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We are so proud of Excellence Defined! 

In 2019 at Recognized Horse Trials; 6th at Winona, (Oh), 1st at Penny Oaks (In.), 3rd at Stone Gate (Oh.) and 1st at Jump Start (Ky.) Winner of Area 8 Championships. She qualified for the American Eventing Championships in 2020. In Mini Trials she has three first place finishes and always in the ribbons! She is Champion English W/T/C, Champion Western W/J/L. She received an Excellence Award in English W/T/C, Champion W/T/C Division, Champion W/J/L Division, Reserve Champion Dressage Division, Top 5 Horsemanship Division. She is a Standard of Excellence daughter. We are so proud of her!!

 

Adventures with Excellence Defined HOF 

By Megan Szymczak 

On September 17, 2016, I met a six-year-old Haflinger mare who would forever change my life. I had previously owned a Welsh Cob named Justice, who was a great little pony and had taught me a lot, but I was outgrowing him in size and ability. My trainer, Rachael (Cooper) Schindler, started the search for the perfect Haflinger to replace Justice. Since Justice was a gelding I was really hoping that Rachael would find me a gelding. However, as it turned out, Rachael found a mare born and bred at Der Haflingerhof, a farm in Loudenville, Ohio, known for their fantastically bred horses. Rachael brought the mare, Excellence Defined HOF, home to her stable for a trial. During the trial, Rachael put the mare through a series of tests, such as taking her swimming in a nearby river, to get a better sense of her temperament, athleticism, and trainability. After a couple of days at Rachael’s stable, I rode the mare for the first time. As we worked in the arena, I realized she knew very little – while she was fine with me sitting on her back, she didn’t understand anything beyond the most basic cues to move forward and steer. However, Rachael was confident that this mare was the right partner for me, and so we bought her and gave her an official barn name, Belle. 

The first month or two after we bought Belle, I wasn't completely sure that I wanted to keep her. I knew very little about how to train a horse and it was going to be a long and difficult process. However, as we both started to learn together, I began to realize that she was the right horse for me, my heart horse. One of the best parts of working with Belle from the very beginning of her career was knowing that I personally had put all of the work and training into her, albeit with the help of Rachael. The first schooling shows that we competed in were a good eye opener to how much more work we still had to do. Countless lessons and schooling shows later, both Belle and I started to feel more relaxed and in sync with each other. 

Before 2018 we mainly competed in Haflinger breed shows, Hunter/Jumper schooling shows, a few clinics and 4H shows (including the Ohio State Fair). In the middle of the 2018 show season, we decided that we wanted to start Eventing, a type of show in which horse and rider compete across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Eventing is particularly challenging because it requires the horse and rider to work on mastering three separate disciplines. That year Belle and I started to work on dressage, which would turn out to be a long, difficult, frustrating but rewarding road we embarked upon. 

We found some local cross country schooling complexes to prepare for our first recognized horse trial, the Penny Oaks Horse Trial at the Hoosier Horse Park in Indiana. While competing at Penny Oaks, Belle and I fell in love with eventing and decided to focus our training on conquering all three required disciplines. During 2018 we competed at the starter level (jumps are 2’3” in height), but as we approached 2019, we continued to train to move up to the next level, beginner novice (jumps are 2’7” in height). In 2019 I was very pleased with all of our successes, including our first ever first place win at Penny Oaks. 

At this point, my trainer and I started discussing ramping up training so we could qualify for the Area VIII Championships taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park in September. The Championships would be harder than anything Belle and I had ever done, but I had faith that we would be ready. The weekend of the Championships finally arrived and our eventing team embarked upon the long haul to the Kentucky Horse Park. After unloading all the horses and tack, we checked in at the office, obtained the cross country course map, and headed out to walk the cross country course. The course was challenging, but Belle and I had been competing nearly every weekend at local mini trials in order to prepare and so I felt confident. The next morning, I braided Belle’s mane, tacked her up, changed into my full dressage show outfit, polished my boots and headed down to the dressage rings. Belle was relaxed, supple, and responding to every tiny cue I gave her. We ended up achieving a personal best score on our dressage test (76.2%) and started in first place. 

After dressage it was time for cross country, Belle’s favorite part. Belle and I were so in sync during cross country that we flew through the course, effortlessly jumping over every fence in stride. We were having so much fun that we ended up being a couple seconds too fast and earned 2 penalty points of speed faults. While we were still in first place after the speed fault penalties, it really put the pressure on Belle and I – if we knocked a rail in stadium jumping the next day we would go from first place down the third place. The following day, I braided Belle’s mane again, tacked her up, and changed into my hunt show outfit. Belle and I headed to the warm-up ring and after a couple of last minute tips from Rachael, we were ready to do our stadium course. The course went so smoothly, with Belle trying her absolute hardest to be careful of her hooves and leave all the rails in the cups. After jumping the last fence with a perfectly clear round, I knew that Belle and I had won the championship. All of my friends, my parents, and my trainer who had come and supported me were yelling and cheering for me and it was the most proud, happy and excited I ever have been. 

At the end of last year I started training to move up a level to Novice (jumps are 2’11” in height). This year (2020) Belle and I plan to compete at recognized horse trials in a number of states – Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky and Ohio – all at the Novice level. While the move up to Novice is sure to include some difficulties, Belle and I have forged an unbreakable bond and we’re ready to face any challenge at any competition. In addition, because of our win at the Area VIII Championships, we qualified for the American Eventing Championships (AECs) taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park over Labor Day weekend in 2020. The AECs draw over a thousand competitors from all over the nation and will be the most difficult competition Belle and I have ever competed in. I want to thank my trainer, Rachael, for putting up with Belle and me through the good times and through the rough patches. I also want to thank my dad, who trailers Belle and me everywhere (from Kentucky to New York to Massachusetts to Indiana and all over Ohio!) while always supporting us. Lastly, my mom always whispers something in Belle's ear prior to us competing so we stay focused and ready to conquer anything. Without these three people in my life, Belle and I would not be where we are today. I can’t wait to see where the future will take us!

 



 

Status Ouo Of Excellence is the 2019
OHA Junior Fair High Point Champion

By owner Jenna Klingenberger

On September 8, 2015, I met a little 4 year old Haflinger gelding who would forever change my life. I had shown draft horses since I was four, but will forever remember the big kind eyes of my first Haflinger, Agustus Oda. This little pony is what made me fall so madly in love with the breed. This horse was so easygoing and kind, the perfect kids horse. Unfortunately being part of life he grew old and we had to retire him.

In July of 2015 we started looking, not just for another horse, but another soul mate. With growing up on such a sweet and caring breed of horse, we decided to look for another Haflinger. In September of 2015, we found the perfect little Haflinger gelding, born and bred at Der Haflingerhof, a farm in Loudonville, Ohio. Status Quo of Excellence is his registered name, sounds pretty fancy right. The day I went to meet this little fur ball, he only had 30 days of training on him. This was a lot of horse for little 11 year old me, but the amount of passion this horse showed was insane. Not only did he enjoy his job and learning more about it, the connection we had was incredible. I took him home that day and he received his barn name Diesel.

As soon as we got Diesel back home we started training right away. He knew very little and was still a scared and alert little baby. With me still being very young, and coming from a dead broke horse, this was all new to me too. His athleticism and trainability was insane, making it a bit easier. We learned a lot together and still are today, this is part of what makes our connection so strong. With the keen eye of my trainer, Julie James, she sees us through the hills and valleys and keeps us focused forward and working hard to help us persevere.

In May of 2016 we attended our first show as a team. For two years we did a lot of local shows such as 4-H Open shows. We also did a lot of clinics in random disciplines. After a few clinics and shows I realized how versatile this horse really was. Over the next couple years we tried jumping, ranch, western horsemanship, english, trail, and western dressage. That's just our riding classes.  In showmanship we showed not only draft but western and english as well. Not only did we try them all but we showed at least one class in all and placed. This horse is insanely versatile and loves what he does, whatever I throw at him he tries his hardest, and that is one of the things I love so much about him.

In 2017 we attended the Ohio State Fair for the first time. This show was a big learning experience for us. We qualified in all four classes including draft showmanship, english pleasure, english equitation, and english showmanship. Not only did we qualify, we ended up placing third in draft showmanship and tenth in English equitation. This was a big accomplishment for us at the time, but we never stopped training. In 2018 we attended Buckeye Haflinger Show, at this point in our partnership we had started going to bigger shows. We ended up placing very well in all of our classes and left with reserve high point. 

These two big shows were just the start of what was about to come. The biggest year of them all was last year, 2019. This year started off different than all the rest. In 2019 I started riding for an IEA team.  This opened my eyes a lot. This program helped me tremendously and made me a better rider. We also started showing in the Buckeye Ranch series. These shows were huge and had a lot of good competition. I placed very well at these shows as well. 

In 2019 we returned to The Ohio State Fair this time for ranch pleasure, ranch riding, english equitation, and draft showmanship. We had worked really hard up to this trying to place better then in 2017. In warm ups the night before he was very responsive, and felt and look insanely good. None of the patterns seemed too hard either. We broke them down and ran through them, working on the sticky parts, but there was nothing we couldn’t handle. Going into each class he was a little antsy, but as soon as we entered the arena it was like we were at home, he was as calm as could be. Going into showmanship he would not stop moving he started to stress me out. Right before stepping into that arena we both took a deep breath, performing like never before and earning us a first place! With my age group being one of the biggest at the state level placing was very hard, but we did it in every class! We placed fifth in ranch pleasure and ranch riding along with placing eighth in english equitation. Being a Haflinger in a Quarter Horse world really makes you stand out, I love overhearing people referring to Diesel and I as “the Haflinger” it shows we are getting noticed. 

We also got noticed for our state placings by the Ohio Haflinger Association (OHA). Diesel and I received the inaugural OHA Junior Fair High Point Champion for 2019. 2019 was a huge year for us and I am so proud of the team Diesel and I have become. Even though Diesel and I are at a great point in our training that doesn't give us an excuse to stop. Our goals for 2020 are to return to The Ohio State Fair and to place higher. We would also like to return to Buckeye Haflinger Show this year and hopefully get High Point Champion. But most importantly we would like to keep representing our breed and getting it noticed. Along with that we hope to hold our spot as the OHA Junior Fair High Point Champion. I would like to thank my family for making these dreams possible and supporting me through it . I would also like to thank my trainer, Julie James, for helping Diesel and I even through the toughest of times, and always being willing to help. Lastly, I would like to thank the OHA for opening up a whole new group of support to me and giving me so many new opportunities. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

 


Melody of Excellence has been sold. For her new owner in 2019 at a Recognized Horse Trial she has placed second in Jump Start. At the Mini Trials she was 1st at the Stone Gate Mini Trial, has ribboned several times and was HCC 2019 Champion, Horsemanship Division.

 




Here are some pictures from the Ohio Haflinger Fun Days 2017

We sure had FUN!!!


Results for the Ohio Haflinger Fun Days from August 2016

Four teams were entered in the team marathon.  First place finishers were Fascara and Excellence Defined.  In the riding obstacles, with eight entries, first place went to Fascara.  Fascara was also sixth in the single cart obstacle.  

High Point Champion was Ian Wengerd with Mel, who was first in the cart obstacle, second in riding obstacle and third in the team marathon class.

Reserve High Point Champion was Robert Eicher with Excellence Defined, who was also third in both the riding obstacle and the single cart obstacle.

 


 Futurity in 2016

As always the Futurity classes  were filled with fabulous Haflingers. We had another good year. One of our favorite fillys, Equine Affair Magic Touch (Standard of Excellence X Everafter via Tophat) won her 2 year old mare class and went on to be named the 2 year old Champion. Our 2 year old Stallion, Standard of Elegance (Standard of Excellence X Rina WULF) won his 2 year old Stallion class and also was second in the Two Year old Driving class. 

In the Yearling Stallion class, Straightshot of Excellence (Standard of Excellence X Rina WULF) placed third (8th in Haflinger Breeders Co-op Yearling Class), while Starstruck of Excellence (Standard of Excellence X Renita) placed 6th and Nordlicht MCHF (Nordtirol X Camry MCHF) placed 8th.  In the Yearling Mare class Exquisite of Nordtirol (Nordtirol X Everafter via Tophat) was 7th (6th in HBC Yearling class). 

In Senior Weanling filly our Rialta Rose HOF (Accolade of Genesis X Rina WULF) placed second (9th in SIP). In Junior Weanling Stallion, Northern Legacy HOF (Nordtirol X Assita’s Legacy HOF) was 6th. In Junior Weanling Filly, Viktoria HOF (Accolade of Genesis X Vision of Excellence HOF was 4th.