BC: You’re going to compete with Coral Reef Via Volo––how did she get her name?
BM: Her name was originally Via Volo Van de Molendreef which got shortened to Via Volo when she came to the United States to compete. She came to us when Gwendolyn Meyer purchased her. Then, we added Coral Reef in front of her name because Gwendolyn’s stable is called Coral Reef Ranch.
BC: What makes her stand apart from competitors’ horses?
BM: She is smaller than most. We affectionately call her “Shrimp” in the barn, because of her small stature; she is only 15.2 hands tall. Small but mighty and mighty fast! She has a big jump, a big heart and great ability. She is probably one of the smallest –if not the smallest– horse competing in all of the equestrian disciplines. She also frequently sticks her tongue out when she is being ridden.
BC: How long do you usually have to train horses to compete?
BM: It takes our horses about eight to nine years to get to the point where they can compete at this level, the Grand Prix level. There is just so much they need to learn and a level of communication that has to develop between a rider and the horse before you can even ask them to go over a small jump let alone a big one.
Riders usually peak around age 40, but our team has Reed Kessler who is 18 and that is the youngest you can be to enter the Olympic trials. However, you definitely have to have been riding and competing for a very long time to get to this level to have the ability and knowledge to navigate the course of jumps safely.
Style mishaps and more up next!