By Kim Lundin
Photography: Kim Lundin
Following a short break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Falsterbo Horse Show youngster tour has bounced back as the Swedish Warmblood studbook uses the event to shake out the hidden gems among the brass when it comes to talented young dressage horses.
In Sweden most people connect Falsterbo Horse Show with the huge grass arena which hosts the jumping classics like the Nations Cup, a spectacular Derby, and a Grand Prix class. However, for more than two decades it has also been hosting a dressage tour in a separate sand arena with CDI classes, but more importantly for breeders it also sees a well-established and prestigious youngster tour.
Initially the youngster classes comprised classes for five-, six-, and seven-year-old horses, but for the fifth year in a row there was a small class for four-year-olds. The tour is open to horses from all studbooks, as well as a few invited entries for Danish and Norwegian horses. As every combination needs to qualify to get on the start list, it’s the young horses who have demonstrated their talent and rideability, as well as the mentality to cope with a big showground and the Falsterbo dressage arena. Although it may not be officially branded as such, it could be viewed as a championship of sorts as many of the young horses who succeed in Falsterbo are almost certain to follow a good career in sport, if they remain sound and in the hands of a good rider.
As Falsterbo is the last stop on the SWB and Swedish NF’s selection tour for the FEI-WBFSH dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses, there are multiple reasons for breeders and riders to bite their nails in suspense.
Selection for Verden 2021 is worked by Jan-Ove Olsson, a long-time judge for SWB/SWANA and a former member of the stallion committee, and Bo Jenå, dressage judge and chef d’equipe for the national team. As per usual, the announcement of selected horses is made during the final day of the show, but with a slightly later date for the championships (August 26-29), only the list of nominated horses (the long list) was announced. This year a few of the prospects for the Danish Warmblood reserve position were present along with a few Norwegian combinations.
New judging format
When the young horse championships moved to Ermelo in the Netherlands in 2016, the seven-year-old class was introduced with a new judging format. Traditionally, youngsters are judged on five traits: Trot, walk, canter, submission, and perspective. The new format included the addition of a separate judge at ‘C’ awarding scores for movements – 24 pointers, per a regular dressage test.
In Falsterbo, even though the event has been a selection for the championships since 1998, horses are still awarded point by point instead of the five-trait judgement. However, this year the competition manager, Emelie Brolin, has led the work towards an adapted judging format by applying the seven-year-old scoring to the five- and six-year-olds as well. This essentially means that a horse with good gaits can compensate for not being completely on the spot in the dressage program which mostly rewards precision, while a less talented, very obedient, and rideable horse can also achieve good scores in the dressage program. It made quite a stir in the result list between the qualifier and final results... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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