Raleigh, N.C.-June 4
Though all four of the riders in the Grand Prix freestyle at the Raleigh CDI tonight were riding for the United States, there was still an international feel in the air when winners Susan Dutta and Currency DC were in the ring. Their freestyle, composed by Marlene Whitaker to the music from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, suits “Curry” especially well.
“It’s all Indian music,” Susan, based in Wellington, Fla., said. “My husband Tim is Indian, and with the horse’s barn name being Curry, it seemed fitting for him.”
Susan and Curry, yesterday’s winners of the Grand Prix, made it two in a row at the Raleigh CDI by winning the freestyle with a 71.02 percent.
“He was great!” Dutta said. “He was really to the music. I had super passage and half passes, and he walked well. The last piaffe wasn’t as great—he was tired at the end. It’s hot here, and I feel he gave so much, and I could tell he got a little fed up. We’re very happy with him, and there’s still more there.”
The atmosphere in the indoor at the J.B. Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh proved a bit much for some of the horses, but it didn’t bother Curry, an 11-year-old Oldenburg (Clintino—Cinderella, Classiker) owned by Tim Dutta Inc.
“He handled the crowd,” Susan said. “He’s so sane. He didn’t even notice. He’s such a competitor. I feel him really trust me, and I’ve had him since he was 2. He’s my boy. When he came up and saw those javelin guys [for a the demonstration before the freestyle], and he stuck his head up in my lap, and I said, ‘Crap.’ But he just sort of settled.
“That’s the beauty of training a horse nicely every day and being their partner, that when they get a little shaky you can go, ‘You’re fine,’ and they believe you. That makes you feel good, like you did something right,” Susan added.
Jim Koford, riding Rhett to a medley of Batman music, finished second behind Susan with a 69.12 percent after having bobbles and a break in the one-tempis and a few big spooks.
Watch video of the winning ride:
Batts Brings The Intermediaire I Win Home
Lars Petersen might not agree to teach Tami Batts ever again. After spending some time riding with him in Wellington, Fla., over the winter, Batts and Petersen faced off in the Raleigh CDI Intermediaire I today. The final score was close—69.43 percent versus 69.03 percent—but in the end, Batts and her black stallion Ranko grabbed first.
“It was fun,” Batts said. “He made me work, but it felt just wonderful. Places were tentative and other places were brilliant. His extended trot is always really fun, and especially the last one where we turned it up a gear. The changes were good. I can’t say any of it wasn’t fun.
“I got to go ride with Lars for a week, and that was just the highlight of my life,” she added. “To be right up there with him was great.”
Batts, based out of Fellowship Farm in nearby Greensboro, N.C., was even more nervous riding in front of her hometown crowd, but it helped her field a big cheering section.
“There was more pressure to show here than anywhere!” she said. “But to win was a huge thrill.”
Batts and Ranko were fourth yesterday after a big spook early in the Prix St. Georges test knocked them out of winning contention, but they rebounded today. Batts co-owns the stallion with her longtime supporter, Vicky Neave.
“She has supported me for 20 years,” Batts said. “Her dream was to someday own a black stallion, and here we are. She is very much an amateur, in terms of having limited time, and she comes every Tuesday afternoon and has her lesson. It’s not always on Ranko, but a lot of times she rides him. He does it both, and he’s such a special horse.”
The 11-year-old Oldenburg (Rajko—Odette W, Julio Mariner) was imported from the Netherlands almost five years ago, when he was schooling second and third level.
“He’s been fairly straightforward,” Batts said. “He is a stallion and that’s been a new thing for me—he’s my first stallion. The learning curve about learning about him on the ground and handling all the attention deficits that come up with handling a stallion have been the biggest things.”
This is Ranko’s second year doing the small tour, but he had a bit of late start to the season because of some health issues.
“Last year we were blessed to make it to Gladstone, and he didn’t feel right there. We were home for about four days and we ended up at the vet school for a week with enteritis. We got through that and they thought he had severe ulcers, so we went through ulcer treatment for four months. He was still colicky but the scope was clean. He’s now on Succeed, and this is only our third time out this year because of the problems. But he’s eating and happy, and I’m so thrilled.”
Petersen, riding for Denmark, rode Willano into the second-placed spot, while Christopher Hickey and Witness Hilltop took third for the second day in a row.
Full results from the Raleigh CDI available at Fox Village.
Read our coverage from Friday's Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges.