Ringside Chat: Guenter Seidel's Got A New Grand Prix Horse

Feb 2, 2018 - 12:26 AM

Del Mar, Calif.—Feb. 1

It’s been more than a year since Guenter Seidel cantered down centerline in a Grand Prix CDI, but he’s back at it this weekend at the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival with an exciting new ride, Crush On You, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Prestige VDL—Willy R, Kannan) that he owns with Egbert Kraak.

After his 2016 World Cup Final (Sweden) mount Zero Gravity was sold to Canadian amateur rider Colleen Church McDowall by owners James and Charlotte Mashburn, Seidel turned to Kraak for help finding another horse.

Seidel, 57, Cardiff, California, and “Crush” competed in a few small tour CDI and national classes last year to get to know each other and moved up to Grand Prix this season with top three finishes at the first two AWCDFs, including winning a national Grand Prix two weeks ago with a 69.23 percent.

They finished fourth in the CDI*** Grand Prix today on 63.26 percent.

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

How did you get the ride on Crush?

My friend Edward Kraak found her in Holland. We ended up doing a partnership on the horse, and that was almost a year ago now. I rode her over there for three days and really liked her attitude. She wasn’t super easy, but she has a good character.

How has she handled the move up to Grand Prix this year?

It’s obviously very green and very raw. I just did the small tour last year to see how she was in the show ring, and she was very settled and normal. Then I started her a little bit in the Grand Prix this year. Of course, the normal things green Grand Prix horses have—they have mistakes and things fall apart a little before a show, and you lose some changes and the piaffe/passage a little, then you get it back again. Normal growing pains for a young Grand Prix horse.

She’s not spooky and goes in the ring and does her job. If something goes wrong, it’s probably because I asked for something too difficult.

What is she like in the barn?

She’s such a sweetheart. She’s super loveable. A real girl!

What made you want to try the CDI this weekend?

I don’t think she’s more ready to do a national Grand Prix or a CDI—it’s the same thing. I don’t have an owner standing behind me saying I have to do it, but I wanted to support the CDI because they’re not as big out here. It’s not like I’m going in there thinking I’m going to beat the world right now. I don’t have huge expectations right off the bat.

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

What do you think of the AWCDF?

I think it’s unbelievable what [founder Scott Hayes] does, and I hope everybody keeps supporting it. As we all know, the first year has probably been a little bit of a struggle as well, but I hope everybody keeps supporting him and we can really make this work. So far he’s done a great job.

What are your hopes for Crush this year and in the future?

We don’t have much for the rest of the year besides the April CDI [at Del Mar]. But it’s fine. She’s done a bunch of shows, and probably more than she should do in a short period of time, but it’s all we have. Then it’s back to the drawing board. We’re working on getting everything confirmed for next year. She’s too green to go anywhere else this year.

Time will tell if she can [be a team horse] and if not, she’ll be a great horse for someone else, and hopefully others will come along. I don’t really make long-term plans. If some things fall into place, and we end up doing really well, then yeah, of course that would be fun.

Do you have any other up and coming horses in the barn?

I have a new one coming, but I’m not allowed to talk about it! I will soon.

Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

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