- Text and Photos © Astrid Appels (this article expresses Appels' eye-witness account and opinion about the competition).
Our first article from Ermelo was titled The Last Will be First - Wandres and Fashion Prinz OLD Win 5-YO Preliminary Test and our last article show report from Ermelo easily befitted the same title: The Last Will be First.
The ultimate starting place in a class is such an important strategic tool and beneficial for the combination that is "drawn" last to go. Judges have seen the whole array of horses and can more easily compare that one to the rest of the bunch and adapt their points more accordingly. This is not just a concontion of this reporter but a scientifically proven fact and presented to the FEI as a working point on several occasions, advocating a random draw as the fairest system for a level field of play.
The final class which concluded the 2022 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Ermelo on Sunday 11 September 2022 was the Finals for the 6-year olds. Not reigning World Champion Hesselhoj Down Town, but Oldenburg bred Global Player OLD snatched away the title and took highest honour on that sunny late summer afternoon.
Global Player OLD
Eva Möller and Global Player OLD (by Grand Galaxy Win x Blue Hors Don Schufro) were the ultimate pair to go in the class and before him several wonderful top quality youngsters had set the bar very high. While in the preliminary test many horses were sped through the programme, in the finals most of them found the right tempo and stride.
The same could be said of Möller on her black stallion. They showed a nice rhythm in trot, well balanced, even though the horse has a slight paddle with the right front leg. In the right volte and half pass he dropped a bit on the forehand. The walk was very nicely executed with good marching and ground cover, but there was a loss of activity in the right walk pirouette. In canter the stallion showed good uphill tendency but could have flowed a bit more forward through the body instead of up. He obediently executed all four flying changes, but threw in an unscripted extra one at the end of the extended canter left.
The judging panel for the 6-year old finals included Eddy de Wolf van Westerrode (NED), Katrina Wüst (GER), Kurt Christensen (DEN), and Thomas Lang (AUT), and they praised the horse for the "generosity" Global Player displayed in his test. Even though there was an unasked extra flying change in the test, the judge considered it a "flawless test" which earned the horse a 10 for submission. Global Player received 9.5 for walk, 9.8 for trot, 9.5 for canter, 10 for submission and 10 for general impression. It is always good to go last! His total of 9.76 put him first on the leader board and far ahead of the competition.
Bred by Danish Henrik Hansen and owned by the breeder in partnership with stallion keeper moguls Paul Schockemöhle and Andreas Helgstrand, Global Player OLD was the Oldenburg stallion licensing champion and has been in training with Eva Möller for the past three years.
"I have Global Player since he was three," Möller said at the press conference. "He has never done anything any wrong. He was reserve champion at the Bundeschampionate and fourth at last year's World Championships. It takes a lot to become a World Champion; health, traininability, and as a stallion having to cope with the breeding business. He's breeding and is not crazy with that. He's focused on sport and still very reliable."
Möller is a very seasoned young horse competitor and has won the WCYH title two times before, on Sa Coeur in 2012 and 2013, and got silver on Soliere (2010) and Danciero (2021) and bronze on Blickpunkt (2010, 2009). Despite all that mileage she feels the pressure to perform each time she goes into the arena.
"The judges made it quite close in the qualifier and when you know it's quite close, and know you have to go in there and be very correct, than it's a lot of tension," she explained. "You try really hard and if it works out, it's great. I'm 32 years older than Jill (the bronze medal winner). Every time you go in the ring, it's the same excitement. It's always a new challenge, a new competition, a new horse."
Eva works on a daily basis with her husband Dr. Ulf Möller but regularly gets coaching from Oliver Oelrich for fresh input.
"Oliver Oelrich comes on a regular basis, every two weeks. When you are in a relationship with your trainer - Ulf is my husband - he is always there with me. It can be difficult," Eva admitted with a smile on her face. The couple runs Helgstrand Germany at Gestut Famos in Syke.
Silver for Hesselhoj Down Town
Swedish Jeanna Hogberg had a weekend she will not quickly forget. With the horse that earned her the World Champion's title in 2021, she now added a silver medal to her collection and that on her last day riding him. Down Town had been sold to the Australian Oatley family and in addition, Ermelo was her last weekend on the payroll of Helgstrand Dressage. Jeanna is moving back to Sweden to build her own business there.
The silver medal was still a wonderful goodbye present even though gold tastes sweater. The bright bay stallion (by Hesselhoj Donkey Boy x Blue Hors Zack) has showed great improvement and build muscles in a year's time. The trot showed lots of suspension in the extensions but he got a bit wide behind in them. The right trot half pass had huge crossing of the legs and ground cover. The walk was the highlight with excellent clarity of rhythm both in the extension and collection. The left walk pirouette was a bit big. The second and fourth flying change was rather short and not straight in the body and although the extended canter had much bounce, the horse got a bit croup high. Albeit, Down Town is a cool dude and a super talented horse for the future.
The judges praised him for being "easy going" with "hocks active but they could be working more under." The walk they considered "very clear and adjustable." They rewarded the horse with 9.3 for walk and trot, 9.0 for canter, 9.5 for submission and 9.8 for general impression. The total was 9.38 points for silver.
At the press conference, Hogberg appeared totally happy with the result. "He's amazing," she said of Down Town. "Today we had a bit of trouble in the warm-up with the audience around, so I was insecure going in. I lacked a bit the control I had Friday. I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to ride him today. I felt a lot of pressure going in. I haven't done so many finals as Eva has done, but feel a bit more comfortable now."
Hesselhoj Down Town is bred by Dorthe and Hans Jorgen Hoeck of stud farm Hesselhoj. He was owned by Helgstrand but sold to Oatley.
Bronze for 17-year old Bogers on Lennox U.S.
The 17-year old Dutch junior rider team member Jill Bogers has an unforgettable year aboard the KWPN stallion Lennox U.S.
Although the stallion is only 6 years old, he has a very busy season for his age: silver at the 2022 Dutch Junior Championships, a start at the CDI Exloo, followed by team silver and a 5th place at the 2022 European Junior Riders Championships in Hartpury (GBR), and then motoring on to the World Championships in Ermelo, where he got bronze. The youngest rider to compete at a World Championships was 15-year old Jazmin Yom Tov in 2017, but at age 17 Bogers certainly is the youngest to win a medal at this event.
Lennox U.S. is just like the champion is by Grand Galaxy Win, and out of a Rousseau dam. He is bred by Bas Wilschut and owned by the breeder in partnership with Paul Schockemöhle and Joop van Uytert. Bogers and the gorgeous dark bay stallion produced a wonderful test and were deservedly placed third in the ranking with 8.9 points. Lennox began with a rather stretched halt indicative of the hindlegs that have a tendency to push out instead of truly carry and come under. Nevertheless he showed a soft-footed, rhythmical trot throughout. In the walk he got a bit slow and could have been more active but showed small walk pirouettes. In canter the stallion, without a doubt, produced the four best flying changes of the day. The presentation was simply gorgeous, always soft in the connection and steady in the frame.
The judges praised Lennox for "looking happy" and his "very harmonious presentation." The canter was "impressive, dynamic, fully through the body." They rewarded the horse with 7.9 for walk, 8.7 for trot, 9.4 for canter, 9.5 for submission and 9.0 for general impression.
A shy Bogers said at the press conference that, "I had a great feeling on Friday. Often my feeling doesn't correspond with the points I get. Today he felt a bit slow to me, but he did so well."
The One to Watch
Dutch Grand Prix team rider Emmelie Scholtens piloted the massive, 180 ++ standing stallion Las Vegas (by Ferdeaux x Wynton) to a fourth place.
Last year he was presented at the WCYH in Verden by Franka Loos and she navigated him to a fifth place. The horse became the talk of the town there with his impressive but not so flawless gaits. This years the owners decided on a new strategy and have the more experienced, former young horse world champion Scholtens ride the horse with a future at FEI level in the pipeline for the long term.
The tall powerhouse was the one horse who turned the stadium in full silence. The trot was uphill with huge extensions and a good cadence on the voltes and in the lateral movements. The horse's mouth opened regularly though and he was not so steady and happy in the connection. Emmelie had to ride to extended walk with full reins given and only then he got two hooves overstep. In the collected he came close to being lateral and a foot got stuck in one walk pirouette. The canter is massive with huge uphill striding. The horse was not really collecting in the corners and got croup high in the right counter canter. Also the flying changes were in two faces or difficult. So there was plenty of quality to be amazed by but this giant needs more time to mature.
The judges said that he is a "highly impressive horse, a powerhouse, but the hindlegs could be a bit quicker in the extensions. He is easy to collect. The walk was not totally relaxed today. The canter was straight and uphill but there were problems in all four changes today. They were not through."
Las Vegas scored 7.9 for walk, 9.5 for trot, 9.6 for canter 7.9 for submission and 8.8 for perspective to finish fourth with 8.74 points. The stallion is bred by J. Deenen and owned by Nico Witte and Nol Gerritsen.
Lord Platinum Fifth
Kirsten Becker's assistant rider, Spaniard Fransisco "Curro" Benitez Sanchez, rode the elegant KWPN gelding Lord Platinum (by Ferguson x Bretton Woods) to a fifth place.
Last year, Lord Platinum finished 27th in the consolation final for 5-year olds at the WCYH in Verden but this year the pair showed more readiness for the 6-year old programme. They were the reserve champions at the 2022 Pavo Cup Finals a month ago and now flew the flag for KWPN in Ermelo by completing the top five.
The refined looking liver chestnut was one of five Ferguson offspring which Indonesian Titan Wilaras had bred and had competing in Ermelo this week! Benitez rode very floating trot work with this horse, but kept him in a tight frame and the nose was often behind the vertical. The extended walk was very nice, but he got tense in the collected. In the canter work the hindleg was always very nicely jumping under and the left extension was beautifully uphill, but the flying changes to the right were the better ones. The horse piaffed in the final halt at X.
He scored 8.8 for walk, 8.5 for trot, 8.8 for canter, 8.5 for submission and 8.8 for general impression to finish with 8.68 points.
Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED (NO SCREEN SHOTS!)
Eurodressage photographed (almost) 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.
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2022 World Championships Young Dressage Horses
Scores: 2022 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses