2008 Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I
Presented by Collecting Gaits Farm
West Palm Beach, Florida – Amy Stuhr said her Prix St. Georges win at this weekend’s Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I isn’t just a victory for her, but for all dressage riders struggling to balance a full-time job and their riding career. “This gives all the normal, hard-working people out there hope. I competed against a huge class of fabulous riders. This win is for everyone who has a job and is overwhelmed with work and family and stress.”
Saturday’s FEI Prix St. Georges Open GAIG/USDF Qualifier had more than 30 riders, causing it to be split into two classes. Shawna Harding won the first class, and the first leg of the Wellington Classic Dressage $5,000 Prix St Georges Challenge with Come On III and a score of 73.75 percent. Stuhr won the second with her 13-year-old gelding Dinar and a score of 70.75 percent.
The win astounded Stuhr, 40, who, when back home in Kansas, devotes 50-60 hours a week to her career as a bank loan officer. She normally only finds time to ride on weekends. “At home, I have a young professional who does a fantastic job keeping my horses going. Her name is Melissa Allen and I can really trust her. She’s a beautiful rider and can handle anything. I can come to the barn on Fridays, get on and not skip a beat.”
Although she considers herself an amateur, Stuhr does have years of riding experience. She’s trained with Chris Hickey for many years and their friendship goes back decades. Twenty years ago, they both competed in the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships. “I have to give Chris a lot of credit. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. He’s been fabulous and very generous with his time.” Hickey and Stuhr also co-own a horse. Over the years, Stuhr has made weekend trips to Florida, but this is her first winter actually showing there herself. Based on her weekend trips, she wasn’t sure she would like it.
“I’m used to being in the Midwest and I’m certainly used to riding in big shows, such as Lamplight, in Wayne, Illinois. But when I’d come to Florida for a weekend, I had a good time but never a really great time. No one knew who I was or that I rode. I just came to see Chris and my horse. I thought this is something that I should do and told myself that if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t come back,” Stuhr said. “But now, having come here and being able to ride consistently and show, I must say, it’s been the most incredible experience. It’s an absolute must-do for anyone who is serious about this sport. I’m so glad I did it.”
When asked if she’d like to come back for another winter show season, Stuhr said. “Absolutely. I’m going to go home, let the dust settle a bit and then start courting my boss again.” To get to Florida this season, Stuhr took her boss to lunch to sell him on the idea. It wasn’t a hard sell. “I took my boss out to lunch and I said, ‘Todd, you know that all the work we do is on the internet and on the phone. And you know what a good employee I am.’ He didn’t even let me finish the sentence. He said, ‘Whatever you want to do, we’ll make it work.’”
So in December, Stuhr and her father drove with Dinar to Florida and here she’ll be until early February. “I want to give a plug to my parents, Bob and Angela Stuhr, because they’ve been a big help making all this possible and helping take care of things back home.”