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August 17, 2013

Friesian Eeltsje F. Is Excelling At The Upper Levels

Nicole Glusenkamp and Eeltsje F. won one section of open Grand Prix and placed second in another at Paragon Dressage I and II, held in conjunction with the Estes Park CDI in Colorado.

Estes Park, Colo.—Aug. 17

When Eeltsje F. enters down centerline, onlookers sit up a little straighter. When the stallion takes off across the diagonal in extended canter, he elicits gasps from the spectators. There aren’t many Friesians competing successfully at the Grand Prix level, so “Bob” and Nicole Glusenkamp’s efforts aren’t going unnoticed—and that’s just how Bob likes it.

“He loves to do this kind of stuff, and he likes people,” said Glusenkamp. “The more people standing around, the better it is for him. I really love this horse, and he’s one special guy.”

In his first full year at the level, Bob has already won Grand Prix classes at Rocky Mountain Dressage I and II (Colo.), High Prairie Dressage I and II (Colo.) and now at Paragon Dressage, held Aug. 16-18 in Estes Park, Colo., in conjunction with the Estes Park CDI.

The 12-year-old stallion (Fabe 348—Iduna, Tjimme) won his class Friday on a 62.73 percent and then finished second today (65.05%). Glusenkamp said he has bigger scores in him, but the summer temperatures take a toll.

“What I’ve learned over the years is that Friesians have a smaller lung capacity than other warmbloods,” she said. “That’s one reason they tire out very quickly; they’re just not bred for doing this. I would love to do some warm-up, but I really can’t because then I won’t have any horse left. I can warm up for five minutes—just trot around and no pirouettes or anything—and then I have to say, ‘OK, here we go.’ I know he can do things better, but if I practice too much out there, I don’t get anything in the ring.”

Since Bob, who’s owned by Paula Marsh of Wyning Edge Friesians in Boerne, Texas, and Glusenkamp can’t yet show off their best piaffe and passage, they find other ways to up their scores. 

“He gets tired in the piaffe and passage. He’s happy to do it, but it’s such a strength effort for him,” she said. “But he’s so good in those extensions. I can go full tilt, and he will come back to me.”             

Glusenkamp got the ride on Bob when the horse was 4. He was the first Friesian she’d ridden regularly.

“I always say, if every Friesian would be like Bob is to ride and train, that’s the only breed I’d choose to ride,” she said. “Now we have three of them in training, but Bob’s very special. We ride them just like warmbloods, but they do have limitations. It’s hard to get them on the hind legs because of the build, and it’s hard to stretch them properly.”

Glusenkamp initially wasn’t sure that Bob would make it all the way up the levels, but the horse put in strong showings at the Markel USEF Young Horse Dressage Championships.

“He didn’t do well at the lower levels because he wouldn’t stretch. It just didn’t happen for him,” she said. “That’s why we switched to the FEI 5-year-old tests, because they can come up a little more there, and he did well.

“He was very well trained when he came from Holland, but he was a little wild,” Glusenkamp added. “We just said, ‘OK, let’s see how it goes.’ He would get nervous first, but then when he got it, it would be like he’d done it his whole life. Every year he went up another level.”

In order to improve his fitness, Bob spends time outside of the dressage ring. Glusenkamp hopes to continue building his strength with the goal of entering CDIs next season.

“He goes hacking a lot,” said Glusenkamp. “His walk is clean, but he doesn’t have a really good walk, so he has to go out and really march. We also do trotting and some light cantering on the hills.”

Glusenkamp moved to the United States from Germany in 2000. She’s now based at Grant and Sharon Schneidman’s Iron Horse Farms in Elizabeth, Colo.

“I met Grant and Sharon when they came to the farm where I was based to look for horses,” said Glusenkamp. “A half a year after that, I decided I wanted a break from Germany. It’s a tough business there. I did a lot of young horses—getting them ready for young horse championships, but then it wasn’t me going on with them. They’d put on the rider with the bigger name because it’s very political.”

Even though Bob is a breeding stallion, Glusenkamp said it in no way impacts his personality. 

“He’s very personable,” she said. “He stables with mares and ships with mares, and he’s super well-mannered. He tries really hard.”



  • Brian Hafner’s weekend in Colorado has so far included wins in the CDI Grand Prix aboard Lombardo LHF (66.74%) and CDI Prix St. Georges with California Chablis (66.89%). Hafner and California Chablis also finished second in the CDI Intermediaire I. Make sure to check out the story about Hafner’s weekend in the Sept. 2 print issue of the Chronicle.
  • Emily Wagner and WakeUp topped the CDI Intermediaire I on a 69.78 percent after finished second in the Prix St. Georges. The pair is headed east next week; they’ll be contesting the Markel USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Championship in Wayne, Ill., Aug. 22-25. Wagner also won the Young Rider Grand Prix on Friday with Weltdorff (60.93%) and the Brentina Cup test Saturday (64.29%). Check back at on Aug. 23 for a feature on how Wagner and WakeUp have transitioned from USEF Young Horse champions to successful CDI competitors.
  • The USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals are also taking place in Estes Park this weekend, with the 13 and under riders taking their turn on Saturday. Alexander Dawson, 13, topped the class aboard his own Kynynmont Shenanigans with a score of 88.0.
  • Devon Wycoff, who’s showing her own North American Junior and Young Rider Championships mount Power Play in the small tour CDI, got to watch her first pony go in the freestyle test of choice class at Paragon Dressage II. SP Hollywood Eclipse, now 19, finished third in today’s class with 9-year-old Megan Kelleghan aboard. Wycoff gave “Hollywood” to Kelleghan last year. 


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