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Isobel Wessels: “The Ermelo atmosphere is unique”

Jovian (Apache) with Andreas Helgstrand

By Yvonne Buis / KWPN
Photography: Dirk Caremans

Young Horse classes provide a great deal of information for any sport horse breeder. In September, the National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo – the home base of the KWPN – will host the Longines-FEI-WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses, an event in which five-star judge Isobel Wessels has been involved for years.

Every year, the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses are one of the highlights of the season for dressage horse breeders. The best young horses and riders gather together to present themselves in a world-class setting and try to win a coveted ticket to the final. Isobel Wessel has been closely involved since 2005. “I have been judging the event, the last few years as commentating judge. In this position I always try to give good information to the public, but also positive feedback to the riders and trainers which they can use in the future training of the horse.”

Stars of the future

“The World Breeding Championships are a lovely event. You see the stars of the future, so young and innocent in a way, with so much expression and elasticity. All those beautiful horses at the beginning of their careers. You can recognize the first signs of their intelligence, their rideability, with still plenty of opportunity to grow and develop. That’s just wonderful.
“And the National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo is such a beautiful setting. When those horses are in the main arena, the crowds around it, as if the horses are in a theatre, that makes it really special. The stands are not too close so the horses still have the opportunity to settle down. In a way, they seem to feel the support of the crowds.
“As judges, we see the horses two or three times. Often they come in a bit nervous but during the week they become more and more confident showing off their true qualities. They can learn so much. I remember, for example, when Heiline’s Danciera was a five-year-old. The first day, she was quite naughty and did not get high scores. But the next day she settled much more and got second in the small final. I remember sitting next to Francis Verbeek, and she was the first horse to come into the arena in the final. She impressed us so much; so expressive and elastic, super talented, we could give her marks around nine, which put her in fourth place. It was wonderful to see that horse developing during the event and look at her now! I judged her, still ridden by Carina Cassoe Kruth, in their first Grand Prix. And to see such a horse develop into an Olympic team horse, that makes the young horse championships mean a lot to me.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber