Grandioso III the Pura Raza Espanola stallion owned by Hampton Green Farm was a rising star in 2010 ridden by Olympian Courtney King Dye and one of the High Performance horses being closely watched for the US World Equestrian Games Dressage Team. After Courtney’s accident in March, owner Kimberly Van Kampen Boyer kept the horse in work with every intention of having him ready and waiting as Courtney progressed in her recovery. Courtney and Kim came to the decision in late 2010 that it would be in the best interest of the stallion’s career and a possible bid for the Olympics in 2012 that another rider be considered given King-Dye’s progress was going well, but not realistic for the work and campaigning which would be needed in 2011.
While on a trip to Spain in late 2010, Boyer was approached by Spanish coach Jan Bemelmans, who was then flown by the Spanish Federation to Wellington in late December. At that time her options expanded into seriously considering what Bemelmans was asking: to put Grandioso III into training with him in Germany, eventually to compete on an international level for Spain with Spanish rider Daniel Martin Dockx. Boyer who recently sent a group of her young PRE prospects to Spain to train with Dani at his facility in Malaga, then collaborated with Bemelmans on a plan which would involve training with Bemelmans in Krefeld, Germany for two months, and a gradual handover to Dani during the month of March while the horse continues to train with Bemelmens at the Sunshine Tour, and eventually then home to Dani’s training barn in Malaga. The pair intends to return to Germany in the summer for more training with Bemelmens.
"Although the final result is always uncertain when one has only just seen a horse," states Jan, "it is very important for Spain that we always have horse/rider pairs of high quality working to enter the team. Because of this we must go and continue to try to find, and if possible for all parties involved, directly monitor those horse/rider pairs that are capable of more options."
"I am extremely happy to be able to take on a horse as special as this one, which is a favorite of Courtney and of Hampton Green Farm. I only have words of appreciation to Kim for her confidence in me and for giving me this fantastic opportunity." said rider Daniel Martin Dockx. "There were many other options for this horse with riders with much more experience than I have, but here we plan to make the most of this opportunity. Jan’s interest in the horse and his collaboration was fundamental in the decision for Kim, without which this would not be possible."
"I think it's the right decision to send Grandioso to Spain." added Courtney King Dye. "He needs to show Grand Prix this year, and he's green, so even if I'm ready to ride (which is doubtful unfortunately) I won't be ready to train a green Grand Prix horse. Grandioso is a great horse (not for a PRE, for ANY horse) and he can help Spain get a medal. So although I'm sad to see him go, I am sure it's the right move for him. I can love him to bits here, or he can be a contender for the olympics. Hmmm, tough choice! It will make me happy to see the latter. And I totally plan to have him back and go for the 2016 Team!"
DressageDaily asks Kim Van Kampen Boyer:
What was the biggest influence in your decision to send Grandioso to Jan Bemelmans?
Jan Bemelmans. No one has done more for the Spanish horse in international competition than Jan, and he is very persuasive.
Are there plans currently to aim Grandioso for some European shows, and if so which ones are you hoping for?
We hope to compete him as soon as he is ready, but I can't say exactly when that will be.
Tell me about your training program in Spain?
Grandioso will go to Krefeld for two months to be ridden by Jan, and then down to Vejer, Spain, to the Sunshine Tour for the month of March, where he will continue to be trained by Jan with Dani coming throughout the month. Afterward, the horse will go on to Dani's barn in Malaga. They are planning to return to Germany in the summer.
Who is your rider there and what has he accomplished with your horses? Why do you prefer to send your horses to Europe to further their training? Is it because you believe there is a better understanding and respect for the quality PRE horses in the European arena?
Daniel Martin Dockx, or Dani as he is known in Spain, is 37 years old and we have worked with him for almost 7 years, having purchased HGF's Cosaco from him whom he had trained to Grand Prix. Dani has ridden all of my horses over the years, and has himself trained with Artur Kottas, Jan Nivel, and here with Courtney and Lendon. Four years ago I sent him a young horse bred at HGF to train, a son of Evento named Encanto. Since then, he has taken the now eight-year old horse to Reserve National Champion Developing Horse in 2009, Champion of Andalucia in 2010 and the international debut for the horse at Sunshine Tour with scores in the high 60s and ribbons in 4 large international classes. Dani was also National Champion with a 6 year old warmblood in 2010. Dani is young and very talented, and both Courtney and I are very comfortable with him taking the ride on Grandioso with Jan's help.
The trainer who brought along our younger horses the last two years, Maria Lithander, did a superb job with them and we were almost unbeatable here in Wellington at the low levels with her. However, without Courtney in the saddle, our strategy for their FEI training had to change and Dani was a logical choice--very experienced with the breed, successful in the ring, and beginning to be liked by the international judges. When I considered all of our options for Grandioso, it became clear to me that in Spain I had not only a tradition of Olympic/World Championship success with PRE horses, but also a Federation (and judges) that did not consider the horse an "outside breed", a coach that wanted to be involved personally in his training, a talented rider and a country that would celebrate the horse if he were successful. I have some but not all of these here in the US. As a total package, this was the best opportunity for Grandioso.
Why do you prefer to send your horses to Europe to further their training? Is it because you believe there is a better understanding and respect for the quality PRE horses in the European arena?