Heather Blitz’s Return to Big Tour & Stable Full of Young Talents
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Dec. 25, 2018
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Heather Blitz will return to Big Tour competition next month for the first time in almost four years, likely with two Grand Prix mounts to compete for a place on the United States team for the Pan American Games next summer.
And the 2012 Olympic team reserve and 2011 Pan Am team gold and individual silver medal rider who turns 50 years old on Christmas Day has a growing lineup of young horses to develop for the future, including the newly acquired licensed coming four-year-old Danish stallion Shaolin.
Semper Fidelis, an Oldenburg mare that will be 13 years old in a week’s time, will be competed by Heather in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival winter-long lineup of seven CDIs in Wellington, Florida beginning Jan. 9.
Heather took over the ride on Semper Fi, owned by Rowan O’Riley, earlier this year and competed in a couple of national Grand Prix, one score of 75 per cent and another of 71.520 per cent. Catherine Haddad-Staller had logged six starts on the horse in Europe in the fall of 2017, including a victory and five other top five placings.
Heather plans to start Quatero, a Danish Warmblood gelding that will be 10 years old next week, at Intermediate 2 and then move up to Grand Prix following a year of CDI small tour competitions over 2017/2018 in which the pair posted 10 victories in 12 starts in Wellington and Tryon, North Carolina.
“Feeling strong for this year,” said Heather who trains in Loxahatchee, neighboring Wellington.
“Hoping to go to Peru.”
Lima, Peru will host the Pan Am Games, continental championships staged once every four years and a qualifier for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. The Pan Ams are important for the United States to qualify for funding from the U.S. Olympic Committee although the nation’s team silver medal performance at the Tryon World Equestrian Games already earned a start in Tokyo.
Heather has extensive international competition experience. She lived in Europe and competed her Otto, a Danish Warmblood gelding, that she sold for Todd Flettrich to compete on the American team at the 2010 Lexington World Games.
Paragon, the American-bred Danish Warmblood gelding that she had trained from a youngster, became her top international mount and in 2011 won team gold and individual silver at the Pan Ams in Guadelajara, Mexico.
The following year, the duo was selected as reserve for the U.S. team at the London Olympics.
Heather’s last CDI Big Tour competition before 2019 was on Paragon in Wellington in March, 2015.
Since then, she developed Ripline, another American-bred Danish Warmblood, to CDI small tour. She sold the horse last summer.
In addition to Semper Fi and Quatero, she has a coming six-year-old Hotline that she describes as “special,” and a couple of coming seven-year-olds that came to her barn last month.
The latest addition to her string is Shaolin, a licensed Danish Warmblood black stallion bought by Rowan O’Riley.
“Rowan and I are so excited to have this promising young horse join our stable,” Heather said. “Shaolin is poetry in motion and has a fantastic character. I enjoy working with young horses and believe this one will go to the top.”
Shaolin was bred by Jorgen Ravn of Goerklintgaard, Denmark, who is also the breeder of Kasey Perry-Glass’s Goerklintgaards Dublét that was on the U.S. WEG silver medal team.