Find out who made the grade in the Shearwater Young Dressage Horse qualifiers at Ardingly’s Premier League Show in West Sussex this weekend

Riders travelled from all over the south totake up the challenge of the Shearwater National and International Young Dressage Horse qualifiers at the three-day Premier League Show held at South of England Showground in Ardingly, West Sussex.

The five-year-olds

There were 26 combinations forward for the national section.

Suzanne Davies and the eye-catching chestnut Keystone Rubins were the clear winners of the five-year-old national section scoring a commanding 80% with a mature,rhymical test, ahead of Claire Speer and Sheepcote World Of Optimism in second with 72% and Ruth Lovell and Belzonie close behind on a score of 71.50%.

In the international section, the positions were reversed with Claire Speer taking top slot with 80% and Suzanne just behind on a score of 78%.

Keystone Rubins, by Rohdiamant, was bought through Christian Heinrich in Germany.He was gelded and backed in November and made a good start to his competitivecareer last week by winning the Prevac Pro Potential International Dressage Horse class at Kingston Maurward.

“He’s electric to ride, but never nasty, just sensitive and actually rather polite,” said Suzanne. “Today, he was very forward and concentrated on the job in hand. Although it’s still early to say, I think that after De Maggio, he’s one of the best horses I’ve had and we have high hopes for him. If all goes well, we aim to take him to the World Breeding Championships in August.

“He’s done very little – I swapped him with Vicky Brake’s Badminton horse [Charlton Connor] for a week before the horse trials so that she could take him hacking while I worked on the flatwork with Connor and it did him the world of good.

Michel Assouline, who judged the international section with Germany’s Beutler Bath, said: “In a class like this, we were looking for three very good paces and horses which are correct in their way of going with the least amount of resistance.

“There were some high quality horses in the class and we were particularly impressed by the winner’s softness and total submissiveness. The runners-up were a little less established in their paces while the others proved a little more immature in coping with the test, both mentally and physically.”

Claire Speer and the elegant mare Sheepcote World of Optimism,who scooped the best mare prize at Kingston Maurward, claimed top slot in the international section.

Claire, a List 3 judge and BHSII from Dorset, bought “Opti” from Serena Pincus 18 months ago as a just backed three-year-old. The mareis registered with the Anglo European Studbook

“Winning was like a bolt from the blue.This was the first time I had attempted a Shearwater class and I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “When we arrived we looked at the list of people competing and thought we would be outclassed – everyone looked so smart and professional, we didn’t think we stood a chance.”

“Opti has very correct paces and great presence – she rides like an advanced horse and after today, we’re looking forward to planning some more outings.”

The six-year-olds

Claire Moir (nee Morrison) and Paula Ring’s Hanoverian Sancerre II scooped both the national and international sections of the six-year-old class.

By St Cloud, Sancerre, who is a half brother to Nicola Jordain’s Saint Swithin, was also bought through Christian Heinrich and has already qualified with his owner for the novice regionals.

“Claire has been riding and training Sancerre since he was three,” said Paula. “They suit each other well and it would be wonderful to see them go all the way. He’s done about a dozen shows in all and has been in the frame every time out.

“‘Willi’ is a super horse and has the most fantastic temperament – we hack him out three or four days a week inthe New Forest and he never puts a foot wrong.”

Paul Hayler, who judged the class alongside Linda Whetstone, summed up: ” The winner had a nice way of going and an obvious willingness to move forwards. His trotwork demonstrated good freedom of movement, balance and submissiveness – he looks like having a promising future ahead of him.”

Results

Five year olds

National: 1,Keystone Rubins (Suzanne Davies) 80%; 2, Sheepcote World of Optimism (Claire Speer) 72; 3, Belzonie (Ruth Lovell) 71.50.

International: 1, Sheepcote World of Optimism 80; 2, Keystone Rubins 78; 3, Belzonie 77.

Six-year-olds

National: 1, Sancerre (Claire Moir) 77.2; Cavallino (Joanna James) 70; 3, Wonderful Girl (Matthew Flowers 68.

International: 1, Sancerre 68; 2, Oberon VI (Simone Ward Olds) 65; 3, Wonderful Girl 62.

Read full report and results of Ardingly’s Premier League show in this week’s Horse & Hound (23 May), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.