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Cardi performing a half-pass.

Photo by Studio Equus/Amy E Riley.

being would always come first. So victory was particularly sweet when it came the next day: Cardi won the Stallions Four and Older In Hand with a score of 76.76%. When the breed show ended, Cardi was named Reserve Champion overall, won the “Born in the USA” high-point award for domestic-bred stallions and was the East Coast Series Final Grand Champion Stallion in the Great American/USDF Breeder’s Championship Series. In his classes at the

open dressage show, Cardi performed well despite his recent injury—and the fact that he had not been ridden for more than two weeks! He placed in the top 15 in both his I-1 and I-1 Freestyle classes, competing against a list of horses and riders that reads like a “Who’s Who” of American competitive dressage. In fact, Cesar Parra won both classes. For Cindy and Jessica, who are competing on what Cindy calls a financial shoestring, keeping such company was a thrill indeed. “We never dreamed,” Jessica says, “that he’d make it to Devon!” “It was just an amazing week for all of us,”

Cindy recounts. “There were so many drool- worthy animals to see at that show that I hardly knew where to look! And, of course, we were incredibly proud of Cardi. This is a horse that just never says ‘no’!” In that way, Cindy continues, Cardi is a

typical Welsh Cob. “Their work ethic is so strong that they will do anything you ask,” she explains. “Because they are so willing, the trick is in not asking too much too soon!”

Trainer Jessica and Cardi display his multiple

stallion awards. Photo by Ginger Mack.

BIG HEART IN A SMALL PACKAGE

Cardi’s small size has always attracted attention and comments from other competitors, Jessica says. “In the beginning, we got a lot of ‘did you put him in dryer?’ jokes. And when he’s walking out on the buckle, people don’t pay much attention to him,” she explains wryly. “But when I put him on the bit and he goes to work, you can see everyone stop and take notice.” “We don’t get many

comments any more, because more people know him—he’s more than proved himself against the big horses,” she continues. “You’ll never find a horse

that tries as hard as this one. He never comes out and says he won’t try today—he just never does. And everyone who watches him work sees how hard he’s willing to try.”

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