Loxahatchee, Florida – When Betsy Steiner needed someone to pick up half the ownership of Findlay's Titaan, she turned to a long-time friend at the University of Findlay. The result was something new for the Ohio-based university, long known for its successful equestrian program – co-ownership of a rising dressage star. At this weekend's Dressage at Equestrian Estates, Titaan, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, nabbed the win in the Developing Horse competition with a 68.571. "I knew there was a superstar in there," said Steiner, who has had the horse in training since he was four. "At this show and his last one, he's begun to show what's in there."
Steiner said she's loved every minute of the years she's worked with Titaan and when her former partner, Jane Rainis, was looking to sell her half, they approached the University of Findlay. Betsy has been a life-long friend with the director of dressage at Findlay, Janet Harms.
"We were looking for a win-win situation and found one," Steiner said. Rainis kindly donated her share of Titaan to the university, which is leaving the horse in Steiner's hands to bring up the levels. Titaan's main purpose is to draw attention to the university's equestrian programs and to serve as a "spokeshorse." Steiner said he's perfectly suited for the job. "He has the kind of personality that just draws in people.
If he were a person, you'd want him as your best friend," she said. Titaan even has a column at the college called "Titaan's Paddock" that is ghost-written by Harms.
It helps that Titaan is also a dressage talent, although Steiner admits it took a bit to see the potential in his early years. "I always believed he'd be a late bloomer. He hasn't shown much because in his first years in training he was a bit of a renegade. But this year, it's all come together and you can see the brilliance in his performance," she said. Titaan just started at Prix St. Georges this winter and already has achieved scores over 70 percent. At this weekend's Dressage at Equestrian Estates, he finished fifth in Prix St. Georges Open competition with a score of 67.368.
For Steiner, this weekend's Dressage at Equestrian Estates was a success and not just because of Titaan's good showing. She also competed with Fino, a nine-year-old Rhinelander gelding owned by Joli Burrell. He's been with Steiner since June and this was his first weekend out with Steiner. He finished third in Prix St. Georges Open competition with a 70 percent. "He's a phenomenal mover and a great guy. He looks very confident, but inside he's a bit insecure so he needs to know I'm there to support him."