A “fabulous feeling” is how Jason Canton described his win in the Six-Year-Old competition at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship with Grandioso. “It’s been a long year and a lot of hard work getting to this point.” The Westfalen gelding was bought by Canton, of Alpharetta, Georgia, in Germany when he was a five-year-old.
Canton is the trainer at Collecting Gaits Farm and gave much credit to farm owners Jeff and Shereen Fuqua for their support. “I’ve work for Collecting Gaits since January and they’re fantastic people to work for and to ride for. They were very instrumental in getting me here. They sponsored me to go to Germany last May for six weeks showing and training with Susana Meisner. They’re just wonderful.”
Grandioso (Grosso Z – Popocatepetel by Palisandergrund) was bred in Germany by Willi Hillebrecht. Canton said the gelding is “very sweet. He’s a big horse, but he’s like a volcano ready to erupt. And yet, you can ride him around easy out in the fields. He’s just got great character, super to train. He just needs strength. He’s a very big horse, a powerful mover but his body has to develop.”
The judges certainly liked the horse. Speaking for the judges’ panel, Marianne Ludwig said, “As I heard Hilda say yesterday, you are a lucky man. Super impressive horse.
Super gaits. Very impressive trot. Very impressive medium and extended trots.” For that the judges awarded Grandioso with an 8.8. The walk received an 8.0 and judges admitted to being picky when saying they’d like a bit more of a ground-covering walk.
Judges said the canter “was super to watch” although it lost a bit of collection when Grandioso got away from Canton.
Still, the canter scored an 8.4. Other scores were an 8.3 for submission and an 8.4 for general impression. Grandioso’s final score was 8.368. Canton said future plans are to compete Grandioso at the USEF levels while he strengthens and then move him into the Developing Horse competition.