Loxahatchee, Florida – Michael Barisone and Olympus took their first win at Grand Prix when they won the CDI Grand Prix for the Special at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI. It was only the second Grand Prix for the pair. They rode their first Grand Prix two weeks earlier at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI and placed second.
"He's doing great and I think he'll be scoring on the 70s in no time," Barisone said of the 12-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Dr. Nancy Binter. Binter, of Vermont, is a long-time friend of the Barisones and it was two years ago that she told Barisone and his wife, Vera, that she'd like to one day ride Grand Prix. "We told her to do that, she needed a Grand Prix horse," Barisone said.
Hence, Binter and Vera Barisone when horse shopping in Europe and what they found was Olympus, who had already had a very successful career as a junior and young rider mount. The horse has been with the Barisones since coming to the U.S. Binter rides him in Florida in the winter and when the Barisones are in New Jersey, she travels there to ride her horse. "And she rides him beautifully," Barisone said.
The other person who's great with Olympus, Barisone said, is his wife. "She actually rides him most of the time and she's the one who is really responsible for that horse going as beautifully as he is." It was just a few weeks ago that Binter asked Barisone to start competing Olympus in order to get him ready for her to show. "So, we're getting out the kinks. He's a really good horse. We had a few mistakes in our ride today, such as a spook in the extended walk when something fell over in the tent and I had a bad halt at the beginning, but he still did well," Barisone said.
The pair earned their win in a large class of more than 20 competitors and Barisone was the first to ride. "I was first from the start and it held up all day," he said. "Clearly, we're happy with him. It was a real good experience and he won the Grand Prix at one of the bigger shows we've got." At this point, Barisone is planning to compete with Olympus at the National Dressage Championships in Gladstone in June. He's also planning to take Neruda to Europe, with Aachen being one of the shows on his list. "So, I'll probably go to Europe, come back to ride Olympus at Gladstone, and then go back to Europe for Aachen. It's great having two top horses to ride and I've actually got a third coming along. It's really, really nice."