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That Special Bond – with Anu Harrila: “Shutterfly is of course my special one!”

Tuesday, 28 July 2020
That Special Bond

Photo © World of Showjumping "Shutterfly is a real people-horse," Anu tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

We continue our popular series ‘That Special Bond’, this time around moving on to speak with the grooms. Here, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s long-time groom Anu Harrila tells about her fondest memories with Shutterfly, the strong-minded Bella Donna and Fibonacci that never ran out of energy. 

 

The Special One

Photo © World of Showjumping "While it was sad that his amazing career was over, I was super happy he could retire on top of his game after winning a class earlier that week," Anu tells about Shutterfly's retirement in Aachen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Shutterfly is of course my special one! 

Shutterfly is a very sensitive boy so it was nice when I got to know him properly with all his little things. He came to us when he was 6 years old and got retired at the age of 18. Now he is enjoying his retirement at the 'oldie station' here in our stable. When he got retired, we kept on riding him for a while and slowly got him used to his new lifestyle. 

During his show years, Shutterfly and I spent the afternoons hand-walking. I had Shutterfly in one hand and my dog in the other. When hand-walking you can take him everywhere and he was never scared, when riding that was not always as easy. At shows Shutterfly was more alert but always super-calm in the stable. It was just when walking him to the warm-up with a lot of horses and people around that he would never stand still. If you tried to make him to stand, he just got more nervous. 

Shutterfly is a real people-horse and he didn’t’ really care about other horses. You could just leave him and take the other horses first, because he didn’t mind being alone or wait for a bit. He hated fireworks though, and would totally lose his mind. Sometimes it took hours to calm him down. We have spent several New Year’s eves here in the stable with Shutterfly, but it has gotten a bit better now when he is older. 

My fondest memory with Shutterfly was probably when he won his last World Cup Final in Las Vegas. He won each round and it was just not normal. Every day he came out fresh and was happy to go into the ring again. 

Another memory is when he got retired in Aachen. I had mixed emotions: On the one hand it was a sad moment, on the other a happy one. While it was sad that his amazing career was over, I was super happy he could retire on top of his game after winning a class earlier that week. He really showed everyone how fit he still was at 18. 

Shutterfly is 27-years-old now so he has been retired for almost 10 years. He is still kicking it though and he really deserved a happy retirement.” 

 

Missing the Most

Photo © World of Showjumping “I miss Bella Donna. It would have been very interesting to see where she would have ended up with Meredith," Anu tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I miss Bella Donna. It would have been very interesting to see where she would have ended up with Meredith. It is not that she was the easiest to take care of, but our story with her was kind of cut short. Bella Donna did the Olympics at the age of nine, but still she had a very short time at top level with Meredith. It would have been interesting to see how it would have gone if she would have stayed.

Bella Donna had a bit of a wild side when she was younger, but she did calm down a bit with age. She definitely had her own opinions and I always had to find a compromise with her in everything that we did. She was a proper girl – not that she was mean, but she was a mare. She absolutely hated to be alone and when she was on shows with another horse she got crazy when that horse left the stable – then she did everything to get out of her box. It took a day or two for her to calm down, but it was sometimes a real challenge. Luckily other grooms around always lend a helping hand.” 

 

Hardest to Get to Know

Photo © World of Showjumping "He was lovely to take care of, the issue was to figure out his endless energy and what made him chill. It was a bit of a challenge," Anu says about Fibonacci that Meredith competed with at the Olympics in Rio. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I do have a couple in mind…  Checkmate was everything else than hard to understand – he was just happy. 

However, I think I must say Fibonacci. It took some time for us to figure him out. He was lovely to take care of, the issue was to figure out his endless energy and what made him chill. It was a bit of a challenge. Fibonacci seemed the happiest when he came out a lot – not just ridden once and then walker or paddock – so we took him out twice a day in the paddock and then he was in the walker, was longed and ridden. Since Fibonacci was born and raised in Sweden he was used to go out all day long – the Swedish way – and when we found our system with him everything got easier.  

Fibonacci was a very high-energy horse, so he really needed to move a lot. If he was inside too much he just didn’t know what to do with all the energy. He was never tired – not even at championships. He was always on and you could never tell he already had a few days of jumping behind him.”

 

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping



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