Royal Gem Bred by late Lloyd Landhamer to be Competed by Missy Fladland at Dutta Corp. US Championships

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Royal Gem ridden by Missy Fladland. © 2015 SusanJStickle
Royal Gem ridden by Melissa Fladland. © 2015 SusanJStickle

Nov. 16, 2015


When Royal Gem goes down the centerline at the Dutta Corp. United States Intermediate Freestyle Championships next month Melissa Fladland will be riding to honor the late Lloyd Landkamer who bred the Oldenburg gelding.

But for the cancer that took his life at the age of 60 this fall, Lloyd would have been the manager of the championships at the Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington, Florida.

Royal Gem by Rubin-Royal out of a Renaissance mare and now 10 years old was one of several dressage horses that Lloyd and Bill Solyntjes, his life partner, bred at their Brandywine Farm in Hamel outside Minneapolis.

He will be one of three American-bred horses competing at the championships, all in the Small Tour division. The others are Whirlpool, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, ridden by Melissa Jackson of Parrish, Florida and Festivo RS, a 10-year-old P.R.E. (Pura Raza Española) stallion competed by  Emily Copeland of Loxahatchee, Florida.

Melissa, or “Missy,” lives in the tiny community of Griswold, Iowa an hour east of Omaha where the World Cup Final will be staged for the first time in 2017. She qualified “Gem” at CDIs on the East Coast, including Devon last month where she debuted the Freestyle choreographed specially for Lloyd.

Lloyd was one of the most popular show managers in the United States who for years organized several championships and numerous horse shows and was well-known on both sides of the Atlantic as manager of dressage at the World Games in Kentucky in 2010 and was organizer of the Global circuit from its inception five years ago.

Missy has been working regularly with Bill Solyntjes when she was looking for a horse for her clients, Bill and Marcia Young in 2010.

“We knew that Bill and Lloyd were so good in selecting their bloodlines when breeding, not only for athletic ability, but for their mind too,” she said, “so we knew Gem would be a ‘gem. We have never looked back and it has been a great journey so far.”

In 2012, the pair competed at national levels throughout the Midwest. The highlight that year was scoring almost 82 percent at first level and winning the regional Training level championships.

The next two years were focused on preparing to go to Florida for the season of 12 weeks of national competitions and seven CDIs in the winter of 2015. She showed Gem at 4th level during the season to keep his confidence and build strength.

“Gem progressed super over the summer,” the 44-year-old Missy said, “and in the early fall of 2015 it was time to put our foot into the CDI ring. I was really hoping to make it to Devon as Lloyd usually runs that show and I wanted him and Bill to see their boy go. We headed back east in September and were entered in our first CDI together.

“Our first one out was a bit shaky but we forged forward and we both gained confidence and learned a lot from it. In the meantime we had gotten into Devon and now had a little over a week to clean up some things in our tests as well as finish up our freestyle. Gem and I were training hard and things were coming together.

“I remember it so vividly, it was a week before Devon and I was standing in the grooming stall with Gem and his Rolfer (a system designed to improve alignment and movement of the body) while she worked on him. I had just put a call in to Bill to update him and Lloyd, but did not get an answer.

“Instead I got a text back that simply said. ‘I’m with Lloyd, I’ll call you later.’  I knew Lloyd had been struggling lately but did not know how bad it was. Later that night Bill sent me a text that Lloyd had passed. I just broke down and cried.

“I was not super close to Lloyd, but did count him as a friend. No matter how busy he was, if I needed anything, he would always help me find a solution, answer a question, impart wisdom to help me learn, and sometimes scold me when I had done something without thinking that ended up making his job harder. However, he always explained why he scolded me so I could learn and not do it again. He was truly a very generous man who wanted to help others learn and then watch them become successful.”

She will show the Freestyle one more time–at the Festival of Champions in Wellington Dec 8-13.


This report was prepared by and presented by Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance.