World Young Horse Championship finalist Vianne has a new rider in the saddle with exciting goals for this year. NorCordia USA has partnered with top para rider, Kate Shoemaker.
Vianne, the 8 yr old American Hanoverian mare, bred by NorCordia’s Catherine Haddad and ridden by NorCordia’s Hope Beerling at the 2023 World Young Horse Breeding Championships last summer, will replace Shoemaker’s retired Solitär as an option for Paris.
Paris Para Hopeful
“The idea came to us when we heard from Kate she had planned to retire Soli soon,” says Haddad, CEO of NorCordia USA. “Vianne is too young and too green to vie for any kind of Grand Prix Championship this year even though she has made remarkable progress with Catherine Dufour in the last five months. We would not dream of putting her in the Grand Prix arena at such a young age.”
Vianne remained in Europe following the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses last summer and the ride was allocated to Cathrine Laudrup- Dufour. They competed very successfully together winning a Danish Young Horse Championships qualifier for 7-year-olds with 81.415%. Under the excellent training of Laudrup-Dufour, Vianne was successfully schooling Intermediate-2 with secure one tempis, piaffe and passage.
“The mare is smart,” says Ulrik Clemmensen, CEO of NorCordia, and Haddad’s partner. “Vianne will not forget the Grand Prix exercises she has learned and we are excited to see her on the international stage this year in Para competition with Kate.”
Kate Shoemaker is one of the most decorated US para riders and currently sits at the top of the FEI world ranking in grade IV. In 2023, Kate was the only grade IV rider in the world to break the 80% barrier at a CPEDI3*. Her previous achievements include individual medals at the WEG Tryon in 2 018, the World Championships Herning in 2022, and team bronze at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
“Our training system is famous for producing top horses that are happy in the work and kind enough to succeed with other riders. We pride ourselves in that,” says Haddad. “I met Kate during the qualifications of the 2018 WEG. I was impressed with her riding then and have followed her career very closely ever since. She will make a beautiful match with Vianne!”
The respect is mutual, “I hold a long-standing appreciation for the correctness of the horses that are in Catherine Haddad’s programs and I have the greatest respect for how the horses are ridden and cared for,” Shoemaker continued, “A horse first mentality, which I wholeheartedly share.”
“I have always loved Vianne, seeing her develop through the young horse program in the US, but I was completely smitten when I watched a video of her on Facebook doing the FEI 7 yo test last summer. I had just finished watching the German selection event for 7-year-olds [for the WBCYH], and I thought wow, this mare would fit right alongside the top horses here. I felt so inspired by Vianne that day, so I sent Catherine a message sharing my awe and congratulations.”
Vianne competed at the World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in 2023, being praised for her 3 top gaits and wonderful submission. With Hope Beerling, Vianne finished top 10 in both qualifying and the Final for 7-year-old horses.
“The opportunity to ride Vianne is an honor beyond my wildest imagination,” Shoemaker stated, “I am incredibly thankful and I cannot even put it into words. My biggest wish is that I can do this special mare justice. The feeling from the first ride was like we had been together for years. It was an amazing feeling of power and rideability combined in a special way. I look forward to developing a partnership with her”
Vianne made the move last month to Hof Kasselmann in Germany, where Kate trains with her other horses under the tutelage of Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer.
Kate is looking forward to a busy competition schedule in 2024 saying, “I try not to compete more than one horse per show due to the fatigue aspect of my disability, but with a full calendar of events available in Europe, we will be able to prepare Vianne and Quiana in the best way possible for a hopeful team selection and for Paris. I’m really looking forward to this year and I cannot say thank you enough to the team at NorCordia USA, the team at Hof Kasselmann, my supportive family, and of course the horses.”
For more info about NorCordia, visit www.nordia.com
-- NorCordia press release - Photos © Digishots / Astrid Appels
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