Harrisburg, Pa.—Oct. 17
Last year Galan S came to the Pennsylvania National as Beat Mändli’s second horse, competing in the smaller classes. This year he’s front and center as Mändli’s top guy, and he proved himself tonight, winning the $60,000 Pennsylvania Big Jump.
Five riders qualified for the jump-off over Michel Vaillancourt’s track, and the four riders before Mändli all pulled rails. Still, the Swiss rider knew he had the speedy combination of Marilyn Little on Clearwater coming behind him, so he sliced his turns to try to put the pressure on.
“I went near the end so that was an advantage for me,” he said. “The other ones made some mistakes here and there so I could slow down a bit. I was hoping for one down from Marilyn.”
Sure enough, Clearwater faulted in the double, giving Mändli the win.
“I think it’s the sweetest horse I’ve ever ridden,” he said of the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Indoctro—Caprice-S Z, Calypso D’Herbiers). “He’s so nice; honestly he’s like a kid. He really wants to please. He doesn’t try to do anything wrong. He always tries his best and I think that’s his best part apart from his ability to clear the jumps and do what we ask from them. He’s a super sweet horse.
“To be honest I feel like I’m a little bit big on him, but for sure he would have been better with a smaller rider probably,” he continued. “He likes to be ridden quite light in front but still wants to feel secure on the turns. Because he’s a careful horse at the oxers sometimes he gets a little high when you leave him alone, so it’s a little it of a balance to not scare him and also keep him confident. But in general he’s super easy to ride. He just wants to do his best for the rider.”
Mändli just returned stateside from Europe, leaving his top mare, Dsarie, in Switzerland. That means Galan S, owned by Grant Road Partners, is stepping up this season for indoors. He’ll be competing in Saturday’s Grand Prix de Penn National and the feature classes of the upcoming Washington International (District of Columbia) and National Horse Show (Kentucky).
“He’s been doing some good difficult grand prix in Europe,” said Mändli. “He jumped some five-star classes. He can do it but for sure it’s anther step up.”