The formidable pairing of hunter rider Hope Glynn and the picture perfect gray gelding Lake Of Stars has picked up blues across the country, from Northern California to the indoor shows.
Glynn learned of the Holsteiner (Cachas—Hawai II, Alcatraz) at the end of the 2015 season through her friend Arly Golombek. Golombek watched the handsome gray—then going by the name Caraccho—show in Spain and called Glynn to announce that she found the California-based professional’s next winner.
“Arly said, ‘I think this one’s a real hunter,’ and I said, ‘I can’t get over there,’ ” remembered Glynn. Thankfully, Golombek stepped in and brought the talented young horse home to her barn in France and promptly sent Glynn video footage.
“I loved the horse. He was priced well so I knew I had to move on it quickly—but it was still a crap shoot,” Glynn added. “That same day that I looked at video in the morning, somebody else in California showed me the very same video that afternoon so I knew I had to get on it. Luckily, the Hellman family trusted me to buy him, and he turned out to be an amazing horse.”
Glynn’s first season with the 9-year-old gelding owned by Sabrina Hellman proved she won the gamble: through the 2016 season, he quickly rose through the ranks to settle into his role as a derby specialist.
He finished in second place at the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties (N.Y.) in September 2016. A couple months later, he added another top-two derby finish to his resume, this time in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS National Sunshine Series (Calif.). He finished 2016 with fifth place in the $50,000 Duchossois Cup at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show (N.Y.)
Then to begin the 2017 season, he won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Coachella in March. And this past weekend, he and Glynn placed third in the $25,000 West Coast WCHR Hunter Spectacular (Calif.)
He’s undoubtedly developed into a winning machine and to learn all about him and his program, we went behind his stall door:
• In the show ring, the 16.3hh, gray, Holsteiner gelding is known as Lake of Stars, but at home and in the barn, he’s Davey.
• After he landed in California at the start of the 2016 season, Glynn brought him to HITS Coachella (formerly known as HITS Thermal), where he was really spooky, at first.
“I had to do him in the ticket ring, only,” said Glynn. “Then he did the pre-greens and acclimated to the flower boxes before moving up to the first years toward the end of the circuit.
“When he gets spooky, I don’t use hand; I just use more leg,” Glynn added. “I stay relaxed and trust that he’ll get there.”
• Davey doesn’t jump very often at home. Instead, Glynn opts for a lot of flatwork.
“I need to keep him fit so sometimes he will do the treadmill and a flat, or two flats, in a day,” Glynn said. “I do a lot of exercises over jumps to land his leads. He jumps better, more square, when he lands his leads. Plus, in derbies, he turns better if he lands his leads.”
• One of Glynn’s favorite exercises for practicing landing leads is to set up a 2’6” vertical with plastic poles as ground rails (“so if the horses step on them, they won’t hurt themselves”) and then figure-eights over the jump.
• Davey’s feed program consists of Purina Ultium Competition and Equine Omega Complete to supplement his grass hay.
• Davey’s favorite treats are Charleigh’s Cookies, which have organic dates in them.
• Glynn’s secret weapon for keeping Davey’s feet happy, especially on the hard, California ground, is ice boots from Ice Horse.
“I swear by the hoof boots,” Glynn revealed. “These boots are amazing. They get all of the front feet cold.”
• Davey also enjoys TheraPlate and equine spa sessions and monthly body work and acupuncture with Dr. Carrie Schlacter.
• At home, when he’s not under saddle or in the barn, you can find Davey either in turnout or stretching his legs in the Eurociser.
“He likes to be with the other horses [when walking],” said Glynn.
• And in his second year at Sonoma Valley Stables, Davey’s found his place as Glynn’s personal pet—and the receiver of her cuddles.
“He’s the only horse in the barn that is just mine—no amateur shows him or lessons on him or anything. He’s my special creature so he’s a little spoiled,” Glynn said. “I live at the barn and ride my bike out and give him treats often, and he has the stall closest to my house.
“He’s green, but he knows who I am and tries really hard for me,” added Glynn. “I definitely feel like I have a special bond with him. He is truly a horse that recognizes me and trusts me, and because of that, I feel like there are a lot of times he may not know the right answer but trusts I’m doing the right thing for him.”