Simone Pearce’s “Really Awesome” European Performances of Top Prospects for Australia at Olympics & World Championships
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July 27, 2020
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
With two Australian Grand Prix records on Destano and two more horses being developed to start top sport next year, Simone Pearce has become a leading prospect for her nation’s Olympic team.
The Germany-based Simone had what she described as “a really awesome show for me and the horses” at the CDI4* in Achleiten, Germany a week after her 29th birthday and the best results since re-locating to Europe almost a decade ago to pursue a career as a model but instead dedicating herself to dressage.
Three years at Helgstrand Dressage in Denmark until late 2018 came after time in the Netherlands and Germany. A serious riding accident while back in Australia in December 2018 was not enough to put her off returning to Gestüt Sprehe in Lastrup to ride full time some of the top stallions in the world.
The Aussie record scores on Destano (Desperados FRH x Brentano II), a 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion, of 74.152% in the Grand Prix and 74.617% in the Special came a month after posting a result of 71.239% at a CDI3* in Hungary, the first international dressage event after a lock down of more than three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two Grand Prix results would have qualified the partnership among the top tier of contenders for the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics, except that the Games were postponed for a year. Selection criteria have not yet been decided for the new dates a year from now.
“I’m so thrilled with Destano,” said Simone of the offspring of Desperados, Olympic, world championship and former world No. 1 stallion.
“He just keeps getting better and better. I have the feeling that we are totally meshing as a combination now; not only has the training quality improved a lot but I’m learning the routine that works for him in the lead up to competitions.
“We have only done four shows (three CDIs) together so I think that’s something that you have to learn with experience and a bit of trial and error over time–but I feel now I start to get the recipe for what works for him.”
“There is still lots to improve and develop within the tests in the time to come; but for now I really couldn’t ask any more.”
As exciting for Simone were the results at the same Austrian competition for Montevideo (Millenium x Sancisco OLD), the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Sabine Rüben, who manages sales and training at Sprehe and has had a major influence on the career of the rider from Down Under.
Simone was victorious at Prix St. Georges with a score of 74.676%–that beat German superstar Isabell Werth on Superb–and Intermediate 1 on 75.736%.
“Montevideo really had an amazing show and I’m so thrilled with him,” she said.
“He is just eight years old and an absolute star of the future. He is already showing all the talent for Grand Prix so I’m very enthusiastic to continue training toward the big tour at home while we finish out the season at small tour to continue to develop his big show experience.”
“Monty is, of course, extra special to me because I also ride his father, Millennium and two brothers, Marc Cain and Moncler. I’m a big fan of Team Millennium.”
Simone also competed Amandori in the international debut of the nine-year-old German Sport Horse stallion.
“He gave me a fantastic feeling in the test,” she said. “Unfortunately he was the last of three tests which I rode in the space of 1 1/2 hours and my brain was a little frazzled so I rode the wrong line in the walk tour, inevitably taking our over 73% winning round to 71.2% and 3rd place. So I was pretty mad at myself, but very very happy with him.”
Amandori (Ampere x Ra) won his first national Grand Prix in Germany a few weeks ago with more than 74% that, Simone believes, shows he is likely not too far from international Big Tour.
The first championship, though, will probably be on Diamond First that Simone rode to win both preliminary and final five-year-old tests at Achleiten, scoring 89.4% in the final.
Simone is looking to be selected on Diamond First (Diamond Hit x Fürst Heinrich) for the World Young Horse Championships where she has competed in each of the past four years. This year’s championships were deferred by the coronavirus to Verden, Germany in December.
“This horse is in my eyes the ultimate sport horse and truly has all the makings of a Grand Prix star,” she said, “so I’m really glad that the judges also saw his top quality in gaits and rideability.”