Lisa Wilcox & Denzello Star at Hickstead Nations Cup, Looking for New Sponsor to Keep Horse for USA
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
HICKSTEAD, England, Aug. 6, 2014–Lisa Wilcox’s move of Denzello to “the fast track” international Grand Prix development paid off with the pair becoming one of the top performing combinations for the United States, but she may lose the ride with the end of a sponsorship deal with the Canadian owner.
Lisa, one of the most successful American riders on the premier European circuit more than a decade ago, moved back into the limelight with seond and third placings at Dressage at Hickstead’s CDIO3* Nations Cup, Britain’s top show.
The performances by Lisa of Loxahatchee, Florida and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, wrapped up the pair’s second summer of training and competing in Europe and completed the horse’s first year at Grand Prix.
Lisa, now 47 years old, was a star in Europe as the rider of Relevant, among other stallions owned by the breeding operation Gestüt Vorweck of Cappeln, Germany, that took her to the second ranked rider in the world as well as being an Olympic, World Equestrian Games and open European Championship medalist.
Since her return to the United States and basing herself in Wellington, she has competed several horses including the stallion Pikko del Cerro HU for Horses Unlimited of Albequerque, New Mexico.
She took Cerro to Europe last year as well as the horse she nicknames “Dino” to introduce him to European show arenas while campaigning the seasoned stallion as a WEG team prospect. Cerro was injured on that European swing.
The first international event for Denzello, by the stallion DeNiro out of mare by Rohdiamant, a stallion Lisa competed in Europe more than 20 years ago, was the World Cup event at Odense, Denmark last October.
Lisa campaigned the horse at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington over the winter and qualified at the United States championships in June for the squad of eight American combinations to travel to Europe to seek a place on the WEG team.
At Fritzens, Austria and Aachen, Germany the pair improved on their peformances in Florida.
By Hickstead, there was a major step up after a disappointing Grand Prix.
The partnership placed second in the Grand Prix Special with a personal best score of 71.608 per cent then third in the Freestyle with 73.625 per cent, also a personal high.
“I’m very excited about Denzello’s development since we have been in Europe training and showing,” Lisa told dressage-news.com.
After Cerro’s injury she put Denzello on a “fast track program” taking over for Cerro.
” We hoped for the best but were always realistic regarding Dino’s inexperience at the Grand Prix level and in the Grand Prix arena,” she said.
“For example, Dino only knows a few show venues. He has in general very little show experience. Internationally… he now knows Odense, Oldenburg, Global (Florida), Fritzens, Aachen and Hickstead.
“I am very impressed with how fast Dino has learned to deal with the stress of these large venues and is able to concentrate on the Grand Prix movements in the test at the same time.
“Dino is a very timid horse when it comes to large audiences. I could not know how fast Dino would be able to understand everything he was being asked and trust me to guide him him through it all.
“To my great joy he has not only trusted me through this ‘fast track journey’ he has become very confident at the same time.
“When training horses to Grand Prix the rule of thumb is one year to introduce them to it and the second year to solidify them and polish them at this level.. usually this is when they become competitive, scores start to reflect abilities. Very much like red wine, the more time they have the better they get!
“Dino is now able to show his true potential, as he did in Hickstead.
“I consider him to be in his pre-green Grand Prix phase. We will continue to develop this potential in Florida.”
Lisa hopes to find a sponsor to buy Dino for her to continue to compete for the USA and prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Betty Wells, the owner, supported the pair through the world championship campaign with the understanding he had to be sold after WEG.