Sabine Schut-Kery & Sanceo Qualify for Verden Young Horse Championships

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Sanceo and Sabine Schut-Kery with Lisa and John Seger of Markel Insurance, sponsors of the U.S. young horse program.

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Sabine Schut-Kery’s training of Sanceo was designed to develop the five-year-old Hanoverian stallion as an elite competition horse some years in the future, but everything clicked this weekend and the pair qualified Saturday for the World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany.

After this qualifying competition at La Cañada-Flintridge in California, the second of three shows designed to select U.S. horses for Verden, the German-born and trained American rider and Sanceo were awarded an overall score of 82.280 per cent. The judge were Linda Zang and Gary Rockwell, both “O” and Natalie Lamping an “I” judge, all of the United States.

No five-year-old horses were qualified from the first of three geographically spread events, at Wayne, Illinois, while the third in the series is scheduled for VADA/NOVA Summer June Dressage in Leesburg, Virginia next weekend. The Verden selection competitions are part of the Matkrl Insurance young horse program.

A very talented rider, Sabine gave Sanceo a lot of confidence. She rode the horse in a very soft, elegant uphill frame that showed off his beautifully developed neck and top line. Transitions were smooth and forward to the hand

Sabine, who lives in Thousand Oaks, California, and the horse’s owners, Alice Womble-Heitman and Dr. Mike Heitman of Hempstead, Texas, near Houston, have not decided whether to go to Verden Aug. 3-7  or to contest the U.S. Young Horse Championships in Wayne, Illinois at the end of August. The pair are atop the qualifying leaderboard for the national championships.

Sabine was asked by Alice and Mike to go to Germany to find a young dressage prospect and found Sanceo by San Remo with Johannes Westendarp when the horse was just under three years old.

“I fell in love with his beauty and presence immediately,” she said. “I was impressed by his natural balance, quality gaits and steady rhythm…”

Mike and Alice went to Germany to saw the same thing.

He has incredible work ethic, is really honest and loyal and, she said, rides as easily and beautifully as he looks.

Even so, Sabine said, “Our goal was not this program.”

“The training, the strength, luckily all peaked at the right time to produce the quality” that resulted in Saturday’s success.

“We have to stick with the program that is aimed at the future. He has all of it, the complete package… beautiful gaits, he’s sensitive.. I love him.”

Christine Traurig, her trainer, describes Sanceo as “taking his job so seriously, like he’s reading the Bible.”

Scott Hassler, the U.S. Equestrian Federation young horse trainer who was on hand for the competition, described Sabine and Sanceo as “a very impressive pair.”

“They are a great picture,” he said. “She is a beautiful rider and they have developed enormously over the past year.

“They are still learning how to turn what they produce in the warmup ring into the same performance in the show ring. They can get a little nervous. But they are exactly what the program is looking for.”

In addition to Sanceo and two other horses being trained for the Heitmans, Sabine has four other horses in training and teaches a handful of riders in a life she has made for herself in California after moving from Germany.

Although she is passionate about the horses, she does not focus on them 24 hours a day but likes to read and study interior design as well as hike and bicycle with her husband. Kristian.