By Thomas Bach Jensen / DWB
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The Danish Warmblood stallion licensing in Herning is known to be a great stallion show, akin to a European final, with several of the best dressage colts from other venues being owned by Danish stallion keepers. However, this year Herning was in a race against time, as the coronavirus put Denmark into a lockdown three days after the show ran on March 5-8.
Therefore, this unique show that unifies horse sport and breeding, now counts as the last memory of an exceptional experience for so many horse people, now bound to stay home, both inside and outside of Denmark. So sit back and enjoy the highlights from Herning in our event re-run.
Event facts and figures
• Behind the ‘DWB 5-star Dressage’ is a group of eight sponsors who, together with the Danish Warmblood Stallion Show, have made a supreme effort to bring five-star dressage to Herning
• The eight sponsors are: Blue Hors, ECCO, Helgstrand Dressage, Nathalie Horse Care, Stutteri EVO, Trolle, Vodskov Bolighus, and Zibrasport Equest
• Visually, as well as in other aspects, the organisers of DWB 5-star Dressage will go the extra mile for the audience to experience that an exceptional framework is created around world-class dressage
• Five-star dressage is the highest level in international dressage sport. It is equal to the level that is ridden at the Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, European Championships, and World Cup qualifiers. This means that riders can earn valuable points towards the world rankings – with ranking points translating into good seeding for Tokyo 2020 (in 2021)
• DWB 5-star Dressage comprises three tests: Friday – a Grand Prix with 20 riders, after which the group is divided into two, each with 10 riders who either participate in Saturday’s GP Special, or Sunday’s GP Freestyle
• CDI3*: Danish Warmblood is focused on supporting talent development and, therefore, provide dressage classes at the lower three-star level where the young stars can show their talents in either small tour (Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I) or in big tour (Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle)
• Behind the great event in Herning is the Danish Warmblood studbook (DWB) which for the 41st time hosted their stallion show and much more in MCH Messecenter Herning. They welcomed around 900 horses, riders from more than 20 nations, more than 300 exhibitors to the trade fair – which is the most visited fair at MCH Messecenter Herning, plus more than 350 volunteers in action during the event.
Nine-hundred stallions and sport horses meet
A total of 900 stallions for selection, plus dressage and showjumping horses from more than 20 countries moved into MCH Messecenter Herning.
In total, 18 showjumpers and 24 dressage colts were selected during the Danish pre-selection for the stallion licensing in Herning, which saw many of the best stallions from the German and Dutch licensing that had been purchased by Danish stallion keepers. The many newly licensed and imported young stallions will meet these 42 young stallions that have not yet been through a licensing procedure.
Among them are several representatives of the first crop by former world champion Revolution, and one of them is out of a full sister to the triple world champion Sezuan.
Adding to their fame
Many renowned dressage stallions have taken their first steps towards fame at the Danish Warmblood stallion show in Herning, such as Zonik, Sezuan and Hesselhøj Donkey Boy. These three stallions had collectively sired five of the nine medallists at the dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Ermelo last year. This seems to indicate a sign of the times; the growing influence of Danish Warmblood.
Alongside the stallion licensing, breeding enthusiasts witnessed dressage and showjumping classes exclusively for licensed stallions, allowing them to see a more complete picture of the stallions in sport and breeding.
Let the Games begin...
Popular features of the event are the international classes – alongside clincs, gala shows and the tack fair – in dressage and show jumping which combines sport and breeding at the absolute top level. Year after year, new elements have been added to increase its one-of-a-kind status.
In recent years, a consistent theme has characterized the event and the great gala shows on Friday and Saturday nights. This year, the theme during the Danish Warmblood Stallion Show will, of course, be the Olympic Games. Hence the title of this year’s event: Let the Games Begin. [Ed: Since the Herning show Tokyo 2020 has been postponed until 2021.]
Stallion of the Year 2020: Sezuan
Unfortunately, in absentia, the triple world champion for young dressage horses, Sezuan was proclaimed Danish Warmblood Stallion of the Year 2020
The 11-year-old Sezuan is a black pearl in Danish breeding, who has also stamped his territory far beyond Denmark’s borders having sired numerous licensed stallions and young sport horses that are successful in national as well as international championships throughout Europe.
Sezuan is out of Bøgegården’s very strong and proven damline with the elite mare Lajka in his fourth generation. This damline has produced several licensed stallions and highly decorated mares as well as many elite mares. Sezuan’s enormous impact in breeding does not come from nowhere. His dam, the gold medal mare Bøgegårdens Don Romina (Blue Hors Don Schufro) was crowned 2006 Mare of the Year as the best three-year-old performance-tested mare of Danish Warmblood. Sezuan is a product of what is often referred to in Danish breeding as the ‘golden cross’ – Blue Hors Zack combined with Donnerhall blood.
Andreas Helgstrand owned Bøgegårdens Don Romina and bred her to Blue Hors Romanov and Blue Hors Zack before he sold the pregnant mare to Linette Jæger who then registered the foal to be sired by Romanov, but DNA later proved the black colt to be by Zack. As a three-year-old Sezuan was presented for licensing by Helgstrand Dressage, and later that year at the stallion performance test he broke all former records by achieving ten times the score of 10, and the following year he was the undisputed star and champion stallion of the licensing in Herning in 2013. In February 2014, the German dressage stable and stallion station Peterhof, owned by Arlette Jasper-Kohl and Professor Edwin Kohl, purchased the Danish-bred stallion.
In the hands of German top rider Dorothee Schneider, Sezuan has been undefeated in the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championship, becoming the first in history to win gold in all three age groups. Schneider has repeatedly claimed, “I have never ridden a horse of the quality of Sezuan”.
Today, the stallion is being trained under the saddle of Swedish top rider Patrik Kittel. Neither Sezuan nor his owners were able to be present in Herning to be honoured, but they produced a video that was displayed on the big screen, enabling the audience in Herning to get a glimpse of Sezuan’s current training level with Kittel.
As a four-year-old Sezuan was honoured with the Aage Ravns challenge cup as the best performance-tested DWB dressage stallion, and in 2017 he was awarded HRH Princess Benedikte’s challenge cup for his unique and outstanding performances, and now he has achieved the ultimate honour in Dansk Varmblod as their stallion of the year.
Sezuan stamps his worldwide offspring with remarkable quality. In DWB alone he has sired 338 foals, but has influenced dressage horse breeding far beyond Danish borders, said spokesman of the breeding committee, Claus Hansen in his honouring speach.
Sezuan’s fantastic mind and superior basic gaits are traits he passes to his progeny. Clear and visible evidence is the fact that he tops the Danish Warmblood breeding value ranking for dressage stallions with a very superior index of 155.
A total of 73 of his daughters are graded in Warmblood and no fewer less than 82% are graded in the main studbook. Nineteen of these mares, in other words 26% of his graded daughters, have been awarded a breeder medal. Ten bronze, six silver and three of the absolute highest carat gold medals – the highest distinction – have been granted to Queenparks Wendy, Gozzip, and Schwarze Schwalbe Macohl.
Sezuan has also produced many licensed stallions, including four sons fully licensed with DWB: Janeiro Platinum, So Unique, Suarez, and Tørveslettens Sylvester... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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