When watching Grand Prix dressage rider Candace Platz and her 13-year-old gelding Fynn perform, it’s hard to believe that Fynn was born not as a dressage prospect but as the offspring of a PMU mare.
Fynn was purchased for just $550 off a trailer as a five-month-old, only minutes before he was to be taken away to slaughter.
The draft cross who is registered as an American Warmblood by the US Equestrian Federation was bred in Canada on a PMU farm. He was bound for a kill truck before Adaire Hiestand bought him after seeing his picture online.
Fynn spent his early years as a children’s camp horse, but as a five-year-old was ridden by dressage rider Karri McFadden, who was impressed with the youngster.
Adult amateur rider Platz bought Fynn as an eight-year-old, and has brought him up the levels ever since.
“Fynn is kind of a miraculous guy,” says Platz.
“My trainer Ruth Hogan-Poulsen told me that Fynn’s self-carriage and gaits are now more beautiful than she ever thought they could be.”
The combination was honored at the the Adequan Global Dressage Festival by sponsor Piaffe Performance, an elite dressage facility that enjoys taking time to honor exceptional adult amateur riders who compete at high levels of the sport.
After watching Platz and Fynn’s Grand Prix test and learning their story, top international rider and trainer Dr Cesar Parra – owner of Piaffe Performance – presented Platz with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award.
Parra, an Olympian and US Pan American Games Team Gold Medalist who has also represented the US in the 2014 World Cup, was proud to honor Platz as a fellow equestrian who exemplifies a core value of Piaffe Performance – working hard to achieve dreams.
As recipient of the Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award, Platz won a ribbon, commemorative engraved photo frame, and medallion. Platz was honored to be rewarded for her work with Fynn, whom she described as loyal, reliable, dutiful, and smart.
To other adult amateurs traveling up the levels in dressage, Platz advises: “Get something you’re not afraid to ride with abandon. Then you can really let go and learn. If you’re a little backed off your horse and it’s a stretch for you, this level is hard enough without trying to overcome physical and mental limitations, which we all have. So my advice is to be really honest with yourself and what you truly like about riding and what really feels good to you.”
When asked how she stays motivated and passionate about riding, Platz said: “I am very fortunate to have a coach who is really specific about goals. Today I tried my best, and Ruth said I did it. So I’m very glad about that as well as winning this award from Piaffe Performance.”