recently, as Jessica worked to confirm his Grand Prix move- ments and prepare for his debut at the pinnacle of our sport, she needed to send his saddle off for a few weeks to have repairs and adjustments made. Knowing how much he enjoys their train- ing together, Jessica felt it best to keep him in work while the repairs were made. With no other saddle available that fit him quite right, she decided to ride him bareback, in a simple snaffle bridle. Although she originally planned on just easy and basic riding for a few weeks, Diamond exceeded all of her expecta- tions and she was able to school an entire Grand Prix test bare- back! “He would have done one-tempis the whole way around the arena if I asked him!” she exclaims. It was clear Diamondhead possessed the sensitivity and

responsiveness to her aids required to be a top Grand Prix contender. He also exemplifies the goal of modern Hanoverian breeding in that he is exceptionally brave and willing both inside and outside of the arena. In addition to taking him on regular trail rides, she has also taken him cattle sorting on multiple oc- casions! When asked about the decision she says humbly, “Well sure, I could have taken a breed more traditionally suited to cattle sorting, but this is the horse I have and he can do the job well.” In fact, she explains, he is extremely willing and excited to try new things, both inside and outside the arena. Jessica laughs as she recalls a seven-horse quadrille she participated in with six jet black, feathered Friesians, both mares and geldings. Dia- mondhead was the centerpiece in this dance. Jessica describes him as a giving horse and a showman, thriving on praise and sugar cubes. Diamondhead clearly demonstrates his exceptional qual-

ity as a dressage horse, having attained scores in the eighties at Prix St. Georges and multiple wins in the small tour. He’s also a great example of the success of the breeding direction of the Hanoverian horse. After all, Hanoverians are bred for both mind and movement. With the tremendous success Jessica and Diamondhead continue to experience, his high-scoring per- formances have earned him the accolade of being licensed for breeding with the American Hanoverian Society.

Licensing and Rideability Tere are two ways for a stallion to become fully licensed with the American Hanoverian Society. Te first is to earn the li- cense through exceptional performance at Prix St. Georges or higher. Te second is to participate in the stallion sport tests held annually in North America. For seven years running, Jes- sica has offered her skills as a test rider to assess the rideability of young stallions at this event. In 2018, the two top stallions were the Hanoverian Daily

Show and the Rhineland Sole Mio, both owned by Leslie Waterman. (Te American Hanoverian Society manages the

Jessica and Diamondhead take home the Region 6 champion- ship at Third level at the Great American Regional Dressage Championships.

Rhineland Studbook in the U.S.) For a stallion to be licensed with the American Hanoverian Society, not only must the horse possess great gaits and natural aptitude for their chosen direc- tion (dressage or jumping), but must exhibit a high degree of trainability/rideability. What exactly is “rideability?” According to Jessica, it is about feeling what you want in a top prospect. Outside of the natural ability to do the job, she looks for elastic- ity, responsiveness to the aids, scope, suppleness and reaction to pressure. She further explains that a truly ridable horse will accept

the leg without being either too explosive or dead to it. “An FEI horse needs to accept and respond to my leg, but I can’t feel that I need to kick. At FEI levels, kicking doesn’t work!” she ex- plains. To receive high marks for rideability, the horse must also be responsive in the bridle without being reactive, move with a sense of balance and self-carriage appropriate to the level of training and age, and have a desire to understand the rider, even as the work gets harder and there is a bit of pressure. She de- fines elasticity as “a state of being. A horse that is mentally and physically able to use itself and is able to maintain suppleness.” Not only will a successful stallion have the talent, rideability

and trainability to reach high levels of the sport, he also needs to reliably pass this along to his offspring. For example, Daily Show is sired by the Hanoverian stallion, Danciano (De Niro x Lancier) and out of a Hanoverian mare sired by Rotspon (2017 Hanoverian Stallion of the Year). Just like Diamondhead, Daily Show has a pedigree robust with stallions known for passing along their talent and rideability to offspring. “Tis is a horse that I would also like to have in my stable,” Jessica remarks. Sole Mio is sired by Stanford, a Rhineland stallion with a

powerful pedigree who is known for passing along talent and rideability. Sole Mio boasts stallions Diamond Hit and Sir Donnerhall on his sire side and Donnerschwee by Donnerhall


American Hanoverian Society Carolynn Bunch

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