Jan Brons and the little mare Josien had two very big wins at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI in Wellington, Florida, March 14-17. The pair won the FEI Prix St. Georges with a 68.250% and the FEI Intermediaire I with a 69.750%. At 6’ 1" tall, Brons says he never feels like he’s riding a small horse although Josien is only 15.3-hands. "She’s very broad, so when I look at the photos or the videos, it’s a nice picture."
Josien is an 11-year-old, dark bay Dutch mare (Casanova x Dans-Utopia) owned by Elizabeth Schaffner of Long Island, New York, where Brons is based. Schaffner is a rider and came to Brons with Josien in August 2001 for training. Brons took over the ride in November when he came to Florida for the season with his clients’ horses. Josien had just started flying changes when Brons began working with her. They made their Prix St. Georges debut at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Since Brons started showing her, Josien has competed in four Prix St. Georges classes and two Intermediaire I classes. They pair have earned qualifying scores to compete at the USDF Regional finals at both levels.
"She is a fabulous horse," said Brons. "She loves to come out every day and work. That’s what I absolutely love about her. I’m glad to ride her because she is so cooperative. She wants to be a good girl. She wants to come out and please you every day. She has three nice gaits, she’s pretty to look at, and she has a wonderful working attitude." Brons said that in her winning Prix St. Georges class her score would have been higher but she spooked in the ring which cost a few points, but in her I-I class she had no mistakes and scored close to 70%.
Brons said he will keep Josien at the St. Georges and I-I level for a while longer before moving up to Grand Prix because she has been working at this level for such a short time. "This is her first year in FEI. I’m not pressing her because I don’t want her to get hurt or broken."
Brons, 37, is originally from Holland but has been in the U.S. for 15 years. He has been based in New York, with winters in Wellington, but this year decided to make Wellington his home. He will return to Long Island in May and keep riding Josien, along with Schaffner. He plans to compete in the Regional Finals in the fall.