Sweet Seniors! In October on#YourDressage, we are celebrating the special horses in our lives that are ages 20 and up through photo galleries and exclusive stories. Join us all month long as we celebrate the ‘Golden Oldies’ of the dressage community! Here, a rider in Region 2 shares about the amazing senior horse who helped her earn her USDF Silver Medal.
By Cassidy Deimling-Pettit
While waiting for my filly Derecho to grow up, I continued taking lessons at Majestic Farm with my trainer Brittany McCarthy-Geglein. I’m always up for a challenge, so while working on being more confident in the show ring with the schoolmasters at the barn, we set our goals for me to try to earn my USDF Silver Medal. To do so, Brittany had me start riding a wonderful 25-year-old Dutch Warmblood, named Legatto.
Legatto is such a gentle old soul, working with anyone from beginners to experienced riders. In September of 2019, Legatto and I started training at Fourth Level, a level I could never have dreamed of riding. Both Legatto and I loved the new challenges, and as such, signed up for our first sanctioned show at Fourth Level, in October, only a month into riding together. Thankful for such a great support system from my family and barn family, we earned our first score towards our silver. That was it, I was hooked! We spent the winter working hard at the barn “chomping at the bit” to get back into showing with warmer weather. Before we knew it, it was June 2020 and we were cantering down centerline again, with my trainer supporting me and pushing me to grow as a rider. Wow, I couldn’t believe it, my second score was earned!
In order to prepare for Prix St Georges, we immediately went back to work to get ready. We once again only had one month until the next sanctioned show, and I was bound and determined to get in the ring. Brittany offered to lend me her show coat. My first two days were filled with nothing but nerves. Our third day rolled around and, even though I was feeling down about the past days’ scores, with the encouragement from the barn family and my trainer, we knocked it out of the park! Alright, one score left and only one show left for the year to try to get it – no pressure. Legatto seemed to love the hard skills, and even though he is a senior horse, he still got excited when he knew he was going into the show ring! His willingness to learn with me, steady demeanor, and excitement when showing is a huge advantage when seeking to advance in dressage.
The day started off early, with me showing my youngster Derecho for the first time at a sanctioned show. After being exhausted from the nerves of showing my 3-year-old, it was time to get Legatto ready. As always, he was a complete saint!
We earned our highest score ever, and I was able to obtain my USDF Silver Medal in just one year. Legatto exemplifies the standard of what a senior horse can do for a training barn and anyone lucky enough to have ridden him. Legatto has taught me, pushed me to better myself as a rider, and most importantly, to always have goals and dreams. The knowledge he has taught me will help me in so many ways while bringing Derecho along. None of this would have ever been possible without my parents, Brittany McCarthy-Geglein, Barb McCarthy, and lastly Senior Legatto, who still to this day, at the ripe old age of 28, is helping many young dressage riders grow.