Brandi Roenick to Ride Pan Am Double Gold Medalist Weltino’s Magic, Aiming for Young Rider World Cup
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Brandi Roenick, at 17 years old a United States’ Young Rider star, has leased the Pan American Games double gold medal horse Weltino’s Magic to pursue her goal of becoming a top international rider with a focus on the Young Rider World Cup Final in Germany this year.
As part of her program to “get out there and show how serious I really am,” Brandi is moving fulltime into the barn operated by Steffen and Shannon Peters in San Diego, California.
Brandi has already made a big mark in dressage, collecting three gold medals on Junior and Young Rider teams at the North American Championships and she recently competed at FEI small tour against some of America’s top international riders–and winning–on her Young Rider mounts.
The ride on Weltino’s Magic will provide her with the opportunity to compete against top Europeans at the Young Rider World Cup that is held in Frankfurt, Germany, every December.
“Magic,” as the 10-year-old Westfalen gelding is known, was ridden by Steffen Peters to double gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games after sweeping the small tour at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen last year.
Magic (Weltino x Diva x Diamond By) is owned by Jen and Bruce Hlavacek of Las Vegas and in February was put up for sale at a price of $750,000 (€570,000).
Brandi told dressage-news.com that the initial lease period is through the summer show season to see how the partnership works. If it goes as she hopes, the Young Rider World Cup Final will be their goal.
“This is making a big jump,” Brandi said. “I’m hoping it will provide some excitement. I’m really focused and determined.”
Brandi’s early successes had created a dilemma of not wanting to duplicate more of what she has already achieved but not experienced enough to mix it up with the senior riders at the top levels.
Before the arrangement with Weltino’s Magic, her plans were to compete at the NAJYR championships this year, but more as a “fun” finale to be with her friends and team mates.
Recent success with her horse, Nobel, in Southern California was surprising to her, but it also made her more determined than ever to pursue a career in dressage–to the extent of finding a college in Southern California to study psychology so she can continue riding and training with her “second” family of Steffen and Shannon.
The ride on Weltino’s Magic has solidified those plans.
Success is not surprising in a family of athletes–her father is former National Hockey League All-Star Jeremy Roenick and her mother, Tracy, is a successful high performance dressage trainer and rider.
Brandi shone early. She rode Pretty Lady to team and individual gold as a junior at the 2008 North American championships; gold with Nobel on her Young Rider team in 2010 and team gold and individual silver on Pretty Lady in 2011. With Pretty Lady, she was also reserve U.S. Young Rider champion last year.
Nobel, now 17 yeas old, a Dutch Warmblood gelding (Rohdiamant x Hestella x Renville), is owned by her mother who rides and trains on the family farm in Scottsdale, Arizona.
And the partnership of six years has slyrocketed with the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Pretty Lady, (Iglesias x Ivonne x Sit This One Out xx). Pretty Lady who will be bred by embryo transfer to Leslie Morse’s Kingston.
Brandi admits she was “so surprised” at her initial success in the seniors and although she displays the confidence of the young felt really intimidated by the experience and stature of the competitiors in her first outings.
“With Lady,” she said, “I figured out how to handle hot horses. With her, she asks how much do you want and I’ll give it to you.”
She had gone to Florida and worked with Robert Dover and Lendon Grey at Young Rider clinics that provided her with some “new buttons” to improve the relationship with Lady.
Brandi started training with the Peters in 2008, a relationship she describes as “amazing.”
“They treat me like I’m their kid,” she said. “I go to their house. He’s a really cool guy to hang around with… super protective. Anything I need, Shannon and Steffen ask, ‘How can we help?’ Being with them is a very rare and amazing opportunity.
“I consider them my second family.”
Brandi’s dream is to be an assistant trainer with Team Peters.
“Right now,” she said, “my life is a dream. I want to go to college in Southern California to study psychology but stay in the area so I can train with Steffen.
“Leaving the sport is not an option. I’m making a career out of this. I would love one day to create my own business.”
She also shares the dream of so many American riders–to represent the United States.
“One day I want to work up to going to a World Cup, the Pan Am Games, the Olympics, Aachen… all of those.”
And she tries to live by a philosophy of sportsmanship taught by her father learned from his experience in a bruising sport–“No matter what happens, just give a smile and a thumbs up. Even if the judges don’t smile back, you’re telling them, “This girl is a pretty happy chick.”