Thursday, February 4, 2010

Canadian Reiner, Lisa Coulter


Its only February and I already have WEG fever! Actually that fever began and has been ever present since I competed at the test event for WEG last July in Kentucky. I was excited and proud to represent Canada at the test event and really was naïve about the path I was about to embark on. I had 2 great runs on Hollywood Aces and ended up silver in the team and individual events. Standing on the podium after the individual final was a thrill I won’t soon forget. It also accelerated my ambition to make the Canadian Team and be at WEG in 2010.
(Pictured: Lisa Coulter and her 9 year old daughter, Clancy)

The path to an event like WEG is a long one filled with triumphs and hurtles. I have been collecting the best group of aged horses I can find to qualify at CRIs and compete at events such as the Masters. That is a tough chore as our reining horses start their careers as 3 year olds and usually have most of their best runs by the time they reach 6. So finding 6 year old horses that are sound and still fresh to show is challenging. I have a group of about 6 horses that I can compete at the CRIs on. I rotate them to keep them sound, happy and ready for big runs when I need them.


Hollywood Aces has become a standout that crept up on us. He was purchased for me to compete on as a 5 year old and only had a few runs before me and that was due to an injury as a 3 year old. Without the FEI events this horse would have been left standing in a field or had a very limited show career. Instead he has proved he loves to show and has the charisma to wow a crowd. What he lacks in big maneuver skills he makes up for in likeability. He is a pudgy buckskin gelding with a big kind eye and a prettiness that is hard to beat. The confidence I have on Ace will put him in my top two horses to compete on in the finals we face in July to determine our team for WEG.

My very best horse is still new to me. Bob Thompson, who owns all the horses I ride,
purchased him from Sammy Ely via Shawn Flarida right after the test event in July. Shawn had done tremendously well with the horse and so had Sammy in the Non Pro events. Shawn knew the horse would fit me and also knew the horse was still up for some big runs. I won back to back CRIs in Mexico aboard him and have started to gain confidence with him. We are going to keep to schooling for the next few months to get to know each other better. We aptly named him Weg, he lacked a barn name and Western Whiz was a mouthful, he is proving to be my best contender to make the team and live up to his name.

The two horses are very different. I have a bond and confidence with Ace that you strive for with a horse you’re competing on. Weg can out maneuver him but he and I have not fallen in to step as well as Ace and I have. That takes time but I can feel it coming. The goal right now is to keep both horses sound and competitive. I will attend many schooling shows over the next few months to keep them quiet and responsive in the show pen. I will have one or two more hard runs on Weg, including the CRI at the NRBC, to keep gaining trust. However I am saving Ace for the final team selection. I just ran Ace hard at the Masters in December and he was solid. I know the skills we need to work on and know how he must be prepared. Weg will be another story.
(Pictured: World Games 2010 Foundation Staff with Lisa Coulter at the Kentucky Cup Reining Test Event. Photo Courtesy of Equisport Photos).

Reining is generally new to the FEI curriculum and with that comes a lot of changes and new concepts we must embrace. I have totally refocused my career to join the FEI events and am excited to be a part of it all. I have been gearing up for WEG since 09, but have been competing at the FEI events since 2005, including 3 Masters Finals. I have given up futurity horses and only hit a few derbies. I am actually saving my good young horses in hopes they will make strong FEI horses. As it is increasingly harder to find 6 year old horses I have turned our efforts to saving the young ones and gearing them for events such as WEG and the Masters.


I have qualified as far as I need to for Team Canada and now it is a matter of preparing for the final team selection in July in Chilliwack B.C. I have had some good success the past years but that has been not without defeat. The only other time I tried to make the team was 4 years ago and did not do so well. That was super tough to go through but I learned what I needed to do differently. This time I think not only do I have stronger horses but I have taken myself to another level of competition. Like the thrill of winning comes the absolute agony of losing and without that we would not be the competitors we aspire to be.

I am looking forward to blogging once or twice a month about my horses and our progress on our road to WEG. I will be competing all over North America as well as Europe over the coming months and will be keeping my troop of 6 FEI horses geared up and ready to show. My other 4 horses are nothing to sneeze at and it may be that one sneaks up just like Ace did and becomes the next WEG hopeful. I have learned in my life that anything is possible and starting in small town Princeton, BC big dreams and big determination are what takes a small town girl to Lexington, Kentucky.

117 comments:

  1. I love your comment about saving your good young horses from the Futurities. A lady after my own heart.............I truly believe in saving them myself. Way to go Lisa, Canadian's are proud of you!! We've met in Prince George before, you've also met my daughter Justina. Take care and again, WAY TO GO!!!

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