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horse to show locally and establish a reputation in the South. With the addition of my young daughter Cassidy, I decided to stop competing in hunters and jumpers and concentrate on dressage. Wendel and I gained a reputation all right. It only took


a few outings at first level for him to realize that he could get away with his antics in the show ring. Everywhere we went riders would part like the Red Sea as we entered the warm up ring. Wendel became known as a spook and I was getting phone calls that began, “I hear you work well with rank horses.” Just what a new mother wants to hear. Nevertheless, I summoned all the patience I possessed and continued to school Wendel using every training technique I ever learned. I also decided that I wasn’t heading back in the show ring until he had a double bridle in his mouth!


BIG PROGRESS The trials and tribulations of the next two years of training would fill a book. Suffice it to say that there were endless days of exercises and gymnastics interspersed with moments of tears and moments of joy. In the spring of 1998 I rallied my courage and started showing Wendel at fourth level. As his nervousness at competitions diminished, we began to take home some blue ribbons. Wendel and I qualified for the USDF Region III finals at fourth level and Prix St. Georges in 1999. To my surprise we won the fourth level championship. The year ended with a USDF Performance Certificate at Prix St. Georges and a win in his first Intermediare I class. Despite the hype prior to New Year’s Eve, Y2K brought only success and reward to Wendel and me. The spring


Below: Wendel and Gigi win the fourth level championship class in 1999. Standing left are husband Scott and daughter Cassidy. Photo by Loralee Beard


Right: Wendel and Gigi performing the shoulder-in. Photo by Susan Sexton


shows resulted in numerous wins at Prix St. Georges and Intermediare I and two perpetual trophies including the inaugural Sharyn Shover Memorial Award. As our summer training progressed I felt the need to test Wendel against the demanding competition of a CDI. The year 2000 was the silver anniversary of Dressage at Devon. What better place to visit old friends than the Dixon arena after a six year absence. The stress of a nine-hundred mile trip took its toll but Wendel tried his best. We left Dressage at Devon with two top ten finishes, including a tenth place in the CDI Prix St. Georges with thirty-four in the class. Wendel grew more honest as the season progressed


and his scores steadily improved. In October we loaded Wendel and Katinka, a client’s Dutch mare going second level, in the trailer and headed to the USDF Regional Dressage Championships in Newberry, Florida. When the exhausting weekend was over, Wendel came home with the championship at both Prix St. Georges and Intermediare I. Katinka won her second level championship too. The 2000 USDF Horse of the Year awards placed Wendel twentieth in the country at Intermediare I. It was truly a competition year I won’t forget.


Warmbloods Today 21


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