No 7-year-old has finished on a sub-40 score at the international two-star level during the 2017 season … yet! The best of the best are facing off this week in France at the FEI World Young Horse Breeding Championships at Le Lion d’Angers. In the last decade, four 7-year-olds have finished on a sub-40 score at Le Lion. Three of them won.
Which horses in this year’s 7-year-old field have the best finishing scores so far in 2017? The horse with the best score at two-star level this year is not competing. Bubby Upton (GBR) and Cola, who won the British 7-year-old Championships at Osberton on their dressage score of 41.7, top the list.
Christopher Burton (AUS) and Lawtown Boy hold the next best score of 42.2, which saw them finish second in the Barbury Castle CIC2* behind the 9-year-old USA wunderkind Deniro Z with Liz Halliday-Sharp. Lawtown Boy is competing at Le Lion, and with a late draw on the second day of dressage, this is one to watch. Have we mentioned Burto tends to be very fast across the country?
Vitali is another to watch at Le Lion with James Avery (NZL). They won the Gatcombe Park CIC2* on 43.3, which is the fourth best finishing score at two-star level from a 7-year-old in 2017. Ducati d’Arville is not competing at Le Lion but holds the third best score of the year, an FOD of 42.7 with Lara de Liedekerke-Meier (BEL) to win the Arville CIC2*.
Which 7-year-olds managed to finish on a sub-40 scores at Le Lion d’Angers over the last decade? These are the performances to beat in France this week …
36.9 FOD | 2017 World Champion
It should come as no surprise that Ingrid Klimke‘s name appears on both our super 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds list. The reigning 7-year-old World Champion Wiesse Duene won last year on an FOD of 36.9, the record finishing score in the 7-year-old championships over the last decade. The mare also has the largest winning margin at Le Lion in the last decade, besting Reserve Champion Billy Walk On and Pippa Funnell (there’s her name again!) by more than 10 penalties.
VERSATELS WALTER VON DER VOGELWEIDE
37.8 | 2008 World Champion
Try to say his name five times fast! The 2008 World Champion, Versatels Walter von der Vogelweide ridden by Sweden’s Malin Petersen, added one show jumping rail to finish on a final score of 37.8, the second best 7-year-old finishing score at Le Lion in the last decade. The Reserve Champion in 2008 also finished on a sub-40 score and appears later on this list.
SIROCCO DU GERS
38.1 FOD | 2013 World Champion
The 2013 World Champion won two internationals in the lead up to Le Lion and kept the hot streak alive on home soil, finishing on his dressage score of 38.1 with Thomas Carlile (FRA). They secured another big won the following year in 2014 when Sirocco du Gers won his first CCI3* at Boekelo. In 2015 the horse competed on the French team that won bronze at the Blair Castle Europeans, finishing 25th individually.
NICK OF THYME
38.7 | 2008 Reserve World Champion
The 2008 Reserve World Champion added 1.2 time penalties on cross country and one show jumping rail to complete on a final score of 38.7 with Ruth Edge (GBR) and finish second to Malin Petersen and Versatels Walter von der Vogelweide. Nick of Thyme went on to secure top-25 finishes at Boekelo, Badminton and Pau.
2008 remains the only year in the last decade that we have seen two finishing scores in the 30s in the 7-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers.