Rider: Sebastián Padro
Horse: SLS Dove and Grenade
Stable: Serenity Lake Stables
Country: Great Britain
Music: Third Date - (routine begins at 0:28 with passage into a piaffe pirouette. One-time flying changes (pictured) start at 5:00, followed by piaffe, passage, canter pirouettes and extended walk)
1. Fix up, look sharp
2. Imperial walk
3. Winter Ball
The competitors before them had really put on some magnificent shows for the audience; Seb knew it was going to be a tough event but this was taking the cake. He was just thankful Grenade had been calm and cooperative during their time at the event so far. The stallion wasn’t one to act up during a ride but, at the same time, stallions were unpredictable and that could quickly become the wrong kind of show. Nevertheless, Grenade was his usual perked-up self on this day, cheekily rummaging the pockets of other attendees who came up to him for treats and making friends with every person and horse he met.
To think that earlier in the year they had put Grenade up for sale to no success, only for Seb to then take a chance at competing once more with him and actually win their class, greatly restored that success and confidence in him. The same with Varra, too, for that matter. Was it a sign that they were meant to remain at SLS? It sure felt like one because Seb was able to work his magic and compete them both a few months later, ultimately bringing them back with not only first places, a Grand Champion and Reserve Champion to add to their names, but even stronger bonds that were incredibly difficult to want to break. And so, the horses remained home and were put to work. SLS ended up taking such full advantage of their wild-cards, that a breeding was soon organized between them both and Varra was due to foal in the following summer. One final addition to the baroque dressage horses that were beginning to fill out the dressage department.
The routine Seb and Colin had choreographed for the freestyle played heavily to Grenade’s strengths; outlining his passages and collected canters, but repressing his not-so-good extended trot and extended canters. He had quite a lengthy stride for his breed yet those extensions were still a touch out of his depth, so best to keep the eyes on his elevation while his mediocre moves were limited and confined mostly to corners and circles; therefore skewing any bad perception of them from the judges.
During their short stay so far, Seb had already met some new faces and made fresh connections, as well as hit it off with an old one, and the first day of the event was barely over yet. Trotting around the warm-up arena reflected Seb’s fluttering heart as he anticipated not just the judges’, but Elly’s watchful eyes that dark afternoon. The spotlights that fell onto the competition arena, igniting it like a dragon sets alight its prey, skewed his view of the audience and cast them as mere shadows. But he knew she’d be up there somewhere. Their chosen music for the next 6 minutes was unintentionally Gaelic however, which would at least make up for the lack of visual of the Scot.
As the afternoon went on, it seemed they were making a habit of bringing dark clouds with them; like dragons with ash in their wake. The two boys from the sunny south of Vista Plateado hadn’t seen the sun during a single test since leaving Seville, but it didn’t deter them yet.
Ultimately, their time to enter the ring came. They were called to begin their test and they went on to make the long walk to the other end of the walkway where the crowd, rather dauntingly, overlooked them from above. They halted next to the white fence that enclosed their stage where Seb nodded, giving the cue to start the music.
• Describe the style of your pair, how they move and how the horse is handled.
Both Seb and Grenade feed off the atmosphere of the audience. The livelier and more engaged the crowd is, the bigger and more extravagent the moves; the quieter the crowd, the more subdued and relaxed they both are. Grenade is quite patient, much like Seb, and happily waits for his rider's cues.
• Name their strongest moves and weakest moves.
Strongest in the collections (specficially passages and canters), weakest in extentions (trot and canter.)
• What is significant to their gait or personality?
Grenade always has that perked-up, happy-go-lucky expression on his face which translates into his work and he gives off quite a cheeky 'look at me go!' vibe. He has got a lot of power behind him to solidify his movements and counteract the bandy-legged expectation you'd expect from a horse with his personality.
• Are they up to their breed standard/ideal? Or do they look untypical?
Grenade is slightly thicker and rounder than you might expect of an Andalusian, particularly in his convex head, and also has a more lengthy stride than what you may regularly see in his breed. However, his dressage ability isn't affected by it and still moves with the elegenacy and fluidity you want from baroque breeds.
• Breeder of the horse, if there is one.
Vista Plateado Centro Ecuestre (Vista Plateado for short - non-HARPG stable based in Seville)