April 22, 2004 - Second to Hawaii, Florida is home to numerous endangered or threatened species. The horse, thank-goodness is not one of them with tens of thousands equines calling the Sunshine State home. In Wellington with the winter circuit ending, the spring season has begun with a completely new pack of shows for equestrians to take part in.
Frankie Chesler of Orangeville, Ontario decided to enjoy the Florida warmth a little longer this winter and took part of the Littlewood Spring Grand Prix held at Littlewood Farms in Wellington. With temperatures in the 90's shade was a hot commodity to be had even though it did not give much relief with the humidity making it feel like it was over 100 degrees.
The $25,000 Grand Prix brought many top riders to compete like former U.S. Olympic rider, Lauren Hough and Belgium rider, Eric Fleming along with other well-known American and Canadian riders. Chesler, who is recently back to competition after an unfortunate and unlucky horse fall just before the closing week of the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival decided to enter her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood VDL Oscar (Indoctro X Iblera) into his first major competition and performed remarkably well placing fifth on the tough course designed by James Zulia of Florida.
With sixteen fences and three double combinations in the first round, many had rails down but Chesler and VDL Oscar helped each other out and did not fall victim as other riders did. "VDL Oscar and I became a team four years ago and we have been slowly moving up the ranks to get to where we are today. He has shown so much talent and ability throughout the years as well as maturing into an athletic jumper", Chesler remarked, "I am very proud of Oscar's effort and see great things for us in the future."
Chesler also showed her new mount six-year-old Celebrity 3E (Rio Grand X Victoria) purchased and bred from KingRidge Stables of Schomberg, Ontario earlier this year. Starting him out slowly so to give him a fair chance, he surprised everyone by stepping up to the plate and winning two jumper classes keeping his eyes on the jumps and everything around him. Chesler commented, "Celebrity missed most of his fifth year with no ring experience and is jumping the six-year-old level in five-year-old shoes so he has some catching up to do."
Chesler will spend a week at the Spring Classic in Aiken South Carolina before heading home to start her Canadian show circuits.