Seven-year-old title winners, Fiontini (Fassbinder x Romanov) under the saddle of Severo Jurado Lopez

THE NETHERLANDS (by Claartje van Andel and Christopher Hector) The FEI-WBFSH World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Ermelo was a Hanoverian triumph as five-year-old stallion Don Martillo (Don Juan de Hus x Benetton Dream) and six-year-old gelding Lordswood Dancing Diamond (Dancier x Wolkenstein II) claimed two of the three age-group titles. In the oldest division for seven-year-olds, it was Danish Warmblood mare Fiontini (Fassbinder x Romanov) who, like her sister, Fiontina, wowed the judges with her athleticism, and although her performance was not without flaws, it was highly convincing.

It’s often the case that the preliminary rounds set the tone for a World Championship, and this was no exception.

5yo ‘babies’

The first horse into the ring in the youngest age-group was the Hanoverian gelding, Quizmaster (Quasar de Charry (Quaterback) x Vel- ten Third) was nice and neat, maybe could have been a little more open in the gullet, especially for a five-year-old, but it was a very pleasant opening from Luxemberger Sascha Schulz.

The next test is not so pleasant: Rider leaning back about fifteen degrees, dragging the horse's head behind the vertical. This type of riding was definitely not rewarded, as Marjie van Kersbergen (NED) and Hollywood Dutch (Fürst Romancier x Johnson) are heavily penalized in their final scores.

Likewise, Adelinde Cornelissen had the Gelderland stallion, Henkie (Alexandro P x Upper ville) looking so uncomfortable, restricted in front, muscles of his neck frozen solid, his back so tight that the movement cannot flow and the rhythm becomes choppy, and vicious half halts. What's the line from Xenophon about nothing forced... But they score 8.52 – proving that there’s nothing like watching dressage to turn the most dewy eyed optimist into a hardened cynic...

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