This morning the final of the LONGINES FEI/WBFSH WORLD BREEDING DRESSAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS for five-year-olds took place. Both the qualifiers and the small final forecasted a dream final with lots of quality. The best 15 combinations earned a starting place in the final. Medal contender Andreas Helgstrand rode the Oldenburger stallion Ferrari OLD, a son of Blue Hors Hotline, to a 9.2. “This is a dressage Ferrari,” exclaimed Christoph Hess who provided the comments on behalf of the jury. “This horse has three exceptional gaits and enormous perspective for the future. The expressive trot receives a 9.7. De slightly hasty medium trot withheld us from granting the ultimate 10. The rhythmic walk could demonstrate a little more freedom from the shoulder, yet already shows the ability for collection. An 8.5! Without any doubt, the canter is very good and deserves a 9.5. For submission he scores an 8.8, the contact could be slightly lighter every now and then but it is clearly a well-trained horse. Surely, this horse has a promising future ahead of him. A 9.5 for perspective.”
The leader of the qualifiers, the Hannoverian Don Martillo under Ann-Christin Wienkamp, then entered the ring. The son of Don Juan De Hus was once again presented in a friendly manner by his German rider. “Ann-Christin Wienkamp and Don Martillo are a dreamteam,” said Christoph Hess afterwards. “It is unbelievable what we have seen the past 5 minutes. The best gait today was the walk of Don Martillo, for which we have to give a 10. If we compare the trot to that of Ferrari, the latter may have a more expressive trot. Howevevr, the trot of Don Martillo is so powerful and so relaxed, this stallion also receives a 9.7. The canter obtained this grade; nicely uphill and with lots of suppleness. Don Martillo is a horse that demonstrates a great sense of rideability and a 100% cooperation with his rider. A happy athlete that we happily reward with a 9.5 for submission and 9.7 for perspective
Not an easy task
The Danish rider Jan Møller Christensen was the last to start, presenting his DWB-stallion Hesselhoej Donkey Boy. The Era Dancing Hit-descendant showed a consistent performance with solely a small disruption in the transition to the canter and was the last to surpass Don Martillo and Ferrari, that hold the gold and silver position at the time. Christopher Hess admitted that it was not an easy task for the jury to allocate the medals. “Jan Møller Christensen is a great rider and he presented this stallion very well. In the walk, the horse moves well through his body. To earn the ultimate 10, he would have had to show more collection, but this gait certainly deserves a 9.5. The second highest grade is for his canter: nicely uphill and from the ground, a 9.4. The active trot is powerful and received a 9 from us. A lovely performance, with an unfortunate mistake that brings the submission to an 8.4. However, the 9.2 for perspective procures the bronz medal for Hesselhoej Donkey Boy.
Gold for Don Martillo and a magnificent Longines-watch for his German rider Ann-Christin Wienkamp. “I am thrilled! Don Martillo is in top shape and I have ridden the test with a big smile on my face: he responded superbly to me and was completely focused. This is absolutely a horse with lots of talent for the Grand Prix.”
Andreas Helgstrand was also happy with his medal, but above all with Ferrari. “This horse deserves a 10 for his character. For now, he needs a bit more time; he is such a big horse that he still must develop more strength. But it is such a joy to ride him. I am really pleased with our medal. We invest a lot in young talents and try to develop them into top athletes. We brought 10 horses with us, 8 of them reached the final. The world championship is therefore very important to us and I would like to take this moment to compliment the judges. The comments given were absolutely great. They are of immense value to us, riders. When the test went not as good as planned, it is good to hear the verdict and opinion of the jury. But also for the spectators it is very interesting.”
Also Jan Moller Christens – coming down with a cold because of the changeable weather – was evidently happy with the medal for Hesselhoej Donkey Boy. “He was slightly tired today and I made a mistake myself, but it is a horse with a lovely temperament and lots of talent for collection. I hope that I may continue riding him and that we can come back next year.”
President of the judges Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode was enthusiastic about these horses. “Unbelievable quality, even the horses that did not make it to the final. Sometimes you simply forgot they are 5-year-olds. In short, we really enjoyed ourselves!” Chistoph Hess added: “Besides the quality of the horse, we saw world class presenting. This world championships genuinely renders a correct image how a young horse must be produced. This is great advertisement for the dressage sport!”