Judge Axel Steiner didn’t have much to say after the bay Oldenburg mare BW Callista (Contucci – Ariane by A Jungle Prince) performed her winning test today in the 2006 USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage National Championship for Four-Year-Olds at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The “O” Judge felt that the ride spoke for itself as an example of what he and Jayne Ayers were looking for in a four-year-old’s performance. But he did give the mare’s rider, Tami Glover, a bit of advice: “You did a very good job riding her,” he said. “You’re sitting on a treasure; be careful with it.”
This was the first year that a final was held for four-year-old horses. The judges rewarded Glover’s ride with an overall score of 9.1, giving her a 9.5 for trot and walk, 8 for canter, 9 for submission and 9.5 for general impression. The mare was very forward, relaxed and rhythmical throughout the test, her gaits balanced and the rider sitting quietly but effectively.
BW Callista also won the Warm-Up class on Friday, prompting Steiner’s comment, “She was good yesterday, but she was very good today. I’d like to take this one home!”
Scott Hassler of Hilltop Farm is the recently appointed National Young Horse Dressage Coach, a position created to support and emphasize the Young Horse program in the United States. Hassler has known Glover since she was eleven years old and first attended a summer riding camp at Hilltop Farm, where she is now employed as a trainer. She is also a graduate of the now defunct American Academy of Dressage in Warendorf, Germany. “She has always had a talent and a natural feel,” he said. “She developed Callista by herself and does a really great job. She rides my horses for me when I’m away too.”
Glover, 26, rides five or six horses on a regular basis. Of BW Callista, she said, “She’s perfect! She has a great mind and never argues – she’s always willing to do what you ask of her and nothing phases her under saddle.”
In regards to working at Hilltop Farm, she said, “The job has a lot of emotion; it’s a second family. Scott’s mom Jill is probably one of my biggest influences. She really made me feel like a part of the family, even when I was a kid.”
BW-Callista Claims 2006 USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage National Championship for Four-Year-Olds
American Bred BW Callista BW Wins "Born in the USA" Award presented by Chesapeake Equestrian Events
Callista’s breeder, Linda Santomenna of Blue Waters Farm in Chesapeake City, MD was thrilled with the mare’s win. “It’s been such a joy to see her grow up and progress, and it’s fun that she lives so close to home,” she said. Santomenna sold BW Callista to current owner Leslie Valente of Bedford, NY as a yearling and the mare was sent to Hilltop Farm to be raised and trained. Santomenna has followed her progress over the years; she has a two-year-old full sister to the Callista that she plans to train in a similar way and is excited about her future as well.
Santomenna produces three horses per year and works closely with Hilltop Farm in developing her breeding program. In fact Arianna, BW Callista’s dam, was purchased from Hilltop as her foundation mare. “I’m so grateful to Scott and the folks he’s working with to promote American breeders,” she said. “It’s so helpful.”
Leslie Valente, the mare’s owner has a dilemma now. “She was supposed to be for me to ride, to take a young horse up through the levels,” she said. “But she is so good, I might reconsider and have her do the FEI test for five year olds too. I didn’t expect to end up here – you kiss a foal and look where you end up!”
doing better now.”