American Grand Prix rider Catherine Haddad-Staller and her sponsor of three years, Rowan O'Riley, have parted ways. O'Riley moved her Grand Prix horse Semper Fidels into training with Heather Blitz.
Dressage-News reported that the break came about because of disagreement over the training of the 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Sir Donnerhall x Welt Hit II).
American Rowan O'Riley bought Semper Fidelis for Catherine to ride at Helgstrand's yard in 2016. Haddad made her return to the CDI ring after an 18 month hiatus at the 2017 CDI Darmstadt in September, where they scored 72.240% in the Grand Prix for fourth place and 71.725% in the Special for fifth place. At the 2017 CDI Le Mans on 20 - 22 October the pair was second in the Grand Prix with 72.400% and they won the Special with 71.902%. At the 2017 CDI Munich Indoor in November they were third in the Grand Prix (70.920%) and second in the Special (71.745%).
The pair missed out on winter competition in Florida, their home base, due to an injury. Semper Fidelis has recovered and was back in training when the split happened.
“She was just getting started in her Grand Prix career and was showing tremendous potential with my training and my team. With the support and encouragement of the USEF Pre Elite program, we all had very high aspirations for this incredible mare. Unfortunately, Rowan disagreed with the program we had outlined to further Semper’s career," Haddad told Dressage-News.
Semper Fidelis will now continue her career with Heather Blitz, who a 2012 U.S. Olympic team reserve.
"Semper Fidelis is a very exciting horse with great talent," O'Riley told Eurodressage. "I have chosen to place her with Heather Blitz for the moment because Heather is a very skilled trainer who improves every horse she sits on. I trust Heather to care for the horse and keep her fit and ready for international quality competition."
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