Jumping Up the Levels with Saer Coulter and Springtime; from their first moments together to competing internationally.

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Jumping Up the Levels with Saer Coulter and Springtime; from their first moments together to competing internationally.

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Jan. 06,2015
Selena Frederick

With the holidays winding down, and the new year beginning, many riders and trainers are looking for that next “move-up” horse.  Or maybe you’ve already/recently purchased your latest and greatest mount (hopefully through ProEquest - wink wink) to take you to that next level and you’re still in the get-to-know-you phase and you're curious about how other riders made the transitions up the ranks with their mounts. You’re in luck. ProEquest was able to catch up with one of NorCal’s well-known and successful internationals riders, Saer Coulter of Copernicus Stables, LLC to talk about her “move-up”  horse; the lovely, competitive, and international top mount, Springtime.

Horse Name: Springtime

Gender: Gelding

Breed: Dutch Warmblood KWPN

Sire: Indorado | Dam: Jottie

Age: 15 Years (Foaled: April 13, 1999)

Height: 16.1hh

Color: Dark Bay

Barn Name: Springtime (occasionally “Spring”)

Owner: Copernicus Stables, LLC

Rider: Saer Coulter (5 years)

Springtime and Saer competing in Hamburg, Germany on the Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) this past summer 2014. Credit: Photo courtesy of Noelle Floyd 

Kismet

As fate, or in Saer’s words “luck,” would have it, Saer just happened to be in the right place at the right time to purchase Springtime in the summer of 2010.  Saer was 18, just graduated high school and Springtime was a competitive 10 year old with a mind of his own, ready and willing to take over the ride.

“I bought him in Holland while competing that summer.” said Coulter. “ We worked with Emile and Paul Hendrix. Paul had actually watched Springtime since he was a 5 year old and always loved him. I joke that I got really really lucky because I was staying at their place, riding and talking with them a lot and was able to try Springtime almost immediately when we caught wind that he was available.”

Having watched Springtime compete with Natalie Van der Mei in 2 Nations Cups for the Dutch Team, he was just starting his 1.60m career while Saer was simultaneously looking for exactly that: her next top mount.  

The Transition

If you’ve ever had the privilege of watching Coulter and Springtime compete, he often canters into the ring in a calm, cool and collected manner. Ironically, this has not always been the case. Like all great relationships, in the beginning, there were a few bumps to iron out.

“Springtime has a mind of his own, but he likes to pretend he doesn’t,” laughed Coulter, “When we got him home to Petaluma (CA) I couldn’t really ride him. He’d been with Natalie since he was 5 and he was now 10 with me. We did him in the highs and he knew he could pull me, this kid, totally under it.

Overall, looking back, I was really lucky. Springtime is incredibly brave; he never blinked an eye as I made a mistake, and he was always there.”

“Dad” and Springtime at the World Cup Finals in Lyon (France) this past spring. Credit: Photo courtesy of Saer Coulter.

With the help of her former international trainer Markus Beerbaum (GER), Coulter and Springtime began to understand each other; they grew together resulting in consistency in the quality of their rounds, which led to the possibility of what Saer had always hoped for: a top mount.

“Markus really understood the horse in a fantastic way. He spent a lot of time on the flat with Springtime because he use to pull so much. Markus has an incredible way of understanding the horses and making them so rideable,” which really showed in Thermal (2011) when Coulter and Springtime placed 2nd in a World Cup Qualifier. That following July they competed in their first 5* Nations Cup in Falsterbo, Sweden walking away with a respectable 8 faults in the first round and 4 in the second.

Lessons

Saer was not short on words when it came to the lessons Springtime has taught her as a rider. Although the pair enter the ring focused and seemingly collected (no pun intended), “He’s hotter than he looks!” laughed Coulter.  “He’s a lot more sensitive than he appears and can be a bit cheeky. We joke about his mood because when you walk into the barn, you can immediately tell if he’s in a good or bad mood. I wouldn’t call him moody, but there are days he will look at you and stick his head out to say hi, while other days he will pin his ears and want to be left alone. But when it comes to work, he loves it.”

Learning the art of balance when it comes to intense show schedules and time abroad, it’s important to figure out the recipe of what works best for each horse. Sometimes less is more, which Saer found true for Springtime’s competition schedule. Although he’s a “work horse,” and enjoys his job; their unique path to success is marked by a meticulous, thoughtful schedule. “This year, I’ve been careful with him which has brought back more consistency.

Springtime and Saer competing in London this past summer on the Global Champions Tour (GCT). Credit: Photo courtesy of Noelle Floyd

Confidence, Consistency and Clear Rounds

In the last 5 years, the two have connected in their confidence and faith in each other. “He’s taught me a lot about patience and given me a lot of confidence moving up the levels. Not being afraid; for example if I have a bad round on him, he doesn’t even blink an eye and I know I could go right back in and jump a clear round.

When you’re jumping 1.40m - 1.60m classes, a huge part of it is going into the ring thinking and knowing you can do it. Springtime has given me that confidence. It’s made me a smoother rider and built my faith in him which helps him jump better rounds.

Even when we would have our good rounds and then some not so quality rounds, he has a HUGE heart.”

First and Memorable Wins

Sensitive, hard-working and extremely careful, Springtime has proven to have all the makings of greatness which have been seen in a few of Coulter’s most memorable wins on him.

“The first big class I won on Springtime was a total fluke,” remarked Saer regarding their win at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament (featuring the 127th National Horse Show) in 2010. “I actually broke the trophy during the awards ceremony too” laughed Saer. Thinking she had just “cantered around” the course, this was one she won’t forget - especially with Beezie Madden and Via Volo in a close 2nd.

Their memorable and unexpected win at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament. Photo Credit:  Phelpssports.com

Finally, winning one of two World Cup Qualifiers at HITS Thermal 2013 this past winter was another one for the books. Enabling her and Springtime to compete at the World Cup Finals which proved to be a valuable experience that some riders can only dream about.

Cheers! To new beginnings

Whether you’re working through the bumps of a new relationship with your “move-up” horse, or you’re sitting here nodding your head in agreement while reminiscing about your own past growing pains with your now top mount; it’s safe to say, these four-legged animals teach us lessons that often extend beyond the arena. Patience, confidence, consistency and working in partnership - all the makings of greatness are ready to be had by those willing to learn.

A huge thank you to Saer Coulter and Copernicus Stables, LLC for their time. Wishing you and Springtime all the best in your future endeavors.

Springtime getting some love from Saer at the Nations Cup in Gijon, 2013. Credit: Photo courtesy of Saer Coulter.





 

 

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