Susan Pape's V-Plus Spells V for Victory at 2024 CDIO Wellington

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 17:55
2024 CDIO Wellington
Susan Pape (née Draper) and Harmony Sport Horses' V-Plus at the 2024 CDIO Wellington :: Photo © Astrid Appels

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

Susan Pape's black breeding stallion V-Plus spelled V for victory in the Grand Prix 3* at the 2024 CDIO Wellington on Thursday 22 February 2024.   Besting the morning class of 19 competitors, the German based British rider and her American owned stallion posted 71.391% for the win.

Teacher and Student

The 3* Grand Prix was judged by Michael Osinski, Sissy Max-Theurer, Katrina Wüst, Mariette Sanders - Van Gansewinkel, and Janet Foy and saw only one combination crack the 70% marker.

Pape and the 10-year old Oldenburg stallion V-Plus (by Vivaldi x Furst Romancier) were a showcase of correct dressage riding. The young Grand Prix stallion acted all "testosterony" at the horse inspection but under saddle he's an attentive student listing to his rider. Although he doesn't come across as the most electric and sharpest to the aids, he produced good trot half passes, a smooth zig zag, and nice passage work. In the piaffe and changes to the left he still leans on the forehand. A mistake in the ones happened, but overall Pape did exactly what was required of her: give her horse the confidence in the arena and the correct schooling for this big tour programme. 


Pape and V-Plus
“For his age he doesn’t have so much mileage in grand prix, so I’m very happy,” said Pape, who will return to her German base in two weeks. “The pirouettes were really nice and he was in a good frame. He felt confident even though he’s not been doing grand prix for very long. I did have a blip in the ones and it was totally my mistake, but other than that he was so concentrated in the ring. There’s still lots to improve, but I think the quality is there once he has more strength.”

Bred by Paul Schockemöhle at Gestut Lewitz and sold to Harmony Sport horses via the 2018 PSI Auction for 1.2 million euro, the black stallion has been trained to Grand Prix level by Pape in Hemmoor, north Germany, where he also stands at stud. 

“He really is with me — except for the jog, where he’s not very nice — but other than that he’s such a sweetheart,” enthused Pape, who trains with her husband Ingo as well as with British team rider Gareth Hughes. “You depend upon your horse as a partner. Everybody has to stay healthy and the training needs to get to the point where you can be really confident about everything, but V-plus is definitely in a really good way.” 

Young Talent to the Fore

Pablo Gomez Molina and Servus Ymas
The 29-year old Spaniard Pablo Gomez Molina and the 11-year old Hanoverian gelding Servus Ymas (by San Amour x Depardieu) slotted in second with 68.783% Bred by Anneus Barth in Germany, Servus was discovered by Juan Matute Azpitarte at the 2013 Hanoverian foal auction and purchased for Yeguada de Ymas for 17,500 euro. The refined looking gelding made his international show debut with Gomez in 2019 in the 6-year old classes. Their Grand Prix debut was in the summer of 2023 in Achleiten (AUT) and since then they showed in Dielsdorf, Ocala and Wellington to similar result. The very sporty Servus is all legs and very athletic. He almost gives too much and gets hectic, losing the self carriage in the very expressive passage work. In the piaffe he struggles to find the rhythm and does not yet muster the energy for proper bounce, but the quality is there. The extended walk had huge overtrack but there could be more V-moment in the rhythm. The huge, uphill tempi changes are a highlight. 

Ellen McCarthy and Brave Heart
A rather similar, smaller sizer but huge moving horse is British Ellen McCarthy's 10-year old Oldenburg gelding Brave Heart (by Bordeaux x Tuschinki). The full brother to the Louisdor Cup winner Bonheur de la Vie (Sandra Nuxoll), Brave Heart also gives his all but today he wasn't always regular, engaging more with the right hindleg. McCarthy wanted to show off the horse's scope in the trot extensions and half passes, but it looked a bit too rushed. The horse is certainly high quality but needs more time to settle and mature. They placed seventh with 66.370%.

Experienced Riders

The third-place finisher, on the other hand, was a very established Grand Prix horse: 19-year old KWPN mare Aquamarijn (by United x Gribaldi) under his Olympic rider Yvonne Losos de Muniz. The mare is probably in her last season at Grand Prix heading for Paris and the miles are beginning to show in her legs, but certainly not in her spirit. Always powering forward in fifth gear, Aquamarijn is a spicy mare and rider Yvonne benefits from all that energy in the piaffe. For the trot extensions, the contact gets very strong in the bridle though and overall one wishes to see a horse in more self carriage and a rider with an independent seat. The pair executed good pirouettes and especially in the canter work the bay mare looked settled and comfortable in the work. They scored 68.326%

Jill Irving on Delacroix
Although she has a ton of experience in her bag, Canadian team rider Jill Irving left the arena admitting how nervous she was piloting the 14-year old Hanoverian Delacroix (by Dancier x Don Crusador). The bay gelding was bought in the winter of 2021-2022 as Jill's 2022 World Championship hopeful, but that plan did not come to fruition and the pair only made its international show debut in April 2023. Today's Grand Prix start was their first international in six months time. The horse is very high quality and thoroughly schooled at Grand Prix level, but today he trailed with the left hind in the passage and there were several bobbles (in the second trot extension and two tempi changes) that affected the score. The very sympathetic Irving placed fourth with 67.587%. 

Beautiful Riding

The most beautiful riding of the class was displayed by Canadian Ariana Chia on the 14-year old PRE gelding Gauteque IV (by Layco x Salinero XIII). The grey stallion could easily have a successful career as the horse for prince charming in Hollywood movies, he is that beautiful. Maybe not the scopiest mover, Guateque appeared attentive to the aids and followed his riders cues. The pair really painted a beautiful picture with Chia sitting motionless in the saddle and with a soft, steady hand working elastically in the contact with the mouth. Wow! (Oh, they were fifth with 67.022% but were the winners to me when it comes to dressage riding. The judge at C had them at 69.457%)

Ariana Chia and Guateque IV
 Dutch Eliane Cordia-van Reesema also produced a lovely test on the 15-year old Rhinelander gelding Codiak (by Cristallo x Carabas). While there could have been more pezzazz in the extended trot, the first piaffe-passage was lovely and there was a good extended walk. Cordia made it all look very unforced, even though she could have divided the one tempi changes better on the diagonal. Also the transition down from canter to trot was via walk. They got 66.500% for sixth place. 

- Text © Eurodressage - Photos © Astrid Appels - NO REPRODUCTION ALLOWED / NO SCREEN SHOTS for social media

If interested in photos, please send me an email. Florida rates apply for this horse show as our colleague Sue Stickle is the official photographer

Related Links
Scores: 2024 CDIO Wellington
Germany's Fabulous Four Go for Four in 2024 CDIO Wellington Nations Cup
Germany to Defend Title in FEI Nations Cup at 2024 CDIO Wellington