I have been part of the Canadian Warmblood young breeders’ team since I was 16 (now 20). My first competition was held in England, the second in Canada, and for my third I travelled to the beautiful country of Austria. I am not a frequent traveller, so the 12 hours of flying, with a lay-over in Toronto, had me eager to get off the plane and explore this new territory.
I took a train with Maria Ardito and her mother from the Vienna airport to Linz, where we met up with the other team members. We then continued on our way to Stadl Paura where we would be staying during the competition and the excursions.
The opening ceremony consisted of a Parade of the Teams, and with true Canadian pride we marched with our heads and our flags held high. This was followed by the introduction of each team and its members as well as the judges.
The first day started with a team meeting over breakfast, and a brief last-minute study session in preparation for our theoretical exam that would shortly follow. After the exam we had a 15-minute break to regroup and talk about the exam with our team members before it was time to judge the loose gaits and chute jumping. We were given two pre judged horses, in which the judges shared their scores with all the competitors and their reasoning as to why they scored the way they did. Then we were left to judge five more horses independently. They provided us with a wide range of horses to judge that allowed us to use a full range of scores.
After judging the loose gaits and chute jumping we had a one-hour break for lunch. By this time the temperature had already reached a whopping 32 degrees celsius!
All teams were called to the outdoor arena where we would begin the conformation judging portion of the competition. The arena was split in half, with the juniors placed on one side and the seniors on the other. This process was similar to judging the loose gaits; we were given two pre-judged horses, and then scored three more on our own...
To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber