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CARDI

A 14.3-hand sport horse stallion from rural Oregon demonstrates that good dressage horses sometimes come in small—and very determined—packages.

By Pat Payne

Cindy Miller knows

the value

of trusting her instincts. Back in 2001, Cindy, of Winterlake Welsh Cob Farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, saw a newborn colt and knew she was seeing a horse she was meant to own. Nine years and many wins in the dressage arena later, her immediate and intuitive response to a little Welsh Cob named North Forks Cardi has been more than justified. Last year, Cardi showed impressive results in his

second year at Prix St. Georges and his first at Inter- mediare I. This 14.3 hand stallion’s 2009 accomplishments included winning the FEI Freestyle Championships at both Dressage at Devonwood (Oregon) and the Oregon Dressage Society Championship Show. He also won his I-1 classes at shows around the Northwest. Ultimately, Cindy’s sights were set on competing him across the country at the prestigious annual event, Dressage at Devon in Pennsylvania. Could Cardi do it?

FINDING CARDI

Since she had previously purchased youngsters from breeder Carol Holcombe, a longtime friend and colleague, Carol would let her know when there were babies she really needed to see. That year, Carol called with some urgency, saying there were foals Cindy really needed to see. “I saw Cardi for the first time when he was two weeks

old. I saw him trot and I said ‘I want that one!’ I kept reminding Carol that I wanted him. I saw his sparkle even

14 March/April 2010

at that age,” Cindy recounts. “I just fell in love. And I’ve stayed in love!” Despite his occasional antics and sense of fun, Cindy

says Cardi as a youngster was pleasant to handle and respectful. “It was just easy to be around him,” she explains. As a yearling, Cardi had his show ring debut in an in-hand class. As is typical for his age, he was going through an awkward time unfortunately—what Cindy calls his “linguini phase”—so he placed respectably, but didn’t win any championships. Still, her high hopes for his future were undimmed and she planned to use him as a driving horse. She also planned to stand him as a stallion and he started breeding live cover at age two. Since she knew he would need something to help him maintain his focus in and out of the breeding shed, she decided it was time to start Cardi under saddle. Cindy decided it was also time for Cardi to be

inspected for breed approval. She approached Wash- ington-based dressage trainer Jessica Wisdom after seeing her handling horses at a Dutch Warmblood inspection and asked her to handle Cardi’s inspection. Initially unsure, Jessica agreed to present Cardi at his American Sport Pony Registration (ASPR) inspection and arrived the day beforehand at the inspection site. “And there was Cardi,” Jessica recounts with a laugh,

“with a long mane and unclipped. We set up a little beauty parlor, got him ready and presented him the next day!” The inspection was a success: Cardi emerged with an ASPR First Premium Approval and commendations for

The Little Horse

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