We all know the context, this year the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses could not go ahead. No WC, but since we spend so much time thinking of our beloved event at this time of the year, we decided to find out how the finalists and champions from earlier editions are faring in the sport these days.
In the past decade the number of five-star competitions quickly increased fivefold. The number of five-star horses grew correspondingly and for that the riders and organisers have to thank the breeders. There are many contributing factors and the role of the WC for Young Horses cannot be overlooked.
It is a stepping stone for the breeders: they saw and see which foals do well in the market and which genes stand out.
It is a stepping stone for the traders: for a period of five days the WC is a global market place.
It is a stepping stone for the riders: every rider in the top 20 rides a horse that once jumped at the WC. Comme Il Faut, Emerald, Clooney, H&M All In, Gazelle, Toveks Mary Lou, Sea Coast Pebbles Z, Cas de Liberté Z, Hello M’Lady, Qlassic Bois Margot. The list is long. Each and everyone are five-star winners that also excel at Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships.
Let’s return to the most recent international championship, which was last year, in Rotterdam. For the first time in history Belgium wins the Gold with in their team Claire Z (Clearway), who at some point was sold at the Zangersheide Quality Auction during the WC. MJT Nevados (Calvados Z) was also a member of that Golden Team. In Rotterdam he became European Champion, a few years earlier he became World Champion in Lanaken at the age of seven.
Germany captured Silver with for instance Comme Il Faut, out of Ratina Z. Comme Il Faut also once won Silver at the WC when he was a 5-year-old. Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z (Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve) was there too and won the Z-Ranking. Team member Clintrexo Z (Clintissimo Z) was born at Zangersheide. Sweden appeared at the start with three horses who in their young years caught the eye in Lanaken during the WC.
That’s an indication of the reputation the WC has acquired. As a young horse Chaqui Z (Chacco-Blue) jumped in the final of the WC three years in a row. A few years later Chaqui Z won Gold for Ireland at the EC. H&M All In came fourth in Lanaken at the age of seven. Some years later he did even better among the big boys: European Champion and Reserve Olympic Champion.
Of course any championship for young horses is often a matter of touch-and-go. One rail down and you can forget about the final. Fortunately, they can use it as a learning experience because riders and experts alike are agreed on one thing: within a few years the finalists will be seen in the international circuit. Even if they make a mistake at that tender age during the World Championship. Riders have a feeling for that and traders recognise it.