Selten HW & San Shivago, California-Owned Sandro Hit Offspring, Take Top Two Places in US 5-Year-Old Championships

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Elizabeth Ball and Selten HW. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Elizabeth Ball and Selten HW. ©Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 22–Selten HW, a Sandro Hit gelding that Elizabeth Ball has been riding for only two months, won the US National Dressage Championships for five-year-olds Saturday. The horse won the four-year-old 2008 championships for four-year-old horses, but ridden by a trainer she left it with to develop.

Selten beat San Shivago, a Sandro Hit gelding owned and ridden by Elizabeth’s friend Louise Koch, for the Markel/USEF championship by 85.200 per cent to 82.840 per cent by combining the scores from Saturday’s championship and Friday’s preliminary class.

Selten also won the award for the highest finishing American-bred horse.

San Shivago received an unexpected setback as he was walking from the warmup ring to the adjoining competition arena when a woman spectator ran in front of the pair, was frightened by the oncoming horse and threw her hand back into the nose of San Shivago causing an open wound.San Shivago - nose wound _JB_5556

Louise had no complaints about the incident that she said caused her horse to “back off” throughout the ride, saying that Beth was a “great competitor” on a fabulous horse.

The judges either did not notice the wound or overlooked it as the cause was clearly beyond the control of the rider.

Selten is by Sandro Hit out of a Hohenstein mare, and is owned by Elizabeth, of Carlsbad, California.

San Shivago, also by Sandro Hit and out of a Donnerhall mare, is owned by Louise while the third placed combination, Zatino H, by Sir Sinclair out of an Equador mare, that scored 80.160 per cent is ridden and owned by Emily Gershberg of Hudson, New York.

Elizabeth Ball, 45, said that she had been riding Selten for only two months–“a short but exhilirating time–since she took over the ride from a trainer at Hilltop Farm in Coloran, Maryland, with whom she had left the horse for development, whom she praised highly.

During the time Selten had been in training at Hilltop, she said, she had only ridden the horse twice. She now is training with Olympic medalist Guenter Seidel.

Selten ridden by Elizabeth Ball. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Selten ridden by Elizabeth Ball. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Elizabeth said the difference between the championship and preliminary class in which she finished second to San Shivago was that she changed her warmup routine so as not to tire the horse and that made the difference.

Louise Koch, who is aged 62 but says that San Shivago has given her a new start in her riding career, said the warmup was “excellent” and “we got THE trot” she the horse could deliver.

But after the incident in which San Shivago was smacked in the head by the spectator “we did not get it in the ring.”

Louise and Elizabeth are such good friends that Ball credited Koch’s judging with putting her on the right track for these championships.

“We are very lucky girls,” Elizabeth said, and Louise joked that maybe they could become like Isabell Werth and Anky van Grunsven trade titles as they competed against each other.

Louise Koch riding San Shivago. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Louise Koch riding San Shivago. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

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