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October 16, 2009

Twin Rivers Marks A Beginning And An End For Lady Calido

With a CIC*** win on her resume, she moves on to a new rider.

The thing about Lady Calido is, if she doesn’t like you, she’ll let you know.

She’s had a fruitful career with her fond owner and rider Robyn Fisher, who has won numerous events with her, including the Twin Rivers CIC*** in Paso Robles, Calif., Sept. 25-27.

But that was probably the last ride Fisher will have on the mare for a while, since Amy Tryon will be taking over the reins, aiming for a CCI*** next spring.

“She’s a quirky mare, and she picks people she likes. If she doesn’t like you as a rider, she won’t do anything. She actually gets offended,” said Fisher, 29, of Calabasas, Calif. “The mare was fantastic for Amy, and I knew then and there that it would work.”

Tryon has been helping Fisher with the bay Holsteiner, now 13, but has only ridden the horse herself twice.

“I have a lot of respect for Amy,” said Fisher. “She’s a brilliant horsewoman, and I’d send any one of my horses to her.”

Fisher discovered “Cali” as a broodmare five years ago and produced her to the advanced level in two years. But an injury at the end of 2006 required surgery and a long lay up. She was ready to compete a year later, but Fisher decided to try her in the jumpers instead of eventing her again.

“In 2008, there were so many accidents [in eventing], and I don’t want to say I got spooked, but I said, ‘I love this horse so much, and why would I do that?’ I wanted the sport to make some changes, and there are fewer accidents now,” said Fisher. “The organizers now make conscious efforts to make the tracks safer, and nothing is too tricky or trappy [on cross-country courses].”

While Cali competed to the 1.45-meter level in show jumping, Fisher didn’t think her mare’s heart was in the jumper ring. So she brought her back to eventing, winning the Galway Downs CCI* (Calif.) at the end of 2008.

“I said, ‘This is where she needs to be,’ ” recalled Fisher.

By April of 2009, Fisher was ready to compete Cali in a CCI** at Twin Rivers. But since her FEI qualifications had expired, she wasn’t eligible and was told she could run the advanced horse trials instead. She finished that event in fourth place and was back in business.

Since then, they’ve won the CIC** at Rebecca Farm (Mont.) before coming to Twin Rivers for the CIC***.

“I came back with no real expectations, just to get her back and enjoy it, because this is what she loves to do,” said Fisher.

Now she’s looking forward to enjoying Cali as an owner.

“This horse is a candidate for being a four-star or team horse,” she added. “I want it to happen for her, and I’m not sure I’m in the best place to give it to her, so this is what’s best for the horse.”

Watring Revisits His Roots


Like Fisher, Mark Watring has gone back and forth from eventing to the jumpers—and now he’s back again.

Watring has kept in touch with many friends from his eventing days, but they all got a big surprise when he showed up at Twin Rivers, his first appearance in the sport in 21 years.

Watring, who was the U.S. alternate for the 1982 World Championships in eventing, competed in the 1984 Olympic Games for Puerto Rico. He’d spent three years on the East Coast working for Bruce Davidson, but after the 1984 Olympic Games, he stayed in California, where his family lives.

“My parents said it was time to go to school,” said Watring. “So I stayed in California, and there weren’t many events in California in the ’80s.”

So Watring focused on show jumping and quickly excelled in that arena, earning the 2001 AGA Rider of the Year title and capturing the individual gold medal for Puerto Rico at the 2003 Pan American Games.

At Twin Rivers, Watring won the open training division with his grand prix show jumper Brilliant, and these days he hopes to pursue both sports at the same time.

The impetus to pull his galloping boots back out and try eventing again came from the Puerto Rican authorities, who wanted someone to represent them in the 2010 Central American Games, to be held in Puerto Rico next July (see sidebar).

Watring, Thousand Oaks, Calif., jumped at the opportunity, and he thought he had a good candidate in his stable with Brilliant, an 11-year-old Zangersheide whom Watring bought as a 5-year-old in the Netherlands.

“He’s done lots of jumper derbies, but one of my main questions for him was how he would handle water,” said Watring. “I did one cross-country schooling, and he was very straightforward. He absolutely loved it. I thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’ He’s so broke on the flat, I knew we’d be fine in the dressage. The question was the cross-country.”

But Brilliant proved to be adept at all three phases, leading the competition from start to finish.

“He’s the easiest of my horses on the flat and a very buoyant mover,” said Watring. “The judge had nothing but good comments, and we got a 9 on the lengthening.”

The three-foot training level show jumps did surprise Brilliant, however. “He was taken back a little in show jumping and wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Watring with a laugh. “He was a little suspicious and overjumping them quite a bit.”

Now Watring, 46, believes Brilliant is ready for preliminary—and then, maybe more. “I’ve committed for the year to Puerto Rico, but I think I’ll want to continue [eventing],” he said.

“He’s got the bravery, although he’s not the fastest. But with the new format, I think it’s more suited to him. I’m tempted to stick with it and maybe try for the Pan Ams or even Olympics.”

Watring might not be so willing to share Brilliant’s grand prix career if the gray gelding was his only mount at that level. But he has others, including Pinot H, whom he hopes to qualify for the FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final next spring.

“There are some major conflicts with dates, so I have to pick and choose and won’t be able to catch them all on either circuit,” he said. “Each time out will have to be a serious competition, not a school.”

And Brilliant will still make appearances in the grand prix ring, likely competing at HITS Thermal (Calif.) next spring.

“He’s mine, and I love the sport, and if a horse excels at anything, it’s nice to let them go that route,” said Watring. “It was really fun, and everyone was happy to see me again.”

Season Finale

Winning the CIC* at Twin Rivers provided the perfect season finale for Jamie Lawrence. Although it’s still early in the fall, she’s focused on her senior year at Cal Poly Tech, where she’s a biochemistry major, and won’t have time to compete again until next year.

Lawrence, 21, took the lead in dressage with her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood. She’s spent the summer competing at second and third levels in dressage, which paid off when she scored 48.7, despite temperatures near 108 degrees.

She then posted a cross-country round inside the time to maintain the lead, and with a double-clear show jumping round, she sealed the win.

“In show jumping, I’ll have stops with him if I’m not riding well, if I ride him to a distance he can’t jump himself out of,” she said. “We’ve worked a lot on our show jumping.”

Lawrence, Seattle, Wash., has had the 17-hand gelding, who was imported from England, for seven years, and they’ve competed at the upper levels, including advanced, in the past.

“I’m in school now and not riding as much as I needed to be to do the upper levels,” said Lawrence. “I wanted to change some things in my style of riding, and that was easier to do at a level I’m comfortable with. I’ve just been working on my own, finding out what I needed.”

Although she boards her horses just 10 minutes away from campus, she can only ride four times per week. “Sometimes they’re quick rides, and school comes first,” she said.

She isn’t sure what she wants to pursue after graduation, but she does hope to compete “Drew” at intermediate next year.

 
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