Saugerties, N.Y. – In 2011, Fie Studnitz Andersen and Rocazino earned their first Region 8 Championship title at Training Level. In 2012, the pair earned a Region 8 First Level championship title. This year, they added a Second Level championship title to their resume resulting in three years in a row of regional wins. In all, Andersen, of Hamilton, Mass., and Rocazine won seven classes at this year’s New England Dressage Association Fall Festival of Dressage, which hosted a breed show, an international CDI, open dressage competition and the U.S. Dressage Federation Region 8 Championships. Every of their wins scored in the 70s or better. Rocazino, a seven-year-old Oldenburg stallion bred in Germany, scored an 80.300 in the USDF Prospects in Hand. His Second Level freestyle on Sunday earned him a 78.250 in a ride so smooth that it had Andersen in tears as she left the ring.
“I just love this horse,” she said between sobs. “I can’t believe how wonderful he is.”
Andersen bought Rocazino in Denmark three years ago and imported him to the U.S. in 2011. “I saw him and I knew within five minutes that he was coming home with me. I was the first one to come see him. I loved his personality and when I saw him go, even before I even sat on him, I knew that was my type of horse.” Once she actually sat on him, the deal was sealed and their relationship has been “a dream journey ever since.”
Andersen said she opted to avoid competing the talented stallion in young horse classes and instead chose the traditional training route she learned growing up in Denmark, which was to bring the horse along slowly up the levels. “I think he is a slow developer and the traditional way is better for him. He’s got a big, lovely canter but because it is so big, it took him awhile to figure out how to organize it for collection. I didn’t want to risk ruining his canter by collecting it too soon. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve taken it so slow with him, but he’s gotten it now.”
Because Andersen believes in schooling a level above where she is showing, she said Rocazino is already capable of doing Third and Fourth Level work and that’s where she’s planning to compete with him next year. “He’s a talented horse with lovely gaits. But one reason he scores so well is that he is schooling a level above, which also means that he is very ready to go out and do what I’m asking him to do.”
While other horses head south to Florida for the winter, Rocazino will be heading to Andersen’s winter base in North Carolina where he’ll live like a horse in a run-in shed. It’s a low-key winter break that Andersen said keeps him happy and ready to give his all when the show season rolls back around. “He loves it there. I want him to live like a horse because he should have fun when he goes in the ring and not feel like he’s on the edge of what he can do and being pushed.”
While her training plan will not change next year, Andersen is changing Rocazino’s breeding program. She had been providing fresh semen for clients during the spring breeding season but said it was clear that combing breeding and competing was too much. “I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s too hard on him and he’s my riding horse first and a breeding stallion second. Our scores were lacking in the beginning of this season but as soon as we stopped the breeding he was back up in the 70s.”
In addition to Rocazino, Andersen also competed at the Fall Festival with the 14-year-old KWPN gelding Siep and with her own Oldenburg colt by Rocazino, EQD Rocaway. She earned a first place in Intermediate II competition with Siep and two blue ribbons with Rocaway in USDF Prospects in Hand competition.