Aesthete is the Bright Spot for Silva Martin and Owner Faye Woolf Winning the Markel/USEF Dressage 6 Year Old Eastern Division

Silva Martin and Aesthete with the Markel/USEF Young Dressage Eastern Selection Trials for the 6-Year-Old
Silva Martin and Aesthete with the Markel/USEF Young Dressage Eastern Selection Trials for the 6-Year-Old

Silva Martin and Aesthete’s owner Faye Woolf decided to stick to the plan by heading to Morven Park for the Markel/USEF Young Dressage Eastern Selection Trials for the 6-Year-Olds just a few days after a fire at her husband Boyd Martin’s leased barn claimed the lives of 6 event horses. “I was not planning on going, but there’s not really anything left for me to do at home for the moment,” Martin commented on her blog. “I can’t say that I have had the best preparation for this show, but I think it might be good to get a change of scenery and keep the horses on track.” The 8.2 overall result required for the 2011 F.E.I. World Breeding Championships for Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany August 3-7 would have been poetic justice, but after the finale and their strong showing all weekend the .052% difference could have heartbreaker. Considering all they had been through that week that it went as well as it did was a testimony to the horse, rider, owner and the event.


Aesthete, the 2009 4-Year-Old Champion at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships ridden by Karen Monks Reilly, has been with Martin, originally from Germany and a Bereiter for just 6 months. “I am very lucky,” Silva commented during the awards ceremony on Saturday after the buffed out 16.3 KWPN gelding by Trento B out of a Gribaldi mare showed his dam sire’s elastic fluid floaty movement in all three tests. “Stately” as he is known in the barn was purchased by Faye Woolfe sight unseen from Betsy and John Spence for Silva who had called her to say “I have found the horse of a lifetime.”

Woolf who has owned several famous event horses recalled that same message years ago when USEF Team event rider Becky Holder found Courageous Comet. “I told Silva if I decided I did not want to be his owner I would patiently give her all the time she needed to find owners for him and just pay me back the cost and expenses, Woolfe told DressageDaily.

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet
Becky Holder and Courageous Comet

“This was the same thing I did for Becky when her husband purchased Comet from me for her. Two days after we purchased Aesthete I went to Pennsylvania to see him. It was love at first sight and I knew I was hooked. I have always been a huge fan of Silva's and felt like she deserved a chance. I purchased a syndicate share of Rosa prior to Stately in support of her career and my belief in her ability.”

Martin rode skillfully responding to the judges’ comments asking for more hind end to match the flamboyant front leg extensions. But they lost just the slightest of ground during Sunday’s Finale scoring an 8.2 in the trot compared to the 8.8 in the Preliminary test, and an 8.2 in the canter from the 8.5. Understanding the horse might be tired was the judges’ commentary, and the 7.6 in the walk score was explained by what they noted a shortness in the right hind in the walk movement. With a submission score of 7.9 and overall impression an 8.2, it took waiting for the final calculations to determine the final score on Sunday’s Finale test of 8.148 calculated with the Preliminary results of 8.34x40% would give them the 8.148 total missing the magic 8.2% needed for Verden.

“We feel that things happen for a reason and this was not meant to be,” Woolf noted. “I think we are only disappointed from the standpoint that we believe he is a 10 and they (the judges) didn't! I have learned through the years that all I want is "happy, healthy, and safe and sound" and anything after that is icing on the cake. We love him no matter what he scores!”

Karen Monks Riley and Aesthete won the Markel/USEF National Dressage Young Horse 4-Year-Old Championship in 2009
Karen Monks Riley and Aesthete won the Markel/USEF National Dressage Young Horse 4-Year-Old Championship in 2009

Woolf, a dream owner and a gift to American Horse Sport makes sure she gives credit where credit is due to the foundation Karen Monks Reilly instilled in the Aesthete in his formative years. “I think we are all born with a basic personality but life's circumstances greatly contribute to who you ultimately become. I think ‘Stately’ was born with a good nature but I believe Karen nurtured it into an amazing personality. She had him during his critical formative years and could not have done a better job to help him be who he is today. A horse can have all the talent in the world but if they don't have rideability what can you do? Stately is the most rideable horse I honestly have ever met.”

Woolfe who sadly lost one of the horses who perished in the fire, Call Me Ollie, admits to having to manage her emotions at the Dressage Trials noting “the highs and lows of having these amazing animals in our lives! To see ‘Stately’ go and to think of Ollie was quite emotional. One of the reasons I decided to keep Stately was he reminded me so much of Ollie. Stately has Ollie's qualities of an amazing brain, great presence, and unconditional love and trust of us.” And now they are looking forward to returning the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois for the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships August 25-28 where Woolf has been several times with her event horses. “Lamplight has brought me wonderful memories. This was where Ollie did his first Intermediate Horse Trial and my horse Highland Hogan did his first Advanced and was officially retired in a ceremony there. We will gladly go, cherish the memories and make more.”

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