Siglavy II Sandra
by Kit Young Knotts - Click images to enlarge

Sandi changed everything for the Lipizzaner in dressage competition. Before he exploded on the scene, the breed's reputation in competition was based on circus-trained, poor moving horses who were not a credit to classical or competitive tradition. Here all of a sudden was a Lipizzaner with three extraordinary long-strided gaits, more size and a willing temperament.

His first year of competition culminated at Dressage at Devon where, against the best of all breeds in the country, he placed second and third in large Second Level classes.


To backtrack - In 1981, I learned that Tempel Farms was selling a number of horses and decided to have a look. Karl and Ellin Mikolka showed me nice horse after nice horse. As the day drew to a close, they mentioned a five-year-old that they had never seen move. Ellin brought him out and, as Karl came from the barn with another horse, Sandi displayed his breathtaking trot. Wow!!!! was all any of us could say.

The walk was good but he wouldn't canter, only trot bigger. We resorted to chasing him around the indoor track with a broom. He finally took three steps in canter and I said OK. Sandi disappeared in a cloud of dust and we found him back in his stall, looking at us with wide-eyed wonder.

At Pegasus

At Blue Hill Farm

At his first show

During that first competetive year, we encountered some judges who were prejudiced against our breed and it showed in the scoring. We knew we had to earn their respect but wanted to do so based on talent, not preconceptions. I entered Sandi without his Lipizzaner name, listed him as an American Warmblood, and cut his mane. Soon he was winning in top competition. 

  Sandi was a pioneer in musical freestyle in the US. He loved performing to music and that was reflected in his wins. In all of his freestyles every beat of the music matched his every stride, and he was the first in the country to perform with custom music, composed long distance by John Egenes of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  


Personally, Sandi was an amazing guy. His eyes were always smiling, with pleasure or with mischief. His work ethic was unparalleled. I could count on him to give everything he had regardless of the conditions -- blazing heat, bitter cold, blinding rain, numbing fatigue.

My teachers over the years, Melle van Bruggen, Jessica Ransehousen and Jaap Pot, loved him. If they could get me right, he was a superstar.

He taught the other horses how to travel, adapt to new places, beg for treats with a special twist. He was my best friend.

In later years, partly because of small soundness issues, he was eclipsed in competition by his half-brother Duce. That doesn't diminish his contributions in paving the way for all Lipizzaners to follow. He earned every blue ribbon the hard way.


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