In the first leg of the USET I-I Championships qualifying class, the CDI Prix St. George, Montango and Steffen Peters beat out a large class of competitors with a score of 72.083 percent. Steffen and Lord Chalk Hill were reserve with a 68.250, followed by Nick Wagman and his own Uforia for third with a 67.833. Amateur rider, Laura Cooper and Settino placed fourth with a 66.583, and Elizabeth Ball on De La Frontera placed fifth with a 65.083.
Happy owner of Montango, the 17.2h black KWPN gelding by Contango out of Benelli, is Mary Keenan. Mary and her husband Jim found the horse in Friesland, home of the Friesians, in late 1999 at a small barn where he was beginning a little dressage training after a start as a jumper.
When asked how she chooses her horses on European buying trips, Mary said, “I get a feeling for certain horses. I always look for the same thing, a horse that is ‘above average.’ If I don’t find that, I come home without one.”
Montango clearly falls in the category of above average as he currently leads the nation in the USET Intermediere-I Championships rankings.
Peters has been riding the horse for the past seven months, and has had big successes during the I-I Championships qualifying season. Montango lives at home on Jim and Mary’s farm in Rancho Santa Fe, and Mary trailers him to Steffen five days a week for training.
“I promised both myself and my first horse, a $1,000.00 yearling that I purchased in 1972, that I would try never to board out a horse.”
It appears that Mary’s consistent care of Montango may be one of the secrets of his success.
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