WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 16, 2019–Katie Johnson became the first American to win the Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series when she rode the eight-year-old Paxton to victory Saturday in the developing Prix St. Georges at the Global Dressage Festival.
Katie and the Westfalen gelding were awarded 69.438 per cent in the qualifier in only the third competition for the Dante Weltino-sired horse that Kylee Lourie, owner of TyL (Thank you Lord) in Wellington and Greenwood Village, Colorado bought a year ago for Katie to compete.
“He was broke late and very green when we go him,” the 30-year-old Katie said, describing Paxton as “Thirdish” level at the time.
Since then with coaching from Olympic and World Games rider Adrienne Lyle who is based at TyL in Wellington in winter “he has gone very, very fast.
“He’s a little looky until he goes in the ring and then he is a total show horse. We’re very excited that he enjoys it so much.”
The goal for this season is to compete in the CDI arena.
Katie had competed Paxton twice–two national St. Georges–the week before Saturday’s qualifier for the final of the $10,000 Iron Spring Farm Future Stars Performance Series qualifier for the $10,000 final in March that is supported by Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock insurance and Legacy Farm in Loxahatchee, Fkorida operated by Melissa Taylor and Lars Petersen.
Christopher Hickey of Edgemoor, North Carolina on Straight Horse Zackonik placed second to also qualify for the final in the Stadium complex at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Katie has been involved with horses all her life, as a working student for Debbie McDonald, the U.S. team coach, during the California circuit and in Hailey, Idaho for one season. She went to Europe for a year. She had no horse.
She was thinking about going back to school when she received a phone call from Debbie to let her know that Kylee Lourie was looking for a trainer for herself and her daughter.
“It was supposed to be for two years,” she laughed, “and now it’s six.”
Katie described being at TyL as “the best environment… the whole team spirit that comes along with Debbie and Adrienne, all helping and supporting one another.”
Although Adrienne in the past had gone to Colorado occasionally over the summer, but mostly receiving videos of training, she will be based there this summer when not competing in Europe.
“We’ll be in training year round,” Katie said.
“I tell myself if I have to work a real job I’ll be very sad,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to work with Kylee, and Adrienne and I are great friends.”
Already qualified for the season-ending final are Kelly Layne of Australia on Livio Felluga, Megan Davis of Loxahatchee, Florida on Damocles, Christoph Koschel of Germany on Shakespeare, Canada’s Diane Creech on Dublin L and Germany’s Marc Stanuschewski on Graciella.
Qualifying Future Stars Performance Series competitions remaining for this winter circuit are scheduled for:
-GDF7 Feb. 20-24
-GDF8 Feb. 27-Mar. 3
-GDF9 Mar. 7-10
-GDF10 Mar. 13-17
Final: GDF12 Mar. 27-31-International Arena, Global Dressage Festival
Source: Dressage News