San Shivago & Selten HW, California-Owned Sandro Hit OffSpring, Take Top Two Places in US 5-Year-Old Champs

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San Shivago ridden by Louise Koch. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
San Shivago ridden by Louise Koch. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 21–San Shivago, a Sandro Hit stallion out of a Donnerhall mare, won the five-year-old preliminary test at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships Friday, giving the rider/owner Louise Koch a “fresh start” to her riding career at age 62.

San Shivago, a black Westfalen stallion bred by Walter Huning, that Koch bought two years ago in Germany but left him there for training, received 83.800 per cent from the ground jury that included U.S. “O” judges Gary Rockwell and Linda Zang. The preliminary test counts for 40 per cent of the total for the championship that will be decided Saturday.

San Shivago and Louise Koch. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
San Shivago and Louise Koch. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Selten HW, a Sandro Hit black gelding by a Hohenstein mare that won the four-year-old championship in 2008 and ridden by Elzabeth Ball of Carlsbad, California for owners Cadence LLC, scored 82.800 per cent to place second. Zatino H, a Dutch warmblood bay gelding by Sir Sinclair out of an Equador mare, was third with 78.600 per cent with Steinway, by Sandro Hit out of a Rubinstein mare, and ridden by Ulla Petersen of Trappe, Maryland for owner Nancy Holowesko, was fourth on 78.400 per cent.

Louise Koch said she looked at San Shivago when a horse she was scheduled to see on her fourth trip to Europe was injured.

She called Jennifer and Jürgen Hoffman of Encinitas, California, who were in Germany at the time and told them she had three days to find a horse. They helped arrange for her to see San Shivago.

Louise, who has been riding since she was five years old took up dressage after she saw Pam Nelson ride Dublin in the late 1970s. She trained Polaris to Grand Prix but in recent years had been riding horses for other people while looking for a young horse.

“This is a dream come true,” she tearfully told dressage-news.com. “I thought we were all done. But this is starting again. I don’t know whether this is synchronicity or the stars being aligned the right way.”

A major difference between San Shivago and Selten was the walk with the judges noting a lack of overstep by Selten.

“The walk is something that I’ve worked on for most of my life and my trainer, Christine Traurig, is adamant about it, too,” she said.

“But he is so loveable and likes to learn and try his hardest. If he gets confused he tells me and we work it out. He is very smart. But we try not to overtrain him.”

“I just love this young horse and developing horse program,” she said. “It is so much darn fun to show on this beautiful grounds, to get great feedback from top judges, take part in a beautiful awards ceremony.”

Selten HW ridden by Elizabeth Ball. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Selten HW ridden by Elizabeth Ball. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com