A class that always draws large crowds at the British Dressage National Championships is the Shearwater Young Horse Final, held over two days. The crowds are enticed partially by the opportunity to see one of the best young horse riders in the world (Eva Moller) try out the top 4 in each age group, and partially in the hope that they might spot a future champion from among the contenders.
Tag: Hawtins Stud
Backinaction Preliminary Silver Championship
First in the arena at 7.50 on Thursday morning and the first British bred winners at the BD Nationals, were Abigail Unwin and her buckskin gelding Arleys Dun Deal. Originally bred for eventing by Arley Moss Equestrian, this wildcard entry, is a son of the perlino stallion Burnocks Unqiue out of a mare by the popular coloured stallion Goshka Ringo. Burnocks Unique hails from the blue blooded eventing sire line of 4 star eventer Welton Crackerjack.
The National young horse classes in any discipline, are always a good indication of the strength of that country’s future talent. In dressage, there are always some horses that are not competed until they are older and more established but even so, the young horse classes are still fascinating to watch and can be a source of some incredible talent (think Valegro).
With the recent news that the BEF’s breeding operations are no longer to be run centrally but instead be put out to tender, some British Breeders have been expressing concerns that this is backward step for the industry. Some breeders are worried that without the backing of the BEF, buyers won’t consider a British bred foal, or assume that there isn’t the quality they need here in the UK.
But if you look outside of the Futurity, there are more initiatives than ever being launched to give UK breeders a shop window.
Hawtins Werona is a performance tested Elite British Hanoverian mare whose early promise has blossomed into a successful dressage career. She was bred by Judith Hawtins at Hawtins Stud and was competed by the Stud’s rider Bryony Goodwin up to Advanced Medium level. In 2016 she was purchased by 18 year old Bridget Tate with an eye on future Young Rider competitions and eventually a breeding career.
The third day of the championships are among the most interesting for me as they showcase emerging young talent with the preliminary rounds of the Shearwater Young Horse Championships. In both the 4 and 5 year old sections, 50% of the field was British bred. What was even more exciting was that the top four 4 year olds that went through to final judging on the Sunday, were British.
Outstanding from the start was the British Hanoverian Hawtins San Floriana. Judith Hawtin’s breeding program is really reaping the rewards as not only did she have San Floriana competing here but also her homebred dam Hawtins Floriana in the Intermediate I and Hawtins Barolo in the 5 year olds. A further Hawtins bred gelding is covered in our report on the Medium Championship. San Floriana is a lovely big quality mare with active paces and you feel there is even more to come. She is sired by the Sandro Hit son San Amour with Florestan and Weltmeyer further back.
The only other 4 year old to score over 8 points in the first round of judging was the licensed AES stallion River Rise Magic Mike bred and jointly owned by Sarah Tyler Evans and ridden by his other owner Sadie Smith. A modern type, clearly showing his Dutch heritage, the stallion was very active and forward with good jump to the canter. He is a son of the British based stallion T.Movistar who is a son of the hot but potent sire Jazz. Previously competed by Carl Hester up to small tour level he had been covering quite large books of mares so it will be interesting to see if his son proves as popular.
In third place was the Lickley’s Vivaldi son Hennessy T, so another carrying the blood of Jazz. And in 4th was further Dutch sired horse with the Johnson daughter Little Tree J’Adore, bred by the Woolleys.
The 5 year old first round judging did not see such high scores as the 4 year olds. But again 50% of the field was British bred. The highest score from the first round was Mount St John’s homebred daughter of Totilas – MSJ Top Secret. Top Secret is a daughter of the Bundeschampion Deja’vu FBW and there is a younger full sister waiting in the wings. Sadly the rest of the top four at this stage were imported stock.
There were only 3 British bred 6 year olds forward out of the 10 entrants, but this included the hugely talented F.J Veryon, a previous 4 year old champion. Ridden for owner/breeder Fiona James by Paul Hayler, the big chestnut son of Vivaldi was supple across his topline with good elasticity and earned the highest score from day one. The second highest score was another British bred, this time Carl Hester’s mare Brioso II ridden by Charlotte Dujardin. The lovely mare was not presented for the final but her pedigree will be analysed in the Day Four report. The final British horse that did go through to the final four was the Blue Hors Zack x Mooiman daughter Full Fusion ridden by Hannah Moody.
The Lemieux Grand Prix was the highlight of Saturday and it was encouraging to see a number of British bred contestants in the line-up including eventual 4th and Olympic short-listed WG Rubins Nite. The 12 year old son of leading Oldenburg stallion Rubin Royal is out of a Limbo dam. Limbo was a Hanoverian son of Lanthan who stood in the UK for a number of years.
The TopSpec Medium Gold Championship saw 35% of the field bred in the UK, with the highest placed another representative of the fabulous Hawtins Stud. This was 5th placed Hawtins Horatio, a son of the Grand Prix stallion Hotline out of one of Judith’s foundation mares World’s Finest by the legendary Weltmeyer. Worlds Finest is also the granddam of the 4yo champion.
Also worth noting in such a strong class (that was won by the Olympic champion) was the 6th place of the pony mare Ode to Shannon. This neat little mare is a daughter of the little used stallion Washington Postman. He was a Thoroughbred who evented successfully up to intermediate level but didn’t leave that many offspring behind. Ode to Shannon represented Great Britain at the 2016 Pony Europeans.
My overriding impression from the BD Nationals this year, was that British bred horses are more than holding their own, but British Dressage really could do so much more to support British breeders. The catalogue was an improvement on previous years with a better layout showing the sire, dam sire and country of origin in the main class listing. However there appeared to be no space to name the breeder, and the information was not always accurate. Given that a copy of the horse’s passport has to be sent to BD upon registration, I am surprised that the catalogue for the Nationals appears to have been generated from the competitor’s entry forms, rather than pulled off the BD database. This meant that there were some avoidable errors.