By Steef Roest / KWPN
Photography: Dirk Caremans
Judy Reynolds of Ireland and her Dutch-bred Vancouver K, bred by Gerard and Anne Marie Korver, have been a fixture at the leading competitions and international championships for years. Although the combination had posted consistent scores for quite some time, a turning point came in the Jazz son’s training, after which he began showing more expression and greater talent than anyone ever expected.
At the European Championships in Rotterdam, the duo performed so well that the ‘Girls in Green’ secured a ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games – a unique achievement in Irish dressage.
Finding a talent with three good gaits
The year that Vancouver K turned six, Judy Reynolds was looking for horses in the Netherlands. Although the 38-year-old Irish rider didn’t necessarily have her next Grand Prix horse in mind, she did want a talented horse with three good basic gaits, between the ages of four and eight. “For me, it was especially important that I clicked with the horse. I wanted to get on and immediately have the feeling that I’d enjoy the training. I always say that the horses I like to sit on become my best horses. Vancouver K had a female rider, which I prefer when I’m looking for horses. It’s not always easy for me to ride horses that have been ridden by strong men,” she explains.
Judy was certainly no newcomer to dressage at the time. At age 21, she left her native Ireland to learn the finer points of professional dressage in Germany. As a result, she competed in the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen; and the following year, she showed in the European Championships in Turin. Vancouver K isn’t Judy’s first Dutch horse. With Remember (Careful - Ujolein keur prest x Prins Oregon, bred by A.W. van de Zeyden), she competed in the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, and in the 2011 European Championships in Rotterdam, although she didn’t finish among the top places.
Crazy about Dutch horses
“I’m crazy about Dutch horses, not least because they’re sensitive enough. I’m small: a horse that’s quick to the aids is easier for me to ride. Dutch breeders have been breeding talented dressage horses for a very long time. Let’s be honest: Dutch horses can be sharp, but that sensibility and sensitivity are what I need. That’s even a bonus if I have the horse on my side. The Grand Prix is a difficult test, and for that last centerline with piaffe and passage transitions, I need a horse that’ll ‘go through fire’ for me. I knew the reputation of Jazz offspring; certainly combined with Ferro, some people wondered what I had bought. It definitely hasn’t been easy with Vancouver K. There were always people who didn’t think he was worth the time and energy that I put into him. Nevertheless, he always gave me the feeling that a whole lot was possible,” Judy asserts... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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