When you stroll along New York City’s Fifth Avenue it is hard to go past Tiffany’s without just taking a look . Isn’t it? Well it is for me. On Tuesday I had the horse equivalent of going to Tiffany’s; a chance to watch a parade of beautiful horse “jewels”and have one of the top riders and trainers in the dressage world, Andreas Helgstrand. tell us about the history and training of these ‘jewels”.
We arrived early as I wanted to get a good seat at the arena to take photos. The entrance is impressive.
Once inside we went through the stable and out toward the covered arena.
On the way I took a peek at the stalls. Nice!
When we got to the arena, Andreas Helgstrand was there dusting off the seats for the audience. You can just see him on the left.
Soon the seats were filled and it was standing room only with spectators standing at the back and sides of the arena. I had a chance to speak with the other Helgstrand Dressage presenter Dr. Ulf Moller . He told me that the Wellington farm has 36 horses and 21 of those horses have been brought from Denmark where Helgstrand Dressage has its’ home base. The purpose of the evening was to show us their horses and to talk about their training. This is the first winter season that Helgstrand Dressage has been in Wellington and Ulf told me they have horses for sale but also they want to bring education of the European ways of training.
“We don’t keep secrets to ourselves,” he told me. ” We want to pass on our knowledge, especially about the young horses. We may not have all the answers in the demonstrations but there will be the opportunity for people to ask us any questions. ”
Andreas welcomed us and told us we would be seeing nine horses, starting with a Grand Prix horse and working our way through to the young horses of five years of age. The first horse was a schoolmaster horse he had bought for his son so that his son could learn and move up to the Junior and Young Rider levels. But he told his son that if he had this horse he would have to sell one of his ponies. It seems his son did not want to sell any of the ponies just yet. So the Schoolmaster came to America. This horse is 14 years old and his sire is Bellissimo, who is also the sire of my horse Biasini. So they are half brothers! The rider is Simone who along with Hannes rode all of the horses we saw.
Like Biasini he has a talent for the pirouettes.
The second horse was a ten year old Danish Warmblood horse. Andreas told us this horse has all of the Grand Prix movements but he added: “We still have work to do to finish the horse. This horse has strong hind legs and this can result in him trying to pull you down. So for him it is better to make him loose in an “up” frame.”
The third horse , ten years old, has both Jazz and Sandro Hit in his breeding. These two stallions have a reputation for having offspring that are fiery “hot”! But I have had a Jazz horse and he was the most laid back horse I have ever owned so the mare has a lot to do with the outcome as well!
The fourth horse was a beautiful mare by Bolero. She is a State Premium Mare for breeding but she has also been very successful as a sport horse. At seven years old she has her flying changes and is starting to work on the “tempi” changes. Many people think a mare , especially a chestnut “redhead” mare can be temperamental and difficult. But Andreas told us that this mare had a very nice attitude. The truth is if you get a mare that has a good attitude and who will work for you they can be the best horses to ride. This mare was my idea of a beautiful mover with nice movement of the knees and hocks. Andreas also said he liked horses that move with their knees and not just straight legs from the shoulder. She was my favorite so I’m putting in two photos of her!
Horse number five was a seven year old, a big horse with a strong hind end. Andreas pointed out to us that he has a “great walk” as well as trot and canter. “Horses today can have no weakness.”he told us. “The basic walk , trot and canter must be very good quality.”
Number six was a horse with a talent for Piaffe and Passage as he is a quick mover in the trot.
This horse was a bit nervous so Andreas decided that it would be best not to do so much with him and just let him walk and relax. A member of the audience came forward to offer him a treat to help him feel more trusting of the audience of some 275 people.
Andreas’ decision to not push the horse to perform for us showed he cares about the horse and the long term development of a younger horse. A younger horse comes into his normal arena , where he schools everyday, and lo and behold there are all these people, sitting on chairs and standing all around the arena. This can be very unsettling for the horse and it shows Andreas is a true horseman in deciding it was more important to give this horse a chance to look around and settle than it was to force him to work while he was so nervous. This gives the horse a chance to have a good experience.
Number seven was a black seven year old horse with a great talent to piaffe and passage. “With this horse you have to be careful he stays forward.” Dr. Moller told us.
The eighth horse, also black, was a five year old ridden by Hannes. Andreas mentioned ; “We do have black horses and we know they are very popular.” This fad in dressage for black horses is something that saddens me personally, as I am afraid that more and more horses are being bred to be black. I’m a fan of chestnuts myself and will be sorry to see that color disappear from the Warmbloods. Anyway…..Here is the young black horse ….another star in the making.
The final horse of the evening was a five year old by Zonic. The dressage world has been awed by Zonic ,who was purchased for Dutch rider Edward Gal and is seen as a rising superstar. The horse we saw is a double of Zonic, black, beautiful and a stunning mover. Sadly the light had faded and taking photos of a black horse against a black sky meant I did not get the best photos of this beautiful horse ridden by Simone.
After this feast of beautiful horses we were invited to adjourn to the stable area for a prosecco or a beer. Triple Crown Feeds were sponsoring the event and my friend Craig Bernstein ,the Florida Regional Sales Manager for Triple Crown, was pouring the prosecco. It was a wonderful evening and such a treat to see so many beautiful horses and learn about Andreas’ training of these horses.
I went to sleep with visions of these horse “jewels” dancing in my head!
*WordPress photo challenge “variations on a theme”.*