Her Highness O Makes Grand Prix Debut Ridden by Caroline Roffman

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Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O in the first Grand Prix competition for the partership. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O in the first Grand Prix competition for the partership. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 9, 2013

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Caroline Roffman has fulfilled one of her goals of reaching Grand Prix with the 10-year-old Her Highness O that she trained from life as a broodmare to compete in both the United States and Europe.

“There is nothing more rewarding than that experience,” Caroline said after the Grand Prix in which she was scored 72.234 per cent before a single judge at a national competition, “to make them from the bottom up with all the good things, the bad things and for her to do it with a smile on her face.

“People say it is the journey. Well, it really is the journey. It’s the training, the struggle, the day to day that makes it worth it. It’s 100 per cent the journey.”

The ride was at the Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington, Florida, the same venue where she and Hanna as Her Highness O is nicknamed, were on the United States gold medal team at the Florida CDIO3* in April.

Then in June she became the first American to compete in the Under-25 Division at the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany aboard Sagacious HF and rode Her Highness O in the small tour.

After returning from Europe, a business partnership in the Wellington-based Lionshare Dressage training and sales operation broke up and she had to reorganize.

Caroline got the ride on Her Highness (Hohenstein De x Weltmeyer) in 2010, the same year she was named the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Rising Star. The horse had been a broodmare with four foals on the ground, but no mounted competition record.

“She came to me to be sold,” she recalled. “I had her sold once but it fell through. By the grace of God she wasn’t sold. The owner made it possible with a price I could afford to buy the horse.”

Caroline Roffman on Her Highness O holding back tears as she leaves the arena after her debut appearance at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Caroline Roffman on Her Highness O holding back tears as she leaves the arena after her debut appearance at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

In 2012, the pair won the U.S. Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage Championship.

At that end of 2012, Caroline got the ride on Sagacious HF, the 2007 Pan American Games gold medal mount for Lauren Sammis who took the horse to Grand Prix.

The Aachen organizers invited Caroline and Sagacious to compete in the Under-25 division and that enabled her to take Her Highness to Europe to compete at Prix St. Georges/Intermediate I. The pair logged two second place finishes at Compiègne, France and seventh at Aachen.

Since returning to her Wellington base, they have worked with Robert Dover, the U.S. Chef d’Equipe, and Spanish Olympian Juan Matute who is based in Wellington. She admits she doesn’t always prioritize well and credits Robert and Debbie McDonald, the U.S. developing coach, with pushing her to set aside the time for training and competing in Europe.

She is not surprised how well Her Highness has turned out, but the horse has exceeded her expectations.

“She’s testimony to training,” Caroline said. “She’s a nice horse but there are lots of other horses with more natural ability.

“She’s special because she tries so hard. She has the biggest heart of any horse I’ve had the pleasure of riding.”

With the World Equestrian Games coming up in Normandy, France in late summer, is she aiming Her Highness for the American team?

“I’m 25 years old. I hope to be doing this for a few more years and doing it with Hanna,” she said. “I’m not going to be pushing it.

“Is she ready to be a team horse? I don’t know.

“For me she has the heart to do it. When? Now, two years, six years… time will tell.

“If it’s this year great. If not. I have more time for the journey.”