Thursday, Jul. 25, 2024

Ringside Chat: Dinan Is Hitting A High Note With Brego R’N B

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Katie Dinan has been a steady presence on the international show jumping circuit for more than a decade now, since winning her first major grand prix with Nougat Du Vallet in 2012. She’s represented the United States in multiple Nations Cups and in five FEI World Cup Finals, including last year’s event in Leipzig, Germany, with her current top horse Brego R’N B.

This summer, she and the 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Namelus R—Nikita, Gerlinus) owned by Grant Road Partners LLC have been on fire, placing third in the $226,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4* on June 11, then following that with back-to-back wins in the $145,100 4G Surfaces CSI3* Grand Prix (June 18) and the $145,100 CSI3* Grand Prix (June 25) at Traverse City Horse Shows in Williamsburg, Michigan.

We caught up with Dinan on a down weekend at her home base, Staysail Farm in North Salem, New York, to reflect on her wins and get some inside information on her current string.

Katie Dinan and Brego R’N B took the first of their back-to-back victories at Traverse City (Mich.) in the $145,100 4G Surfaces CSI3* Grand Prix on June 18. Andrew Ryback Photography Photo


How did “Brego” come to be with you, and how long have you been partners?

Brego and I came together early in 2019. Riders are always keeping their eyes out for horses on the circuit who could be a good partner, and at the time I was looking for a horse that I could jump in some of the bigger FEI-level classes. Brego had been jumping in [the Netherlands], and [Swiss Olympian] Beat Mändli, who has been my coach for the past 10 years, knew he was for sale and thought he would be a great fit for me. We had to act very quickly on him, so I actually didn’t get to try him in Europe, but we were optimistic that he would work out. We’re very lucky that he did.

What type of ride is Brego, and how would you describe him to someone else?

He has a huge stride and goes with his head somewhat upright. He has lots of scope, a big step, and he tends to go in a nice, traditional way for a European show jumper. For me with Brego, it’s a balance between doing enough as a rider and keeping him together, but also leaving him alone enough and letting him use his own natural good qualities to his best effect. He has a very nice natural balance which makes him a pleasure to ride.

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Brego also has a tremendous character, he’s a fantastic horse. He always tries to do the right thing for his rider and he always tries to be there for you. When you have a horse that’s also your friend, it makes not only everything much easier, but it makes it much more fun and rewarding.

At 17, Brego is coming into the latter part of his career. How do you maintain him to stay in top form?

We definitely try to organize his schedule wisely, and focus on the competitions that we feel we want to aim for. We work hard to keep him generally fit and ready to show, then we will usually show for a few weeks and then give him a break. He also has some breaks throughout the year to go home in the paddock—he really loves his paddock time—so he’s not only on the road. We also take him out on long trail rides around the woods and around the farm, which keeps him moving and keeps his brain happy. 

When heading into competitions, we make sure we’ve got the right flatwork foundation. Right now we don’t jump him very much at home. He knows his job; it’s more just keeping him happy and fit and ready to go. It made me very happy when, the week after Traverse City, we went to turn him out in his paddock, he was trying to gallop out to the paddock at the end of his lead rope. He was still game and very much ready to go!

What about the rest of your string, do you have any younger horses coming up who are particularly exciting?

I would say right now I have Dijon Terdoorn Z (Diamant De Semilly—Himarra Ter Doorn, Lord Z) who is 12. Dijon was actually third in both of the grand prix that Brego won in Traverse City, Michigan. The difference in placing was more because I rode Brego a little faster, but Dijon is great. We jumped our first big grand prix together this past Florida circuit in one of the CSI4* classes. Most recently he was double clear in the CSI3* in Old Salem, and then in the past CSI3* classes in Michigan. We got him as a 7-year-old in Switzerland, and my coach Beat has helped me out a lot with him. He has a huge amount of both character and quality. We’ve been showing the past two years, and this past year we really moved up to the grand prix level. I’m very excited about his future.

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My other top horse is Atika Des Hauts Vents (Rock’N Roll Semilly—Kita, Scherif D’Elle). She’s currently 13. Her grandfather is actually the father of the first horse that put me the map, Nougat du Vallet. Right now she’s in the middle of her career, and we also bought her when she was 7. She is very versatile and has a quick mind, so we try to do a little bit of everything with her to keep her enthusiastic and happy. 

Sometimes she’s a speed horse, but she’s also jumped in some big grand prix [classes]. We’ve also tackled some derbies and six-bars. She’s very game, and we try to keep it interesting for her. She’s always down for anything, and is just so fun. She also has a very sweet personality in the stable and is a bit of a barn pet.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, what are some main goals you have? Are you targeting any other competitions?

I’m going to gear up for some of the five-star shows at the end of the summer/early fall. One thing that’s great in the last few years is the quality of shows in the United States in the latter half of the year, from August to October, has really stepped up. It’s very exciting for us. We have multiple, high quality four- and five-stars all over the Northeast, rather than having to always travel overseas to continue showing at the top level all year round. 

This of course isn’t the first time you’ve experienced successes in your career. What overall do you think contributes to your consistency?

Everyone who competes in this difficult sport knows that it’s a huge team effort, and my team I feel is one of the best. Brego’s groom, Lou Beudin, has been with us for the last six years, and she has been taking care of Brego since he arrived in the U.S. Their connection is very special, and the connection that Lou and I have also makes a big difference.

Another groom Johanna Krämer has been with us for the last eight years, and groom Kelly Rohe is also indispensable. The level of dedication and loyalty that our team brings, our grooms who know the horses inside and out, it makes a huge difference. One of the main reasons why I do this sport is because of my love for my horses and building relationships with them, and having great people around me makes it that much more special everyday.

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