Danciero Dethrones Global Player in 7-YO Finals at 2023 World Young Horse Championships

Sun, 08/06/2023 - 15:45
Anna Kasprzak and Danciero win the 7-year old finals at the 2023 World Young Horse Championships :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Danish Anna Kasprzak and the Hanoverian Danciero dethroned reining world champion Global Player in the 7-year old finals at the 2023 World Championships for young dressage horses in Ermelo (NED) on Sunday morning 6 August 2023. The Oldenburg Global Player ended up with silver while KWPN more Lightning Star was back to bronze. 

The 2023 World Young Horse Championships are wrapping up today at the KNHS/KWPN headquarters in Ermelo. Then entire five days of competition have been plagued by rain showers, but overall it stayed dry and only a few riders who pestered by the sudden wet weather. With good covered seating for the spectators, the crowds came out in droves to see the world's best young horses compete. Especially on Friday and Saturday the venue was packed with people. 

The 7-year old developing Prix St Georges horse test requires a higher level of technical riding with walk and canter half pirouettes, tempi changes, and more collection overall. This challenge already filters out a huge group of WCYH alumni who are not up for the task, but the returnees that do show up, usually are on strong form and progressing steadily up the levels. 

The finals were judged by Janet Lee Foy, Juan Carlos Campos Escribano, Henning Lehrmann, and Maria Colliander.

"It's Really Easy to be a Good Rider on Him"

The black Hanoverian Danciero (by Dancier x Floriscount) won silver at the 2021 WCYH in Verden under his trainer and rider from the start, German Eva Möller. Bred by ZG Broers & Weber, the then stallion sold to Anna Kasprzak who kept him home from CDI shows in 2022 to qualify the now gelding for the German team for the 2023 WCYH. 

Kasprzak and Danciero
The horse always stood out with his rideability and amazing temperament and Danish Olympian Kasprzak certainly made use of those qualities in producing the horse to FEI level. In the finals the total pictures was marked by harmony. The trot had good cadence and swing, but there was loss of rhythm in the first medium. The extended was floaty and overall the trot work flowed in the lateral movements. The walk was very clear in the rhythm, but the collected could be a bit more together. In the canter half pass right, he lost a bit of the uphill tendency, but overall the canter exercises looked easy and the contact with the bit was always quiet and soft. The horse produced very easy three and four tempi changes, the pirouettes were not that uphill but showed clear sit and collection of the canter. After the final diagonal, Danciero spooked hard from the jumbotron which changed screen right in front of his eyes, but the judges excused him from the lapse. 

The judges rewarded the ride with a winning 86.829%. Danciero scored 9.8 for walk, 9.6 for trot, 9.0 for canter, and 10 for submission and general impression. With a technical mark of 76.858% the total put her far ahead of the second placed pair. 

Kasprzak and Danciero
"This is harmony," judge Maria Colliander said over the speaker. "The trot was very active, elastic, happy and natural looking, the canter had wow-ability to collect. It's a happy athlete, a super nice partnership."

Kasprzak was beaming with pride in the prize giving ceremony and at the press conference she stated, "I had an amazing feeling. He was a bit more 'on' than on the first day but in a good way. He has been developing so much in the last couple of months.  Something happened with the screen, he was wondering to turn around but he stayed with me. I'm very happy."

When asked if Danciero can score more, she replied, "of course the marks can improved, otherwise all marks would have been 10. The tens were I got them were for me very satisfying. It is really easy to be a good rider with this horse. He gives so much.  We have focused much on this (the WCYH) but our plan is by the end of the year to focus on small tour. It's really promising for the future.  We will keep them safe and sound."

Global Player Gets Silver

It is impressive that the two top medal winning horses this morning were both produced by Eva Möller. The Oldenburg licensed stallion Global Player (by Grand Galaxy Win x Blue Hors Don Schufro) was ridden by Möller to a fourth place at the 2021 WCYH in Verden, last year he won gold as a 6-year old in Ermelo, and only this spring, Möller gave the ride on the stallion to her assistant Leonie Richter, who now scored silver. 

Andreas Helgstrand, Henrik Hansen and Leonie Richter
on Global Player
When the judges announced the generous scores it seemed certain that he would get gold, but Danciero dethroned the king. The beautiful black stallion produced lovely, strong trot work, fluent, balanced and very rhythmical also in the lateral movements. The extended walk was well ridden, but in the collected he got slow and he crossed behind in the left walk pirouette. The canter is expressive in the legs and off the ground but today the horse stayed tight in the back. In the left pirouette he changed behind, in the right one the exit was a bit unbalanced. The four tempi's were ok, but there was a mistake in the threes. 

Global Player, who is bred by Danish Henrik Hansen and owned by Helgstrand & Schockemöhle, scored9.6 for walk, 9.7 for trot, 8.7 for canter, 8.3 (?) for submission and 9.4 for general impression. With a technical mark of 74.858% he averaged 83.129% for second place. 

"It speaks for the horse that he can win medals with two different riders," Leonie Richter said at the press conference. "She (Eva Möller) trains the horses in a very harmonious way. The horses are so focused on her, maybe that's the secret. The feeling on Global Player is amazing. He's so nice. At home he's like a pony, he handles himself so well. The trot is the highlight. He can trot really big, but you can collect him very easily."

Lightning Strikes Again

Dutch Kirsten Brouwer saved KWPN's biscuit on home turf in Ermelo as so far after two finals, only one medal has been won by a horse from Dutch breeding, while the Netherlands is the second biggest dressage breeding country in the world. Brouwer is always a force to be reckoned with. She's the young horse expert and has collected a whole cabinet of WCYH medals over the years.  Aboard the liver chestnut Lightning Star (by Ferguson x De Niro) she picked up bronze in 2021, but dropped to 8th place in 2022. This year it was back to bronze, so lightning does strike twice in the same spot. 

Kirsten Brouwer and Lightning Star
Bred by Indonesian entrepreneur Titan Wilaras and owned by Rosanne and Robert van Stuivenberg in partnership with the rider, Lightning Star is a very electric, quick moving mare, elegant and ladylike in her way of going. The halt at entry as well as the end halt was stretched and in the medium trot she got a bit wide behind, but she was sharp and really expressive in the lateral movements. The extension had plenty of overtrack. The mouth stayed quite dry though and when given the rein in trot, she did not properly stretch the neck with the nose out. The collected walk was a bit tense but the walk pirouettes well ridden, the extended canter was active but could have been more supple over the back. The mare hesitated a bit in the onset of the right pirouette, almost losing the canter. The tempi changes were super straight and forward. 

Lightning Star scored a total of 81.779% to place third. She got 9 for walk, 9.1 for trot, 8.6 for canter, and 9.2 for submission and perspective. The technical score was 73.358%. 

"I had a good feeling as she's quite safe in the tempi and exercises," said a joyous Brouwer at the press conference. "It's always nice to ride her, she's always willing to work. I try to build a connection and that she's a happy horse and trusts me. The test is quite technical and you have to ride without mistakes. The first day we had two small issues. I'm super happy with the bronze medal."

Judge Hennig Lehrmann (GER) sat in on the press conference and added, "I was really surprised how good they were. It's good marketing for the sport. The winner was one of the most harmonioius rides I have ever seen on young horses. As a rider I can say I'm a little bit jealous because the top three are super horses."

Diaton Fourth

Nicole Wego on Diaton
Four horses scored over 80% on the finals and the fourth one was the Hanoverian Diaton (by Dimaggio x Benetton Dream), bred by Silke Groeneveld, owned by German pony team rider Maria Teresa Pohl and ridden by Hof Kasselmann's Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer. 

The handsome, tall liver chestnut stallion is a very modern looking horse with an uphill way of going. He worked well for his rider and produced a very ground covering extended canter and a super left pirouette. The right one was slightly big. The four tempi changes were a bit unbalanced and one change in the threes was in two phases. 

He was much the flavour of the judges as they rewarded the talented horse with 9.3 for walk, trot, canter, 7.8 for submission and 9.4 for general impressoon. With a technical score of 73.000% he totalled 81.600%. 

Look Who's Back: Isabell Werth

A familiar face in the dressage world - Isabell Werth - was seen on unfamiliar grounds - the World Young Horse Championships. The most decorated Grand Prix rider in the world decided to return to the WCYH after a 23-year break from this competition. In 2000 she rode the Westfalian Richard Kimble at the WCYH in Arnheim (NED), and this week she brought the Hanoverian licensed stallion Valdiviani (by Veneno x Fidertanz) to Ermelo. He is bred by Roger Ballmann at Hof auf der Hardt in St.Vith, Belgium, and owned by Madeleine Winter-Schulze. 

Isabell Werth on Valdiviani
The big bay stallion has really developed since his selection for the german team in June/July, even at this show he seemed to have improved from the preliminary test on Friday. The horse, who has very little show experience, grew into this show and showed flashes of future greatness. His trot is big and he really rises in front, but got hectic at times. Also when given the rein in trot, he did not truly stretch the neck and put his nose out. Three times he lost the rhythm in the extended trot. The half passes were very ground covering. In the extended walk he was slightly hasty, in the collected he was short and lateral before the first pirouette and then short but clear before the second one. The canter half passes were a highlight and the tempi changes were big with especially the threes impressive and up in the air. The canter pirouettes could have more sit and balance. The entire ride looked very much "under construction" as Werth is building him for a bigger future .

The judges scored the horse 6.4 for walk, 8.7 for trot, 9.0 for canter, 8.1 for submission and 8.5 for general impression. With a technical mark of 73.500% (more than Diaton?!), Valdiviani got 77.450% for fifth place. Werth left the arena shaking her head in disagreement. 

Judge Colliander motivated the panel's scores by saying that the trot was "powerful with the hindlegs well under the body, balanced and active," but the walk was "limited in overtrack." She added that he showed "grown up lateral work, expressive secure changes, but he was short in the neck."

What Else?

Hans Peter Minderhoud on Las Vegas
Danish Susanne Barnow placed sixth with her own and Steffen Kristensen's Danish warmblood Skovdals Dexter (by Hesselhoj Donkey Bou x Romanov). The tall lanky bay gelding had a very nice floaty trot with soft footed balanced extensions and a very clear, 4-beat extended walk. The canter at times lost the 3-beat rhythm though and in the tempi changes he got croup high, but it's certainly an interesting horse for the future. 

Hans Peter Minderhoud and Holland's hope for more WCYH medal glory, Las Vegas (by Ferdeaux x Wynton), placed 9th with 75.236%. The massive stallion, owned by Nico Witte and Nol Gerritsen, has tremendous scope in his movements, but was very tense today and did not look happy in his job. There was very good balance and airtime in the trot lengthenings, the extended walk was not the biggest but clear in the rhythm, and the extended canter scopey. Las Vegas showed super ability to collect and sit in the canter pirouetttes, but the right one started crooked, there was a break into canter in the left trot half pass and a mistake in the four tempi changes.

Hope Beerling on Vianne
One of the most delightful pairs to watch was Australian Hope Beerling on the American Hanoverian mare Vianne (by Vitalis x Ramiro's Bube), bred by Catherine Haddad and owned by NorCordia. The dapple grey mare has a super lofty trot and showed a fantastic left shoulder in. The extended trot was rather conservative and although the mare moved with much ground cover in both trot and canter, one wished to see her a bit sharper on the aids and in front of the leg; so there was more differentiation between collection and extension. The tempi changes were super straight. None of the halts were immobile though. The bridle contact was soft and elastic and Beerling should be commended on her seat. Despite the big gaits of her horse, she sits independently in her monoflap Stubben Schultheis saddle. No need to be locked in like a disabled rider with thigh blocks as big as the Himalayas. They scored 75.122% and ranked 10th.

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

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