Sylvia Gugler in Florida, Debuts Baudolino, Celebrates Son’s 1st Birthday, Weighs Switch to Ride as USA
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 16–Sylvia Gugler finds that performing dressage on Baudolino, newly acquired as an accomplished international Grand Prix horse, is like jumping a 1.50-meter course on one of the top jumpers her husband develops in his sales business in which she has been involved for years.
Now Sylvia has made the change to focus on dressage instead of jumpers and competed Baudolino for the first time in Florida, as an adult amateur.
Her son, Konstantin, celebrated his first birthday the same week she debuted Baudolino at a CDN Intermediate II at Wellington’s Global Dressage Festival, the first competition for the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Convoi x Datina Dux) that Germany’s Susanne Lebek trained and competed at Grand Prix.
Sylvia has dual citizenship of both Austria and the United States–her mother is an American as is she and her son was born at the Wellington hospital. Her father was originally from Georgia but during the Cold War left for Austria where he competed in jumping. She is looking at switching to ride for the U.S. instead of Austria.
She and her hsuband, Dietmar, have a home in Wellington and spend winters in Florida where he has a successful jumper sales business as he does in Germany. The Winter Equestrian Festival of 12 weeks of jumper competition with as many as 2,500 horses a week provides him with good business opportunities.
And the companion Global Dressage Festival, where she stables her horses in permanent barns, and three other dressage show grounds nearby with a total of 12 CDIs and as many national shows give Sylvia lots of opportunities to pursue her blossoming passion.
Sylvia started switching to dressage three years ago but recurring problems with a shoulder injury when jumping as a teenager and the pregnancy with Konastantin stalled the commitment.
Plus, she jokes, her husband wanted her to keep jumping, especially the young horses she loves to ride to develop for sale.
“Now he’s OK with it,” she said, “super happy because the horse is really good.”
He groom was even less happy, though, as she wanted her to continue with jumpers but has since worked that out.
They bought Baudolino at the end of 2012 and Sylvia loves the feeling of dressage.
“Dressage is especially wonderful when you get to a higher level,” she said. “The feeling is unbelievanle when you are with a nice horse and you understand each other. Doing piaffe and passage is like riding a 1.50-meter course, an amazing feeling.”
In addition to Baudolino, the 36-year-old Sylvia has another horse with her in Florida and two younger horses in Germany.
She competed Baudolino at Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I in a national show in Germany before coming to Florida where she has competed at Intermediate II.
“Right now, I take whatever I can get with Baudolina, experience-wise,” she said.
“I never thought it was going to be so good. The horse is so fantastic. He’s a professor who’s teaching me everything right now.”