New Saddle Brand--Dynamic
One of the most exciting things about my work is learning about new products. In 2017, I added a new and very innovative brand of saddle--Dynamic--to the list of products I offer my customers.
In 2017, my own saddle search for my now-Grand Prix mare, Shantal Rox, led me to discover this unique product. At first, this innovative saddle took me a bit out of my comfort zone. I had to try to wrap my mind around a saddle with a tree that is so "dynamic" that it shapes and forms to virtually any horse's body under the rider's weight, eliminating the need for flocking or tree adjustments. The brilliant designer of this saddle explained the concept to me, and I was enticed to try one on my hard-to-fit very petite mare, Shantal. Since then, I've put no other saddle on Shantal's back. The Dynamic tree is so horse friendly, and the seat is so comfortable, that we've achieved new heights in our performance. In May 2018, we did our very first Grand Prix together, and in July we successfully tackled the Grand Prix Special! It was great fun! I now also ride my 17.2 Dutch gelding, Vavite Fortuna, in the very same saddle!
To read more about Dynamic Saddles, take a look at their website, www.dynamicsaddles.com. We offer an excellent trial policy!
My Dutch gelding, Vavite Fortuna, (Kreator X Relie Fortuna --Flemmingh), Viv, as he is affectionately called around the barn, came to me through Canadian Olympian David Marcus. David had trained Viv's previous owner on him through I-1, and he knew that this was the sort of horse I would love to ride. It was quite a treat to sit on this big-bodied yet gentle horse when I tried him in Florida. I am very fortunate to call him mine now. I purchased him in April 2015, and since then, this horse has become the most wonderful dance partner I could have ever imagined. I've experienced a number of firsts with this charismatic horse, among them was his and my first time at Dressage at Devon in September 2016.
Our ride at Devon was a dream come true. Viv was perfect under the lights in the Dixon Oval. I was the only amateur in the class, and we missed the ribbons by 1/3 of a point! It was the most thrilling moment of my 46-year riding career! Viv also helped me earn both my USDF Bronze and Silver Medals in 2015. What a year!
In 2016, Viv and I debuted our Intermediare musical freestyle, with music custom composed for us by the amazing Gary Patterson of the UK. The music, an adaptation of songs from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys), is so spot on. It's such fun to ride the routine, and it has been very well received in competition so far.
Our Oldenburg mare, Shantal Rox (Sandro Hit x Roxette- Don Gregory) is proof that great things come in small packages. She is 15.2 hands of power and grace, and although it is taking some time, I am learning what partnership really means by riding this mare. There's a very long story behind how a 5'8" adult amateur rider came to be the rider of this diminutive grand prix horse. I won't bore you with all of those details. Suffice it to say that Shantal Rox has become a wonderful competition partner for me, and I enjoy getting to know her a little more each day. We did our first PSG together in April 2016, and did our first I-1 in June 2016. Both were successful beyond my imagination.
In April 2018, we did our very first I-2 test together, and then the following month it was time to tackle the big one--Grand Prix. We did our first GP in May at Lexington, Virginia. I was an amazing learning experience, and more successful than I could ever have believed! In July 2018, we competed the Grand Prix Special and received a 60%+ score! What a monster of a test that is. We still have a ton of work to do to polish up the work at the GP level, and will be out at the shows in 2019 doing just that.
Shantal, Viv and myself are currently training with Judy McCoy at her lovely Station Hill Farm in Cedar Grove, North Carolina. Judy is an experienced FEI rider who lends wonderfully creative and tactful instruction. She loves my horses, and they love her too!