Lexington, Ky.—Oct. 31.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Casallo proved that adage in spades at the Alltech National Horse Show.
In the early morning hours before a show, while most hunters are working on their flatwork or longeing, Casallo is having his breakfast. In the ring. On top of the jumps.
“I ride him in the morning, but I feed him grain when I do,” said Jack Towell, who trains Casallo along with his daughter, Liza. “They were laughing at me the other day; everybody else is riding around, and I’m out there with my bucket, feeding him grain off the jumps.”
“They actually eat breakfast together every morning at a horse show, Casallo and Jack,” said Liza with a laugh. After Casallo’s breakfast routine with Jack, Liza takes over the reins to show him. The unusual routine paid off at the Alltech National Horse Show, when the pair captured the regular conformation hunter tricolor and returned to claim the grand hunter championship.
“That horse requires some individual attention,” Jack said. “You have to spend time with each horse, so it’s not like a factory. I make time, and so does Liza. That’s one thing we try to do, is to specialize our routine for every horse.”
Casallo’s breakfast routine evolved because he doesn’t need much work to be show-ring ready, but he does need attention. “He’s not a fresh horse at all; he’s actually very quiet. He just doesn’t want to be rushed or hurried,” Liza said.
“He’s got to have his special time, but it pays off,” Jack added.
Another essential piece of the puzzle for success is owner Erin McGuire and her mother, Jane. Erin also shows Casallo, 8, in the junior hunter divisions. “I have to give Erin and her mother so much credit because they do it right,” Liza said. “They listen to their trainers and they trust us. They have their own barn, a beautiful facility, probably more glamorous than ours, but they understand the importance of a program of a real show barn and leave him with us.
“It’s funny, Erin had always watched that horse go and liked him even before she bought him,” Liza continued. “That was the right horse for her. He’s great for her, and I have to give her a lot of credit because he’s matured so much, and she’s done a lot in the junior hunters with him.”
Watch Casallo and Boyd’s winning stake class round…
• While Casallo cantered off with the grand hunter championship, Scott Stewart wasn’t about to be outshone. With two championships—Beholden in the green conformation and Enjoy in the first year green hunters—he claimed the Leading Hunter Rider title.
Stewart bought Enjoy, 6, as a 2-year-old and left him in Europe to get broken and grow up before importing him last year. “He is so good. If you’re coming to these horse shows, Enjoy is the horse you want to ride,” Stewart said. “He’s so easy, and he tries really hard. He deals with the environment so well. It is really comfortable to be riding him around.”
• Jen Alfano claimed the high performance hunter tricolor with Miss Lucy, clinching the title with a win in the stake class.
• At age 15, Tori Colvin is proving that she can give the professional riders a run for their money. She rode Inclusive to the second year green hunter championship with wins in all three over fences classes and a fourth in the under saddle. “It is always so great to watch her go,” said Stewart, who trains Colvin. “She and that horse have such a nice relationship; he jumps the best for her. A lot of people were having trouble in the second years—it was such a scopey course—but she made it look easy. Betsee Parker was nice enough to let her do that horse in that division. She is pretty cool for being where she is in her career at such a young age—she does a great job.”
Watch Colvin’s winninng second year green stake round on Inclusive…
You can find full results of the show here…
And see all of the Chronicle’s Alltech National Horse Show coverage here.