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From youngster to international Grand Prix horse: Fine Lady 5

Wednesday, 16 November 2016
From youngster to international Grand Prix horse

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Eric Lamaze with Fine Lady 5 at the Rio Olympics. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Fine Lady 5 started out as Eric Lamaze’s speed horse, and ended up as his Olympic mount in Rio finishing off with the individual bronze medal after some spectacular jumping. The 13-year-old mare has gone from strength to strength after she was bought for Lamaze to ride two and a half years ago, and in Rio she secured yet another Olympic medal for the Canadian rider. Before she came to Lamaze, Fine Lady was competed successfully in Europe by German rider Holger Wulschner who took over the reins on the mare in 2012 from Andre Steude who produced her from she was five.

World of Showjumping asked two of those who know Fine Lady the best – her former groom Claudia Lobe and her current groom Martina Natali – how this stunning little mare has made her way from a fiery youngster to the highest level of the sport, and how come she is nicknamed ‘the Girl’.

“My husband Andre Steude got Fine Lady when she was a 5-year-old, and had her from June 2008 to November 2012,” Claudia Lobe tells. “She ran away from everything that she did not know, and turned around very fast – especially because of other horses or birds. As a 5-year-old she jumped 1.10-1.20m classes for young horses, and went clear often. As a 6-year-old she won 1.30m classes. In February 2009 she got in foal, and did competitions until July. From there on she had a break with paddock, meadow and calm riding.”

“Fine Lady’s first foal, Corny Star, was born in January and four weeks later Andre started riding her again – then she was even more crazy than before because of her foal!” Lobe recalls. “In July, Corny and his mum were separated – and Fine Lady started with the competitions again. In August 2010 she jumped her first S*, and won straight away. In May 2011 she jumped her first S** with double clear rounds, and in August that same year she was placed in S*** for the first time. In July 2012 she won her first S*** in Dockendorf, and placed in the first and only S**** with Andre in Sommerstorf. Now, Andre is showing her son and he seems to be a really nice horse.”

“Fine Lady was always awake; she saw and heard everything when there was a saddle on her,” Lobe continues. “Otherwise she was relaxed and enjoyed her life in the paddock and meadows. Andre did different things with her; dressage, jumping, riding out in the field – and she enjoyed it. Her best friend was a 1.85m tall white horse by Calido I.”

“As her former groom I can say:  Applause and loud music was very scary for her, and when she was scared those situations could be scary for me too. But she was always lovely, honest and thankful.”

“Andre always knew that there was something special in her; her eyes, her perfect body, her way of jumping and her interior.  But that she would go all the way to the top of the world... we never expected that! Fine Lady is a horse with a mentality that would do anything for her rider. Eric is the best rider for her; he lets her be herself,” Lobe closes off.  

“After Andre, it was Holger Wulschner who started to ride Fine Lady and brought her up to 4* Grand Prix level,” Martina Natali – Fine Lady’s current groom – tells. “That is when Eric noticed her, and Artisan Farms bought her for Eric in May 2014. The plan was to have her as a speed horse. A couple of times during these past two years she had to step up and do the Grand Prix classes also, and she never disappointed us. But it was not until December 2015 after she placed 3rd in the five-star Grand Prix in Geneva that Eric realized he had an Olympic horse to count on.”

“Rio was a great experience for the whole team – even her breeder Karl-Heinz Löfflen came all the way to Brazil to watch her.“

“Fine Lady is a typical mare, with a strong character and always angry! We call her Lady in the stable, or sometimes just ‘the Girl’. She doesn't like anything but eating grass and carrots, she loves trail rides and always wants to be the leader of the group. Sometimes it is difficult to warm her up in small rings because she is very scared of other horses and she spins around, making Eric's life a bit difficult. But once she is in the ring, she knows her job and does not think about anything but the fences,” Martina tells.

“She is a perfect traveller. But, what she totally hates is music – we all know this at home so we make sure the stable is very quiet. At the shows it is my job to be the fun police telling people to turn down their music. She got used to clipping by now – as long as I feed her carrots she lets me do whatever I want.”

 


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson

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