Regalo, Trained & Ridden by German Transplant Lientje Schueler, Wins USA 5-Year-Old Championship
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 25–Lientje Schueler came from Germany seeking the American Dream and fulfilled it Saturday when she rode the Oldenburg gelding Regalo to the United States five-year-old championship.
Her mother Doerte and father Joachim had flown from their home in Oldenburg, Germany, to watch the 27-year-old Lientje overcome a shaky qualifying class two days earlier that had them in third place to produce what the judges called “a harmonious ride with a happy horse” to take the title with a score of 81.6.
Her “second family” of Shannon and Steffen Peters just back at their San Diego, California, farm after the Olympics in London could not make it to the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships at this beautifully manicured show grounds in suburban Chicago.
Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, New Jersey, and Elfeneuer who led after the first day were reserve champions with a score of 80 while Patricia Becker of Wadsworth, Illinois on Freedom were third on 79.
Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland and the Oldenburg stallion Hemmingway scored 82.6 to capture the four-year-old championship while Christopher Hickey also of Colora on Qredit Hilltop were awarded 82.2 for reserve champion and Anna Marek of Williston, Florida, on Dilona placed third on 82.
Lientje first came to the U.S. in 2000 but a year later went back to Germany before returning to California, a state that she said “has something special that somehow sucked me in and gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted.”
The second time around she worked in Moorpark north of Los Angeles for Amy and Jan Ebeling who rode Rafalca for the U.S. team at this year’s Games. She studied business at a local community college but that took a back seat to riding.
In 2005 she moved south to San Diego to work with Shannon and Steffen Peters in an arrangement that enabled her to train but with the freedom to work with her own clients.
“Shannon and Steffen are truly a second family,” she said. “They are always supportive but let me do my own thing. It is so not controlling in any way. It’s amazing what it does for me… my confidence. I’m a pretty inependent person. What they have supported me to do is a very unique set up.”
The set up includes training and competing Regalo (Rosario x Dandiell x Nandino) owned by Pinky Roberts of Escondido, California. Lientje initially found the horse in Germany.
Earlier in the year Lientje and Steffen decided to “just take it show by show” with Regalo and did not decide on the young horse championships until the end of April after a successful California show season.
With the 2012 championships completed for her and Regalo and the Olympics finished for Steffen and Ravel Lientje plans to apply for a “green card” that will give her long term residency in the U.S.
She misses some aspects of the horse culture in Germany, but gets to visit often on horse buying trips. She has become part of the horse culture in the U.S., competing not only in California but at these young horse championships in 2008 and again this year.
“The United States really has been a land of opportunity for me to be able to come to a world class barn, get a job and work up to what I have now is amazing,” she said. “I still have a hard time believing an owner would spend the time and money in 2008 and another owner would do it in 2012. It’s amazing.”
To celebrate the championship, the Schuelers planned a family dinner Saturday night–but Doerte was so impressed with the braids that groom Lauren Beechler prepared for Regalo that she said if her daughter won she would have her hair braided by Lauren.
“You can sit at another table if you don’t want to be seen with me,” Doerte joked with Lientje.
1. Lientje Schulter – Regalo 81.6
2. Alice Trajan – Elfenfeuer 80
3. Patricia Becker – Freedom 79
4. George Williams – Horizon 76.8
5. Debbie Hill – Boccaccio lof 76.6
6. Debbie Hill – Sir Sherlock 76
7. Sarah Hippenstiel – Hot Royal 73.6
8. Holger Bechtloff – Clapton JP 72.6
8. Kim Gentry – Leonardo 72.6
10. Petra Warlimont – Karat CF 71.4
11. Jessica Jo Tate Summersby 70.6
12. Endel Ots – San Dante 69.6
13. Craig Stanley – Caliente DG 67.6
14. Jocelyn Hamann – Casanova 64
1. Michael Bragdell – Hemmingway 82.6
2. Christopher Hickey – Qredit Hilltop 82.2
3. Anna Marek – Dilona 82
4. Ashey Marascalco – Don Frederic HVH 80.6
5. Jason Canton – Supremat OLD 79.2
6. Sabine Schut-Kery – Rohan 76.6
7. Rebecca Knollman – Whitny 75.8
8. John Dingle – Ballerina DMV 75.2
9. Willy Arts – Dalina DG 74.6
10. Brandi Benedict – Syncopation RK 74.6
11. Devon Kane – Winchester 74.2
12. Phoebe DeVoe-Moore – Veronica 72.6
13. Amy Lewis – Sir Steinerman 71.8
14. Brendan Curtis – Fortissimo B 71.6
15. Ashley Marascalco – Hadrian HVH 67.6