Articles: Press Release
Leonberg Returns to the Grand Prix Ring with a Win and 70.625%
Photo of Leonberg by Susan J.Stickle
Equestrian Sports Promotions
Albuquerque, NM--Horses Unlimited's Leonberg returned to the Grand Prix
ring this weekend at the Gold Coast Finale I with a solid 70.625%. The
bay RPSI stallion had been breeding in New Mexico after an injury kept
him out of the show ring, but hopes were always high that he would
return to the form he displayed when he qualified for the 2004 Olympics
and with his second place finish in the Grand Prix Special at Dressage
at Devon 2005. Leonberg, by Lonely Boy XX, out of a Romiros mare, has
been carefully brought back in New Mexico by the Horses Unlimited staff
before returning to Florida to be paired with international Grand Prix
rider Mikala Gundersen in November 2007.
"We are still just getting to know each other," Gundersen says of the
17-hand stallion. "He's a very sensitive horse and I've been working
very hard to establish a true connection with him. He's slowly giving
me his body and his heart, which is really rewarding." The pair debuted
in Florida earlier this spring in the Intermediaire II classes as
Gundersen allowed Leonberg to regain strength. They won an
Intermediaire II class at the Zada WEF Dressage Classic in March, along
with other ribbons.
For Anne Sparks, owner of Horses Unlimited, seeing this great stallion
returning to top form is exciting and heartfelt. She says, "We are so
thrilled that Leo is doing well, both physically and emotionally.
Everyone has wanted him to be healthy and happy, so this is extremely
rewarding for everyone on the Horses Unlimited team." The farm recently
welcomed the first 2008 Leonberg foal, a filly born to the Fidermark
mare Fee, who's a full sister to the extravagant Fürst Fabio. Sparks
continues, "The Leonberg babies have been incredible; they are very
uphill, elastic with incredible movement. The oldest are just starting
under saddle and we have high hopes for them." Among the offspring are
several who received Gold Premium awards and movement scores above 8.0,
including Lancalot who received an 8.5 on movement from the RPSI, and
Liberando VT who received an 8.3 on movement at his ISR/OLD inspection.
Pik L is another Horses Unlimited stallion that has been earning top
scores in the Grand Prix. At the Gold Coast Grand Finale I he earned a
68.125% to finish sixth in the Grand Prix and at the Zada WEF Dressage
Classic he received 72.20 on his Grand Prix test in the FEI Test of
Choice, which was good enough for third place. Pik L and Gundersen
received second and third place ribbons at the Phelpssports.com Palm
Beach Dressage Derby in the open Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix,
"I always knew Pik L had the ability for Grand Prix," Sparks explains.
"It's wonderful to see him and Mikala developing a relationship that
allows him to express his physical potential." The bay Hanoverian
stallion has won more than 20 CDI Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I
classes and 11 classes at Dressage at Devon with three different
riders. Pik L also finished fourth in the 2003 Pan American Games and
represented the U.S. as the Reserve horse at the 2007 Pan American
Gundersen is very pleased with Pik L's progress. "He's 15 years old,"
she says. "But he's still developing. His trot has more schwung and
more suspension, which has made the piaffe and passage much easier for
him. Pik L is a great example of how classical training should improve
Pik L is also becoming a prolific sire. His son Pikko del Cerro HU won
both USEF Four Year Old classes at Dressage at Devon 2007 and has
already qualified for the 2008 National Young Horse Championships with
wins in the FEI Five Year Old classes at the Gold Coast Grand Finale,
among others. Son Pikturesk claimed the 2007 USDF Horse of the Year,
Training Level Adult Amateur, as well as the High Point award at the
2007 Phelpssports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI. Other winners
include Pikk Primero, who won at the Zada Dressage at the National
Horse Show and Pikachu, a champion children's hunter. "The Pik L's
inherit their father's incredible temperament, walk and canter, and
they can jump!" Sparks says.
Pik L and Leonberg will continue to be based in Florida for the summer,
but are available for breeding. Check out www.horsesunlimited.us for
updates and news on the farm's other horses.
About Horses Unlimited
Horses Unlimited is one of the premier sport horse breeding
establishments in the United States. Utilizing the best bloodlines from
Europe, Horses Unlimited is producing jumpers, dressage and eventing
horses for both amateur and professional riders who compete from the
local level to the international ring. Their horses have competed at
the highest level of the sport, from CHIO Aachen to the Olympic Games.