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Kocher’s Kahlua sold to Tops

Friday, 02 November 2018
Sport

Photo (c) The Book, LLC Kahlua with Andy Kocher in the saddle. Photo (c) The Book, LLC.

By Catie Staszak

American show jumper Andy Kocher has sold Kahlua, his partner from the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona. In a meaningful deal for Kocher, who has valued himself as a horse trader as much as a rider, the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Tygo—Porky, by Caritas) moves to the barn of Jan Tops.

“Kahlua is the first horse that I can say that, while I didn’t start her from the very bottom, I started her from the regional type level and developed her all the way to the top level [of the sport],” Kocher said. “She might even go on to do more down the road. I hope she does!”

Kocher first began riding Kahlua in May of 2017 at the request of Christian Rogge, a close friend of Kocher’s who was, at the time, competing the mare himself at the national level. Rogge bought the mare from Christoph Schroeder, who in turn had acquired her from a small dealer in Germany. Kahlua was originally bred for dressage, but those who dealt with her realized she was better suited to jumping.  

“In June of last year at Tryon, [Christian and I were] both there,” Kocher said. “I had just won the grand prix with Navalo de Poheton, and Christian said, ‘I think I have a superstar of a horse for you to ride.’”

Kocher was quick to listen to his friend, but he wasn’t without his doubts, especially after his first few rides aboard his new mount. 

“I rode her, and to be honest, after our first show, she was not my favorite horse,” Kocher recalled. “If I wanted to go right, she wanted to go left. If I put my leg on, she’d slow down, and I was wanted to pull, she’d go faster. Everything was opposite! But Christian kept saying, ‘Please take her. I know it’s a good horse.’ So, I took her home, and, literally, for two months, we never went to a show.’” 

But with patience, the results began to come. Kocher worked through his rideability issues and began to see glimpses of serious talent in his mount. They debuted at the FEI level in September 2017, and by November, they made the top 10 in Las Vegas’ World Cup qualifier. In February 2018, the duo won their first ranking class at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and when Kocher didn’t have another mount to jump at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach, Kahlua was called up. She not only qualified for the five-star grand prix, but she also performed respectably, pulling just one rail.

Photo (c) Andrew Ryback Photography Kahlua and Andy Kocher. Photo (c) Andrew Ryback Photography.

“I felt like that was the moment where it all jut really clicked in for her,” Kocher said. “Then we went to the Longines New York Masters, and she only had one down, and we went to Devon, and she was a freak.”

Kahlua won back to back three-star ranking classes at the Kentucky Spring Classic before heading to the CSI4* Devon Horse Show, one of America’s most historic competitions. There, Kahlua and Kocher were Open Jumper Champions, thanks to a win in the Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake and a sixth-place finish in the Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon. Kocher, who also won the Devon International Speed Stake aboard Kahlua’s stablemate, Zantos II, was the competition’s Leading Open Jumper Rider.

“Kahlua was just amazing at Devon,” Kocher said. “That’s when I knew she was a hell of a horse.”

Kahlua’s 2018 tour continued with more memorable moments for Kocher. In his first ever Spruce Meadows circuit, the pair only had a foot in the water in the prestigious CSI5* ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup—“If you can jump the QE II Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, you can jump any grand prix in the world,” Kocher said—before notching a podium finish in the CSI5* $500,000 HITS Chicago Grand Prix. Those results sealed the deal for an invitation to represent the United States at Nations Cup Finals, which would be the pair’s last show together.

Kocher admits Kahlua’s sale is “one of the few sad sales I’ve ever made.” However, the transaction is also validating. 

“Kahlua is the horse that has made me switch from older, recycled horses to green prospects,” Kocher said. “She is the most trainable horse I’ve ever been around and was a completely different horse after a year of training.”

Kocher enters the upcoming winter season with a vastly different string than he’s had in years past. His horses are younger, and he’s excited to introduce some new up-and-coming prospects. He’s also heavily involved in the breeding industry, and included among his traditional sales offerings are foals, broodmares, and mares in foal. 

“A lot of people have riding aspirations,” Kocher said. “I like riding, and I’ve gained more riding goals, just because it’s happened, but my original plans were to make a living selling horses. It’s working!”

 


Text © Catie Staszak

Photos © The Book, LLC and Andrew Ryback Photography

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