Meet some of the competitors
Young Breeder Championships
This summer, the Young Breeder’ World Championships kicks off after being postponed for a year as a result of the pandemic. About 20 breeders associations from different countries will gather in the Netherlands during 7-10 July, to compete in the four disciplines of the sport. We got the opportunity to chat with Michaela Swärd who is responsible for the two teams that will represent Sweden in the competitions. She answers all our questions about the Young Breeders World Championships and helps us sort out what it really means to compete in a judging sport.
Hi Michaela! 👋 Do you want to start by telling us a little about SWB? Who are you and what do you do?
“Hello! SWB is an abbreviation of Swedish Warmblood Association. SWB is a nationwide breeding organization with the aim of supporting and developing breeding and to spread knowledge about and market the Swedish Warmblood.
Young SWB is the youth activity within SWB and if you are younger than 26 years and a member of SWB, you are automatically a member of Young SWB. The purpose of Young SWB is to capture young people interested in breeding and spread knowledge about it. To help build networks with other young people within breeding, with more experienced breeders, judges and young horse trainers, both in Sweden and abroad.
My name is Michaela Swärd, I am 29 years old and responsible for the youth activities within SWB. I work mainly at SWB’s office at Flyinge Kungsgård in Sweden. I myself am an amateur rider who has competed a bit in jumping and cross country. I have also bred two horses of my own and right now my first breeding, who is 5 years old, will be covered and hopefully have a foal next year.”
What does the line-up in each team look like?
“We have two teams from Swedish Warmblood Young Breeders who will participate in the WC, a junior team and a senior team. Each team consists of 4 competitors, where the 3 best results in each team are counted. We have a reserve in the senior team that will accompany us to the WC, two team leaders and I (Michaela) who will be the overall responsible throughout the competition.
The selections took place at the same time as the finals of the Young SWB Cup this spring. In the Young SWB Cup, several high schools meet and compete against each other in the same disciplines as at the WC. The ones scoring the highest results during the day are selected to the team and get to represent Sweden in Young Breeders WC.
What is Young Breeders WC?
“There is an international connection between breeding associations around the world called International Young Breeders, and every other year this big competition is arranged in different places around the world. Around 20 breeding associations with about 200 participants then compete against each other in 4 disciplines:
- Theory (Example of topics: breeding, feeding and nutrition, stable management, health and welfare and international sport and studbooks).
- Judging of Conformation Traits
- Judging of Athleticism Traits (Loose movement and loose jumping)
- Presenting a Horse In Hand
There is also an extra discipline, called Grooming, where the team should groom as well as possible. But that discipline is not included in the big competition.
This year, the WC is being held by the breeding association Jong KWPN at the National Equestrian Center in Ermelo, the Netherlands on 7-10 July. The competition was supposed to be arranged last year but had to be moved due to the pandemic. In 2019 it was held in Austria and 2017 in Canada.”
Cool! But, how does it really work to compete in judging horses?
“When competing in assessment, it is important to get as close to the judge’s points as possible, preferably with similar comments as the judge as well. You need to be able to read the judge and how they judge the first two test horses. Then follow your gut feeling! It is also important to have seen many different horses and seen what points they get, to know what assessment scale the horse is in.”
How did you train before the competitions?
“We have had several training weekends with the team where we have focused on getting to know each other and to practice the different disciplines. We invited a jumping judge and an exterior judge so everyone got the chance to ask questions and discuss with the judges. On one of the days during a training weekend we were at a facility and trained to show a horse in hand, which is one of the competition elements where the presentation is judged, and not the horse.
How would you rate your chances in the competition?
“We think we have a good chance of bringing one or more medals home with us! All selected participants are very sharp in all elements, which they showed during both the selection and the training weekends. One of the participants also has medals from previous World Cups.”
If you are interested in breeding and want to get involved in SWB – where do you start?
“If you are under 26 years of age, live in Sweden and are interested in breeding or generally interested in young horses and the SWB horse, you are very welcome to become a member of Young SWB and to participate in our events and activities around Sweden!
You can find us on our social media such as instagram, facebook and our website, and as a member of SWB you can also take advantage of nice discounts from our partners. ”
- Instagram account: ungswb
- Facebook account: Ung SWB
- Website: www.ung.swb.org
Thank you so much for answering all our questions. Have fun and GOOD LUCK to all of you during the Young Breeder World Championships!