One of the crowning points of the season for Friesian enthusiasts is the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) World & Grand National Championship Horse Show, held this year on October 4-8 in Springfield, Ohio, and for Stafford Carriage Driving it became a celebration of outstanding achievement for three impressive equine athletes.
Gail Aumiller's exceptional Friesian mare Isobel Ypkje van Het Kasteel (Sport) has certainly come into her own this show season, with wins in both the carriage driving arena and combined driving competition. But in her final event before retiring to Dreams Come True Farm to be bred in early 2018, "Isobel" was almost unbeatable at the IFSHA World Show. In the expert hands of World Champion driver Suzy Stafford, the stunning black mare earned four World Championship titles in Timed Obstacles, Scurry, Single Horse Working, and Reinsmanship as well as a Reserve Title in Turnout. In addition, the pair was crowned as World Champions in driven dressage at both the Training and Preliminary levels on their way to earning the Dreams Come True Perpetual Dressage Trophy for the highest dressage score of the show (75.7%).
"Isobel is a truly exceptional mare who has only gotten better and better as the season went on," said Stafford. "She is a tremendous example of the athleticism and heart of the Friesian horse, and for her to conclude her show season on such a memorable note with all of this success at the IFSHA World Show is a fitting tribute for both her and for Gail, and I hope is indicative of the future offspring she will now produce."
Stafford also successfully presented two youngsters in their IFSHA World Show debuts. With Shelly Venus' four-year-old Friesian mare Sarabella Fan Leandra, Stafford claimed a World Championship title in Sport Driving and two Reserve titles in Preliminary level driven dressage and Sport Horse In Hand.
Returning to the ring with Dream Gait's Baefyre (four-year-old Friesian Sport Horse owned by Dream Gait Farm) in the part-bred Friesian division, Stafford piloted the young gelding to even more accolades including World Champion in Carriage Driving Working, Timed Obstacles, both Training and Preliminary Level Driven Dressage, plus a Reserve title in Country Pleasure Driving. "Bae" was also named World Champion Senior Geldings in Hand (presented by Terry Tatnam, resident trainer at Dream Gait Farm) and Reserve Champion Sport Horse in Hand (handled by Stafford).
"What a nice way to end the season with these youngsters - they came to the World Show stronger and more confident than their previous outings, and that was reflected in their results," Stafford noted. "I couldn't be prouder of both of them. They handled the competitive pressure and championship atmosphere like seasoned professionals, and showed the world what they can do. We've worked all season with the IFSHA World Show as our ultimate goal, and thanks to a tremendous team effort, all of our hard work paid off and we are already looking forward to next year."
Stafford also added that Dream Gait's Baefyre will now be offered for sale as he continues his training and adds to his already-impressive resume. "Bae will do some under saddle training and continue his driving education with me as he looks for his potential new owner," Stafford explained. "He has good manners and a solid training base, not to mention the sweetest of hearts. He is ready for his own person and would thrive with a partnership, whether it be for pleasure or show."
For more information about Stafford Carriage Driving's program and services, visit www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.