A fitting conclusion to a 12-year career as Vom Feinsten (Fiedermark – Wellcome x Weltmeyer) and his owner/rider Julie Brougham leave the dressage arena for the last time

By Sally Reid
Photography: Libby Law Photography

Takapoto Estate hosted its first dressage competition recently and, after their season of cancellations and disappointments, dressage riders welcomed the opportunity to compete at such a superb venue.

The show was organized by Dressage New Zealand in double-quick time and was enthusiastically supported by leading riders from around the country. It went a long way towards compensating for the loss of 2021 Horse of the Year; in fact, many consider it to be one of the best dressage fixtures ever staged here.

Final victory for Vom Feinstein

The GP freestyle attracted a much bigger audience than is usual, and taking place under lights at night witnessed a very popular win by Vom Feinsten (Fiedermark - Wellcome x Weltmeyer) and his owner/rider Julie Brougham. These two have had more than their fair share of health issues and injuries over their 12-year career, not least of which is Julie Brougham’s ongoing battle with abdominal cancer. However, they’ve also enjoyed some wonderful success stories. They won the FEI World Dressage Challenge in 2011, setting a New Zealand record in the Prix St Georges. In 2015 they won NZ Dressage Horse of the Year with national record scores in the freestyle and special; they won the title again in 2016, setting a new Australasian record. The pair represented New Zealand at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and also at 2018 WEG in Tryon, NC.
Both have been unwell during New Zealand’s summer, and this show was their first competition in six months.
Vom Feinsten, a Rheinland gelding, was bred in Germany by Rudi Henn; his dam, Wellcome, is a Staatsprämie mare from Hanoverian Stamm 4190401, Schridde 805. He has two Staatsprämie full sisters, Frederike RH and Federweisse RH, and was initially earmarked for stallion licensing, but proved too unruly. Federweisse RH has a Sir Donnerhall daughter, Serenissima RH who is competing in Europe at U25 GP with Lisa Prummenbaum, and a gelding son Simsalabim 55, also by Sir Donnerhall, who is competing at PSG level in Poland.
Their superbly bred sire, Fidermark I (Florestan x Werther x Einblick) was the 1996 Bundeschampion and it was his name that caught Brougham’s attention when she was shopping for a dressage horse in Europe. He was purchased from Ton de Ridder’s stables in Aachen in 2008.
Steiny is 18 now, and was officially retired at an unsaddling ceremony at Takapoto. His larger-than-life presence in the dressage rings will be missed by every New Zealand dressage fan.
Runner up to Vom Feinsten in the freestyle was Windermere J’Obei W (Johnson NOP - Miss Pompeii xx x Pompeii xx), a New Zealand Warmblood gelding bred by David Woolley and ridden by Melissa Galloway. He is a superb performer with wins and record scores on both sides of the Tasman; his titles include 2020 Dressage Horse of the Year, and 2021 National Grand Prix Champion.
Third and four places went to Hanoverians by Anamour: the mare Aphrodite (Anamour - Lacota Sioux xx x Jacinto xx), bred by her owners Belinda and Emily Stuchbery and ridden by Cooper Oborn, third; Andreas (Anamour - Blue Willow x Dynamit) was fourth for owner/rider Vanessa Way. This gelding has made a quite amazing recovery from what was considered to be a career-ending injury last year... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber