| - a significant, Brazilian equestrian event, taking place in Germany for the first time!
Up to now more than 700 riders and their horses joined the “Sela de Ouro” (golden saddle) qualifying rides in Brazil. This year 100 riders achieved already the qualification for the finals. These qualifying rides started 4 years ago and are part of the social project "Caminhos Gerais” (General trails). The first competition ride in Germany with Mangalarga Marchador horsestook place between June 12 to 13/2010; all participants got the chance to join the Brazilian National Championship, riding horses, which was made availablefree of charge.
The competition event was organized by the Kreiswald stud farm, located in the “Odenwald” area. A delegation of 14 Brazilians arrived already 2 days before, including Lucio Flavio Baioneta, President of the “Caminhos Gerais” organization, the judge Mauricio Ribeiro and 3 riders, selected by draw during the National Championship 2009in Brazil.
It was agreed uponconnecting this event with a social project as well. The society TRAB e. V. (therapeutic riding asa bridge)was selected and participated with a demonstration show;the financial net of the event has been donated to this society, which gives support to mentally and physically handicapped children.
The competition consists of 3 parts, cross-country ride, oval track and obstacle track. During a briefing all participants have been informed about the rules and the most important criteriathe judge will pay attention to:
- clarity of the beat of the Marcha
-easy riding and control ability
- vivacity and willingness to perform
- horsemanship and skill
- pulse rate of the horse, checked 30 minutes after arrival at finish (has to be below 64 p/min)
Saturday morning at 08:00 o`clock all participating riders met on the oval track to start for the 25 km cross-country course, the extent was marked on trees. A group of 25 riders started at a time with an interval of 5 minutes. The complete starting group was made of seven riders from Brazil, 5 from the Netherlands,1 from Iceland and 13 from Germany. 3 riders with non gaited horses joined as well, however they were not allowed to qualify for Brazil.
The first group started together with the judge, who exchanged his horse with each participant during the course. This process made the group moving slower, so the next group could close up. While the first group continued their way, the horses of the second group were exchanged and so on. Time was not a criterion, but most of the time the horses moved in the Marcha withan average speed of 14 km/h.
The track began at “Kreiswald”, crossed a beautiful, vast and varied forest and ended at the castle of “Starkenburg”, part of the city of “Heppenheim a.d. Bergstrasse”. Everything went well. The horses moved lively, the mood among the riders was cheerfuldespite of short rains and the exchange of the horses occurred without any problems. At the end of the first stage the landscape changed from forest to a path through vineyards with a breathtaking view over the Rhine valley. Having the castle in view, the group had to overcome only a short climb on cobblestones.
After arriving at the castle, the horses were watered and tethered. The riders then went to the castle restaurant for refreshment, while the horses were looked after. The break lasted about 1 hour and the restaurant was filled with a mixture of languages such as Brazilian, Dutch, English and German. An international mix of equestrian enthusiasts, who understood each other very well despite of language barriers.
Start of the second stage: a new path led the group back to “Kreiswald”, this time with sunny weather. Riding with quite a high speed on the way back, the groups met between 12:30 and 13:15 o`clock at the finish. Each horse had to pass the vet check, after 30 min resting time. To all surprise each horse passed the check - even some recovered to the normal heart rate - and consequently all riders got qualified. The veterinarian, Dr. Alexandra Köster, was very happy with this good result.
A good reason to celebrate; Saturday night the party started in the marquee with frisky dances, lots of conversation, new friendships and many invitations to visit Brazil.
The program continued Sunday, 12:00 o`clock.
The "Evaluation" (valuation of the horses moving in the Marcha on the oval track) took place at “Kreiswald” stud farm, in front of a large fan-audience of gaited horses; a part of audiencecame to see the “IGV-Cup” (IGV - International Association of Gaited Horses) tournament, which took place at “Kreiswald” during the same weekend.
The judgment was executed in 3 categories:
- Stallions (marked by red numbers)
- Mares (marked by blue numbers)
- Geldings (marked by yellow numbers)
The riding skills and the quality of the Marcha wereevaluated and ranked.
Although the“Sela de Ouro” riders did not compete for bows and cups, butfor a good cause, everybody was excited and interested in how a judge from the country of origin would rate their horses.
Stallions started first, followed by mares and finally the geldings. Each category took about 10 minutes moving in the Marcha. Riders and horses differed very much in training level and experience. Also horse/rider pairs did join, whichcame together the first time this weekend; that means, to some riders were made available completely unknown horses. But everything went along without any major incident.
Horses and riders were not yet released, they still had to compete in the “Prova de Acao” (obstacle track) The course consisted of a gate that had to be opened, passed through and closed again. Ideally, one hand continuously touching the gate. Then pass through 2 posts, stop and pass through backwards again. Then start moving with the Marcha gaitand meander through 5 pylons, round the last one and meander the pylons back again. Change the gait to left hand galloping, rounding 3 barrels, jumping over a low obstacle, stopping at a given point and finally release the reins and keep the horse motionless.
The riders could choose the paceand the omission of obstacles according to their own skill and the ability of the horse.Safety was first priority and of course the slogan “taking part is everything”. All riders completed the course accordingly and there was a lot of applause for the most skilled riders as well as for completely inexperienced riders, who even though accepted this challenge.
Subsequently, all participants were honored by the Brazilian delegation andreceived their medals "Sela de Ouro Germany 2010". During this ceremony those present have been informed, that the President of “Caminhos Gerais” - Lucio Flavio Baioneta, the President of the Brazilian Breeders Association “ABCCMM” - Magdi Shaat and the President of the European Association “EAMM” - Astrid Oberniedermayr, had made the decisionalready the day before, to organize an European “Sela de Ouro” event again in 2011.
The Brazilian visitors were impressed by the organization and realization and agreed upon assigning the contracts for the next event in July 2011, during the “National Championship” in Brazil. This announcement was met with strong applause. The riding part was finished by an impressivelap ofhonor with Brazilian flags. All riders now took care of the horses quickly, beforethey learned the results of the Brazilian judge in the marquee. Mauricio Ribeiro, the Brazilian riding judge explained in detailto each rider the positive and negative aspects of his judgment and mentioned some general judgment criteria:
At “Sela de Ouro” riding tests neither trot nor amble is desired (MM`s showing the amble gait are excluded from breeding in Brazil). The “Marcha” gait has to be regular with little suspension, smooth, comfortable and with little vertical movement of the rider.The rider`s sensitive use of bridle and reins will be observed and the horse`s temperament and the willingness to perform arean important criterion as well.
Finally he talked about the appearance of the Brazilian MM-rider, sportingbrimmed hat, chaps, jeans etc andusing special saddles. He personally would appreciate, if the Europeans showed up dressed identically. Then he congratulated all participants for the qualification they passed and announced the ratings. While doing this,strong applause was given for each participant - some of them shed tears of joy.
“Sela de Ouro” 2010 ended without medal winners and without losers. All participants did enjoy it, had a great time and promised to start again in 2011. EAMM will be sure to be able to double the number of participants in 2011. The benefit for each individual of the“Sela de Ouro” eventwas a great weekend, making many new friends, having the chance joining the final in Brazil, having done a good deed by donating and feeling being part of a community of Mangalarga Marchador enthusiasts.