Wellington, FL - Swedish dressage rider Maria Lithander, who rides and trains year round with Patrick Burssens at the International Dressage Academy in Wellington, rode a five-year-old named Piccolo to the highest score at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge. Lithander and Piccolo’s 76.897% in the First Level Test 1 helped the duo win The Horse of Course High Score Award, sponsored by The Horse of Course, Inc, one of the nation’s premier tack shops specializing in dressage tack, clothing and supplies. Lithander, who has lived in Wellington for six years, said Piccolo is an Oldenburg owned by Burssens. “Piccolo has a fantastic mind and is very positive about everything and I know it looks nice for the judges to see a happy horse in the ring,” Lithander said.
“Patrick bought Piccolo from an Oldenburg auction and he is part of his sales program. I have been training him for about a year.”
As the winner of the High Score Award, Lithander and the gorgeous bay Oldenburg rode away with a beautiful cooler from The Horse of Course. “I want to thank The Horse of Course for sponsoring this award,” Lithander said. “I am very excited to win. I am really pleased for Piccolo also. He is the sweetest horse on earth. Patrick has a really good eye for horses and I’m lucky enough to be able to ride Piccolo.”
Beth Haist, CEO of The Horse of Course, congratulated Lithander on her winning score. “Maria and Piccolo earned a fantastic score and should be very proud of winning the High Score Award at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge,” she said. “The Horse of Course loves being part of the dressage season in Wellington. The shows attract top competition from around the world and we are excited to meet each of the winners. Piccolo is a gorgeous boy and I know he will look great in his winning cooler.”
The Horse of Course, known for having the best and latest in dressage fashion, is a strong supporter of the equestrian community and their one-stop dressage specialty mobile store is a fixture at horse shows across the country. Dressage riders from around the world rely on products and fashions from The Horse of Course and the tack shop offers top proven brands, innovative new products, complete customized saddle fitting and customized bit fitting. “We also carry the most advanced dressage saddle ever made, The Sommer Flextra Eq and the new Sommer Spezial,” Haist said.
Haist’s husband, Marty Haist, is a saddler who attends the shows to be of service to customers’ saddle fitting needs. “We welcome riders with saddle fit questions to stop by our booth and visit Marty. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to properly fitting tack and is always glad to talk with riders who have questions,” Haist said.
To learn more about The Horse of Course, visit their website at www.thehorseofcourse.com.