Guenter Seidel, a three-time Olympic Games medalist in dressage, has secured the ride on a new Grand Prix horse, Coral Reef Wylea. Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer, owner of Coral Reef Ranch in Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., bought the 13-year-old Westphalian mare (Weinberg—Si Jolie, Saluut) for Seidel to compete.
The farm also owns show jumpers, including Beezie Madden’s Olympic mount Coral Reef Via Volo. Wylea, previously called Winci, was owned by former U.S. dressage chef d’equipe Klaus Balkenhol and ridden by his daughter Anabel Balkenhol. Anabel and the mare placed sixth in the Grand Prix Special (70.37%) and ninth in the Grand Prix (70.25%) at the Lingen CDI (Germany) last June.
Seidel, 52, was left without a top mount after his lease on Marie Meyers’ Fandango expired last fall. While he went to Europe looking for a young horse, when he came across “Wylea,” he knew she was the right one.
“She was such a great horse and a good match for me, that I felt like it was a good thing for me,” he said. “She’s big, she’s very powerful and she’s quite hot, all things I like in a horse. When you buy horses at that level and that caliber, you like to know as much of the history of the horse as you possibly can. I think that was, for me, a big draw, because I knew exactly what she had done over the years and how she’s been ridden.”
According to Seidel, Wylea has a strong piaffe and passage. “She’s like a very dominant woman. Very strong-willed, but at the same time, she really works for you,” he said.
While Seidel has only had the mare for about a month, he’s excited to start showing. He hopes to take her to the Dressage Getaway show in Thermal, Calif., in January to school, then make their showing debut in Del Mar, Calif., in February.
“It’s all a little new. Once you start working with a horse, you find little things you want to improve. So far I’m super happy. It’s a work in progress, even though it’s an older horse. You still need to find out how to warm up at a show and how much to push—all things that you learn by most likely making the mistakes first,” said Seidel, of Cardiff, Calif.
Seidel admitted that it was too soon to make big goals for the future. “[I’d like to] go to Europe and try out for the [2014 Alltech FEI] World Equestrian Games [France] or the next Olympics, but that’s premature at this point. That would be a goal or a dream to achieve that, but you know how it goes—one step at a time.”