Home In the latest issue Hanoverians and Rheinlanders dominate NZ dressage HOYS

Hanoverians and Rheinlanders dominate NZ dressage HOYS


By Sally Reid

For the past three years, New Zealand’s Horse of the Year Show has been cancelled – due to 1) Covid, 2) Covid, and 3) a catastrophic flood – but at last it has returned, and was triumphant for NZ Hanoverians and Rheinlanders.

Especially noteworthy was the fact that their numbers (just over 20) were a tiny percentage of the 1,800 horses competing. No fewer than 16 of them won either a championship or a reserve championship, and a further nine were in the top five of their respective grades. Most of these were in the dressage arena, where they were true conquerors.

Grand Prix dressage HOY

The biggest star of all was Don Vito MH (Don Frederico - Adelheid MH x Anamour), an 11-year-old gelding bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians. He is owned and ridden by Wendi and Jon Williamson, and, as reported in World Breeding News last year, has hardly ever failed to finish in the top three at any level of competition.
His dam, Adelheid MH (Anamour - Wel Kantje (StPrSt.) x Weltmeyer) is from Stamm 1189102, Schridde 231 (Delfina line); she, too, was bred by Judith Matthews and has been a particularly successful mother. Don Vito MH has two Grand Prix full siblings, DeJaVu MH who died in 2018, and Don Amour MH. There are also several half-sisters, including Decadance MH (Dacaprio), who was the National five-year-old Young Dressage Horse in 2015. Adelheid MH has retired from breeding after producing 14 wonderful foals for Judith Matthews. Her own State Premium dam, Wel Kantje (Weltmeyer - Pikantje x Pik Bube), was imported from Germany and had very successful competition and breeding careers.

Small Tour: FEI Intermediate I

Also ultra impressive was the Small Tour Horse of the Year, NSC Fürst Rock DW Rhein(Fürst Romancier OLD - Rockchiq DW x Royston Rockstar [Westf]). This nine-year-old gelding was bred by David Woolley and is owned and ridden by Vanessa Way and her husband Brooke Hughes. The win came as no surprise: the horse is an absolute stand-out. He won the six-year-old National Championship in 2020 on a colossal score (89.40%) and has lived up to all expectations. Like Don Vito MH, he has had success throughout his career, with just a handful of outings that didn’t end in a win.
The Rheinlander NSC Fürst Rock DW was unbeatable at HOY. “The giant-hearted ‘king of the ring’ won all of his classes in the strongest field of competition I think I’ve had the privilege to ride amongst. This grade is so exciting for the future of our sport,” says Vanessa Way in a Facebook post. Vanessa has ridden internationally at the highest levels, trained with Carl Hester, and certainly knows a thing or two about dressage.
Fürst Rock is a tall and beautifully put-together horse, with breeding to match. His sire, Fürst Romancier OLD (Fürst Heinrich - Ronja x Romancier), is from the Oldenburg Edoste line, and has a breeding index of 160 points. His Westfalian damsire, Royston Rockstar (Real Diamond - Florida x Florestan), is an imported Westfalian who was sold to Australia; he carries the blood of Rohdiamant, Rubinstein I and Weltmeyer. Furst Rock DW’s dam, Rockchiq DW, is a Rheinlander with a Hanoverian studbook Thoroughbred dam, Miss Phillips xx (Kilmanjaro xx). This mare is no longer breeding but is also the dam of the Grand Prix gelding, Windermere Johanson (Johnson KWPN).

Advanced Horse of the Year

This level was won by HPH Fürst Welcome (Fürstenball OLD - Parkridge Welcome x Wolkentanz I), an eight-year-old gelding who was bred by Stacey McCoy and is owned and ridden by young Amy Sage. HPH Fürst Welcome’s dam, Parkridge Welcome (Wolkentanz - Alias x Anamour) was bred by Carol Eivers of Parkridge Stud. She has proved to be a successful broodmare and is also the dam of Parkridge Disco (Dancier) – both these horses received Exceptional Performance Awards from the NZHS in 2023. Parkridge Welcome is now with Raosini Stud’s broodmare herd.
The reserve champion at this level was also a Hanoverian gelding: Santana MH (Santino - Anteaga MH x Anamour) who was bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians and is owned and ridden by Cindy Wiffin. He is an 11-year-old, and his dam, EM Anteaga MH (Anamour - Gaibana x Genius), deserves a very special mention: two of her other progeny also achieved high placings at HOY. They are the Medium Horse of the Year, Danseur MH (see above) and the promising eight-year-old Ducati MH, who is with Wendi Williamson and finished fourth in his grade (PSG). Note that EM Anteaga MH is yet another grand broodmare daughter of Anamour. She joined the Matthews Hanoverian broodmare band in 2008 and was also bred Matthews Hanoverians. She has Elite status with the NZHS... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber