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g on a Star N TI FY IN TE RNATI ONAL T AL E N T


working hard to jump the fence or that they are maxed out over any fence.” It’s important a jumper’s gallop can be adjusted, she


adds. “Some horses have natural speed built into them, and others need speed put into them. The natural ones will always be fast, but might need to learn to slow down at the fence when they are going against the clock,” she explains. “The ones who need speed put into them usually need


to get what I call ‘quickened up’ in the flat work first,” Beezie notes. “That means they need to be taught to switch gears from a big gallop to a short gallop and vice versa quickly. They also need to be taught to make short turns with speed. With both kinds of horses, just giving them some practice in the ring is the best way to teach them.” “Breitling is quite quick now,” she remarks. “He used to


have trouble on his short turns to the verticals. It was just practice, and he’s learned it.”


Jill Henselwood


Jill competed in two Olympic Games riding Special Ed (Argentinus x Grannus) in 2008 and George (Garant x Don Juan) in 2012. With the Oldenburg Special Ed, Jill won team silver in Hong Kong and individual gold at the 2007 Pan- American Games. She and the Hanoverian George jumped on Canada’s bronze-medal team in London (2012). About these two horses, she says, “Special Ed has all the


titles. George was clever and spirited. He could jump a build- ing. He was second in the Million [Pfizer $1Million Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties] right after London and then won the Royal Winter Fair. It was all within that year.” “My one word is the spirit of the horse,” Jill says about choosing a young jumper. “It’s the spirit that draws me. It’s a bit of an intangible—do you get a sense of the spirit? It’s when you meet a horse for the first time and have a little chat with him,” she says. In that initial meeting, Jill looks for the horse’s desire to


jump. Over fences, she observes how he responds to what he sees in the ring. She wants to see a horse who’s clever, saying, “He looks at a fence like a fox would, calculating.” At Juniper Farms in Oxford Mills, Ontario, Jill and Bob


Henselwood evaluate potential superstars in four main quad- rants: confidence, athletic qualities, age and value. Confidence is the spirit, shared by the rider. Jill sees


a parallel between the attributes of an Olympic-level rider and an Olympic-level horse, saying they are both


Jill Henselwood and George, at the AIG $1Million Grand Prix, March 2013, at the HITS Desert Circuit, Thermal, California.


undefeatable in their “try.” “You can dampen down the [horse’s] spirit, or underline it by being in the right neigh- borhood with a partner who’s as enthusiastic as the horse,” she explains. Some athletic traits like the horse’s conformation, sound-


ness, height and speed are inherent, or permanent, she says, although they can still be enhanced. “You build the horse to the top of what he can be,” adding there is always an element of uncertainty with a prospect. “With a jumper, he’s a bit born to do it, and it’s happenstance to see how it develops correctly.” Value, Jill says, is “the quadrant where the sport and


commerce come together. You need a backer. It’s not a given to partner up with an exceptional horse, if you are lacking that quadrant.” Jill says Bob, who is a young horse inspector for the Cana-


dian Sport Horse Association, will review the bloodlines for prospects they are considering. After seeing them at the inspection, he might express reservations on the confor- mation of certain horses. “The horse has to get by me and him, and my vet who is a sport vet,” she says. If a prospect passes that evaluation, Jill will work on developing his poten- tial. “Then they get a chance, if they ticked all the boxes. Once they get in, they are on my side and I keep trying,” she concludes.


Warmbloods Today 15


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