The Shearwater Young Horse Finals took place across the weekend at the British Dressage Nationals at Stoneleigh Park.
On the Saturday the top 10 horses were assessed in the three age groups, with four being chosen from each section to go through to the final on the Sunday. The Sunday judging was undertaken by Maria Colliander, Ulf Moller and foreign rider Eva Moller who rode each of the 12 horses who came forward for the final judging The judges looked closely at the quality, way of going and future potential of all the finalists.
The four-year-old Final provided the judges with some great future stars who performed and took to the atmosphere fantastically for their young age.
The first to be ridden by Eva was the striking Izonik presented by Kerry Mackin who had initially come through the first round in the leader spot. It was commented that the horse had a very nice natural balance and canter, although the judges found the horse to be a tiny bit inactive with his hind leg.
Greg Sims ride Waverley Dante was next to come under the spotlight. British Bred Dante (Dimaggio x Fürst Heinrich) was bought from the Waverley Stud by rider Greg Sims as a six-month-old foal and it was Greg’s first time competing at the Nationals. Described as a ‘true riding horse’ by judge Maria Colliander this young horse came on in leaps and bounds as Eva continued her ride. Praised for being incredibly well balanced it was Dante’s ride which moved him above Izonik to clinch the four-year-old title.
Jayden Brown and Mount St John Furstin Totilas finished in 3rd place with the 4th spot going to Becky Moody and Interglactic Aimbry who the judges noticed had fantastic potential, but was the greenest of all the horses when ridden by the ride judge.
The Girls Have It
The five-year-old final saw four outstanding mares presented for judge Eva to ride, with another British bred horse coming out on top.
Hawtins San Floriana bred by Judith Davis previously won the four-year-old title with Bryony Goodwin last year but returned this year under the expert riding of Charlotte Dujardin. Again this champion moved up on her ride after impressing the judges with her natural cadence and balance with Eva commenting, “this is the type of horse that makes a rider look good.”
During the prize giving Charlotte also commented on how much she likes this mare saying “I’m keeping her for the six-year-olds next year! She gives an amazing feeling and I have really high hopes for her.”
Finishing in the runner up spot was Amy Woodhead on Mount St John Zonetta, another horse who moved up the leader board due to the good feeling she gave in her ride. She was particularly praised by the judges for responding well and the way she is able to tuck her hind leg under.
Jessica Dunn’s impressive Helga who was the initial leader from the first round moved into 3rd place with Jessica commenting “She is incredibly sharp so I always thought we’d drop down with the ride judge but she was so good and to finish in the top 4 was incredible.” Jessica was unbelievably also competing with a broken leg, so what a great result for the young rider.
Finishing in 4th place was Alice Oppenheimer with Headmore Bella Ruby.
A VIP Touch
After winning the five-year-old final it was a quick change for Charlotte who re-entered the arena this time aboard Mount St John VIP. Although Charlotte had qualified both VIP and her own Gio for the final, with Gio going through in the lead, Charlotte chose to ride the Mount St John mare. She explained later she felt VIP would give Eva a better ride than Gio, who is less experienced in his work. Charlotte clearly knows how to make the right choice with Mount St John VIP taking the top spot.
This powerful mare won the five-year-old final last year under Eva and clearly impressed her again this year.
Breeders and owners Mount St John said “We are thrilled with her maintaining her unbeaten form to date with Charlotte now with 5 national titles, she’s certainly living up to her name! The test rider couldn’t have asked more in 5 mins on a 6yr horse & she answered every question positively. Then Eva Muller said she felt totally at home, what a compliment to Charlottes super training & the rideabilty of VIP”
The runner up spot went to Tim Heappey and Tantoni Dallaglio who the judges praised for his three good paces and elastic canter, as well as the willingness to try for the rider. This was something the judges commented upon many times that they were looking for in these young horse sections – rideability and trainability.
Bryony Goodwin and Hawtins Duchessa finished in 3rd with Charlotte’s other ride Gio, partnered by Sadie Smith in the final finished in fourth.