Codi Harrison & Bossco Take USA “Brentina Cup” Under-25 Championship in First Festival of Champions
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Aug. 25, 2018
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Codi Harrison, whose parents drove her seven hours from her Kansas home to Texas for dressage lessons and is now an assistant trainer with Danish Olympian Lars Petersen, rode her Katholt’s Bossco to the United States “Brentina Cup” Under-25 Championship Saturday in the rider’s first Festival of Champions.
Codi, 22 years old, and Bossco swept the three Under-25 classes with 71.941 per cent in the Intermediate II, 72.744 per cent in the Grand Prix–the only pair to score at least 70 per cent in the first two competitions–and 74.075 per cent in the Freestyle, in the largest lineup in the division in years.
Codi grew up in Wichita, Kansas, around horses; an uncle had race horses and other family members had an eventing center.
She got on her first horse at the age of about 3 1/2 and by six years old was riding bareback, novices, jumpers, hunters, what she describes as “the best childhood.”
By 13 she had her first dressage horse, with a catch. Donna Wright agreed to sell her the horse of her choice only if she came back for lessons–near Fort Worth, Texas, a drive that could take up to seven hours each way in the family Chevrolet Suburban hauling the horse in a tiny trailer. Codi credits her with really getting her started in dressage.
Codi later came to Florida to work with Lars Petersen, the Danish Olympian long based in the U.S. and now rides under the American flag, and his wife and business partner, Melissa Taylor. She started as a groom and then a working student.
She went home to go to Kansas State, a public research university in Manhattan a couple of hours from Wichita, to study kinesiology, the study of mechanics of body movement. She was also looking for a Young Rider horse. A trip to Europe with Melissa in 2015 led to finding Bossco, a Danish Warmblood stallion then seven years old. As a six-year-old Bossco had been ridden by Denmark’s Maria Anita Andersen in the World Young Horse Championships.
When she took Bosco home, she recalled, “I rode him bare back down a Kansas country road. You can do anything with him. He’s a kind soul.” Especially when he’s fed his favorite snack of animal crackers and salt and vinegar potato chips.
During the winter break at K-State she transferred her courses to online and herself and Bossco back to Lars’ and Melissa’s Legacy Farm in Florida. The pair were in the competition arena at the nearby Global Dressage Festival in Wellington in January, 2016. Six months later the duo led her team to North American Young Rider Championships bronze medal. The pair were at the young rider championships again in 2017.
Codi became an assistant trainer, riding seven or eight horses most days, several more when Lars is away, which he is frequently giving clinics throughout the country and as the coach of riders at Blue Hors stud in Denmark.
“It is refreshing to have a young person who wants to work hard and struggle through the good and bad to become a real horseman that will be able to make her own horses,” said Lars of Codi.
Melissa described her as “hard working and a wonderful leader to have on our team.”
“I love doing it,” said Codi, who lives on the farm. “It doesn’t feel like a job. I don’t care what level of horses I ride, barely training level or school masters. I learn the most from the ones I like riding the least. I love what I do. I’m happy I’m not in an office. I feel very fortunate.”
Codi thinks about going back to school but also wants to pursue riding with Bossco.
“It’s been fun to develop with him as far as he will let me.”