USDF gold, silver and bronze medalist Heidi Degele has proven once again that she knows how to bring the best out of every horse she trains.
Riding Tom and Michelle Fritchek’s 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion Highlife’s Don Silvio, they won the FEI Prix St. Georges both days and high score for the show with a 74.559 percent at the Fox Lea Farm Fall Dressage Concours I & II in August in Venice, Fla.
The 16.1-hand bay stallion, who has only recently been graduated from Fourth Level to PSG, proved for his rider and owners that it’s the right step up for this rising star, as judges noted the “super quality” and “well presented” performances by the dynamic duo.
“He’s just started his first Prix St. Georges tour and earned High Point Horse of the show,” Degele beamed.
Highlife’s Don Silvio was purchased as a six-month-old colt by the Fritcheks and it has been the realization of their lifelong dream to see their stallion bloom into a winning FEI competitor, Degele said.
“He’s amazing. You can’t not stop and stare at him when he’s in the ring. He has so much presence,” said Degele, who has been working with the talented stallion since October 2017 and began competing him over the summer. “The long-term goal with him has already been met — he has achieved the credentials to become an approved stallion. Now we’ll see if his career continues to take off as well as it has.”
Degele herself hopes to one day represent and ride for the United States, and Highlife’s Don Silvio could be just the ticket into the international spotlight.
“He’s one of the most supple horses I’ve ever ridden. He’s got such a soft trot and canter. He gives you a safe feeling when you ride him,” she said.
Back home, the stallion is known for being “as gentle as a puppy” and is easygoing enough to be ridden by amateurs. In Degele’s able hands, this winter’s dressage season could find them both living the competitive high life.
Heidi Degele is based in Loxahatchee and is accepting a limited number of new clients and horses for training and consignment. Having trained under Hubertus Schmidt, Degele has competed internationally and has brought dressage prospects up the ranks from Training to FEI levels. She has established a respected, decade-long reputation for building horses up using the classical and systemic methods she learned and mastered while in Germany. Learn more at www.heidi-dressage.com or call (561) 294-4118.