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other horses, and that she had good bone and great feet. I liked her conforma- tion and personality. It is always risky when buying a young horse, but I find that a good personality means the horse will be useful in some way. I free jumped her over a couple of little fences and she was very smart in how she fig- ured out what I wanted.”

Anne decided to take a chance on the bay filly, and, despite Ole’s some- times animated behavior, training progressed quickly.

“She is very smart and learns both good and bad things quickly,” Anne explains. “I had to be very careful not to confuse her or make a mistake when I started her. She is also very enthusiastic and expresses herself by leap- ing and rearing, usually when she is excited to work. It can be challeng- ing to direct her energy in a positive direction rather than random leaping. She gets bored easily and I have to keep changing the routine.”

“On the other hand, because she’s so smart, she learned all the basic aids and cues came very quick- ly. Jumping was also very easy for her. Her favorite phase in eventing is cross- country, because there are so many interesting things to look at as we gallop by.”

Anne pushed through the rough patches and today, she and Ole are successfully competing at Training level.

“She has been consistently in the top three after dres- sage,” Anne says. “I think it has a lot to do with her personality; she likes shows and is relaxed when com-


peting. I believe she finds it interesting. She is good at the jumping phases, of course, but if something surprises her she will want to have a good look and sniff – not the best habit in competition. But usually it is not a jump, but rather an unusual umbrella or stump we pass on cross-country!”

Not only does Ole bring home the ribbons in competition, she also wins Anne’s heart over day after day with her antics in the stable.

“She’s a real barn clown,” Anne exclaims. “Her favorite game is unlocking her neighbor pony’s stall, opening the door, and then biting the pony when he tries to walk out. She can also untie herself and ‘pop’ the safety release on the cross ties with her teeth. It makes grooming a challenge! She also has a very sup- ple body and likes to stretch like a cat after I put the saddle on.”

Anne and Café Ole win second place at the Equestrian Institute Horse Trials in Washington state September 2008 with a score of 33.2. Photos courtesy of Anne Ryan.

Like her Brazilian coun- terpart Vico, Ole also has the occasional aver- sion to the weather: “She hates being rained on. She will neigh and buck until someone brings her in!”

Anne has high hopes for Ole and is planning to com- pete her in both Training Level eventing and 3’6” jumper shows this year. But her favorite thing about the stunning bay mare isn’t what she does for her in the arena and on the cross-country track. "It's her personality," Anne explains. “She surprises me every day with some new creative behavior. She’s a very special horse.”

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