Heidi Degele Eyes the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Championships in August
Written by Betsy LaBelle
Degele triumphs in the mastery of training and competing young horses to the Grand Prix level, all while growing a significant dressage horse sales business in South Florida. With two horses currently vying for the top 15 in the Markel/USEF Developing Dressage Horse Championships, Degele enthusiastically looks forward to upcoming competitions.
Earlier in April, Lakota HD scored a 67.125% in the Developing Grand Prix at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. It just gets better and better as the horse continues to develop for the finals, “Lakota is all about fun. When he has the braids in his mane, he starts dancing in the cross ties. He cannot wait to get into the horse trailer and to the competition ring.” Degele and Lakota HD competed successfully in the 2015 Markel/USEF Developing Prix St Georges Dressage National Championship in 2013.
USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist Heidi Degele does much more than compete and triumph in dressage. At her solely-owned, private Heidi Dressage, LLCconsignment and imported horses sales facility in Wellington, Florida, she trains quality horses, many of which qualify to go for Markel/USEF Developing Dressage Horse Championships.
Continuing to make record sales, Degele has several partners to bring top International Adult Amateur safe horses to her farm directly from Europe, “Since the beginning of the 2015 show season, I’ve sold close to 20 horses so far. The quality of the horses has risen to a whole new level. It’s a very rewarding business to see happy horse owners for years and years, and to watch them succeed in the show ring. I sell horses to many riders and trainers from Wellington all the way to Canada to Washington State and even to Peru. I enjoy making happy combinations. That’s so important to match that a horse and rider well.”
Degele’s primary focus on training developed while she trained in Germany with Hubertus Schmidt in Germany from 2004-2007. Degele believes in a program for the horses and how important it is that they know their program every day. Applying that philosophy, Degele can add a little bit to each day’s training. But, it is vital that the horse comes to enjoy instruction, “I train and touch on what’s difficult for each individual horse so the horse can improve and get stronger, but I don’t want to drill so much that the horse resents the work. I make it fun. That’s the key to success. I think the end result is to be able to train the horses so that it’s looks effortless in the ring.”
With Lakota HD currently eighth on the USEF 2015 Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship Ranking List and fighting to get Benson HD into the top 15 Developing Prix St. George. Degele with the help of Caroline Roffman imported Benson HD originally as a sales horse, but immediately, Degele fell in love with Benson and worked to make him her own.
This 9-year-old KWPN by Sandreo (Sandro Hit) is like an old soul; Benson HD is all business. Benson wants to succeed 100%, “He’s completely focused all the time. He’s just been learning the show routine and already he understands exactly what’s expected of him. When we enter that arena, he’ll be doing his very best every single step.” When Lars Petersen saw him, he commented that the horse is the best Heidi has worked with yet and is thrilled to see how they develop. Heidi feels reassured, “This confirms my thoughts that now I can go for my next goals on a super horse.”
Lakota has a playful personality and loves to show, “These scores have been the greatest reward, given that I’ve trained him from the beginning all the way from Training Level to Grand Prix. I look forward to receiving an invitation to the Young Horse Markel Grand Prix Finals. It’s such a great feeling. I’ve always had the motto, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I’m grateful for what I have achieved.”
Looking to continue up to the FEI level and compete in CDIs after this year’s Markel/USEF Developing Horse Dressage National Championships, Degele has currently been working with Bent Jensen. Confident she is on the right path with these two horses, she explained, “Bent has put amazing touches on these horses and my riding. Just what we needed!“ Working with top farrier Adam Holland and Dr. Weston Davis, top veterinarian and surgeon at Palm Beach Equine along with a team of compassionate and dedicated employees, no detail is ever overlooked. Several recurrent German and Dutch riders visit each winter to help with the added workload.
“I have to thank Custom Saddlery (Cary Wallace) for its sponsorship. I just started riding Benson HD in a new Everest saddle and I’m certain that has also helped his scores. I don’t know whether we would have been so successful without them. And, I want to thank Lisa Wallace with DSB Boots, another wonderful sponsor.”
Example Sales Horse: ‘Look at Me’ – Small 16.2, 2006 Holsteiner gelding – Schooling 4th level with an excellent Piaffe – Sired by (Lordanos – Landos – Lord X Levantos 1)- Safe for any Adult Amateur – Imported directly from Holland for sale.
Dressage Trainer | Dressage Sales Horses | Young Horse Trainer | Competition Preparation
Heidi Degele – Mesa Farms, LLC
Custom Saddlery Names Heidi Degele Most Valuable Rider for Championing Three Horses at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge III
Heidi Degele Dominates High Points, Sets Up for Success at Young Horse Championships