Catherine Haddad-Staller On “Truly Splendid” Semper Fidelis Wraps Up First CDI With 5th Place Finish

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Catherine Haddad-Staller on Semper Fidelis in the Darmstadt CDI4* Grand Prix Special. © 2017 Jen Goodman for dressage-news.com

DARMSTADT, Germany, Sept. 24, 2017–Catherine Haddad-Staller wrapped up the first international competition on Semper Fidelis with results that came from “a truly splendid ride.”

In their CDI debut, Catherine and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare scored 71.725 per cent for fifth place in the Grand Prix Special Sunday, a day after placing fourth on 72.240 per cent in the Grand Prix.

“I am thrilled with the results,” said Catherine of the scores that were among the top four logged by the large number of Americans competing in Europe this summer.

Semper Fidelis ((Sir Donnerhall x Welt Hit II) that she began riding last year and is owned by Rowan O’Riley, a sponsor of Catherine for the past 2 1/2 years, was competing in only her second show, the first at national level last month.

“So she is very, very green at this level,” said Catherine who is based in Califon, New Jersey in summer and Loxahatchee, Florida in winter. “We were able to pick up a lot of points on sheer quality this weekend. And we gained a lot in experience in an international atmosphere.

“Now we need more routine and accuracy. She is a truly splendid ride.”

The quality of the starting lineup at Darmstadt was high–German multi-Olympic rider Dorothee Schneider on Fohlenhof’s Rock’n Rose won the Grand Prix and Great Britain’s Olympic team silver medal pair of Spencer Wilton and Super Nova II took the Special.

Catherine went to Germany this summer to compete after 18 months out of the international competition arena following the sale of Hotmail that she had competed on both sides of the Atlantic over four years.

She spent 20 years as a trainer and competitor in Germany before returning to the United States when she married the veterinarian Greg Staller. She was reserve on different horses for U.S. teams at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany in 2006 and the 2010 WEG in Kentucky. She also competed at the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas and at Leipzig, Germany in 2011.

Catherine said she is giving consideration to performing at an indoor show in Europe before returning home to her newly completed training center in Loxahatchee near the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.

With the focus turning to the World Equestrian Games scheduled for Tryon, North Carolina a year from now, Catherine describes her intentions on Semper Fidelis as, “One step at a time!”