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CARLSSON VOM DACH – GOLD MEDAL OLYMPIC JUMPER By Liz Cornell


competing at a small show in Oldenburg, Germany, when friend Gilbert Bachman told him about the eleven year- old Holsteiner gelding CarlssonVom Dach. Gilbert was thinking the two might be a good match. Carlsson was by Cassini out of a Grandyman Thoroughbred mare, was 16.1 hands and bay. He was competing at 1.50m by an amateur, and the pair was winning. “When I rode Carlsson he was very animated, light and


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scopey, not to mention forward—very ambitious to take the jumps,” Will explains. So ambitious, says Will, he had to focus on doing everything possible to stay out of the horse’s way. “This horse was talented and clearly knew his job. I became excited about the possibilities,” says Will with a smile. El Campeon Farms in Thousand Oaks, California


purchased the exuberant Holsteiner in hopes that Will could make a run for the Olympics in 2008. As Will and Carlsson formed a partnership they traveled the international show circuit extensively. First it was Southern California, then on to Spruce Meadows, Europe, Spruce Meadows again, and down to Florida just before the Olympic trials began. They won numerous competitions including the $100,000 Zada Enterprises Masters Cup in Wellington in March 2008. They were soon short listed for the Olympics. Later they competed in La Baule, France, then in Rome and lastly in St. Gallan, Switzerland, solidifying their place on the U.S. team. Next stop was Beijing! “Winning the team Gold Medal at the Olympics was the biggest highlight of my career,” Will says gleaming from the podium in his soft-spoken voice. He was the guest speaker at the American Holsteiner Horse Association’s 2011 annual banquet held in Florida in


or show jumping veteran Will Simpson, finding his partner for the 2008 Olympics was an amazing dream come true. In early 2007, Will was


Will and Carlsson Vom Dach competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo courtesy Anke Magnussen


February. As Will shared his Olympic journey with the audience, one could appreciate his down-to-earth attitude and humble gratitude. At times he struggled to put into words just how exhilarating the whole Olympic experience was. It was truly history in the making, both for Will as an individual, and for his country and his sport. Everyone had been anxious to see the U.S. team repeat its 2004 win. Will’s quiet, kind, confident style in the saddle along with his ability to understand Carlsson was the key. “Carlsson is very opinionated about himself; he thinks he’s the world’s greatest jumper!” Will was determined to keep the horse happy and even designed a custom Happy Mouth bit for him. “Carlsson was very sensitive about the bit. Eventually I was able to move him to a nice loose ring snaffle.” This is a prime example of a great horseman in sync with his partner’s needs. He then adds,


SPECIAL HOLSTEINER SECTION Warmbloods Today 45


American Holsteiner Horse Association


Examples of


Great Partners in Sport


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