AESTHETE, TRAINED LIKE AN EVENT HORSE, IS US 4-YEAR-OLD CHAMPION

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Aesthete ridden by Karen Monks-Reilly. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Aesthete ridden by Karen Monks-Reilly. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 22–Aesthete, a Dutch warmblood gelding bought by the owners for the trainer of their fox hunters, Karen Monks-Reilly, won the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championship for four-year-olds Saturday.

“I’m in heaven every day with this horse,” said Karen, a 39-year-old mother of two whose farrier husband, Patrick, was the groom for her at these championships where she scored 86.800 per cent on Aesthete, by Trento B out of a Gribaldi mare and owned by Betsy Spence.

Bon Chance, by Bellissimo M out of a Weltmeyer mare, ridden and owned by Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida, was second at 86.400 per cent with Sabati, by Sandro Hit out of a Rubinstein mare ridden by Ulla Petersen, a Dane based in Trappe, Maryland, and owned by Nancy Holowesko, was third on 83.800 per cent.

Bon Chance ridden by Caroline Roffman. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Bon Chance ridden by Caroline Roffman. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aesthete was described by the judges as “dynamic” and “buoyant” that Karen said probably came from her training program that she adopted from her eventing days–lots of hacking, short training sessions and “none if he doesn’t want to do it,” and mostly being “a young horse, being happy, to be joyful and young.”

Karen of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, said she manages the barn and rides the fox hunters of he Spences. When she sold her competition dressage horse, the Spences offered to buy her a horse and she opted for a young horse from Holland even though she had never competed in a young horse class.

“It was love at first sight,” she said. “I hadn’t seen him take a step. And he had been under saddle only two months at the time.”

She will compete next month at Dressage at Devon and is aiming long term for the World Breeding Championships at Verden.

Karen Monks-Reilly was so happy to be at the USEF National Championships that she had other riders autograph her hat. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Karen Monks-Reilly was so happy to be at the USEF National Championships that she had other riders autograph her hat. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

She said she could not tell the owners about Aesthete’s victory as they were on a biking your in Croatia and could not be contacted by telephone.

Caroline Roffman rode two horses in the four-year-old championship, the first of which, Barcarole, jumped out of the ring and thus was eliminated.

“I’m happy that I can check that off my list of stupid things to do,” she quipped.

But her experience on Bon Chance was the opposite.

Her father bought the horse from her trainer, Dansh Olympian Lars Petersen, and Developing Horse Championships sponsor Tim Dutta who had found the gelding at a small competition in northern Florida.

Caroline, who is aged 20 but because of her birth date is no longer eligible for young riders, said that Bon Chance, whose barn name is Moto, “stayed with me in the ring” despite an atmosphere of crowds, magnificent flower displays and a lot of pressure that he had never encountered before.

She said she plans to keep the horse through the six-year-old and Developing Horse levels and hopes to take it to the top.

Victory gallop for Aesthete and Karen Monks-Reilly. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Victory gallop for Aesthete and Karen Monks-Reilly. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com