A championship that inspires both riders and spectators

In the end everybody was happy. The Tiemeyer x Hetzel Young Horse Masters, the competition for young horses with the highest prize money in the world, turned the last weekend of July into the perfect event at Holger Hetzel’s equestrian centre in the Rhenish town of Goch.

The final for six-year-olds, offering prize money of EUR 50,000, preceded the finals for the five year-olds and the seven and eight-year-old horses on Sunday, the last day of the competition. And the prize money in the Sunday finals was just as impressive: EUR 25,000 for the five-year-olds final and EUR 75,000 for the seven and eight-year-old final.    

Ten of the original field of 39 five-year-old starters qualified for the finals jump-off on Sunday afternoon, and it made an exciting watch for spectators, with only three hundredths of a second separating first and second place. Philipp Hartmann (Münster) crossed the finish line with the fastest clear round of 36.64 seconds on Cortez FZ by Cornet Obolensky, much to the delight of his boss Ludger Beerbaum, who was also at the event. Close on Philipp’s heels in second place was Marco Kutscher (Bad Essen). The bronze medal winner at the 2004 Olympics and two-times European Champion of 2005 came home clear in a time of 36.67 seconds with his Oldenburg gelding Carlo by Conthargos. Hendrik Dowe (Heiden) came third with home-bred Unglaublich by United Touch S (clear in 38.01 seconds).  The new, enlarged jumping arena was put to the test on Saturday when a sudden rainstorm put everything under water. However, the ebb and flow irrigation system underneath the surface ensured that perfect conditions were quickly restored.

In the last final for seven and eight-year-old horses, which took place on Sunday afternoon, the top placings were a real international affair. With a clear round in 36.74 seconds Irish rider Kevin Thornton led the field on Champions League and was delighted to collect his EUR 18,600 in prize money. Kamil Papousek (Czech Republic) and Stakki Boy-KL (0/37.04) were just a fraction of a second behind him in second place. Dutch rider Gerben Morsink with Calida Z came third (0/37.23). Sophie Hinners (Pfungstadt) with Cornet XL represented Germany in the lap of honour after coming fourth (0/ 37.58).

Host Holger Hetzel was clearly delighted with the outcome of the four-day show on Sunday evening: “It was amazing to get so much positive feedback from the riders and visitors. Everyone said how much they’d enjoyed the event and that they’re looking forward to returning next year. And my entire team has been amazing. I’m so proud of them. They did a perfect job on all the four days. Happy Hour, with free drinks for riders and spectators on Friday evening, was so popular that we turned it into a Happy Evening.” On Saturday the visitors were the guests of Holger Hetzel and the Flanders Foal Auction, enjoying a generous barbecue buffet and free drinks, plus the wonderful atmosphere. “It was amazing. We were all treated as guests by Holger and his team, and the atmosphere was so homely,” said Irish competitor Ian Fives.

There was also plenty of praise for the Tiemeyer x Hetzel Young Horse Masters from two top international show jumpers. Marco Kutscher loved it: “This competition offers some of the most perfect conditions I’ve ever seen for me, as a rider, and for my horses.” And Ludger Beerbaum, who was attending the event in Goch for the first time, was equally impressed: “Last year’s competition didn't fit into our schedule, but I heard a lot of great things about it. Now I’ve seen it for myself, I know they weren’t exaggerating. Holger Hetzel has created a globally unique event.”