Wayne, IL. – May 27, 2016 – Mike Suchanek and Leatherdale Farms’ young horses had a strong start to the season during Dressage at Lamplight I and II, held May 21-22 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois. The four horses – all sired by Leatherdale stallions (Damsey, E.H. Herzensdieb and His Highness) – made the trip from the farm’s Minnesota base.
It was a fantastic first outing for two young Leatherdale mares. The 5-year-old Hanoverians Duchess L (Damsey-De La Rosa, De Niro) and Delta L (Damsey-Weltbekanna L, Weltbekannt) exceeded expectations at Training and First Level. The pair placed first and second to each other in each class. Highlights included a score of 76.364 percent and a win in Training Level Test 3 for Delta L and a score of 77.794 percent and a win in First Level Test 3 for Duchess L.
Suchanek was thrilled with the mares’ performance, especially as it was their first time off the farm.
“I went into the show without big expectations,” Suchanek said. “They hadn’t been off the farm, so I am really proud of how they came out to win. They were a little apprehensive at first, but in the ring they did their job, listened to me and showed off their gaits really well. The two are both by Damsey, so their athleticism showed through, and their gaits are really developing.”
Hero L, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding (His Highness-Waterlily L, Wolkenstein II) successfully moved up to Prix St. Georges after excelling at Third and Fourth Level last year. He earned impressive scores of 69.706 percent in the Developing Prix St. Georges and 69.211 percent in the Prix St. Georges.
“I’ve only done Prix St. Georges a handful of times, so I was very proud to take him out and move him up to the FEI level now,” Suchanek said. “I’m really excited to see him come along.”
Hannigan L (E.H. Herzensdieb-Pia Colada, Pik L), a Hanoverian gelding, won his Second Level class with a 75.61 percent and an FEI 5-Year-Old class with a 78 percent.
“He’s gotten a lot stronger over the winter, and he is really coming into his own,” Suchanek explained. “He goes into the ring, does his job and listens to me really well. I love his personality. He likes to have fun, and he loves his job – you can see it in his expression. His trot is one of my favorite gaits because he floats along the ground.”
Suchanek is bringing along the young horses with the aim of returning to Lamplight in August for the Markel/USEF National Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. He is also hoping to qualify them for November’s US Dressage Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he rode two other Leatherdale horses to national championship titles in 2015.
“In my training I try to make a connection with each horse so that when we go in the show ring they look to me for guidance,” Suchanek said. “We can trust one another, which allows us to become a successful team. I want to thank Alison Sader-Larson for her coaching and help along the way and Louise Leatherdale for her encouragement to bring these horses out to the show ring.”