Chester County, PA – Gold medalist Suzy Stafford made history in 2005 when she won the first Individual Gold medal at the World Pony Championships for the United States. She has continued to medal at the World Championships in 2007, 2009 and most recently in 2010.
History was made again with Stafford holding the reins of a seven year old Friesian mare named Sjaantje owned by Gail Aumiller of Dreams Come True Farm in Carlisle, PA. Suzy has completed the qualifications and catapulted Sjaantje up the training scale in record time to receive the Driving Sport Predicate Title. This is the first completion of this title to be held by any equine in the United States. “It makes my job easier when the owner believes whole heartedly in Sjaantje and gives me all the tools I need to prepare her for success. Gail is that owner and I am truly grateful for her trust in my program and support,” Stafford says with a smile. Stafford operates her Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and is stationed in Aiken, South Carolina from January through April.
Stafford says, “Though the sport predicate was new territory for me, the qualifications were not. I was very familiar with the driven dressage test to be performed” The mare has very good basics and I was able to move along quickly with some fitness and strength training. She has an outstanding temperament, solid conformation and unbelievable trainability” Stafford said. Suzy Stafford’s talent for bringing along young horses and ponies up through the International level has been proven time and time again. Her laid back yet fiercely competitive nature seems to be a winning combination. “Sjaantje’s future will continue with her owner at the reins this coming year. I look forward to guiding Gail with this lovely mare on these competitive adventures,” says Stafford.
Gail has great things planned. “I will take up the reins and do two things I have not yet had the opportunity to do: enter a training level CDE and drive a musical freestyle. I should be making plans to breed her next year, but we are having so much fun and success in the carriage driving world. I don’t want to stop, so perhaps we’ll try embryo transplant. Our World and National Championships return again to the east coast next year, so that will be tempting,” Gail says.
This trio is no stranger to the winners circle. In 2011 Sjaantje and Gail Aumiller won the World/ National Amateur Driving Championships at the FHANA World and National Championship show. Stafford and Sjaanje also took home the World Championship Title in the Open driving Championship.
Stafford now has her sights on a new goal, competing at the 2013 World Pony Championships in Poa, France with her new partner TTE Tea Time. This 8 year old Morgan gelding was purchased for Stafford in March by Trout Walk Farm.
“Trae” is intelligent and kind, always giving 100 percent. He has a super work ethic with a knack for showing off in the ring. His presence and good looks are hard to miss! In June 2012 Trae completed his first CDE proving he is “all in” and loves his new job, says Stafford.
“I have a great team of sponsors who really support me, both financially and through products,” Stafford said. “I appreciate all that my sponsors do for me. We are a team and I am so grateful for that.”
Stafford is a highly sought after clinician and also trains horses and teaches students out of her Stafford Carriage Driving facility. For more information on Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.