Catching up with 2016’s YH winners

With the semi-finals of the fabulous Shearwater Young Horse competition just around the corner, we thought we’d catch up with last year’s winners and see what they’ve been up to since their National wins and whether they can offer any advice for this year’s competitors.

First up was the winner of the four-year-old class Hawtins San Floriana, bred and owned by Judith Davis of Hawtins Stud and partnered by Bryony Goodwin.

What are your next plans for the partnership?

They are entered for the Shearwater BD young horse semi-finals at Hartpury in July. We believe in carefully progressing our horses’ training so they can have time to grow and develop their strength. As such, we’re just planning to continue her education alongside plenty of field time and hacking.

Do you have any tips for this year’s competitors?

It’s always a good idea to do the arena walk on the morning of the first day, especially for the four year olds. Allow plenty of time in the warm up before the class to enable them to get used to the atmosphere.

Why do you think this competition is important to riders and their horses?

It’s a fantastic showcase of young horses in this country and in particular for breeders to demonstrate the quality of British-bred horses. The standard is going up all the time and it’s good to see such a large proportion of British-bred horses at the top. We produce horses for the long-term so it’s great to have an opportunity to give talented young horses valuable experience without placing a lot of strain on them.

What’s Hawtins San Floriana been up to since the YH finals?
She’s been continuing her training here at the stud with Bryony Goodwin. They’ve qualified for the 2017 five-year-old Shearwater BD young horse semi-finals and the BD Summer regionals at Novice Open.

What did you learn from taking part in the competition?
It was very interesting to get feedback about Hawtins San Floriana from top international judges with a proven track record with young horses.

 

 

 

 

The five-year-old class was won by Mount St John VIP and Charlotte Dujardin with further Mount St John horses taking the second and third spots.

What has MSJ VIP been up to since the YH finals?

Charlotte: VIP has since become the Winter National Elementary champion with 78% and qualified to compete in the 6-year-old semi finals coming up plus the Elementary and Medium Regionals for the Nationals.

Do you have any tips for this year’s competitors?

Tips for competitors in the young horse classes from four to six years include making sure they’re used to working in different arenas and prepared with flowers or something around and white boards, so they’re not too spooked when you get to a show to be able to present themselves as well. Give yourself plenty of time at the show to get prepared but remember to warm up how you work at home and don’t try and ride a 4-year-old for too long as they will lose all their energy in the warm up. Most of all, enjoy the young horse classes so the horse realises its an enjoyable experience and without any drama so your horse looks forward to the next one and is excited to get back on the lorry.

Why do you think this competition is important to riders and their horses?

We love the young horse classes for giving them exposure to big arenas like the Nationals for the finals, while also being able to go in pairs to start with to help young horses gain confidence in the arena. I also like the young horse tests for being more forgiving if there is a little spook or loss of rhythm which wouldn’t be allowed in a standard test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline Church and the beautiful San Marco took the six-year-old class, moving up the placing’s after the judge’s ride.

What has San Marco been up to since the YH finals?

Caroline: We’ve been taking it easy but we have been out after he enjoyed a long holiday (which he deserved!) and he won both Mediums on over 70%. Basically, I’ve been training him at home and he now does his changes, canter pirouettes and the piaffe is coming along too! I regularly train with David Hunt, which is fantastic. He guides me so well and keeps a careful eye on our progress. We’re now training at Advanced Medium and despite the very few shows he has done, San Marco has qualified for the Medium Gold Regionals.

Do you have any tips for this year’s competitors?

Make sure your horse is supple, very forward and very straight. It counted for a lot when Eva rode each horse- San Marco moved up dramatically in the placing’s after she had ridden him – commenting on these points and how he met every criteria and was a pleasure to ride. She said he was ‘definitely a champion’!

 

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