Liz Austin and Olivier Nail The Grand Prix with High Score in the FEI at Dressage at Equestrian Estates

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Posted by bossmare

Elisabeth Austin and her mother’s KWPN-NA Stallion Olivier (by Idocus) have had a quiet winter training in Florida with Michael Barisone, and deciding carefully where to begin their competitive season. At White Fences the winners of the Brentina Cup Championship for upcoming young riders in the Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, won the Grand Prix with a 68.085, and were excited about their next showing at Dressage at Equestrian Estates, until all hell broke loose in the first class.

“As we turned to make our first extended trot there was a really strange noise coming from the sound system- sort of a combination of music, crackling and a tarp flapping sound.  Needless to say, my usually fearless stallion, my number one pick for a horse to trail ride anywhere, lost his cookies.” Nonetheless, Austin championed on with not only great riding skills but also a great attitude. “’I'm actually glad it happened because it's just one more notch of experience in our belt, you know?  He came back to me so well after the speaker was turned off- after scoring four 1's and 2's at the beginning of our test we came back to earn 8's on six of our nine piaffes, as well as on the pirouettes, two tempis and extended canter.  I was so proud of him for coming back to me after being so terrified- that makes me really proud of our partnership.”

Sunday the pair who will no doubt be carefully watched by the selectors for the 2010 Alltech/World Equestrian Games, showed their level of experience by earning the highest FEI score of the weekend in the Test of Choice class, riding the Grand Prix  earning a 72%. “I made a mistake in the two tempis and canter zig-zag which was too bad since the day before we nailed it, but those are two areas we are making a few changes right now so with time I think we will be able to score very high there, as well. 

I rode the piaffes even bolder than the day before, as well as the transitions in and out, and Fizzy was 100% there with me. The pirouettes were better, as well, definitely the best I've ridden them in the ring yet.  I was thrilled with our final score!

Austin has been training with Michael Barisone who has been helping the pair reach a new level in their development and confirming them in the Grand Prix.. “We have a great relationship in that Michael really helps me to ride “Fizzy” to the best of my abilities, but also respects the fact that Fizzy isn't the kind of horse who can work in the ring six days a week.  He agrees that it's great even for top horses to get out and do other things.”

Austin’s routine includes trail riding and trot sets around the canals to work on his fitness. “We both enjoy getting out and I take him all over Loxahatchee to keep the scenery fresh!  He loves every minute of it and always walks away from the stable with more "joie de vie" than walking home - he is definitely an adventurer!”