Last weekend, the very best young horses of the world were gathered in Lanaken for the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championships.
A 100% Irish podium for the 5-year-old final!
Sunday morning, the sun was shining brightly in Domein Zangersheide, in Lanaken (BEL). No fewer than 39 horses and riders qualified for the final and competed against each other with the goal of achieving the 5-year-old Jumping World Champion’s title. 11 pairs managed to stay clear and access the jump-off, among them 4 Irish Sport Horses.
Over the past editions of the WBCYH, Irish horses and riders often worked their way to the top, and this 2023’s edition is no exception: the top 3 has been fully owned by ISH representatives, and the prestigious World Champion’s title was awarded to the gelding HHS Ocala (Urano de Cartigny x Wandor van de Mispelaere), bred by Bravo Hughes LTD, and rider Michael Pender with a time of 37,22 seconds in the jump-off. A first world title for the rider after winning twice silver and three times bronze in the past!
The silver medal was claimed by the stallion Boleybawn Alvaro (Dominator 2000 Z x Crown Z), bred by Ronan Rothwell, and Niamh McEvoy, only 0.50 seconds behind the class’s record. The third couple completing the podium was Gerard O’Neill and the bay gelding Ballyshan B F Super Hero (Celtic Hero B Z x Lux), bred by Gary Doherty, with a time of 39.21 in the jump-off.
A second World Champion’s title for Katrin Eckerman.
Early in the afternoon, in the Ratina Z Arena, 40 participants made their way to the 6-year-old final. Of those 40 combinations, 10 managed to perform flawlessly and secure their place for the jump-off. After a first win in the 6-year-old qualifier on Thursday, Katrin Eckerman and the Westphalian gelding Cascajall (Casallco x Comme Il Faut), bred by Alfons Baumann), galloped again to victory and outclassed the competition with an impressive time of 34,06 seconds in the jump-off. A second World Champion’s title for the German rider, exactly 4 years after becoming World Champion of the 6-year-old with the RHEIN mare Chao Lee (Comme Il Faut x Chacco-Blue) bred by Otmar Eckermann.
Second place in the 6-year-old final was attributed to yet another ISH horse: the bay mare Laurina (Stakkato Gold x Cruising) and Irish rider Leah Stack, who completed their jump-off within 35.75 seconds. The couple to take third place on the podium was the ZANG gelding Maddox vh Haringvliet Z (Monte Bellini x Ogano Sitte) and Dutch rider Jelmer Hoekstra, who finished their round in 35.79 seconds. Needless to say, it was a close-run race!
The 7-year-old final: who runs the podium (Mares!)
On Sunday afternoon, the last class of the 2023 FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championships edition culminated with the Italian anthem resonating in Domein Zangersheide. The very last event of the WBCYH was once again entered by 40 contestants, among whom 11 clear rounds granting them access to the jump-off. The gold medal and World Champion’s Title were awarded to the Italian-bred mare Kumina Della Caccia (Kannan x Toulon), bred by Coop. Soc. Agr. La Caccia-Onlus, and young Irish rider Harry Allen, who delivered a faultless ride in a time of 35.30 seconds.
The OS mare Casanina PS (Casallco x Chacco-Blue), bred by Gestüt Lewitz-Schockemöhle, and German rider Philip Rüping, who initially led the class with a clear-round in 35,90 seconds, ultimately had to settle for 2nd place. Finally, the bronze was awarded to Dutch rider Renee de Weert and the KWPN mare Labantrix (Eldorado van de Zeshoek x Abantos), bred by Stal Van den Broek, with a time of 38.55 seconds.
Congratulations and thank you to all breeders, riders and horses that make such wonderful and exciting events become reality. We would also like the thank the organizers for another great edition of the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championships.
See you next year!
Picture Credit: Dirk Caremans - Hippo Foto Media
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