KBIS Young Horse Semi-Final: Hartpury hosts high standards

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 25 Jul 2023 13:09 GMT

Hartpury’s Festival of Dressage (3 – 9 July) hosted the first of the ever-popular semi-finals of the KBIS Young Dressage Horse series. Riders are given the chance to showcase young equine talent and as always, they delivered.  

Jennifer Martell & DBM Secre_C

KBIS Four Year Old Semi-Final 

It's with much excitement that spectators and dressage fans can witness the offspring of former FEI World Breeding Champion Secret now beginning to make waves in the age classes, and it was a Secret-sired superstar that claimed the KBIS Four Year Old Semi-Final class in DBM Secre-C (Secret x Barones CL). Under the guidance of Jennifer Martell, the impressive youngster earned a winning score of 85.4 in a competitive listing with no fewer than 23 starters. 

At only his fourth show, the 16.2hh chestnut displayed his talents to take the win, notably notching up three marks of 8.8 from experienced judges Elke Ebert (Germany) and Maria Eilberg (Great Britain) for trot, canter and general impression. "This horse never fails to give me his all," Jenny comments on the stellar performance by DBM Secre-C owned by herself and Amy Woodhead. Bred by Kristina Floyd-Walker, the Anglo European Studbook registered gelding is a graduate of the 2019 Elite Auction at Stoneleigh Park. 

Sadie Smith teamed up with Peter Belshaw's Toto Jr son Times Orwell for second place, achieving 82.0, alongside Emma Blundell's MSJ Swing Musik (Sir Donnerhall x De Niro) who matched that score under successful young horse producer and former National Champion Greg Sims. 

Amy Woodhead and MSJ Viva Donnebrog

KBIS Five Year Old Semi-Final 

MSJ Viva Dannebrog (Vitalis x Don Schufro) claimed the strong five year old semi-final with an impressive score of 86.2, under the expert presentation of Amy Woodhead. The young mare received complimentary marks from judges Matt Hicks (Great Britain) and Michael Osinski (United States) and rose to the top of a hotly contested class of 23, receiving two nines for both her canter and general impression. 

The Hanoverian registered mare is bred by Mount St John Equestrian and owned by Emma Blundell, and hails from blue-blooded parentage as the daughter of Diva Dannebrog; the outstanding chestnut mare who partnered Grade III Para Equestrian superstar Natasha Baker to an individual silver medal at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

Following their outstanding performance in the Hartpury arena, Viva Dannebrog was also announced as being selected to represent Great Britain at the upcoming Longines FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo, the Netherlands. 

Amy, who continues to build on her successful partnership with Emma Blundell and the Mount St John team, describes her training process with the young horses she produces: "Our main focus is to give the young horses an all-round education of mainly hacking around the fields and taking them to the beach, easy time to grow and mature. This means only doing what we need in the arena and keeping that time short and constructive, so they enjoy work, each year gradually increasing the workload when they are strong enough.All the young horses live out, mostly in pairs, so they have friends and they are able to stay relaxed and happy."

The future looks bright, not only for 'Vivienne' and her partnership with Amy but also with those waiting in the wings as the talented rider concluded, "we have some super talented ones coming through the next few years."

Lauren Taylor's WHD Elton (Emilio x Diamond Hit) was a close runner up in the five year old category, ridden superbly by Beth Bainbridge to a score of 86.0, whilst Alicia Lee's Della Ballerina (Destacado x Weltmeyer) completed the top three on a score of 79.8.

Sarah Millis and Imperial Magic Dream

 KBIS Six Year Old Semi-Final  

Sarah Millis rode Imperial Magic Dream to victory in the KBIS six year old semi-final with a superb winning score of 82.2. The striking Indian Rock-sired gelding looks set to be a star of the future, earning a plethora of consistent high marks across his score sheet, including an 8.5 for trot and way of going. 

Sarah spoke about handsome Dutch Warmblood’s attitude towards the competition atmosphere, "he was really confident in the arena and showed off his super canter well, with a very soft and supple way of going throughout". Although he has only been lightly competed in his young career, "he loves his shows" and demonstrated this with an assured performance inside the white boards.

The training and education at home is shared between Sarah, with whom he has been based for nearly two years, and Imperial Magic Dream’s owner Juliette Lindsay. Sarah told British Dressage how proud both her and Juliette were of their winning horse's efforts: "we're super proud of how he performed and showed his ability very well and could not have asked for more." 

Second place belonged to 2022 KBIS Five Year Old Champion Iceland Girl PS, owned by Deborah Cunningham and bred at Gestüt Lewitz in Germany. The eye-catching mare by Ierland and out of a  Londonderry mare was presented once more by Tom Goode for a score of 82.0. Third place was awarded to Terry Snow's Willinga Park Miana (81.0) and Australian Grand Prix rider Jayden Brown, who returned to the UK in 2022 in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Willinga Park Miana is by Franklin out of a Bordeaux mare, and showed great highlights for her canter, way of going and general impression. 

Nicola Buchanan and St Giles Flamboyant

 KBIS Seven Year Old Semi-Final

It was the Countess Of Shaftesbury's lovely St Giles Flamboyant (Franklin x Fuerst Romancier) to claim the KBIS seven year old semi-final with a score of 76.267%. Ridden by Nicola Buchanan, the talented ‘Frankie’ made Nicola feel "very lucky to have the opportunity to ride such a talented mare and be placed first amongst some very good horses."

The seven year old class at Hartpury presented a top quality field of 19, Nicola and Frankie rose to the top of the standings despite the roof on the indoor arena causing some rather spooky distractions. Nicola explained, "Frankie was actually really nervous in the Hartpury indoor arena as the roof started expanding, making such loud noises resembling a big hail stone storm! She became quite sharp and tense which resulted in a few mistakes. However, she has such a natural athleticism and movement that the good parts are real smart."

Bred at St Giles Stud, 16.2hh Frankie was highly praised by judges Peter Storr and Richard Baldwin; receiving a 9 for her trot, as well an an 8.2 for canter and 8.5 for perspective. "she is quite experienced in the ring now and always tries her heart out, it was a shame the roof was so noisy, but she still overcame that which says a lot about her," Nicola proudly states.  

"She has a lovely temperament and loves to be made a fuss of," the Dorset-based rider continued about her winning ride's outstanding nature, having been working with her since the age of five, "she is incredibly smart and talented and is showing great potential for passage and piaffe. I hope she will go on to have a Grand Prix career in the future."  

Kate Cowell enjoyed second place in the seven year old final with Angie Rutherford's Zack-sired Zia Zara on 74.217%, followed in third place by Michael Eilberg and EDH Saubermond with 73.167%.

Results - top five

KBIS 4YO Semi-Final
1. Jennifer Martell and DBM Secre-C, 85.400
2. Sadie Smith and Times Orwell, 82.000
3. Greg Sims and MSJ Swing Musik, 82.000
4. Sonnar Murray-Brown and Devina B, 80.000 
5. Ashley Jenkins and Game On I, 79.000

KBIS 5YO Semi-Final
1. Amy Woodhead and MSJ Viva Dannebrog, 86.200
2. Beth Bainbridge and WHD Elton, 86.000
3. Alicia Lee and Della Ballerina, 79.800 
4. Robbie Mcneill and Reventador, 78.800
5. Lucinda Elliot and Hawtins Brindisi, 78.600 

KBIS 6YO Semi-Final
1. Sarah Millis and Imperial Magic Dream, 82.200
2. Tom Goode and Iceland Girls PS, 82.000
3. Jayden Brown and Willinga Park Miana, 81.000
4. Daniel Bremner and Monet X, 79.600
5. Michael Eilberg and EDH Franklin Rose, 79.200 

KBIS 7YO Semi-Final
1. Nicola Buchanan and St Giles Flamboyant, 76.267
2. Kate Cowell and Zia Zara, 74.217
3. Michael Eilberg and Saubermond, 73.167
4. Ruth Hole and Rubico, 72.284
5. Tom Goode and Margot, 72.150