Elias 494 to WC Young Dressage Horses: ‘Mentally a head start’

Marc-Peter Spahn en Elias (Foto: Maarten Sluiter)

Peter Spahn and Elias 494 (Jorn 430) have qualified to appear at the start in the World Championships Young Dressage Horses in Ermelo. ‘I´m ever so pleased with this chance’, Peter says. ‘It´s a first to have a Friesian horse compete in the Grand Prix among the world´s best dressage horses.’

From ‘draught horse’ to dressage horse

In addition to the usual classes for 4- to 7-year-olds this year´s WC ( between 1 – 4 August) offers a special Grand Prix class for horses up to ten. ‘it´s an exclusive group of horses that have the character and health to be able to compete in Grand Prix at the early age of ten’, Peter puts into words. Entry numbers however, didn´t soar so Peter decided to have a go, and with success. ‘Up till now Friesian horses were not accepted for this competition. The WBFSH still categorises the Friesian horse as a Draught horse. My presence at the WC and all the other combinations worldwide who compete their Friesians in Grand Prix slowly but surely help to promote the acknowledgement that Friesians are also dressage horses.’

Mentally strong, getting stronger physically

Preparations for this competition will be same as for their Grand Prix in Falsterbo, Sweden, about a fortnight ago where they scored an impressive 71.485% in the freestyle to music. ‘I can see that Elias keeps getting better’, says Peter, who finds the power of Friesians an asset at this level. ‘Friesians have a mental advantage over Warmbloods, who in turn have a physical advantage. It´s this mental advantage that has brought Elias to this level, he keeps improving physically and therefore he can continue to perform at this level at this age. In the end of course it´s all about talent, not about breed or colour.’