Minden, Germany (September 8, 2011) – Gold medalist Suzy Stafford’s registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine put her best hoof forward in the dressage phase of the German National Pony Championships in Minden, Germany, placing second amongst a highly competitive field. Stafford and several other members of the U.S. team competed at Minden in preparation for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia.
“Josie and I started out well on dressage day. We came in second in dressage behind another U.S. pony team driver Shelly Temple. I was thrilled as Shelly and Cooper have been a pair for many years and have proven themselves as the dressage favorite in the States. Josie put in one of her best performances to date and I was overjoyed with how she did. Josie has only shown in the advanced level five times including Minden,” Stafford said.
Stafford said the marathon day was just as successful for Josie. “We had a good round and I was pleased how fit and ready she felt throughout the whole course. The rain the night before made for some slippery conditions but with the help of Janelle Marshal, my ‘rent a gator’ and Team Australia pony driver, we had a safe and noteworthy score. I felt Josie and my timing was a bit off due to the lapse of time in between shows, but now I feel the practice Josie and I had at Minden will help prepare us for the challenges ahead,” Stafford said.
Stafford and Josie were in second place going into the cones division; however, things didn’t go as smoothly as Stafford hoped. “We dropped to 11th place after the cones, which was very disappointing,” Stafford said. “But I will use this unfortunate circumstance to become a better driver, trainer and student under the influence of our coach Michael Freund. I think the cones issue was a biting problem in hindsight, so we have worked on that and should have things sorted out for the Championships.”