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“After one show . . .

judge Hilda Gurney told him that he was at that moment the luckiest person in the world.”

“Everything about this guy is very special. First, he is

very good looking and sexy. Second, he has a wonderful mind. He’s only eight, but he thinks like a 16-year-old guy. He’s very down to earth, very mature, but he’s still goofy. He’s not an old man. It’s a perfect combination: smart, intelligent, but playful. Nothing overwhelms him. And third, his gaits. Extended trot, you have to go to 10, if not a 12. Collected trot 10; walk 9.5; canter 9,” Cesar reports with enthusiasm. Both Jason and Cesar gush over how willingly the big

horse works. “He is only eight, but he is doing a little piaffe, very good passage, one tempis, pirouettes and doing them happily,” continues Cesar. “ I always say when someone wants to be a priest, he’s happy when he’s doing it. But if someone hates to go to church, to be a priest is laughable. Grandioso likes to do his work and I pray he stays that way.”

NEW CHALLENGES

Beyond their enthusiasm for the big horse, Cesar, 46, and Jason, 42, share a common bond: both survived the stressful experience of a stroke. For Cesar, it happened in 2007 when he was in Europe looking for a Grand Prix horse. After a short stay in a German hospital, he was released and returned home feeling very fortunate. Jason shared the same experience in October 2008. The stroke completely paralyzed his left side. “I thought riding was over,” recalls Jason who, like Cesar, has fully recovered. As soon as the Fuquas of

Collecting Gaits Farm in Atlanta heard of Jason’s mishap, they immediately stepped in to take care of Grandioso during his recovery. “Jason had just moved out of our barn to Applewood Farm when we heard of his situation,” remarks Shereen Fuqua.

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