The Journey Begins — Sahar Daniel Hirosh on Whitman Winning the Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Dressage Association Summer Solstice with a score of 70% (Photo Credit to Joanna Jodko Photography)
Wellington, FL (June 26, 2017) – Sahar Daniel Hirosh and Whitman notched a first place finish in the Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Summer Solstice in Wellington, Florida this past weekend — marking their first foray together on a path toward the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG). In their competitive debut as a horse-and-rider combo, the pair earned the blue ribbon with a 70.00 percent, propelling Hirosh one step closer to realizing his dream to ride for Israel at the WEG. The Israeli-born Hirosh is an American citizen poised to seize the unique opportunity to bring glory to both countries.
He began preparing the 2003 KWPN gelding (Rhodium-Camora, Saluut) owned by Jane Suwalsky for competition this year at the beginning of the winter equestrian festival show season in Wellington, Florida. Hirosh met Sulwalsky for the first time as when he was as a child in Israel. “Jane used to live in Israel and when I was a child I was lucky enough to meet her there. She was one of the people who influenced the development of dressage in Israel. She is an extremely knowledgeable horsewoman who has taken horses up to Grand Prix and it’s amazing to ride for someone I respect so much,” Hirosh shared.
Hirosh had as much praise for Whitman as he did for his owner, “The best part of the test was how much he was with me,” Hirosh said. “The harmony. Whitman is an amazing horse. He took me out there and he did everything I asked. He’s hot, yet light. He doesn’t question what I ask. I think he was made for me.”
Now the duo is heading north to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where Hirosh hopes to continue garnering successful scores at Saugerties and Dressage at Devon. “The goal is the World Equestrian Games and anywhere we can go, including the European Championships,” he said. “The sky is the limit.”
Hirosh also plans to compete Don Daiquiri, a 2002 Oldenburg gelding (Don Cardinale-Neastate III, Rubenstein I) owned by Beth Palmgren, in the Grand Prix at Saugerties and Devon and aim him for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, as well. In addition, he rides Sakramenter (Samarant, Sandro Hit, Westminster), an Oldenburg gelding owned by Karen Ramsing-Bixler.
His formula of taking the time behind the scenes to ensure the horses are poised and well prepared before they go down centerline, is a recipe for success. Not only does he have a proven formula, but Hirosh knows it takes a team to help him achieve his goals, including the owners of his horses and his sponsors. “I have amazing owners in Jane, Beth and Karen and wonderful sponsors,” Hirosh added.
Hirosh’s sponsors also helped him display his patriotism on his debut Grand Prix ride on Whitman. Custom Saddlery and KEP Italia helmets designed special tack and gear with Israeli colors and designs. Custom Saddlery created a saddle with the blue of the Israeli flag on the seat and trimming cantle of the saddle. Beth Haist of The Horse of Course introduced Hirosh to KEP Italia helmets and worked with the international company to design a helmet sporting the Israeli flag.
While blue designs begot blue ribbons for Hirosh, there was also a lot of craftsmanship to make sure the equipment not only looked the part but also was the epitome of functional. Custom Saddlery’s expert saddle fitters worked with Hirosh to be certain that the saddle fit perfectly, including making the knee rolls “in just the right spot” to create the best communication between him and Whitman.
Another sponsor, Premier Equestrian, installed the world-class footing in the arena in Pennsylvania where Hirosh will train again this summer. The company also bestowed the honor of Premier Equestrians to Hirosh for his display of sportsmanship and his commitment to always put his horses’ needs to the forefront over his own.
One thing is certain, Hirosh has surrounded himself with a top team as he launches on the journey to bring pride to Israel in the 2018 World Equestrian Games. “It is said, it takes a village,” said a happy Hirosh after the first show, “But I feel lucky enough to have nations of support for this exciting endeavor.” Hirosh is now settling horses into their northern training stable in Pennsylvania and picking up their training regiment right where he left off in Florida a week ago under blue skies! To learn more about Hirosh and the horses and their Journey to the World Equestrian Games, log onto www.sdhdressage.com, and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sahar.hirosh.