Anna Buffini Making Fiontini “Lady’s Ride” in Pursuit of Top Sport Partnership On Championship Horse Competed Only by Men–Part
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April 19, 2022
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Anna Buffini is making Fiontini a “lady’s ride” as she pursues a top sport partnership on the triple world champion youngster that has been ridden only by men in seven years of the mare’s international competition career.
The 27-year-old rider is willing to take as long as necessary to get it right and in the meantime gaining experience with Davinia la Douce that she is competing at the prestigious Horses & Dreams at Hagen, Germany this week, two weeks after the World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany that fulfilled her dream of riding for America in a championship.
“A lot of this,” Anna told dressage-news.com of the European competitions, “I’m using as a learning tool for Fiontini.”
She bought the 12-year-old Fiontini (Fassbinder x Romanov) in late 2021. She had seen Sweden’s three-time Olympian Patrik Kittel compete the Danish Warmblood at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany where Anna was on the Dutta Corp. United States Nations Cup team.
Spain’s Severo Jurado Lopez was the rider for Helgstrand Dressage for Fiontini’s rare string of world young horse championship victories at the ages of five, six and seven. Severo moved Fiontini up to Big Tour in 2019 and Andreas took over the ride in late 2020. Patrik, as he has with other sales prospects, competed Fiontini for a few months then Anna bought the horse.
“We’re taking our time with her,” said Anna who uses the Internetwhile in Germany to keep an eye on “Fio” at her newly acquired 12-stall barn in Rancho Sanata Fe near San Diego, and named Aloha Stables as a tribute to friends and family in Hawaii where she spent a lot of time growing up. Günter Seidel, her coach since Young Riders, is riding her while she’s away.
“I will say, anything I’m able to do on Fiontini we need to thank Davinia for because she is teaching me everything. She took me through all the shows last year. She took me to my first Europe show, my first World Cup. So now it won’t be my first time if I’m able to make it there with Fio. She’s really setting the stage. It’s such an amazing education I’m getting on her. I think it’s setting a great foundation to set us up for success on Fio.”
Both Davinia, that had been competed by Anna Balkenhol, daughter of the former U.S. team coach, and Fiontini became Anna’s mounts after success on Sundayboy in Young Rider and Under-25 competitions but not so with a couple of horses she was preparing as successors.
Anna admits events with Fiontini that would be career highlights such as the World Cup Final in Omaha a year from now and the Olympics in Paris in 2024 are “very, very tentative” goals.
“I haven’t done one show with her yet,” she said. “And we won’t show her for quite a while so I’m not going to assume anything. You don’t get a horse like that and you just skyrocket. You have to earn your way. A lot of things have to go right, too. It’s horses!”
She describes Fiontini as “a powerhouse.”
“I’ve never met a horse with more go. I’ve never sat on a horse with more power. She never says, ‘no,’ like ever, ever, ever.
“I think a big thing is turning her into a lady’s ride.
“The first couple of times I got on when she came home she’d shake her sides like she had flies on them when I kicked her because she was like, ‘there’s nothing on me right now’. So just getting her sensitive to a lady’s aids . You know how I ride. It’s a very different style. I think that’s why you have to give the horse time because they have to adjust. They’re re-learning how to read and write with me and to do that successfully in the show arena you have to get on the same page. She has been figuring out how to be a lady’s ride which has been very exciting.“
It is it working?
“Absolutely! She’s so fun. Incredible! Just growing my mare obsession daily.
“Everybody has their own style. What I like about my style is that it’s very obvious that what I try to go for is harmony, throughness and softness. You can see on the videos of Davinia we look very harmonious and that’s a huge key because girls can’t ride like guys. It’s extremely different strength.
“So the horse has to be so much on our aids and the harmony has to be extreme because they have to be listening to small, minor aids. I think it can look beautiful in the end when they’re listening to you and you sit there… you see Jessie (von Bredow-Werndl) and the horse (TSF Dalera BB). It’s beautiful. That’s what I’m going for. It takes time.”