Jennifer Gates struggles to choose just one favorite memory with Capital Colnardo, but a moment that definitely earned a spot near the top of the list is her third-placed finish with the Holsteiner stallion (Colman—Kosma Shiva, Coronado 3) in a CSI5* at Spruce Meadows (Alberta) in 2019.
“Getting to ride ‘Cody’ was a dream of mine long before it became a reality,” Gates said. “His canter, scope and attitude made him seem like an ideal partner for any rider stepping up to the top level. When Harrie Smolders suggested that I try him, I was so excited; from the first course, I knew Cody would be a horse of a lifetime for me.”
Cody, 16, was formerly campaigned by Smolders and Audrey Coulter, and now he’s one of the top performers in Gates’ string at Evergate Stables LLC. So, what makes Cody tick? We went behind the stall door at his home in Wellington, Florida, to find out!
• Described as a “solid citizen,” Cody’s groom Jimmy Arteaga explained that he’s a bit of a mouse in the barn. “When I take him out to the show, that’s when his adrenaline gets going. The blood starts getting to him, and he gets a bit fresh on the ground,” Arteaga said.
However, those antics don’t really show up under saddle, especially when Gates is riding him. “When Jenn’s on him he’s great,” said Arteaga. “He likes to be moving around and not standing in one place for too long. He knows his job.”
• Cody can definitely behave like a stallion when the mood strikes him. “He likes to nip, kick and give me and the Evergate Stables team some fuss around the barn,” said Gates. “But he’s happy and content in his paddock and super quiet to ride. His canter is so smooth. It’s big and lopey and very adjustable. He is like a big equitation horse.”
• When he’s in the ring, Cody has THE best game face. Arteaga noted that he really has a competition mode, and he turns it on the moment he goes into the arena.
• Speaking of arenas, Arteaga said, “Cody seems to like the bigger rings, specifically the grass rings, because he really enjoys having space when he competes.”
“I used to be intimidated riding in big grass fields, but he loves it so much and made it such a fun experience that it gave me the confidence I needed,” Gates added.
• Favorite treat? Peppermints. He goes crazy for them!
• If he was an emoji, he’d be a dinosaur, specifically a T-Rex. “He’s just so big, muscular and powerful,” said Arteaga. “If I had to describe him in one word, it would absolutely be powerful.”
• Though he flies back and forth between Europe and the United States, Cody doesn’t have a preference for where he spends his time. “He knows that no matter where he goes, he’s the boss,” joked Arteaga.
• As far as his travel routine goes, Cody doesn’t get too worked up over the air miles. “He gets to fly first class, and he does well with it, as long as he doesn’t have to be too cramped. He always appreciates his personal space,” said Arteaga.
• When he’s home and not competing, Cody loves to roam in the paddock and prefers to work in the afternoon. “He’s not a morning person,” said Arteaga. “He likes to take his time, getting up and getting into his routine before he starts to work.”
• Like Gates, Arteaga says his favorite “Cody moment” took place in Calgary. “When he placed third in the [Spruce Meadows] CSI5*, that was a wonderful moment. It really proved how good he is at his job. Every time that he goes out there, he gives 100 percent,” Arteaga said.
• “Now that I’m in medical school and have limited time to ride, it’s a dream to have a partner like him who I can rely on and trust,” said Gates. “It has also been fun to see his offspring develop. I think he passes along many of his top qualities!”