By Claartje van Andel, Agata Grosicka and Adriana van Tilburg
Photo: Houou Tomita
The highlight of this year for sport and breeding is surely the European championships, hosted by Rotterdam, August 19-25, which included three disciplines: showjumping, dressage, and also para-dressage. It was the largest equestrian event ever organized by this Dutch city, which began on day one with showjumping and, overall, witnessed breathtaking sport.
Sixteen horses from the WBFSH individual world ranking list for breeders of showjumping horses (as at July 31) were competing in Rotterdam. And, of these 16, 15 appeared in the top 50 of the individual European championship.
The KWPN-bred Explosion W (Chacco-Blue -Untouchable x Baloubet du Rouet, bred by W. Wijnen) is currently leading the WBFSH ranking, and proved himself to be in explosive form, heading the individual leaderboard after three days of competition with Britain’s Ben Maher, who finally claimed the silver medal in brilliant style. According to his rider: “We bought Explosion W when he was seven years old from his breeder, who was here every day to watch. I think Explosion W is one of the best horses of my career.”
With Explosion we touched another number one, the Mecklenburger Chacco-Blue (Chambertin - Contara x Contender, Karl-Heinz Köpp) currently topping the WBFSH sire ranking – which is quite an accomplishment for a stallion who passed away too soon, and in his prime.
He sired no fewer than five horses that started in the first qualifying competition, and was the damsire of two others. His own sire, the Holsteiner Chambertin (Cambridge -Desiree VII x Cor de la Bryère, bred by Hans Werner Trost) had a daughter starting here: Heureka 22 (bred by Thomas Casper), bred out of the full sister to Heraldik xx, Herka xx (Caramel xx - Heraldika xx - Cale xx).
In the individual final Chacco-Blue was represented in four horses.
The immense popular BWP-bred stallion Cornet Obolensky/ex Windows van’t Costerveld (Clinton - Rabanna van Costersveld x Heartbreaker, bred by Thierry Degraeve) is fourth in the WBFSH sire ranking, and sired four of the EC entries, and appearing once as the damsire. He was also the grandsire of one descendant via his son, Corlensky G.
However, the icing on the cake was definitely the individual gold medal for the Westphalian-bred gelding Clooney 51 (Cornet Obolensky - Fraülein vom Moor x Ferragamo, bred by Bernd Richter) who was 24th on the WBFSH ranking list, before the EC result is added to his points total.
Clooney 51 performed amazingly from the outset with his Swiss rider, Martin Fuchs, and got better and better as the rounds progressed: “I have been riding Clooney since he was seven years old. He is very intelligent, smart, and really knows how to jump. He is very effective and just an amazing horse. I always think of what happened in Aachen a few years ago (where Clooney 51 refused to jump a fence in the last line of the Rolex Grand Prix, that he could have won) and this has made us stronger and created a closer bond. Clooney 51 started to jump better every round, and that is one of his best qualities.” Clooney 51 was one of the four horses that were 13 years old in the final.
While the majority of horses were younger, including two nine-year-olds, only one was older; the 14-year-old Westphalian-bred stallion Comme il faut (Cornet Obolensky - Ratina Z x Ramiro, bred by B&S Sportpferde GmbH). This stallion jumped amazingly well, with German Marcus Ehning, but had two unlucky rails on the Thursday for which the rider shouldered complete blame.
Comme il faut continues to surprise people, as a great many said he wouldn’t make it to 1m50 level.... Then, he wouldn’t make it to 1m60 level. Subsequetly, he was described as a ‘no good’ stallion and ‘not a champioonship horse’. He’s proven everyone wrong in every which way, and in no uncertain terms, and performed brilliantly during the European championship. Under tropical skies, and alongside a great many horses competing at their very best, Comme il faut incurred only one time penalty in the final two rounds to finish fifth overall.
Top horses at their best
It was such a pleasure to see the top horses jumping so well, including the Zangersheide-bred stallion Tobago Z (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve - Whoopie C x Mr. Blue, bred by Jonas Bellemans) who’d already shown himself to be in outstanding form in Aachen, and was beautifully ridden by Daniel Deusser (GER). Although some may say we need to breed bigger horses, Tobago Z (1m63) showed so much heart in Rotterdam, positively flying over the fences to finish 14th... The same could be said about the heart and size of Comme il faut. Tobago Z is currently ranked third on the WBFSH list of jumping horses.
The DSP-bred mare DSP Alice (Askari - Landblume 3 x Landrebell, bred by Ralf Mewes), under the saddle of Rio 2019 Olympic individual gold medallist Simone Blum, once again showed her unbelievable quality. It was not without reason that she also placed in the top 10 after three rounds, finally finishing in fourth place (currently ranked 15th on the WBFSH list).
The Zangersheide-bred mare Claire Z (Colessa Z -Coronado, Stamm 474A, bred by PGMBH Hammes) is a really delicate soul. In the first round she jumped clear, but incurred one rail and a time fault in round two. Although she qualified for the individual final alongside 10 other horses, Christian Ahlmann made the decision not to start, saying that he already felt during the team final that she was very tired, and her welfare came first...To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber