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Smiles and Havens Schatt Continue Winning Streak in Lucas Equine Equipment Performance Hunter 3'3" Division

RELEASE: March 14, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Havens Schatt and Smiles (Anne Gittins Photography)
Havens Schatt and Smiles (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Havens Schatt and Smiles had plenty to grin about after earning championship honors in the Lucas Equine Equipment Performance Hunter 3'3" division during week ten of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Schatt and Smiles, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Bruce Duchossois, bested the division with consistent performances over two days of competition. Day one, the pair won the under saddle and placed first and third over fences, followed by second and fourth place finishes on day two. Hayley Barnhill and Missy Luczak-Smith's Surf's Up were reserve champions after two blue ribbon finishes over fences on day two.

Schatt was eager to give Smiles a change of pace after he returned from some time away from the show ring. "He hasn't shown for two weeks, so it was especially fun to show in a different ring," Schatt admitted. "He's never been in Ring 7 before, so he really had his ears up and we had a lot of fun with it."

Schatt enjoyed the opportunity to ride one of her more mature mounts in a new environment. "Ring 7 can be hard because of the jumper horses being nearby. Today's classes followed the Pre-Greens, so the courses were simple, but built very nicely. I deal with a lot of younger horses and so it was nice to be on an older horse that you know will be good in a new venue," Schatt explained.

"I've been riding Smiles for about a year and a half, and he's been a pleasure throughout," she continued. "He does anything you ask him to do in any ring you ask him to do it in. He's a very easygoing dude," Schatt smiled.

While Schatt is no stranger to the winner's circle with her talented string of hunter mounts, she especially appreciates her close bond with Smiles. "I know him really well and I know every time I get on him exactly what I have, which isn't always the case with the young ones. He's very consistent, which is really nice," Schatt described.

Schatt and Smiles are currently in first place in the FTI WEF circuit championship standings for the division. Schatt credits their success to Smiles' striking presentation and remarkable natural talent. "He's bigger and he's all chestnut, so he's very elegant and stands out a little bit. He always jumps the same with great follow-through behind. He jumps as well behind as he does in front. He can jump high with so much ease, has beautiful movement across the ground, and you don't have to pull on his mouth. He gets in one rhythm where everything just happens," Schatt concluded.

Schatt will continue to ride Smiles for the duration of the FTI WEF in addition to owner Duchossois, who will return to the Amateur-Owner 3'3" divisions with Smiles during week eleven of the FTI WEF. Week ten, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, will continue Friday when the Camping World Adult Hunter 51 & Over Section A names its champion in the Gene Mische Grand Hunter Arena. The $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m will be featured in the International Arena during the day and the $35,000 G&C Farm Puissance will be held at The Stadium at PBIEC in the evening.