Grandioso in Wellington: The American Win01.30.2015
When you climb the Tower Giralda, the 340 foot Moorish minaret that is the symbol for the city of Sevilla, you learn a valuable life lesson. That is, that the views on the way up are far better, more rich with detail and lovelier, than the view from the top.
Last week, during the CDI-W at the Global Dressage Festival sponsored by USPRE, Daniel Martin Dockx and Grandioso took second in a huge Grand Prix class and then went on to win the Grand Prix Special-- the first Grand Prix victory in America for a PRE horse in an international competition.
This past weekend was more than a milestone for us at HGF. It wasn't our biggest show or our biggest win, but it was the fulfillment of a dream--to bring Grandioso back to the US and continue his successful competition career here for the benefit of the American dressage audience. The road with this horse has been long and winding, and like the walk up the stairs of the tower, filled with previews of success as well as long sections of dark, bricked walls.
Some memories of the career of Grandioso are:
--Discovering him in Spain at the Yeguada Marin Garcia as an unstarted four year old, with Pati and Peter Pierucci.
--Inexplicable low scores and puzzled comments by judges at the national levels.
--A placing of dead last in a Stallion Under Saddle class of 20 horses, at Dressage at Devon Breed Show, from a respected CA dressage judge.
--Martin Schaudt's first ride and our first glimpse of the real potential of the horse.
--Kathy Connelly's admonition not to sell him when he was first designated as a sale horse.
--Robert Dover's early prediction "This horse could ride for any team!"
--Courtney King Dye's first ride.
--The first Freestyle, and the first international 74%.
--USEF Inter 1 National Championships, finishing Fifth.
--The darkest 10 months...
--The audition in Wellington with Daniel Martin and Jan Bemelmans.
--The tearful good-bye in Jan. 2011, with Courtney King-Dye and Jason.
--10 Centerlines in Spain.
--4th in Salzburg, Champion of Spain, first 70 at Aachen, London, Treffen, Herning, Champion of Spain again, Bronze in Aachen, Normandy and now Wellington...
Grandioso is now 16, and we don't take for granted his continued soundness and willingness to work at the level he is competing. Coming back to Florida is one of the last few goals we had for him. We waited until he had nothing more to prove, but this horse seems to want to keep proving things--not least of all that breed, type and size are irrelevant in this sport. Last weekend's win was his gift to us who have labored so long to see this day.
Next weekend's 5* is about fun and pageantry and being a part of it all-- a showcase of the best horses in all of North America plus many top horses from overseas. We are honored to have been invited and to take part in this wonderful event--which will be a brilliant spectacle for the general community, but for us, a hometown celebration of Grandioso's fairy-tale career.