By Sally Reid

This year’s nationals were a triumph for the super Anamour gelding Andreas, but also showcased some very good young horses – so good, in fact, that a ride-off was necessary to decide the overall Young Champion from the three age-group winners. The four-day competition also highlighted the successful breeding programme of Matthews Hanoverians, whose horses have been so dominant this season.

The stud took ‘open’ championships at Levels 3, 4 and 7, reserve champions in Levels 6 and 9, and amateur champion in Level 2, under the watchful eye of judges Maja Stukelj (Slovenia), Linda Warren Davey, Kerrie Swan-Bates (Australia) and Margs Carline.

Burkner Medal Level 9

This coveted prize, awarded to the Grand Prix champion, went to last year’s L8 winner Andreas (Anamour - Blue Willow x Dynamit), a Hanoverian gelding bred by Brenda Bishop and ridden by Vanessa Way. And, for the second year running, Brenda Bishop won the advanced breeder award, thanks to Andreas’s consistent efforts. Bishop also bred Andreas’s dam, Blue Willow, and competed her at preliminary level dressage.
Andreas won both the Special and Freestyle, and finished second in the Grand Prix. The 11-year-old gelding’s rise to the top has been swift and steady: As well as winning the 2018 L8 national title, he won L6 in 2017 and L3 in 2016 – in fact, he has won almost every competition he has ever entered, including HOY titles. He is owned by Brooke Hughes.
His sire, the licensed Hanoverian Anamour (Aalburg - Lucille x Lombard), died in 2015 after a long career at Bilbar Lodge Stud. It’s difficult to find any list of winners in any discipline here that does not contain Anamour’s name – either as a sire or grand-sire. He was grand-sire of six top-placegetters in this competition alone, including the reserve L9 champion. The beautiful black stallion is still in the WBFSH top 100 dressage rankings, and was bred by Rudolf and Reinhard Bösch at Zuchthof Bösch.
Reserve L9 champion and winner of the Grand Prix was another top-class 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Don Amour MH (Don Frederico - Adelheid MH x Anamour). He was bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians, is owned by Jon Williamson, and ridden by Wendi Williamson. Don Amour MH and Williamson finished the merest fraction of a mark behind Andreas and Way in the Freestyle.

Moving down through the levels...

Level 8: The lovely Windermere JObèi W (Johnson NOP - Miss Pompeii xx x Pompeii xx), an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding, took this championship for his part-owner/ rider/breeder Melissa Galloway of Windermere Equestrian. The pair are currently at the top of the FEI World Prix St Georges rankings, and turned on a very impressive performance at Feilding.
Galloway, her sister Sarah Parkes, and parents Anne and Rodney Parkes, run Windermere Equestrian in Marlborough, and are enjoying an unprecedented wave of fame just now. Primarily thanks to the jumper Windermere Cappuccino, an eight-year-old gelding who recently won the NZ World Cup series.
Reserve in L8 went to another of Anamour’s progeny, the beautiful dark bay Aphrodite (Anamour - Lakota Sioux xx x Jacinto xx) bred by Belinda and Emily Stuchbery and ridden by Cooper Oborn.
Level 7: This title went to Belladonna MH (Brentano II - Grandessa x Gymnastik Star), a gorgeous 10-year-old Hanoverian mare bred by Judith Matthews of Matthews Hanoverians. She is ridden by her owner, Julie Flintoff, and also won the best-performing mare at the championships.
Reserve L7 was Astek Galahad (Kinnordy Gym Bello - Rangeview Natasha x Falkensee), a nine-year-old NZ Warmblood gelding bred by Sue Fowler of Astek Stud and ridden by owner Nicola Maley.
Level 6: The Prix St Georges champion was the Warmblood gelding Pronto (Prestige VDL - Ashbury N Bellwood x Voltaire II) bred by Justine Dodds. This very talented eight-year-old is ridden by Vanessa Way, who also has a share in his ownership with the National Saddle Centre.
Reserve went to another super Matthews Hanoverians horse, the mare Decadance MH, (Dacaprio - Adelheid x Anamour). She was the NZ Performance-bred Mare of the Year as a four-year-old in 2014, and 5YO Dressage Champion in 2015. She is owned by her breeder Judith Matthews and ridden by Wendi Williamson.
Level 5: A pair of stunning-looking young horses battled the field for this title. The winner was Jax Johnson (Johnson NOP – La Mode) bred by Rania Todd: Johnson’s second victorious gelding son at these champs (the other was the L8 winner Windermere JObèi W). Jax Johnson won Level 4 last year although, unfortunately, his dam-sire is unrecorded. He is owned and ridden by Gaylene Lennard.
Reserve was John Thompson’s head-turning chestnut mare JHT Replay (Riverside - Brae Donleila x Don Ramiro). Riverside is a premium licensed stallion from Hengststation Pape, who stands in Australia.
Level 4: Another of Judith Matthews’ wonderful Hanoverians, Don Vito MH (Don Frederico - Adelheid x Anamour) was the winner at this level, ridden by owner Wendi Williamson. The gelding is a full brother of Don Amour MH, winner of the Grand Prix and reserve champion in Level 9, and half-brother of Decadance MH, reserve champion in Level 6.
Reserve L4 champion was a Westfalian mare, Fiorenza (Fürst Jupp - Littana x Littorio) with Tessa van Bruggen. The mare’s breeder is unrecorded, but she is owned by Franzi van Bruggen-Smit.
Level 3: This competition provided champion number three for Matthews Hanoverians – the lovely and much-admired mare, Fanfare MH (Fürstenball - Danzare MH x Dancier) ridden by Casey Burton. Fanfare won the four-year-old title at these championships last season and was the top-scoring studbook mare of the 2017 Hanoverian classification tour under Dr. Ludwig Christmann. She also claimed her mare performance test, finishing with the second-best score, just behind another Matthews Hanoverians star, Decadance MH.
Reserve L3 was Jembrae Rattle N Hum (Riverside - Jembrae Sophie xx) an imported Warmblood gelding by the Australian-based Hanoverian, Riverside, sire of John Thompson’s JHT Replay. The horse is owned by Raewyne Passey and ridden by Abbie Deken.
Level 2: The winner at this level was an exciting young New Zealand Warmblood mare, Shimmer VP (Awakino Solitär Hit - Wairua Glymmer x Kinnordy Gym Bello) owned and ridden by Kieryn Walton and bred by S. Brown. Her sire, Solitär Hit (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall x Romancier) is an imported Oldenburg, bred in Germany by H Decker. Walton herself has bred a foal from Shimmer VP, a 2015 filly called Sashraan WDS, by the renowned Danish Warmblood sire Sezuan – one to look out for.
Level 2 reserve was Timbermill Prequel (Prestige VDL - Crystal x Dream Boy), a Hanoverian gelding owned and ridden by Vanessa Way, and bred by Kerry Sanders of Timbermill Sport Horses.
Level 1: Sophie de Clifford’s bright bay Hanoverian mare Riverpark Florentina (Fishermans Friend - Exclusion xx x Magic of Sydney xx), bred by Renai Hart of Remi Stud, won this title. Fishermans Friend, the sire of this gorgeous young horse, is a German-bred Hanoverian imported by Remi Stud from Australia, where he had an excellent breeding and ridden career.

Reserve was Sugarloaf Amnesty (Ampere - Anour x Jazz), another lovely Warmblood mare; she was bred in Australia by Lyn Gilbert, and is owned and ridden by Holly Leach...

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