By Kim Lundin
Photography: FEI/Leanjo de Costa
Following a ‘missing’ year due to COVID-19, the dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses returned to Verden, and saw new arenas and many upgrades to the old showground. And, for the first time, BN is publishing parallel reports from two of our preeminent journalists: Claartje van Andel and Kim Lundin. Do their views concur or oppose?
It seemed that a year without competition incentivized everyone, eager to show what they had and how they’d spent their COVID-19 lockdown time. The horse world re-created a small universe and celebrated dressage breeding at its finest, despite challenging August weather with torrential rain and cold winds throughout.
The young guns dance
KL: We have seen it many times before – the stallions come out in spades in the youngster classes, especially in dressage. More mature, more developed in the body, put into training earlier – they have a lot to thank testosterone for. Especially when it is tempered with a good, non-stallionesque behaviour and temperament.
In the five-year-old class, no fewer than eight of the final top-12 were stallions, and there were many shared commonalities, such as being approved by Danish Warmblood, and being Premium stallions, like runner-up Danciero 7 (Hann: Dancier - Floris x Floriscount, bred by ZG Broers & Weber), and fourth-placed Global Player OLD (Oldbg: Grand Galaxy Win - Chatel’s Schurana x Blue Hors Don Schufro, bred by Henrik Hansen in Denmark), both ridden by Eva Möller (GER).
The winner is also an approved stallion who will come into full bloom with age and training. From the breeding efforts of two very skilled Danish ‘bereiters’1, Dorthe and Hans Jørgen Høeck, Denmark, came the five-year-old winner Hesselhøj Down Town (DWB: Hesselhøj Donkey Boy - Boogie Woogie x Blue Hors Zack). They also bred the sire, awarded a Premium with a gold medal, and today an elite sire with DWB: Hesselhøj Donkey Boy (2012: Era Dancing Hit - Søbakkehus Kamilja x Milan). Down Town has been a fairytale stallion from the very start of his career. Initially shown at the stallion show in 2019 by 16-year-old Anders, the son of Dorthe and Hans Jørgen Høeck, he had the cutest expression and the best temperament, with good gaits, although not the biggest mover in comparison to that year’s big stars Danciero, Global Player, and Lord Europe. Anders rode the stallion for the four-year-old qualification test, scoring a phenomenal 98%.
Late in 2021 the Hoeck’s sold Down Town to Helgstrand Dressage and his reins were handed over to Jeanna Högberg, a Swedish ‘bereiter’ working for the well-known trading stable, to start in the qualifiers for the WBCYH. The partnership was new, but did not show as Down Town scored a 10 for trot and future prospects, and 9.50 for ‘submission’ – another way of describing rideability. With no score below 9.50 the still-very-cute stallion with the friendly expression received 97% – following in his father’s hoofsteps.
Donkey Boy is a multiple medallist at the WBYCH and is now moving up through the classes to Grand Prix. They both descend from ERA Dancing Hit (DWB/2008 UNO Don Diego - Sumatra Hit x Sandro Hit), the gold winning Premium stallion of DWB, who died much too early in 2012. He was a hyper modern, elegant mover, with a beauty that surpassed most stallions, and had only one foal crop born in 2012, but his heritage with those few offspring is undeniably good. However, the offspring of Donkey Boy, as well as his son Down Town, have inherited front legs with a less-than- perfect pattern of movement, so only time will tell if this will affect their durability... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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