BioStar-Powered Hunters Dominate the WCHR Hunter Spectacular
Hunter Star Lafitte De Muze recently claimed the top prize in WEF’s WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular with rider Amanda Steege, earning a total score 177.74. Cheryl Olsten, owner of Lafitte, talks horse ownership, the journey that she has been on with Lafitte, and how much care goes into his health and wellbeing. Read on to hear about the joy she has found and how his management brings in the best BioStar supplements to help him succeed, at the hunter spectacular and elsewhere:
What motivated you to become an owner for an individual rider?
A number of years ago, a professional that I knew quite well recommended Amanda Steege. Knowing our sensibilities aligned, he thought we would be a good owner – rider fit. That certainly proved to be the case, we have been together for a good seven plus years now.
What drew you to Lafitte initially?
A client of Amanda’s sent a video of Lafitte. We both liked what we saw, the way he carried himself, that jump! and those bright eager eyes. It seemed a trip was in order for Amanda to fly over to Germany to try Lafitte. There was no doubt, she was smitten after the first time she rode him.
When you first saw Lafitte, did you imagine that his success would accumulate to what it is today?
It wasn’t too long after I purchased Lafitte that I had a strong feeling about him. And it was that feeling that prompted me to call Lynn Coakley, the president of the Equus foundation. We had a really nice conversation, I told her about Lafitte and that I thought it would be a great idea to donate the majority of his prize money to EQUUS. I also said this was just a hunch, no promises.
That “hunch” became reality as Lafitte and Amanda have been bringing home the blue ribbons. Donating the lion share of his prize money to help horses in need, especially the ones that have fallen into dangerous hands, has been incredibly rewarding. Lafitte’s success has become more than winning, he’s garnered such a wonderful reputation. The whole experience has been very gratifying.
Tell us about your reaction to his big win in this past week’s hunter spectacular!
BLOWN AWAY. Last year Lafitte was the recipient of the Peter Whetherill award, which was such an honor. Then to come back this year to win the class, was heaven and earth coming together, so joyful. After last year with shows cancelling, it seems everyone this year is out in full force competing again. The classes, especially the 3’6″ class had well over 100 horses. It was such a roller coaster week, that I was already frazzled. We were all so elated getting into Saturday night’s class; now Amanda and Lafitte had to reach for that brass ring.
That Saturday morning, I said to Amanda, ‘You have a lot of people pulling for you tonight, the sun is shining, have a super fantastic night! Above all, have fun.’ I had no idea Amanda put a call into Tom Wright before the second round asking for his advice. Tom has worked with Amanda and Lafitte, so he knew the horse really well. His advice proved to be the winning ticket, Amanda and Lafitte pulled off a “spectacular” second round. Tom actually said to me last year at WEF, “Lafitte will win this class next year”
How did he know?
What advice would you give to other individuals considering stepping into the role as owner in the equine industry?
Take your time, it’s like looking for a new home, you’ll know when it feels right, don’t settle. But most of all, work with someone you trust, and do your homework.
What is your favorite part of being an owner?
My father owned racehorses and I have distinct memories of being in the owner’s box on race night. How happy my dad was, and the excitement in the air as people were standing and shouting as the horses neared the finish line. I guess it was that feeling and those memories that stayed with me. I enjoy the collaboration; what shows when, what’s the plan, his physical condition, his state of mind.
When Amanda and Lafitte are on course, and all is good and they are riding as one, it’s just the best. I appreciate a well-designed course, good footing, exciting jumps that show off the horse and the rider’s skill. Saturday nights Hunter Spectacular second round, the first two jumps and hard turns and slices made for a challenging course. It was an extra layer that the riders had to think about. I really enjoyed it, and I know Amanda and Lafitte certainly did.
As an owner, what are the most important decisions you feel that you make for your horse in regard to their care and management?
Mind and body; Lafitte gets massage therapy, also acupuncture when needed. His diet is monitored carefully, as are all the horses at Ashmeadow Farm. Tim Delovich, Amanda’s partner and manager, is the one who makes the decisions on feed and supplements. He does careful, diligent research before making any decisions on who gets what. As for Lafitte’s mind, he’s a happy fellow—I’m always asking, and Amanda usually tells me, his bright eyes are shining. Ashmeadow has a great team, from the guys who care for him every day, to the girls who ride him when Amanda can’t, they are all on top of their game. I’ve never had to be concerned.
What drew you to the BioStar products for Lafitte specifically? How do you feel they have made a difference for him?
(Tim Delovich, manager of Lafitte’s barn care, on the BioStar difference.)
I am constantly trying to find better and more natural ways to help our equine partners through nutrition. After the recommendation of a friend and some research, BioStar’s supplements made from ingredients used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine seemed to be what I had been looking for. I decided to try several BioStar supplements on Lafitte and soon started to see positive results in his stamina and performance, as well as in his overall physical and mental well-being.
Now, after being on BioStar supplements for over a year, Lafitte’s performance in the show ring has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you BioStar for creating supplements that have helped bring out the best in Lafitte.
Taking second place in the prestigious class was Gigi Manigault’s Walk-Off, ridden by Elizabeth Boyd. Walk-Off, who also utilizes BioStar whole food supplements, won the second round of the Hunter Spectacular with the class’ highest score of 91, earning him a total score of 177.66.