US based Friesian stallion Thys has won his debut at Prix St Georges level dressage, earning the highest FEI score of the Vermont Dressage Days show in Essex Junction earlier this month.
Ridden by Liz Austin and owned by Philip Bailey, Thys won the Open Prix St Georges class at Vermont with a score of 66.184.
Thys is the first Friesian the rider has had in training, but having worked with the horse and his previous rider, Rachel Deemer, she says she knew he was “of incredible quality”.
“It wasn’t until I started riding him full time that I realized just how talented he really is. It is a testament to the excellent basics Rachel put on him that I’ve been able to come so far with him in such a short period of time,” said Austin, 30, of Williston, Vermont.
She took Thys to the show to school,as he had only ever been to a handful of dressage shows before. “He was so well behaved, I decided to enter him in the Prix St. Georges on Sunday, as well. I couldn’t believe how well he handled the pressure considering he’s only eight years old and had previously only ever shown first level! It really is a testament to his character that he was able to come out at FEI for the first time and have such a successful debut,” Austin said.
“He is definitely capable of scoring over 70% at Prix St. Georges, and if he keeps going the way he’s going, he will be able to score over 70% at Grand Prix, as well.
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me he’s the nicest Friesian they’ve ever seen. He has three world-class gaits and one of the best work ethics I’ve ever worked with. I can make him as hot and sensitive as I want in the ring, then drop the reins and send a beginner out hacking on him. He is a fabulous ambassador for the Friesian breed.”
Austin has a long history of riding stallions to championships at the international levels. Her two most successful mounts to date were both approved Dutch Warmblood stallions, Olivier (Idocus x Porter), with whom she was a two-time national champion, Horse of the Year winner and reserve rider for the FEI World Cup; and Hierarch (Cocktail x Amor), the horse she won an individual silver medal with at the North American Young Rider Championships.
“As my mom has now taken over the ride on Olivier, it has been really fun and rewarding for me to have another stallion to bring up the levels. In many ways, Thys reminds me of Olivier (whom Austin trained from a youngster) with his raw talent, incredible athleticism and desire to work.”
Next on Austin’s agenda will be the New England Dressage Association’s Regional Championships in September where she will compete Thys in the small tour.