Driving Sport Predicate Obtained
July 25, 2012
World Champion Driver Suzy Stafford makes history again receiving the First Driving Sport Predicate Title in the United States with the Dutch Friesian mare Sjaantje
Chester County, PA – Gold medalist Suzy Stafford made history in 2005 when she won the first Individual Gold medal at the World Pony Championships for the United States. She has continued to medal at the World Championships in 2007, 2009 and most recently in 2011.
History was made again with Stafford holding the reins of a seven year old Friesian mare named Sjaantje owned by Gail Aumiller of Dreams Come True Farm in Carlisle, PA. Suzy has completed the qualifications and catapulted Sjaantje up the training scale in record time to receive the Driving Sport Predicate Title. This is the first completion of this title to be held by any equine in the United States.” It makes my job easier when the owner believes whole heartedly in Sjaantje and gives me all the tools I need to prepare her for success. Gail is that owner and I am truly grateful for her trust in my program and support” Stafford says with a smile. Stafford operates her Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and is stationed in Aiken, South Carolina from January through April.
Stafford says “Though the sport predicate was new territory for me, the qualifications were not. I was very familiar with the driven dressage test to be performed” The mare has very good basics and I was able to move along quickly with some fitness and strength training. She has an outstanding temperament, solid conformation and unbelievable trainability” Stafford said. Suzy Stafford’s talent for bringing along young horses and ponies up through the International level has been proven time and time again. Her laid back yet fiercely competitive nature seems to be a winning combination. “Sjaantje’s future will continue with her owner at the reins this coming year. I look forward to guiding Gail with this lovely mare on these competitive adventures”. Says Stafford.
Gail has great things planned.” I will take up the reins and do two things I have not yet had the opportunity to do: enter a training level CDE and drive a musical freestyle. I should be making plans to breed her next year, but we are having so much fun and success in the carriage driving world. I don't want to stop, so perhaps we'll try embryo transplant. Our World and National Championships return again to the east coast next year, so that will be tempting” Gail says.
This trio is no stranger to the winners circle. . At the 2011 IFSHA World and National Championship show Sjaantje and Gail won the Friesian Carriage Pleasure Driving Working Amateur Championship by unanimous judges’ decision, and Suzy and Sjaantje also won that Open Championship class, again by unanimous decision of the 3 judges. Suzy drove their open classes, Gail drove the amateur classes, and Sjaantje also came home with the show’s Anita Mellott High Point Driving Award. Sjaantje was named the USEF 2011 National Champion Friesian Driving Horse of the Year and Gail was the Friesian Horse Association of North America’s 2011 Performance Driver, and according to Gail, neither would have happened without Suzy’s efforts.
Stafford now has her sights on a new goal, competing at the 2013 World Pony Championships in Poa, France with her new partner TTE Tea Time. This 8 year old Morgan gelding was purchased for Stafford in March by Trout Walk Farm.
"Trae" is intelligent and kind, always giving 100 percent. He has a super work ethic with a knack for showing off in the ring. His presence and good looks are hard to miss! In June 2012 Trae completed his first CDE proving he is "all in" and loves his new job, says Stafford.
“I have a great team of sponsors who really support me, both financially and through products,” Stafford said. “I appreciate all that my sponsors do for me. We are a team and I am so grateful for that.”
Stafford is a highly sought after clinician and also trains horses and teaches students out of her Stafford Carriage Driving facility. To learn more about Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.
Photo: Suzy Stafford, a National and World Champion Combined Driver, securing the first ever in the United States Driving Sport Predicate Title with Sjaanjke, the 7 year old Friesian Mare owned by Gail Aumiller.
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