Davinia La Douce, New Grand Prix Ride for Anna Buffini

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 10:11
Anabel Balkenhol and Davinia La Douce FRH at the 2018 CD Aachen Dressage Days :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Anna Buffini, the 2016 U.S. Under 25 Champion, has acquired a new Grand Prix horse, Anabel Balkenhol's Davinia La Douce, to ride in the senior division.

Davinia La Douce is a 13-year old Hanoverian mare by Don Frederico out of Anneliese R (by A Jungle Prince). She is bred by Robert Kühn.

Davinia La Douce FRH

Buffini's long-time trainer Guenter Seidel now found a new Grand Prix horse for Anna, which will hopefully give her an easier ride with better rideability: Davinia La Douce. 

The liver chestnut mare, who sired by Don Frederico who also produced Isabell Werth's Don Johnson, was acquired as a 4-year old by Klaus Balkenhol at the 2011 Hanoverian Summer Auction in Verden for 48,000 euro. 

Initially ridden by Japanese assistant rider Terui Shunsuke, Davinia moved on to Anabel Balkenhol two years later. She competed her once in 2013 at M-level. Another two years later, in 2015, the duo returned to the national show ring in Ankum at S-level. In 2016 they rode the Developing Prix St Georges horse tests for the Nurnberger Burgpokal.

In 2018 the mare began tackling the Medium Tour and Grand Prix level tests. They made their international show debut in the medium tour at the CDI Aachen Dressage Days in May 2018. 

Davinia La Douce could have been Heuberger's successor as Anabel's new number one ride. The pair tackled the classic Grand Prix tour in 2019 and competed at CDI's in Hamburg, Verden and Oldenburg. The latter show in November 2019 was the pair's last international. At national level, Balkenhol competed the mare in Munster in January 2020 and her last show in Munster in July, scoring 73.533% in the first Grand Prix Special and 68.268% in the second GP Special the next day.

Davinia La Douce sold to Buffini in September.

Buffini's Sundayboy and Wilton

Anna with Sundayboy
The 26-year old Buffini began riding at an early age and quickly new dressage was her path. She first competed at small tour level in 2010 on Holyman and with Roosevelt she did the lower level tests. 

Her break through in sport came when she partnered with the Dutch warmblood gelding Sundayboy (by Kennedy) in 2013. One year later Buffini became the 2014 U.S. Young Riders Champion and competed him at the 2014 North American Young Riders Championships in Lexington. They were second in the team test, but had to withdraw from the rest of the competition due to an injury. 

In the early spring of 2015 Anna acquired the KWPN bred Wilton (by Jazz x Contango)  in the stables of Patrik Kittel in Germany as successor for Sundayboy, but Wilton proved to be more than a handful to ride. Previously shown by Swedish Angelica Bystrom and Malin Nilsson, Wilton made his CDI debut with Buffini at the CDI Thousand Oaks in September 2015  and did a string of Under 25 tests in the spring of 2016, but the horse was so tricky and challenging for the young rider they decided to send him into the field to chill for a while, after a meltdown in the national Gold Coast Opener show in January 2017.

Fortunately, Sundayboy regained fitness by then and was back on track. He returned to the arena at the CDI Burbank in February 2016. The confirmed pair won the U.S. Under 25 Championships that year and went on to compete in the 2017 CDIO Under 25 Nations Cup in Wellington

Buffini and Wilton at the 2020 CDI Wellington
Buffini retired the 18-year old Sundayboy from sport later that year. When a new horse search proved unsuccessful, Wilton was pulled out of retirement and retrained on the lunge like a 2-year old They returned to the arena at the CDI Temecula in January 2019 and they did one more CDI in Wellington in February 2020, but the horse again gave her a hard time in the test, while Buffini bravely persisted and finished the ride. It was their last international together, though. 

"From the very beginning, he was very difficult," Buffini said about Wilton. "He is a Jazz and those are known for having a little bit of a screw loose, which he can have. He was getting more and more difficult."

Photos © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Eurodressage Photo Database: Davinia La Douce / Sundayboy / Wilton
Anna Buffini's Sundayboy Retired from Competition Sport
USA A-Team Wins Under 25 Nations' Cup at 2017 CDIO Wellington
Lane, Irwin, and Buffini Win CDIO Freestyles at 2017 CDIO Wellington
Barton Wins Pony Title, Buffini Under 25 Title at 2016 U.S. Youth Riders Championships
Wilton sold to Anna Buffini
Peters Cruises as Buffini, Schmidt, and Dagge Claim National Titles at 2014 U.S. Championships
Hutson and Buffini Join Board of The Dressage Foundation
Frederic Wandres Wins the 2019 Hamburg Dressage Derby
Scores: 2016 German Dressage Championships
Anabel Balkenhol and Heuberger No Longer a Combination
Photo Report: Schneider and Wahlkamp-Nilsson Set the Tone at 2019 CDN Munster Indoor