Kaepernick and Havens Schatt Score Big in Perfect Products Pre-Green Level 1 Hunters

RELEASE: March 28, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Havens Schatt and Kaepernick (Anne Gitttins Photography)
Havens Schatt and Kaepernick (Anne Gitttins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Kaepernick and Havens Schatt took home the championship prize in the Perfect Products Pre-Green Hunter Level 1 division during the final week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The five-year-old Warmblood gelding is owned by Schatt's client, Debbie Stevens. Kaepernick and Schatt were first, third, and third over fences and placed fourth under saddle.

Reserve champion was Ransom, ridden by Nick Decosta and owned by Carolyn Gouse. Decosta rode Ransom to sixth, second, and second place over fences and wrapped up the division with a second place ribbon under saddle.

Schatt imported Kaepernick from Europe last fall but delayed showing him until the 2013 FTI WEF as he was still "very much a baby." Kaepernick was clearly worth the wait, earning reserve championship honors at his first show during week ten in addition to the week twelve championship title.

Schatt's slow but deliberate approach to bringing along her young horses has proven to be a winning approach judging by the myriad of successful young horses she's shown at the FTI WEF this season.

"I really believe in taking my time with them. I brought Kaepernick over here [to the show grounds] maybe three times and did warm-ups on Tuesday but I kept it easy. If I jumped the course, I jumped the course. But if I jumped two jumps or even if he didn't go in the ring that day, that was okay too. He told me what he was ready for and it's worked perfectly," Schatt described.

Schatt has plenty to look forward to with the talented young horse after his impressive debut at the FTI WEF. "I have really high hopes for him. He's really scopey. He's very brave. When he first came from Europe, he was quite spooky, and that's one reason I took my time with him. But now, he's been in two different rings and he's very brave. He has a big stride and big scope. I think he's ready to move on from the three-foot [division]," Schatt commented.

Kaepernick will continue to compete at his current level throughout the spring, but Schatt aims to have him moved up by the time they return to the FTI WEF in 2014.

"He'll continue to show in the three-foot at the Kentucky Spring Shows [in May] and after that, I would like to move him up to 3'3," Schatt revealed. "At some point, depending on when he says it's time, Debbie will start to ride him a little bit in the Adults. Our plan moving forward is that he would be ready to do First Years and at the least the 3'3" Amateurs next year if not the 3'6."

Kaepernick caught Stevens' eye the day he was imported and after watching Schatt work with the talented young prospect, she decided to make him her own. "I think she bought him with her heart," Schatt smiled. "She liked him from the start. She watched us bring him along and what we did with him. She saw the good things and the naughty things he did and she just loved him."

Schatt is eager to see the pair get to know each other and looks forward to watching Stevens compete with Kaepernick in the future. "I let her ride him at home and jump a few days. He's still very green for an amateur, but they did get along very well. When she made mistakes, he didn't hold it against her. I think when the time is right, it's going to be an awesome match," Schatt expressed.

Schatt is also grateful to have an owner completely on board with her approach to training. "For me, if you don't start on a good note with amateurs, it usually doesn't go well. She's been nice enough to tell us when we're ready, she's ready, and she'll enjoy watching him until then," Schatt stated.