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Hanoverians dominate NZ dressage championships

Don Vito MH (Don Frederico) owned and ridden by Wendi Williamson

By Sally Reid
Photography: Take the Moment

At the age of 10 he’s still consolidating his career, but Don Vito MH (Don Frederico - Adelheid MH x Anamour) was simply unbeatable in the tussle for national Grand Prix honours this year, becoming NZ national Grand Prix champion and winning the Burkner Trophy.

Don Vito MH has had just a couple of previous outings at this level, and was off work with a severe illness earlier in the year, but won all three of his tests and scored 73.48% in the Freestyle.
The handsome chestnut gelding was bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians, and is owned and ridden by Wendi Williamson. He is a full sibling of Williamson’s former national Grand Prix champion and Dressage Horse of the Year, Don Amour MH, and a half sibling of her wonderful Dejavu MH (De Niro) who was the NZ champion in 2017 and travelled to Omaha that year as New Zealand’s first FEI World Cup representative.
Their dam, Adelheid MH, was also bred by Matthews. She is out of the outstanding imported mare StPrSt Wel Kantje (Weltmeyer x Pik Bube x Lombard), who was bred by Anneli and Richard Baumgart in Verden and brought to New Zealand as a three-year-old in 1996. Adeheid has earned her place as one of her most successful broodmares for Matthews, with a number of other title-winning offspring, including Dante MH (De Niro) and Decadence MH (Dacaprio). Bred at Zuchthof Bosch, her sire, the imported Hanoverian Anamour (Aalborg – Lucille x Lombard) is one of the finest stallions ever to stand in this country.
This year’s reserve champion also has the blood of Anamour and, like Don Vito MH, has had a big health battle – in his case, through injury not illness. He is NSC Andreas (Anamour - Blue Willow x Dynamit), a Hanoverian gelding who has made a spectacular recovery from an injury that threatened to end his career. He was the national champion in 2019. Andreas was bred by Brenda Bishop and is owned and ridden by Vanessa Way. His NZ Hanoverian dam, Blue Willow (out of Wanda x Equal Terms xx) was also bred by Bishop.
The third-placed horse really needs a mention too: the delightful and very popular 14-year-old Friesian-Thoroughbred mare, Sisters II Etta J (Ziegfried - Imam xx x Zemindar xx). Her breeder is unrecorded, but she is owned and ridden by Chelsea Callaghan of Wellington. She was the only other horse in the field to achieve a score over 70%. Etta J won the Small Tour Musical Freestyle at the last HOY (2019) and made her Grand Prix debut just over a year ago. Her dam Imam xx was an unraced Thoroughbred, bred in Australia by Dr. D.J. McCully and at one stage owned in New Zealand by Robyn and Russell Roberts of Kendayla Park.

Hobson Trophy: Advanced Champion

Dance Hit SW (Danciano - Rosari Sable Hit/Sable Hit SW x Sandro Hit Old.) won this enormously competitive class. He, too, is a Hanoverian gelding; a seven-year-old bred by Sterling Warmbloods, owned by Andrea Raves and Susan Tomlin, and ridden by Tomlin. This young horse is one whose career has taken a steadily upward trajectory: he was 2020’s fove-year-old national champion, and one year later won the 2021 national six-year-old title. His dam, Rosari Sable Hit was bred by Fiona McCrostie, and is out of Donna, a De Niro mare, who is also the dam of Rascallion – the South Island Level 4 champion in 2021 – and has since retired. Dance Hit SW has a younger full sister, Delia SW, who is just starting out under saddle... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber