Konyot’s freestyle win with her World Equestrian Games partner Danish stallion Calecto V (by Come Back II) gave her the second score she needed to qualify for the North American League for the World Cup. But Konyot has already decided that she is unlikely to compete in the World Cup. Her plan at the moment is to compete in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI and the World Dressage Masters CDI5* right after that and with two back-to-back shows, Calecto will need a break before the her heads to Europe to train and compete this summer. Konyot said the pair’s freestyle ride at the Spring Challenge was her best freestyle ride yet. “You try to improve each time out and make as few mistakes as possible. This time around we had improved even more. He had beautiful flying changes and towards the end, his extended canter to the passage and piaffe was beautiful and right on the money.” One of the biggest challenges for Calecto in the freestyle competition was that it was held under the lights and both the lighting and time of day were unusual for him. “He’s such a wonderful guy, but I did feel a tiny bit of nervousness in him because it’s different under the lights and in the evening, which is not his usual time to work,” Konyot said. She said one thing the pair must work toward is being relaxed regardless of time of day or environment. Calecto, a Danish Warmblood stallion, is only 13 so he’s got time for that improvement.
Calecto is clearly a contender for the 2012 Olympic Dressage Team, but Konyot said she doesn’t think about that. “I set goals, but I take one day at a time,” she said. As his owner, Konyot said she has to cover all the costs of training him, caring for him and showing him so what matters most to her is that she enjoy him and that he’s happy. “He’s not just my competition horse. He’s my old friend and my buddy. He’s more like my pet.”
She doesn’t let any thoughts of the Olympics, either her own or pressure from any others to aim for the Olympics, to distract her from her work with Calecto. What she most hopes is that people simply enjoy watching the two of them compete, whether at a show in Florida or at an international event. “I hope when people watch us, that they see our love for one another. What is important is that you don’t do this for others. You do it for yourself.”
Konyot said Calecto’s health and well-being come first. Competition comes second. That said, she makes sure he has a good life. He spends hours a day in the paddock. “For a horse, what’s better than being on your own and free to roll, sleep in the sun or jump about? Animals need to be free.” Calecto works five days a week and that includes time going on trail rides. “We go for gallops and have a blast,” Konyot said. “My horse is 150 percent happy and to do the job well, he needs to be a happy horse.”
Konyot’s won Friday’s CDI Grand Prix for the Freestyle with a score of 70.043 and Saturday’s CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 75.300. Also finishing in the top three in both classes was Elisabeth Austin riding Olivier and Shawna Harding riding Come On III. Austin placed second in the grand prix and third in the freestyle, while Harding took third in the grand prix and moved up to second in the freestyle.