March 3, 2014--Nicole Lyvere of Denver, CO, topped the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 on Sunday morning at the FTI WEF. Lyvere and her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding Wink were third in the under saddle, won two over fences classes, and were second in another over fences round to clinch the division title.
The reserve champion of the division was Humor Me, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl. Danhakl rode Humor me to second place under saddle and first, fifth and fifth over fences.
Lyvere has owned Wink for the last few years after buying him from Don Stewart in Ocala. She admitted Wink was quite green when she got him and was happy to see her journey with the gelding come full circle.
"He was super, super green when I got him. He's come a long way," Lyvere smiled. "Now, he's getting in the routine where he loves the horse show and he hates to be at home! When he's at a horse show, he's happy."
Despite Wink being green when Lyvere first tried him, there was something about the gelding that instantly clicked with her.
"He just had this really cool feeling and he was the first fancy horse that I got. I'd never had a horse that jumped as well. He wasn't very broke, and I'm out there flopping around. He would even bear down at the jumps a little bit, but we just clicked at the beginning. We've had our battles, but he's just so fun to ride," Lyvere descrbed.
Wink has made a lot of progress, but that doesn't mean he doesn't occasionally give Lyvere a run for her money.
"He's super comfortable. He'll always push your buttons, though. If you give him an out, he'll take it most of the time. He has an attitude, a sassy attitude that he knows he's good. But he's perfect! The best ones always have some sort of attitude," Lyvere remarked.
Bringing Wink along with the help of trainer Cindy Cruciotti has been a rewarding experience for Lyvere, who prefers working her way up the levels with her horse instead of going for one that's a bit more push-button. After Cruciotti campaigned the horse in the First Year Green Working Hunters, Lyvere contested the 3'3" amateur-owner divisions with Wink before making the move up to 3'6" in 2013.
"It's awesome. That's my favorite thing. It's nice to have a made horse and go in there and win, but for me that's not as fulfilling. Most of my horses, I've had them since they were younger and brought them up through the ranks," Lyvere expressed.