Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 18
“Easy and clean” was Sara Hassler’s goal with Leslie Malone’s Harmony’s Boitano for the first day of the “Brentina Cup” Under-25 championship at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions. She accomplished that and more on the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Santano—Roma Jackson, Whinny Jackson) to the tune of 69.85 percent in the Intermediaire II test and the lead over Kerrigan Gluch on Vaquero HGF (68.14%).
Hassler and Harmony’s Boitano have been together since early 2019, and the pair swept the small tour CDI at Dressage At Devon (Pennsylvania) last fall after the gelding had come back from three years of rehabbing a leg injury.
“He’s such a willing, strong horse, and he loves his job,” Hassler said. “He gets ready to go, and his ears are straight up, like, ‘Let’s do it!’
“He gets pretty nervous in the piaffe, so it’s about getting him to stay with me so he can lift without getting frantic,” she added. “Slow and steady wins the race. We’re just focusing on a clean test because I don’t want to push him too hard as he’s so new at this. I don’t want him to overexert himself. There’s so much horse in there, he’s got so much talent, you almost have to say, ‘OK, we know you’re special, just take it easy.’ I was really proud of him today.”