Craig Stanley’s first photo of his Habanero CWS, the Markel/USEF Six Year Old National Champion was as an embryo. Bred to his mare Caliente DG (OO Seven x Satina/Contango) Craig and his wife Veterinarian Benda Lindeman, pulled the foal from his mother. The highest scoring American bred horse is also the National Champion and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
For 7 of the past 8 years, Craig Stanley has traveled across the US from Madera, California to the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne. Illinois for the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships. First with his mare Caliente DG (OO Seven x Satina/Contango) who competed as a four (2011) , five (2012) and six-year old (2013) where she placed third winning Highest Place U.S. Bred award. The native Australian is used to wide open spaces and long drives, and has the trip down to a science. He rendezvoused in Salt Lake City with Dan and Gina Ruediger of Sonneberg Farm LLC also traveling cross country from Oregon. “Traveling with Craig is always and experience,” smiled Dan.
Craig has learned a few things about long distance travel with horses for competition. Along the way, they stop twice at predetermined Horse Hotels and settle in for the night. “I jog with him at each layover, and we both get some exercise and loosen our limbs,” Craig explains. At one stop they are required to buy fresh shavings, a good sanitary practice for Horse Hotels. “She keeps our stalls ready for us, so on the way back we don’t have to buy more shavings,” he added. In addition to removing a slant in the trailer to give the big gelding more room, Stanley also gets 2 stalls at Lamplight and removed the wall, so Habanero has a lot of room to move around.
Homebred and home trained the lofty offspring of his mother, Habanero is by Idocus, a DG Bar stallion now standing in Hanford California. Idocus is deeply immersed in American history, having been ridden and competed internationally by Olympian Lendon Gray, and later with Courtney King-Dye who was her alternate horse for the Beijing Olympics.
In Sunday’s 6-Year-Old Final Test, Habanero CWS was awarded high marks of 9.2 for his engaged, elastic trot and a 9 for his submission. Along with today’s total score of 8.98, the pair’s cumulative total earned them the national title.The overall word during the live judges’ commentary describing the duo was “Harmony”. Alone together on the journey across the country and caring for his horse throughout the show, Stanley and Habanero exemplify the ultimate success story of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships.
Results: Markel/USEF Young Horse 6-Year-Old Dressage National Championship
Rider / Horse / Preliminary Test / Final Test / Total Score
1. Craig Stanley / Habanero CWS / 8.98 / 8.98 / 8.98
2. Angela Jackson / Sandeman / 8.9 / 8.52 / 8.672
3. Cesar Parra / Sir Beckmann / 8.96 / 8.26 / 8.54
4. Alice Tarjan / Harvest / 7.98 / 8.56 / 8.328
5. Sarah Lockman / Balia / 8.28 / 8.16 / 8.208
6. Jennifer Schrader-Williams / Francis HW / 8.38 / 7.98 / 8.14