Wellington, FL - For GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award winner Rachael Hicks of Louisville, Kentucky, experiencing that oneness with her horses while riding is “The whole point, isn't it? I wouldn't put in the work if I didn't love getting in the saddle every day.” Hicks, who winters in Wellington just a jog down the street from the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, is a student of Caroline Roffman of Lionshare Dressage. Hicks was riding her 2014 US Dressage Finals Third Level National Champion, Don Cartier, in his Prix St George level debut this season when their performance also scored the GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award presented by Gambit Atlanta, Inc. The GumBits Happy Horse Harmony Award goes to riders at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival who demonstrate true partnership with their horses. Such pairs must exemplify shared harmony through such classical characteristics as an eagerness to please, soft expression, and suppleness.
As a sponsor of the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, GumBits (made by Gambit Atlanta, Inc.) presents the award to deserving riders at each CDI of the twelve-week international series.
“It's exciting to move him up the levels,” Hicks said of Don Cartier as she accepted her GumBits/Adequan Global Dressage Festival wool-blend cooler, package of GumBits, and tricolor ribbon. After Florida, it will be back to Kentucky. “We'll show there and hopefully make the Regionals.”
Over the Palm Beach Derby CDI-W week, Hicks not only rode Don Cartier— her 16.1 Rheinlander (Don Schufro x Carmina) stallion— to second (64.737%) in his FEI Prix St Georges, but also rode her other 2014 US Dressage Finals champion, Fabio Bellini, to an FEI Prix St Georges win (65.855%) and a third in their USEF Developing PSG (67.206%). Fabio Bellini is a 16.3-hand black Westphalian (Furst heinrich x Dakota) gelding.
“Rachael rides as an adult amateur and has had both horses— now seven and eight— since they were three or four years old. That's an accomplishment on its own! That they are also at Prix St Georges is being ahead of the game. Everyone is learning a lot and going in the right direction,” said Roffman, the Nations Cup Individual Bronze Medalist and Nations Cup US Team Gold Medalist who was coaching Hicks when she had her national titles sweep last November at the U.S. Dressage Finals in Kentucky.
At the U.S. Dressage Finals, Hicks rode Fabio Bellini to first place in the U.S. Dressage Finals Fourth Level Championship in the Adult Amateur division before further proving her talents by obtaining the reserve slot, in the same Fourth Level Championships, on Don Cartier. Twenty-four hours later, she lit up the Kentucky Horse Park arena, riding Don Cartier to the U.S. Dressage Finals Third Level Championship in the Adult Amateur division, and then finished one-and two, on Fabio Bellini and Don Cartier respectively, in the same class in the USEF Fourth Level Test Three Adult Amateur division.
As Rachel Hicks's star rises in harmony with her horses, she joins some of the top riders of today building better connections to their horses thanks to GumBits. Riders who regularly use the product include 2014 USEA Lady Rider of the Year, Lauren Kieffer; Olympic riders Steffen Peters (US), David Marcus (CAN), and Jacqueline Brooks (CAN); US Pan American Team Gold medalist and international Grand Prix rider Susie Dutta; World Equestrian Games German Team Bronze Medalist Christoph Koschel; 2010 USEF Dressage Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg; Australian Advanced International Eventer Kate Chadderton (vying for 2016 Rio Summer Olympics); and Dressage New Zealand Small Tour and ESNZ High Performance Accelerator squads rider, Britta Anna Pedersen.
GumBits are sold through retailers in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and just recently Singapore (in preparation for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games to be held in Singapore on June 5 through June 16, 2015.) The popular product can also be found at several vendors at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Learn more and locate a retailer near you at www.gumbits.com.