Dressage Star Jazzman Dances Again

Saturday, July 1, 2006
Posted by Contractor

By Charlene Strickland for DressageDaily.com

First, the flashback to 1997—the two hottest dressage rivals in the West were Brentina and Jazzman, then rising stars at USDF Third Level. The two chestnuts met in the show ring for the next two years, both moving to Prix St. Georges tests in 1998. They were teammates at the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, where the U.S. earned team gold. Brentina won individual gold, and Jazzman was sixth individually.

Owner and trainer Donna Richardson, Del Mar, California, reported that Conrad Schumacher said at a clinic, “Kingston and Jazzman were the best horses in the U.S.”

A suspensory injury and colic surgery sidelined her Dutch Warmblood. She was able to qualify him to go to Gladstone’s Grand Prix championship, but lameness was a recurring problem. “I tried everything,” said Richardson. To bring “Jazz” back, she “did lots of walking.” For almost three years, she tried to return him to Grand Prix. “I had my heart broken so many time. He’d be sound, and then he’d go off again. So I retired him—he was only 13.”

She’d resigned herself to the end of her horse’s competive career. Flash forward to May 2006: Jazz and Brentina met again in the show ring—competing in Grand Prix at the Dressage at Flintridge show.

By Charlene Strickland for DressageDaily.com

Donna Richardson and Jazzman Returning to Grand Prix

Donna Richardson bought Jazzman (Amethist, Eronica) after seeing him on a videotape. She had asked Steffen Peters to look for an older, trained horse for her. He and partner Norbert Gieling bought Jazzman in Holland, as a three-year-old stallion.

Richardson said, “He was a gorgeous chestnut, white face and white feet, naturally engaged and uphill. He had presence and a natural energy.”

Her gamble paid off, as the colt was easy to train. With Dutch carriage horse (the Tuigpaard type) in his background, the 16.1 Jazz has a regular, elegant trot. Richardson called him, “as light as a feather. Everything is easy for him. He has fabulous gaits and good attitude.”

She was his only trainer and rider up through the levels, saying “He’s all my creation.” In the 1990s, Jazzman won national honors in USDF Horse of the Year: First Level (1996), Second Level (1997), and Fourth Level (1998).

In his retirement, Jazz announced he’s return to the show ring. “After six months turnout, he was passaging out there, on his own,” said Richardson. “Skyler Evans, a Young Rider, wanted to show him. I said she could take him if he stayed sound.”

“For months and months, she walked him—I walked him. And by January 2005 he was holding it together.” Evans made the Region 7 team, which finished second at the Young Riders Championships in July. Encouraged by their performance, Richardson decided to see if Jazz could return for her. “I took him back to strengthen him and see if he still wanted to go Grand Prix.”

On to Gladstone for the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions

He said yes, and this year they earned scores to qualify for Gladstone, with Jazz a candidate for the U.S. team at the World Equestrian Games. Richardson admitted she was “a little intimidated” about competing against Brentina again. “It was the first time since before the Pan-American Games.” (Brentina won the class, with Richardson saying, “She beats him every time.”)

All his life, Jazz has remained what Richardson called “arrogant” in the stall. She said, “I think the good ones have to be a little aloof. It’s his job. He’s going to do his job, and that’s it. His attitude is, ‘I will allow you to pet me.’”

Related Links
HorsesDaily On the Scene USEF Dressage Festival of Champions 2006
HorsesDaily On the Scene NAYRC 2005