A Day in the Life of a Verden Auction Horse. May I Present to You: Number 12 La Centa!
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Normally, it is nothing usual to give horses numbers. However, in this case it is useful and makes sense. And it has nothing to do with devaluing the horse. Moreover it serves to create a good overview. The numbers in front of the name of an auction horse a carried throughout the auction period and even above that. The numbers are also displayed online. There the horses are listed by number, just as in the catalog, and in the stables the numbers are in front of every stall. During training and trying of the horses, each horse has a number on the bridle. This way every spectator is able to immediately access all the information of the horse without having to ask someone what horse that may be. Through these numbers information on the website, the catalog, and directly in the arena can be easily connected.
The auction horse we would like to present to you is the number 12, La Centa. She is a member of the current collection and moved into her temporary home in Verden on the 4th of July with the start of the training. During the 13 day auction period all horses are trained and ridden daily until they are auctioned off on the 16th of July.
La Centa is by the successful State Stud Stallion Londonderry who already provided more than 250 auction horses and almost 700 of his descendants are registered as successful sport horses. La Centa is a typical Londonderry daughter. She is already marked as a premium mare, coming out as best mare of her mare show. She finished the mare performance test with above average scores: 9.0 for the canter, 8.5 for ride-ability. According to auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener La Centa is in the perfect state to go to the auction. Her basic education is complete, clients get a good feel of her during the test ride and can build right on with the training at home.
During the auction, the four-year-old mare is ridden by Melanie Schmerlatt and groomed by Marina Lemay, a guest groom from the US. Before the two could welcome the La Centa, she had to go through another vet check upon arrival. At the beginning of each auction period auction manager, trainers, and vet Dr. Frank Reimann thoroughly examine every horse before the participants are allowed to move into their stalls and start the training. Marina immediately appreciated the chestnut mare: “La Centa is well behaved; she has been taught good manners and is easy to handle in the daily routine from picking out her feet over tacking her up to all the handling inside and outside the stalls."
For La Centa, as well as for the other 97 auction horses, the day begins at 7am. The riders and grooms jointly take care of their horses. Every team takes care of 7 to 9 horses. Melanie gives La Centa an extra portion of hay. “She’s a big horse, she needs a lot”, the native Australian laughs. For Melanie, auction riding is a family business, her parents Linda and Rainer Schmerglatt also made their way into the horse world through the Verden Auction. Then all the horses get their morning grains which the equerry mixed with some carrots. Satisfied silence with only the chewing of the horses as the teams goes for breakfast.
After breakfast the daily vet check follows. The grooms take the temperature and vet Dr. Reimann and auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener look at the horses. The well-being of the horses is the utmost priority, and thus all information from riders, grooms, customer advisors, and trainers come together at this point and get evaluated before the training starts. The first days of the auction period serve to get the horses acclimatized to the new environment and the new rider. The focus is to make the horses comfortable with everything and give them a good feeling with all that is going on around them. Even though the first official presentation does not take place before about a week into the auction, the training is public from day one. Every morning a timetable for the horses is published online to enable interested buyers to just stop by and see their favorite horse.
During the warm-up horses and riders are supervised by no one less than Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen, German National Trainer for Young riders as well as for Young Dressage Horses. He knows the riders and his lifetime experience is a great asset to the team. He helps to carve out the strength of every horse and has a good feel for the right balance between work and relaxation. At the end of the training, the horses go into the auction arena where they briefly present themselves in walk, trot, and canter, commented by Hartmut Kettelhodt. This brief presentation allows the customer to see all the horses in a very short amount of time and objectively compare all of them.
Today, a customer has made an appointment to try La Centa after the training. He already saw her video online and immediately connected with customer advisor Janine Pagel to get an appointment to test ride the mare. Upon arrival he meets Marina with the mare in the stables. The customer is invited to, according to preference, stay with La Centa and get an impression of her behavior while tacking her up and during the warm-up, or to go and look at the other horses of the collection to have something to compare against his candidate of choice. Together with Janine Pagel, the customer watches La Centa during the training and Janine answers last questions, before he gets on the horse himself. During the test ride, Melanie and Janine provide help where needed and keep a close eye on their horses. Especially for Janine it is important to see every horse not only under the auction rider, but also during the test rides by clients to get a good feel for the needs of the clients as well as for the behavior of each horse, which both allows her to help pair the right horse to the right rider.
After the test ride, rider Melanie brings La Centa back to groom Marina who takes care of the mare and gives her a refreshing shower. After a little treat for the completed work she takes the mare outside to dry in the sun, relax and graze a little. Meanwhile the customer is with vet Dr. Reimann who can provide all necessary details on x-rays and clinical examination. With La Centa, everything is fine. The customer wants to try and go for this horse; he immediately reserves good tickets for the auction day in Verden.
La Centa is done for the day. Her well-deserved lunch already awaits her in her stall. Marina uses the time to get all the bridles back in order and clean everything before her lunch break. In the afternoon, Melanie takes La Centa out for some stretching – without rider or saddle, just with a halter to let her run on the lunge as she likes to. La Centa is seemingly relaxed and enjoys her free time. “The young horses have to work a lot during the auction period. It is nice for them to go outside just to do as they like afterwards. That keeps them happy.”
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