Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but when Heather Mason paid $1 for her 9-year old Hanoverian gelding Romantico SF (Romancero H x Wesermelodie by Wenzel I bred in the U.S. by Somerset Farms), she got lots of bang for her buck.
“He was a horse who came to me for training as a Third Level horse because she was difficult and then the owner [Laurie Racioppo] actually sold him to me for $1,” Mason said. “He’s a super horse. He’s USDF Horse of the Year this year for I-1. He also won the Championship as a Third Level Horse in 2013 at the U.S. Dressage Finals.”
The pair had a successful show at the 2015 U.S. Dressage Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Nov. 5-8. Not only did they claim Reserve Champion in the Prix St. Georges Championship Open class with a 71.096 percent, they also snared the Reserve Championship in the Intermediaire 1 Championship Open class with a 70.044 percent. They placed in the ribbons in the Intermediaire I Freestyle Open Championship class and won the Prix St. Georges warm-up class the first day of the competition, Nov. 5.
“My main point of the warm-up class for him was to figure out his mood because he can be a little difficult, “said Mason, a resident of Lebanon, New Jersey. “ I was trying to test how much collection I could go for and keep him in front of my leg.” Mason decided that she was going to use what she learned on the first day’s test to warm him up a bit differently with a super collected canter and more collection work for the rest of the show.
“I always do a warm-up class to test is mood and see where I stand the rest of the week,” she said. “He is a really tricky little boy. He needs a warm-up class!” “He’s naughty,” she continued. “He’s very quiet. He’s not spooky, but he likes to play with his rider a lot and when he does, he’ll pop up and down and rear and refuse to go into the ring. He’s a very quiet horse but you have to figure out his mood and figure out how much to half halt and how you can ask.”
The Intermediaire 1 class included an impressive line up of 24 competitors, while the Prix St. Georges Championship Open class featured 32 top riders and horses. “He was super, unfortunately I missed the last flying change after the extended canter which was costly, but he was really, really good,” she said of the PSG class. “I really like coming here, all my clients had a lot of fun. It’s such a great show.”
Mason plans to continue the small tour and hopes to hit the fall CDIs to see where her $1 horse goes from there.