WBFSH International Young Breeders World Championships 2024 results

  • 9 July 2024, 21:20

One hundred and forty two competitors aged 16-26 representing 20 studbooks gathered at Martofte in Denmark for the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) International Young Breeders (IYB) World Championships.

Competitors from Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany (ten studbooks), Great Britain, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden and the Netherlands, alongside hosts Denmark, took part in the championships.

The competition demands concentration, stamina, consistency, exemplary knowledge and skill in the areas of theory assessment, conformation and athleticism trait appraisal, as well as the ability to handle a strange horse and show it effectively to the judges on a triangle format akin to a dressage test in hand.

The aim of competitors during the trait assessment phases is to match the judge’s scores for the animals as closely as possible.

The team representing the Irish Sport Horse Studbook put in a tremendous performance over three days of assessments. Seniors Gillian Burke, Maria Cairns, Colin Doyle, and Edward Hennessy, along with juniors Caoimhe Healy, siblings Ben and Sarah Kavanagh and Hazel McInerney finished in overall seventh position with their scores combined for all disciplines as a studbook team, a mere 14 points of a difference from the podium positions.

The World Champions and Reserve Champions are teams Sachsen Thüringen from Germany and the host Danish Warmblood team, with Swedish Warmblood taking bronze position.

The Irish senior team finished in seventh position within their age group, only 11.27 points from the podium while the junior team finished in ninth position, 22 points from the podium finishers. German teams from Rheinland, Sachsen Thüringen and Brandenburg Anhalt monopolised the senior team podium. The junior team podium was filled by Danish Warmblood, Sachsen Thüringen and Swedish Warmblood.

Maria Cairns, from Co. Wexford, earned ninth position individually on 291 points within the senior age class. Ben Kavanagh, another Wexford native and the youngest team member, was the highest placed Irish junior finishing in 15th place.

With an almost clean sheet, having only one question incorrect across the full team, they were off to an exceptionally good start.

In the discipline of conformation assessment, the senior competition was tightly fought with Maria Cairns finishing in 17th position on a score of 83.5 out of 100. Juniors put in an exemplary performance in the conformation phase with Hazel McInerney from Co. Clare placing in fourth position on 87 points.

Athleticism assessment proved a happy hunting ground also for juniors with Sarah Kavanagh, older sibling of Ben, achieving 83 points out of 100 in fourth place. With five horses under scrutiny, the challenge to match the judge’s scores was hard fought.

The In Hand phase for seniors was where the magic happened with Maria Cairns finishing in third place on a score of 102 out of 120 behind Chiara Celine of RHEIN Germany on 106 points and Klara Herschmann of SA-THU Germany on 104 points.

Edward Hennessy, from Co. Cork, was close on Maria’s heels finishing on 99 points in 9th place, while Colin Dolye finished on 97 points in 18th place.

Gillian Burke finished on 89 points, which was no reflection of her horse handling abilities having coped superbly with a difficult mare and made the best of the circumstances.

Judging of the junior In Hand phase was not very forgiving, with some particularly challenging horses provided to manage. Judges seemed to lean towards awarding perfection in the delivery with easier horses to handle over appreciation for management of more difficult horses.

That said, Maya Hammarstrom from SWB Sweden was victorious on 103 points. Ben Kavanagh followed on 96 points in 17th place while Sarah Kavanagh was harshly marked on 89 points, considered not reflective of the display given, while Caoimhe Healy and Hazel McInerney each finished on scores of 88, both having coped with difficult and very fresh horses who they managed exceptionally capably.

Speaking after the competition, Maria Cairns thanked the trainers for their dedication over the past few months.

She said; “Having competed also in 2022, this was another indescribably brilliant experience. I take great pride in the performance and work put in by each member of the team to achieve this result. My own In Hand podium finish would not have happened without the expert input of assistant handler Colin Doyle, which also had a very significant contribution to my overall 9th place finish.

“Every result is accomplished by team members giving their best efforts for each other. We also have some amazing memories and expanded our network of friends along the way.”

Hazel McInerney said: “It was a fantastic experience to represent the ISH Studbook at the Championships. Such an incredible opportunity to meet others from all over the world who are interested in breeding and producing horses. I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience which I hope to put into practice over the coming years.

“The coaches and all involved have been so helpful and supportive throughout and I am so grateful to have been part of such an amazing team of people.”

Sarah Kavanagh said: “I feel so privileged to have had this opportunity. The greatest reward from the competition was meeting so many like-minded people from around the world and nationally here at home during the team selection period.”

Wendy Conlon, Teagasc Equine Specialist added: “Every single team member should be superbly proud of their performances, particularly in the In Hand phase, as some of the horses provided were not simple to manage.

“All rose to the challenge and demonstrated their capacity to perform under pressure. The team members will undoubtedly contribute effectively to the sector for years to come as breeders and producers of both horses and ponies.

“I wish to thank all who have contributed to the preparations of the Irish Sport Horse studbook team from trainers, farms, sponsors, and indeed the parents and others who have supported the team behind the scenes.

“The list is too long to mention everyone, but those who have been extensively involved are Teagasc Equine Specialists, Tiernan Gill, Andrew Hughes, Philip Scott, Derryglen Stud, Hughes Horse Stud, Kilconnell Stud, and Lissyegan Stables, Horse Sport Ireland’s Antonette Doran, and gratefully received funding/sponsorship from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and The Equine Warehouse.”

Full results are available at https://www.wbfsh.com/iyb/championship-results/2024


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