Saugerties, N.Y.—Sept. 15
Melissa Taylor started riding Schumacker Solyst almost nine years ago, and things just keep getting better for the pair. Today they won the Saugerties CDI-W  Grand Prix freestyle (70.30%) over Nicholas Fyffe on Sentimiento I (69.32%).
“I think my first trot extension turned out really well, and I was very happy with my canter extensions,” said Taylor. “He was really good. I feel I was a little better a month ago [when Taylor and ‘Shumy’ won the freestyle at the August Saugerties CDI]. I think I was more on the music; I got a little ahead in the beginning today. But he’s a great horse—just a really good boy.”
Shumy, a Danish Warmblood (Schwadroneur—Patricia-Soelyst, Ragtime) gelding owned by Taylor, is 18 now. But the horse isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
“I’ve had him forever and ever, and I’ll never get rid of him,” Taylor said. “I always talk like, ‘Should we retire him?’ But you get on him, and he trots like an 8-year-old.”
The lively music for Taylor and Shumy’s freestyle is from several different cartoons, including Inspector Gadget and Three Blind Mice.
“It’s really fun. It brings back childhood memories, you know? It makes me smile. After the canter music, I just end up smiling for the rest of the ride,” said Taylor. “I’m hoping to keep the good scores up, and I’m hoping to have a better freestyle with him at [Dressage At] Devon [Pa.]. Then he’ll have some down time, and we’ll pick and choose what shows we do in Florida.”
Taylor, Wellington, Fla., and Shumy were sixth in yesterday’s Grand Prix on a 65.93 percent.
“He felt much better yesterday. I was happy with yesterday’s ride,” said Taylor. “He doesn’t have talent for piaffe, but he tries his best. We did a good ride, and I was happy with it.”
Taylor’s partner and fellow Legacy Farm rider, Denmark’s Lars Petersen, also topped a CDI class today. Petersen won the Intermediaire I aboard his Chicco Roslev, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood (Come Back II—Gardans Manon, Rambo) gelding, a horse Taylor has also competed.
Chicco Roslev and Petersen finished second to Justin Hardin and Wyatt Star—a pair who didn’t contest the Intermediaire I—in yesterday’s Prix St. Georges, and Petersen said today’s test was improved.
“I think that is probably the best I1 he’s ever done,” said Petersen. “He’s a very big horse, and we’ve worked hard on getting him strong. He can finally start to carry himself a little bit. I’m really happy with him.”
Petersen’s score of 71.23 percent easily gave him the win over Heather Mason on Zar (66.28%).
“I thought my tempis were good. The first pirouette was good. I’m just really happy that, overall, he’s starting to carry himself. He knows everything from the Grand Prix, but he needed that balance,” said Petersen.
While Petersen took over the ride to help bring Chicco Roslev to the Grand Prix level and is competing the horse at Dressage At Devon (Pa.) in the small tour in a few weeks, he’s not sure about the more distant future.
“I just stole him for a bit,” joked Petersen. “You might see Melissa on him again in a while.”