“Adorable” doesn’t often make the list of words used to describe top grand prix horses, but Ali Ramsay’s new ride Lutz is a ridiculously cute exception. The compact chestnut gelding with two flashy stockings turns heads everywhere he goes; it’s hard not to stare at his unique white face framed by his long, thick forelock.
He may look like a child’s dream pony, but the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lordanos—Parodie, Pilot) has been rocking the grand prix ring with Canada’s Ramsay in the irons since she acquired him last April. The pair won the $105,600 CSI3* Grand Prix at International Bromont (Canada) in July 2019, then the $50,000 CSI2* Grand Prix at Columbus International (Ohio) in September. They kicked off 2020 by taking the blue in the $100,000 Grand Prix at Desert Circuit I and the $40,000 Diamond Tour Speed Class at Desert Circuit V (California) and several other nice ribbons in grand prix events throughout the circuit.
Lutz was primed to compete in the $250,000 Grand Prix Invitational, the finale event of the Desert Circuit, but it was canceled due to a combination of bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lutz and his stablemates are back safe and sound at their home farm in Aurora, Ontario, but we caught up with Lutz, Ramsay and groom Meghan Dettman before the Desert Circuit ended to get the scoop on the personality behind the adorable face.
• Lutz is the quintessential class clown. “He’ll do things that he knows are bad just to make everyone laugh,” said Dettman. This includes pulling things off his door, knocking things over in the grooming stall, and making all manner of funny faces on a regular basis.
• He loves messing with other horses. “He’ll look at the other horses with the cutest face,” said Ramsay. “He draws them in, plays with them for a minute, then bites them.”
• He lives for attention. “You can’t be within 10 feet of him without giving him attention,” said Ramsay. “He’ll make faces at you until you get close enough for him to nudge you.” He likes to alternate between cuddling and goofing off, and if there are two people near his stall he demands attention from both equally.
• He’s not picky about food. In addition to carrots, apples and bananas, he’ll also eat more unusual things like dates and pizza crusts. “Whatever you’re eating, he wants,” said Ramsay. But he’s willing to give as well; he is often found sharing his grain with Loki, Dettman’s dog.
• What’s he like to ride? Depends on his mood. “He’s both ends of the spectrum,” said Ramsay. “He’ll start out like a pony hunter, very chill and sleepy, then all of a sudden he’ll wake up and be wild, spinning and rearing.”
In his first class of the year, he spun Ramsay off before crossing the start timers, but she got back on and had a clear round, and then she won the Sunday grand prix a couple of days later.
• No matter how goofy or spooky he is heading into the ring, he always tries to do his job. “What’s so cool about him is that he always wants to go to the other side,” said Ramsay. “Even if he’s spooking at the jump itself, you may have to override it, but he wants to jump it. I feel like at this point we’ve really started to hit it off and learn to be consistent.”
• Despite his silliness, he’s relatively easy to handle. “He’s a nice guy; he has a really nice temperament,” said Ramsay. “He’s happy on the trailer, happy in his stall, good on hand walks.”
Just don’t ever think he’s fully asleep. “I might think he’s really tired and take him on a hand walk, then he spooks and starts jumping around,” said Dettman.
Ramsay concurred. “The other day I thought he was tired, so I put him on the longe line to let him have a little free time, and within minutes he was bucking, squealing and making noises I’ve never heard a horse make before,” she said.
• He’s got more stamps on his passport than most humans. “He’s the most experienced and well-traveled horse I’ve ever had,” said Ramsay. “He’s been to Rome, and he’s seen the Eiffel Tower.”
• Keeping that white face clean is a full-time job, and Dettman puts sunscreen on his muzzle to keep it from burning. But he’s worth the extra maintenance. Between his cuteness and his funny antics, he’s bound to put a smile on your face. “We always say if you’re having a bad day, just go see Lutz,” said Dettman.