging nervously left-right-left-right. She did this on numerous occasions in the test as soon as the contact got a bit stronger. The medium walk was excellent: active, marching, good overtrack and a clear V-moment in the rhythm. The canter had plenty of quality but the left counter canter was totally crooked, and she dropped into trot in the right counter canter. 

The judges scored the horse 9 for walk, 9.5 for trot, 8.4 for canter, 7.8 for submission and 8.8 for perspective, which ranked her fourth with 8.70 in total. 

My Precious is bred by Indonesian businessman Titan Wilaras, whose name is behind numerous successful Dutch warmblood horses including Lightning RR, Lord Platinum, Five Star, Eye Catcher, etc. Brouwers used to be his head rider at Platinum stable until their collaboration came to an end in 2017. Brouwer became the owner of several of Wilaras' horses to even some bills. 

Twice as Nice

Leonie Richter on In My Mind
Last week Leonie Richter won the inaugural 7-year old finals at the 2022 Bundeschampionate on her own Dos Amigos and today the professional rider navigated two horses in the top five: Vitalos and In My Mind.

On the black, Westfalian bred In My Mind (by Ibiza x Fidermark) she completed the top five with 8.68 points. They were the first pair to go today, in the rain, but produced a very focused test. The trot work was ground covering and balanced, but in the corners and in collection, the horse could carry a bit more from behind. The medium walk had plenty of overtrack, but the clarity in the rhythm could have been clearer. The canter work was nicely ridden, but the stallion pulled on the reins once and in the overall frame the nose could have been a bit more out. 

He got 7.9 for walk, 9.2 for trot, 9.4 for canter, 8.2 for submission, and 8.7 for perspective. 

In My Mind is bred by Franz-Georg Ottmann and is owned by Helgstrand Dressage. In his first year at stud in 2020 he stood at Klosterhof Medingen and was ridden by Christoph Wahler, before moving to Denmark. 

Top 10

Lena Waldmann on Chere Celine OLD
Lena Waldmann and Gisa Löwe's Oldenburg mare Chere Celine OLD (by Governor x San Amour) were the second to go today and landed sixth place at the end with 8.66 points. The black is very active and engaged in trot but appears a bit as a leg mover and could swing more through the back. The medium walk was massive with good marching and gave her the high score of the day (9.7). She further received 8.6 for trot, 8.4 for canter, 8.1 for submission and 8.5 for perspective. 

Eric Guardia Martinez and the Westfalian mare Feine Bella (by Furstenball x Bordeaux) tied in 6th place with 8.66 points. The Spaniard, who has been riding for Feine Bella's owner Helgstrand Dressage for the past seven years, is competing at his third World Championships (Join de Massa in 2019 and Tophojs Diadora in 2021). The young Spaniard is probably the best young horse rider on Helgstrand's team: he does not squeeze or compress horses and really seems to instil positivity and confidence in his horses. He regularly pats them in the test and has a nice contact going.  Feine Bella, which Andreas bought in an online auction for 305,000 euro,  has an expansive trot but the hindlegs not truly seem to carry. The canter has a very nice, uphill tendency and there was plenty of overstep in the medium walk. The end halt was not immobile. The bay mare got 8.7 for walk, 8.8 for trot and canter, 8.3 for submission and 8.7 for perspective. Feine Bella is bred by breeders' group Artmeier, Becker, Delling, and Wibbecke. 

Lisa Marie Koch on Fille d'Or
German Lisa Marie Koch and the Oldenburg mare Fille d'Or (by Blue Hors St. Schufro x Fidertanz) is the second St. Schufro mare that really made an impact with her beauty, movement and functionality. Almost the spitting image of St. Paris, the black Fille d'Or was lightfooted in trot with good suspension and float in the medium trots, even though she seemed to go wide behind. The canter was lovely and the walk superb. In the left counter canter she seemed counter bent though. She got 8.9 for walk, 8.6 for trot, 8.2 for canter and 8.7 for submission and perspective. She finished 8th on 8.62 points. She is bred and owned by Mireille Segatz-Bunte. 

World Championship bronze medal winner Dinja van Liere began her professional career as a young horse rider and is still making her mark on youngsters, even though she is now one of the world's most celebrated Grand Prix riders. Van Liere and the KWPN stallion Mauro Turfhorst (by Zonik x Negro) landed 9th place with 8.58 points. Bred by former Dutch team veterinarian Jan Greve and owned by stallion keepers Eugene Reesink and Turfhorst, the black beauty showed good impulsion and balance in trot, but could also carry himself a bit more from behind. The walk had plenty of overtrack but there could have been more V in the rhythm. The canter had scope but in the medium canter, he lost some swing in the back. The gifted stallion was ridden too tight in the neck and would look even better if he was more open in the throatlatch. The proof of the tight frame came in the trot with given rein when he totally curled himself instead of stretching the nose out. He received 7.9 for walk, 9.2 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 8.3 for submission and 8.7 for perspective. 

One to Watch: Racoon

The biggest outsider and head turner of the day was the Belgian warmblood stallion Racoon (by Hero (Johnson x Ferro) out of a De Niro x Sultan dam).

Franka Loos on Racoon
Ridden by the Dutch Franka Loos, bred by the Dutch Arjan Bekkers in The Netherlands just surprisingly registered for Belgian warmblood, Racoon showcased a beautiful, regular trot with good hindleg activity. The walk was good with a clear differentiation between the two diagonals (one with the given reins). The canter work was engaged and of high quality, even though he lost a bit of elasticity in the back in the right counter canter. The black stallion was always nice and soft in the contact. The end halt was not square. He received 8.0 for walk, 9.2 for trot, 8.9 for canter, 8.2 for submission and 8.6 for perspective to tie in 9th place with 8.58 points. 

The 5-year old finals are promising to be exciting ones with a field still wide open and no top ranked horse certain of a medal. Tomorrow the 5-year old consolation finals start at 8 AM in the morning. The top 3 scoring horses will also be allowed into the finals. 

Eurodressage photographed all riders competing at the 2022 World YH Championships. If you are want to use our photos for social media or prints, email us first.

Related Link
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2022 World Championships Young Dressage Horses