Although he hadn't been in the ring since November and had never done the test, Kavalier, the talented Trakehner gelding owned and ridden by amateur Jane Cleveland still scored an 81.6% to win the FEI test for six year-olds.
The horse, a son of Amacho out of an Erzsand mare, was the highest placed American competitor at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden, Germany last year, scoring an 8.16. In order to qualify, they earned an 8.375 at the Midwest finals at Lamplight, the country's highest score.
"He's very talented, very confident, a touch arrogant, but in a real sweet way," Cleveland said about the lovely gray gelding she imported as a three year old from Europe, with the help of Marco Bernal. Though she had a little trouble in the canter work, the horse's impulsion and carriage made the pair stand out. Cleveland praised the horse's composure as one of his strongest traits. "He's not fazed by big shows," she said. "In Europe, he just went in and did his job."
Kavalier also had success at fourth level, finishing second in two classes with scores in the mid-60's. Cleveland has been working with Jan Brons and Steffen Peters. "I have to depend on a pretty healthy clinic schedule," said the Nashville native. Cleveland also credits her experience in Europe. "It was an eye-opening experience as far as learning how the European horses are trained at that age," she said. "It's been invaluable for our training."
Cleveland hopes she and Kavalier can repeat the experience this year. After a few more weeks in Florida, she'd like to head to one of the three finals-- probably Cincinnati or Raleigh, in May, to determine whether Kavalier qualfies. And Cleveland has long-term goals, too, for her young star. "I bought him as a young horse, but hopefully, he'll be a really nice upper level horse, at some point."² If top scores in the States and Europe are any indication, Cleveland has made a wise wager.
by Jillian K. Dunham for Dressagedaily.com
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