Living the High Life: Heidi Degele Trains Horses to Win

Heidi Degele and Highlife’s Don Silvio dancing to victoryin the Prix St Georges. (Photo courtesy of Harry Furey)

Heidi Degele and Highlife’s Don Silvio dancing to victoryin the Prix St Georges. (Photo: courtesy of Harry Furey)

USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist Heidi Degele has proven once again that she knows how to bring the best out of every horse she trains. Riding Tom and Michelle Fritchek’s 11 year-old Oldenburg stallion Highlife’s Don Silvio (Diamond Stud x Farouche) they won the FEI Prix St Georges both days and high score for the show with a 74.559% at the Fox Lea Farm Fall Dressage Concours I & II in August in Venice, FL, and garnering the praise of its judges.

The 16.1 hand bay stallion, who has only recently been graduated from Fourth Level to PSG, proved for his rider and owners that it’s the right step up for this rising star, as judges noted the “super quality” and “well presented” performances by the dynamic duo.

Heidi Degele on Highlife’s Don Silvio posing with his owner Tom Fritchek. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Degele)

Heidi Degele on Highlife’s Don Silvio posing with his owner Tom Fritchek. (Photo: courtesy of Heidi Degele)

“He’s just started his first Prix St Georges tour and earned High Point Horse of the show,” Degele beamed. Highlife’s Don Silvio was purchased as a six month-old colt by Michelle and Tom Fritchek and  it’s been the realization of their “lifelong dream,” Degele says, to see their gorgeous stallion bloom into a winning FEI competitor.

“He’s amazing. You can’t not stop and stare at him when he’s in the ring. He has so much presence,” says Degele, who has been working with the talented stallion since October 2017 and began competing him over the summer. “The long term goal with him has already been met – he’s has achieved the credentials to become an approved stallion. Now we’ll see if his career continues to take off as well as it has!” Degele herself hopes to one day represent and ride for the United States and, with a mount so effortlessly earning 8’s and 9’s on his half pirouettes and half passes, this could be just the ticket into the international spotlight.

“He’s one of the most supple horses I’ve ever ridden. He’s got such a soft trot and canter. He gives you a safe feeling when you ride him,” she says. Back home the stallion is known for being “as gentle as a puppy” and is easygoing enough to be ridden by amateurs. “It’s when you bring him to the shows that he really turns it on.” In Degele’s able hands, this winter’s dressage season could find them both living the competitive high life.

Heidi Degele and Highlife’s Don Silvio sharing a moment after their high score win. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Degele)

Heidi Degele and Highlife’s Don Silvio sharing a moment after their high score win. (Photo: courtesy of Heidi Degele)

Heidi Degele is based in Loxahatchee FL, just minutes outside of Wellington and is accepting a limited number of new clients and horses for training and consignment. Having trained under Hubertus Schmidt, Degele has competed internationally (scoring over 70% in front of German judges) and has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals while bringing dressage prospects up the ranks from Training to FEI levels. She has established a respected, decade-long reputation for building horses up using the classical and systemic methods she learned and mastered while in Germany, and is available for teaching and taking in horses for training/sales horses. Learn more at www.heidi-dressage.com or call (561) 294-4118.




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