Sagacious Ridden by Caroline Roffman Successful in Their 1st CDI
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, April 6–Sagacious HF, the Pan American Games team gold medal horse confirmed himself at international Young Rider Grand Prix when Caroline Roffman rode the horse in the first CDI for the partnership for a score of 70.884 per cent at the Global Dressage Festival Wellington 5* Saturday.
Caroline took over the ride on the 14-year-old KWPN gelding last July but the breakthrough came when she teamed up with the Florida-based three-time Oympian Juan Matute of Spain to deal with an on-again, off-again resistance in the competition arena.
After a handful of national shows, she rode Sagacious (Welt Hit II x Judith x Cocktail) in the Intermediate II on Friday for a score of 71.079 per cent, but wanted to duplicate the result in the Grand Prix before celebrating.
Now, with two straight 70-plus per cent CDI scores Caroline hopes to keep improving enough for her first competition trip to Europe and, she hopes, an invitation to compete in the Under-25 Division at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany, especially as this is her last year in the division as she is aged 24.
Sagacious, owned by Hyperion Farm, when ridden by Lauren Sammis won team gold and individual silver at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro which were at small tour. Lauren of South Orange, New Jersey logged a string of top finishes at Grand Prix from 2009 into 2012.
Caroline, named the International Equestrian Federation’s “Rising Star” in 2010, took over the ride last July.
“I just started riding him. letting him tell us what he wanted,” she told dressage-news.com. “We did a lot of hacking getting to know each other.”
Early this year, Juan Matute saw her ride Sagacious and made some comments that intrigued Caroline.
“He really believed the horse could be good enough to go out and do a Grand Prix,” she said. “I was skeptical but curious. You can always learn something from anybody.”
It turned out, that Juan’s different approach worked.
“He’s very much a planner,” she said, “very detail oriented, areas that I sort of lack. I’m kind of a tornado.
“He believes in the horse and me and the horse likes him and is happy to work with him.”
Caroline is known for not being a nervous show rider who actually enjoys pressure.
But to ride the CDI in front of five judges was “kind of terrifying” but also exciting. Although Sagacious was performing well at her arena at home, “I’m realistic enough to know that until you go into the ring and it happens you can’t believe it.”
What she hoped for was for the pair to perform well enough not to be embarrassing for owner Al Guden, Juan and others that included Steffen Peters and Robert Dover who have supported her.
The results were “a good moment for me… a nice jumping off point. Hopefully it gets better and better.”
If she goes to Europe, she plans to also take Her Highness O, the horse that she won the United States Developing Horse Championship in 2012.
“I’ve never been to Aachen,” she said. “I want to sit at ringside and see the people I admire. That in itself would be so inspirational and beneficial.”
She and her business partner, Endel Ots. each ride or teach other riders on 12 horses a day at their Wellington farm and have been so successful that they have rented a neigbor’s barn.
“We work hard and love what we do” Caroline said. “So far, it’s been a dream job.”