West Palm Beach – Siblings don't always like getting hand-me downs, but Reese Koffler-Stanfield isn't complaining about what her sister passed along to her last year – Goubergh's Kaspar, a 17-year-old KWPN gelding sired by Facet. Koffler-Stanfield and "Kaspar" took the win in Saturday's Grand Prix Special CDI competition at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge with a score of 67.667 percent. The win came among a tough field of competitors, many of whom are aiming for this year's Dressage World Cup competition and the U.S. National Dressage Championships. "Excited" isn't a strong enough word to describe how Koffler-Stanfield felt after taking a win against some of America's best Grand Prix competitors. "I'm just really, really excited. It was great, super. I can't believe it," she said. On Friday, Koffler-Stanfield and Kaspar finished third in the Grand Prix de Dressage behind winners Shelly Francis and Dominion and second-place finishers Michael Barisone and Olympus.
Koffler-Stanfield is based in Lexington, Kentucky. Her family purchased Kaspar last year from Suzanne Dansby Bollman and for most of last year, Koffler-Stanfield's sister, Lindsay, rode the horse. "That was the deal when we bought him. My sister had the ride for one year and she did super well, but then it was my turn," Koffler-Stanfield said. "He's a shared project and it was hard for her to give him up, but she's happy for me."
Saturday's Grand Prix Special was only Koffler-Stanfield's third competitive ride on Kaspar. The pair's first Florida Grand Prix was at the Gold Coast Dressage Association Opener and Koffler-Stanfield said "it was a tough Grand Prix. Kaspar wanted to do the Grand Prix by himself. But, the next day, we came back and got 67 percent in the Grand Prix Special."
Koffler-Stanfield was a successful young rider before turning professional. She has worked with Conrad Schumacher and works most often with Kathy Connelly. Connelly is currently in Europe, which left Koffler-Stanfield without her coach at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge. Lucky for her, George Williams stepped in as substitute. "He came in and helped with my warm up and was just awesome. He took over the coaching reins and made me feel really confident," Koffler-Stanfield said.
Williams wasn't the only one helping her this weekend. Her mom, Margee Koffler, flew in from Kentucky to be her groom and Koffler-Stanfield said she also had lots of support from her husband, Travis, and her many students, among them Kentucky's First Lady, Jane Beshear. All of them have made it possible for her to leave home and spend two months on the Florida show circuit. "My husband, my family and my students have been awesome in helping to make this happen," she said. "They all said go enjoy it and go for your dreams."
Her immediate dream is qualifying to compete at the National Dressage Championships in Gladstone this summer. Her sister has competed there before and Koffler-Stanfield would like to do it as well and she's hoping that Kaspar will get her there. "It's great to have an opportunity on a horse like him. I've ridden two other horses at Grand Prix and trained one to Grand Prix, but Kaspar is the first really big opportunity to make it to Gladstone."
Gladstone is yet an unknown, but Koffler-Stanfield does already know one thing – she's having a blast on the Florida winter circuit. And, if she gets really lucky, she'll make it to her other dream – competing in the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. "Wouldn't that be great? I was born and raised in Kentucky so it would be an honor in my home state."