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Cyberhorse 2008
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Shiraz Black - Back to Back Champion of Champions!

Performance Sales International
26th-28th March 2009

Shiraz Black
Makes it Two in a Row!!

Story and Pics Berni Saunders

Dressage and Jumping enthusiasts were treated to a fantastic three days of competition with the Australian Young Dressage Horse and Young Jumping Horse Championships - the highlights of the program.

Our most prestigious competition for future equine talent was held on the same weekend as the Melbourne Grand Prix.  I can safely say that all of the appreciative audience in attendance were more interested in horse power with 4 legs and beautiful movement.  I enjoyed every moment and marvelled at the improvement in our horses since this competition was first conducted in 1998 with the inaugural guest riding judge, Anky van Grunsven. 

We have had many wonderful visiting judges and they have all added to our knowledge of bloodlines, temperament and trainability and this has helped Australian riders, their trainers and the breeders to lift our game to the high standard that was enjoyed at this event. 

The D&JWTS organising committee always do a great job with the theme and decor and 2009 was no exception.  The Grand Prix excitement was captured with the huge mural which covered the wall above the "Gold" area at the short end of the indoor stadium. 

With two rounds of competition for 4 YO, 5 YO and 6 YO horses and a 4 YO Pony class now behind us, the suspense was killing --- who would become the Champion of Champions after the guest rider's assessment?

The Guest rider for this event was to be champion Reserve Member of the German Team at the Beijing Olympics, Monica Theodorescu (daughter of the well respected trainer George (dec.))

Unfortunately, after her Masterclass on Friday, Monica took ill and lost her voice. 

Our great friend and supporter since 2002, Dr Ulf Möller (pictured right) from PSI (Performance Sales International) stepped in to ride and assess the three winners of the young Dressage horse classes.

Dr Ulf Möller rides a young Warmblood stallion at WEG in Aachen 2006.

I am sure that we all appreciated seeing this wonderful horseman in action - he is recognised as a world authority on the training and preparation of Dressage horses - in particular he is a real expert with young horses.

Ulf rode the 4 YO stallion Mayfield Be Brave, by Brentano ll from the imported mare White Girl - who interestingly, was the Champion Show Hunter at the 2009 Barastoc Horse of the Year show.  Ulf asked a few questions of the 4 YO stallion and while the work was acceptably good for a young horse, I got the feeling that Ulf needed more!  Be Brave was asked to engage his hind legs and kicked up at the whip a few times - I am sure that all was forgiven as a 4 YO is still learning, but Ulf was keen to make a clear difference and reveal the most deserving winner.

Mayfield Be Brave with his regular rider Brya Law

Ulf said that he enjoyed his ride on Mayfield Be Brave and that the horse had a good future in the sport.

Next, Ulf climbed on board the 5 YO winner Belcam Cadel by Capone, who was ridden for his class by owner Bianca Barnes.  A striking dapple grey and beautifully presented by Bianca, who I feel sure would have had help from her  mum Marion - who is a great supporter and friend of dressage.

Again, Ulf pushed, to test the trainability aspect.  He tickled up the hind legs and got the same reaction that Bianca received in the first round - a kick out at the whip!  It was easy to see that this lovely horse is good natured and I am sure that this day was the hardest one in his life and he can be forgiven for a lack of understanding in a pressure situation!

Bianca Barnes on her delightful Capone gelding Belcam Cadel

Ulf finished his ride and commented that he got a good feel and the response  allowed the horse to show a clear difference in his paces.

Next was the winner of the 6 YO class, the stallion Shiraz Black, by respected German sire Sandro Hit, from the Donnerhall mare Djemina - we have come to realise that this fantastic pedigree is the basis of his success.

Shiraz Black was the 2008 winner of the 5 YO class at this event ... and after his second round performance I felt that Ulf was set to enjoy his ride. Shiraz Black danced through his canter work and performed the 4 flying changes with great ease.  There were not too many 6 YO's that were able to show this great natural talent for canter, which of course determines the quality and ease of the changes. Ulf's smile sent a clear message - he was loving this horse and appreciated the feel he was getting in the canter.

The spokesperson for the judging panel Susie Hoevenaars (pictured right)  spoke in glowing terms as she announced the marks and collective comments from the judges. 

They awarded Shiraz Black 8 for Trot, 7.8 for the Walk, a massive 9 for the Canter, 7.8 was the mark for Submission and the General Impression score was 8.8.... WOW


Shiraz Black - 8 for trot

Shiraz Black - 9 for canter

Gitte Donvig rode Shiraz Black who is owned by her mum Mary and Rob Hanna.  Gitte has done a super job since she took over the ride just 6 weeks before the 2008 event and she said she is very excited about her future with this talented young stallion.  Gitte confirmed that it was the intention of the stud (Statene Park) to retain the stallion and train him all the way up to Grand Prix.

Gitte said, "After the 2008 competition, we qualified to take part in the World Championships for Young Horses, but mum and I felt that he (Shiraz Black) was not ready for the overseas trip and all of the pressure of 'international competition'  at that point in his training."

It is hoped that Gitte and Shiraz Black will take part in the World Championships later this year.  Shiraz Black is certainly up to the quality of the best in the world and is sure to impress an international crowd.

2009 Champion of Champions - Shiraz Black
By Sandro Hit from Djemina (Donnerhall)
Licensed in Oldenberg No LM 43333-01553-03
Visit his Web Site

Cyberhorse 2009 Berni Saunders


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