Heidi Degele Eyes the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Championships in August

heidi-degele-benson

Written by Betsy LaBelle

Heidi Degele riding Benson HD won the High Point at ‘White Fences Summer Fun I’ by scoring an impressive 79.8% in the Open Prix St George, taking an ample lead in the class. The pair scored a 70.4% in the Developing Prix St. George, bringing their goal closer for Benson HD to be among the top 15 scoring US horses in the 2015 Markel/USEF Developing Prix St. George Dressage National Championships. Degele and Lakota HD, her 10-year-old American Warmblood gelding, scored a 71.4% on Saturday and a 73.158% on Sunday in the Intermediaire II to win the High Point for the US Bred Horse at the White Fences Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, Florida.

Degele triumphs in the mastery of training and competing young horses to the Grand Prix level, all while growing a significant dressage horse sales business in South Florida. With two horses currently vying for the top 15 in the Markel/USEF Developing Dressage Horse Championships, Degele enthusiastically looks forward to upcoming competitions.

Heidi Degele Rides Benson HD to High Point with a 79.8% in the Prix St George (Photo: Joanna Jodko)

Heidi Degele Rides Benson HD to High Point with a 79.8% in the Prix St George (Photo: Joanna Jodko)

Degele has been working steadfastly with Lakota since he was three years old in preparation for the Young Horse Grand Prix level competition (horses between the ages of 8-10).

Earlier in April, Lakota HD scored a 67.125% in the Developing Grand Prix at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. It just gets better and better as the horse continues to develop for the finals, “Lakota is all about fun. When he has the braids in his mane, he starts dancing in the cross ties. He cannot wait to get into the horse trailer and to the competition ring.” Degele and Lakota HD competed successfully in the 2015 Markel/USEF Developing Prix St Georges Dressage National Championship in 2013.

Lakota HD scoring 73.16% in Int II winning high point of US bred horses at White Fences Summer Fun I (Photo: Joanna Jodko)

Lakota HD scoring 73.16% in Int II winning high point of US bred horses at White Fences Summer Fun I (Photo: Joanna Jodko)

Heidi Dressage, LLC
USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist Heidi Degele does much more than compete and triumph in dressage. At her solely-owned, private Heidi Dressage, LLCconsignment and imported horses sales facility in Wellington, Florida, she trains quality horses, many of which qualify to go for Markel/USEF Developing Dressage Horse Championships.
She is well-known for selling top dressage horses that have gone on to achieve notable victories, “It’s been fun to take a step back from the work and see the amazing quality in my barn. I am selling more and more 6 figure horses.”

Continuing to make record sales, Degele has several partners to bring top International Adult Amateur safe horses to her farm directly from Europe, “Since the beginning of the 2015 show season, I’ve sold close to 20 horses so far. The quality of the horses has risen to a whole new level. It’s a very rewarding business to see happy horse owners for years and years, and to watch them succeed in the show ring. I sell horses to many riders and trainers from Wellington all the way to Canada to Washington State and even to Peru. I enjoy making happy combinations. That’s so important to match that a horse and rider well.”

Preparing the Markel/USEF Developing Horses
Degele’s primary focus on training developed while she trained in Germany with Hubertus Schmidt in Germany from 2004-2007. Degele believes in a program for the horses and how important it is that they know their program every day. Applying that philosophy, Degele can add a little bit to each day’s training. But, it is vital that the horse comes to enjoy instruction, “I train and touch on what’s difficult for each individual horse so the horse can improve and get stronger, but I don’t want to drill so much that the horse resents the work. I make it fun. That’s the key to success. I think the end result is to be able to train the horses so that it’s looks effortless in the ring.”

With Lakota HD currently eighth on the USEF 2015 Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship Ranking List and fighting to get Benson HD into the top 15 Developing Prix St. George. Degele with the help of Caroline Roffman imported Benson HD originally as a sales horse, but immediately, Degele fell in love with Benson and worked to make him her own.

Lakota HD scored 73.16% in Intermediaire II winning high point of US bred horses at White Fences Summer fun. Pictured (L-R): Assistant Trainer Hyui Jin Vervoort and groom Wifredo. Degele has trained Lakota from Training Level all the way to Grand Prix. (Photo: Katie Hoog)

Lakota HD scored 73.16% in Intermediaire II winning high point of US bred horses at White Fences Summer fun. Pictured (L-R): Assistant Trainer Hyui Jin Vervoort and groom Wifredo. Degele has trained Lakota from Training Level all the way to Grand Prix. (Photo: Katie Hoog)

This 9-year-old KWPN by Sandreo (Sandro Hit) is like an old soul; Benson HD is all business. Benson wants to succeed 100%, “He’s completely focused all the time. He’s just been learning the show routine and already he understands exactly what’s expected of him. When we enter that arena, he’ll be doing his very best every single step.” When Lars Petersen saw him, he commented that the horse is the best Heidi has worked with yet and is thrilled to see how they develop. Heidi feels reassured, “This confirms my thoughts that now I can go for my next goals on a super horse.”

Lakota has a playful personality and loves to show, “These scores have been the greatest reward, given that I’ve trained him from the beginning all the way from Training Level to Grand Prix. I look forward to receiving an invitation to the Young Horse Markel Grand Prix Finals. It’s such a great feeling. I’ve always had the motto, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I’m grateful for what I have achieved.”

Looking to continue up to the FEI level and compete in CDIs after this year’s Markel/USEF Developing Horse Dressage National Championships, Degele has currently been working with Bent Jensen. Confident she is on the right path with these two horses, she explained, “Bent has put amazing touches on these horses and my riding. Just what we needed!“ Working with top farrier Adam Holland and Dr. Weston Davis, top veterinarian and surgeon at Palm Beach Equine along with a team of compassionate and dedicated employees, no detail is ever overlooked. Several recurrent German and Dutch riders visit each winter to help with the added workload.

HeidiDressage LLC Sales Horse, “Look At Me”  (Photo: Heidi Degele)

HeidiDressage LLC Sales Horse, “Look At Me” (Photo: Heidi Degele)

With a wonderful assistant trainer/working student, Ashley Walker, and the same groom, Wilfredo, for many years under Heidi’s direction, the Farm’s competence, dependability and consistency remain the keys to its success. During the past ten years, the Michigan native has built an impressive business, Heidi Dressage, LLC. Only ten minutes north of Wellington, it is a 5-acre farm with a twelve-stall barn, paddocks for turnout and a full outdoor ring having GGT Footing and mirrors. Care and training of all horses includes a nice cool stable with stall windows for each horse, a turnout every day with fly sheet and boots and a wonderful routine that consistently lets the horse know exactly what to expect. Heidi is always open to teaming up with one sponsor or a syndication of sponsors for high level competition.

“I have to thank Custom Saddlery (Cary Wallace) for its sponsorship. I just started riding Benson HD in a new Everest saddle and I’m certain that has also helped his scores. I don’t know whether we would have been so successful without them. And, I want to thank Lisa Wallace with DSB Boots, another wonderful sponsor.”

Example Sales Horse: ‘Look at Me’ – Small 16.2, 2006 Holsteiner gelding – Schooling 4th level with an excellent Piaffe – Sired by (Lordanos – Landos – Lord X Levantos 1)- Safe for any Adult Amateur – Imported directly from Holland for sale.

Dressage Trainer | Dressage Sales Horses | Young Horse Trainer | Competition Preparation

Related Pages:
Heidi Degele – Mesa Farms, LLC
Custom Saddlery Names Heidi Degele Most Valuable Rider for Championing Three Horses at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III
Heidi Degele Dominates High Points, Sets Up for Success at Young Horse Championships