To mention the important things first – an ANC without fireworks, Paul Potts and embryo auction, where according to the motto “less is more”, the horse was brought back to the centre of attention, was certainly to the liking of the German audience and still had not lost any of its charm or attractiveness. Saturday afternoon was again dedicated to the horses – not the conversion of the show arena – and Saturday evening was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the VZAP. So far so good!
The birthday party of the VZAP was well-meant, even if it had some weaknesses and lengths … One of the weaknesses laid in the organization of the dinner, to which all VZAP members were invited. So, one had first to get a token in the show office, then exchange the token into a wristband, then ran to the buffet – and then …? Well, then unfortunately there were no tables for the non-VIPs, so they were told to eat in the grandstands, the plate on their laps, juggling with knives and forks and hope that nobody pushes through the rows right now… A standing reception with finger food – less is more – would have been better.
The lengths then became noticeable at the beginning of the actual evening program, when the minute of silence for the deceased breeders Liesl Vetter and Willi Poth, for Dorothy Stream (ANC Committee), Gijs Eggink (ECAHO Official, DC) and Ryan Jones (Presenter) stretched into 10 Minutes. And also Dr. Nagels talk about the beginnings of the VZAP and the ANC was very interesting, but because it was held in German the international audience didn’t understand – and then 15 minutes are damn long …
But one of the highlights of the evening was clearly the “Jump & Drive” performance – that was pure action! Nele Schlichte ran with Al Ashar and “her” pony team a race against the team of Jonathan Marquardt with Aziz Ibn Sauda Zahra and his pony team. Everyone had their fun, the audience was thrilled, and then when “coincidentally” the same time was measured for both teams, timekeeper Wolfgang Eberhardt had the laugh on his side.
The honoring of the Ismer family, who received the Graf Landsberg Velen medal of the FN in bronze this year, was also well deserved. Successfully leading a stud of this size over 60 years in the third generation is truly a feat that is second to none!
Very nice was also the honoring of horses like Essteema, the German-bred Triple Crown winner. Even though she was not present in person, she and her breeder Reinhard Sax had more than earned this honor. The same applies to Al Lahab, who was already bought as a foal by Inge and Hansjürgen Friedmann and also achieved the world champion title (and more). He came from Italy via a detour to Aachen and then back home to the Lunzenhof. It’s nice to see such well-deserved horses again – this idea should be developed further! But why Rihab Al Nasser was invited, and for which reason Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser al-Thani was honored, I did not quite get…
And another honoring was on the program: Haifi El Sorrento, the best “dressage Arabian” Germany currently has to offer, was awarded the WAHO Trophy. Gold in dressage, in Classic Pleasure and in Classic Allround made him the most successful participant in the European Championship for Sport Arabians in Wiener Neustadt this year, along with many other successes in dressage – also against warm blooded horses up to class M. Since 2010 he is trained by Susanne Hoyler and is a wonderful ambassador for the Arabian riding horse. Owner Edith Lipp accepted the WAHO Trophy from the hands of WAHO Vice President Marek Trela.
At the end, a quadrille followed with 20 German riding ponies, all of which (supposedly) have at least 25% Arab blood. That was action again, the audience was happy, and one or the other of the caprioles was skillfully counter-acted by the young riders. But a quadrille of (well) ridden Arabians would have been more effective for the promotion of the Arabian horse, and one wonders why there was no quadrille with Arabians – it does not have to be 20. Thus, the Arabian breed association has at best advertised the ponies…
All in all, an evening that also offered the “little breeder” nice entertainment, even if the program is still expandable and in some respects “well meant, but not always well done”.