At this past weekend’s Lamplight CDI3*/Y/Jfor Dressage, Joe Sandven proved he’s not only a top Grand Prix competitor, but he also proved he’s a true team player. Sandven and his partner, the 12-year-old Hanoverian Rachmaninoff were the clear leaders in CDI Grand Prix competition having won both the CDI Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle. When they left town on Sunday to head home to Fletcher, North Carolina, they took along some companions – Jennifer Marchand and Don Principe.
The truck that had transported Don Principe, an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Marydell Farms, from New York to Lamplight, located outside of Chicago, had transmission problems and that meant that Marchand and Don Principe faced the prospect of missing the upcoming CDI in Lexington, Kentucky. Sandven came to the rescue. Since he was passing through Kentucky on his 13-hour drive home, he offered the stranded Marchand and Don Principe a ride.
“They don’t know when truck will be fixed and I figured that I’m going through Lexington so why not drop them off,” Sandven said. Marchand and Don Principe were scheduled to compete in Sunday’s freestyle competition but scratched so that they could get on the road with Sandven. Sandven said one thing he got out of the kind gesture was a chance to get off the main roads and see some of Kentucky’s beautiful horse farms.
Sandven said he was driving “home today with a happy heart” because of his Grand Prix wins, which included earning a 71.750 in the CDI Freestyle with Rachmaninoff. “It’s fun to win at a CDI and wow, Lamplight is a great place to show. It was my first time there and everyone was wonderful. What a good time.” Sandven had entered the show late and said he chose to come “because the horse was feeling really good at home and I figured I had as good a chance as anyone.”
Sandven has had Rachmaninoff since the horse was four and has been bringing him along slowly with the help of his coach Kathy Connelly, who was at Lamplight to help out him and Reese Koffler-Stanfield. “Having her here was an extra bonus,” Sandven said. “I had a really great season working with Kathy in Florida. She helped me with some long-lining and in-hand work and that has made him stronger and more responsive in the ring.”
Also having a good weekend was rider Kassie Barteau, who said she really enjoyed taking CDI wins in Prix St. George and Intermediaire with the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood Toscano and on her home turf. “Toscano was strong and powerful and really on his game this weekend and it was nice to win in my home field. It’s nice to sleep in own bed.”
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