Aussie Craig Stanley Rides His American-Bred Habanero to USA Four-Year-Old Championship
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WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 27, 2016–In a saddle borrowed from another competitor, Australia’s Craig Stanley rode Habanero that he bred in America to the United States Four-Year-Old Championship Saturday, an experience he described as “amazing, very surreal.”
Craig who is based in Madera, California–wine country southeast of Silicon Valley—and the KWPN gelding won the championship after placing second in both the four-year-old tests that gave the pair an average of 82.560 per cent.
Justine Wilson of Aiken, South Carolina on Hero BHS that had won the four-year-old preliminary test but was unusually “explosive” in the warm-up was runner-up on 82.080 per cent.
Craig, who planned to stay in the United States for a year when he first arrived, is still here 17 years later having married an American woman he met.
Craig bought Caliente DG from the well known D.G. Bar Ranch in Hanford, California to breed to the Dutch Warmblood stallion Idocus that stands at the stud and was competed by Marlies van Baalen of the Netherlands at the 2004 Olympics before Courtney King-Dye of the United States took over the ride to show on both sides of the Atlantic. Caliente was ridden by Craig to win both the 2011 CDS Four-Year-Old Futurity and Cal-Bred Championship.
Habanero qualified at local shows for these championships and made the 2,000 mile/3200km 30-hour journey here in a convoy with other Northern California competitors for his third championships appearance.
“There’s an elegance about him I don’t really see because I’m riding,” Craig said. “He’s got such a good brain. The warm-up was not fun today but at the end we put it together.”
He was still riding the final in the saddle borrowed from fellow Californian Kelly Casey for the preliminary test because he hadn’t been able to get his own saddle fixed.
Habanero is 17.2-hands and Craig jokes that he thinks he will not grow taller.
He would like to keep the horse but the reality of cost will determine that.