This past weekend, Ali Baba, now 19, helped YET ANOTHER rider earn their USDF Gold Medal. Allison Harding rode her first Grand Prix on Ali Baba for a 63.75%, second place and this score earned Allison her Gold Medal. She had ridden 3 Grand Prix tests before on another horse, so she is still quite green at Grand Prix. I rode a Grand Prix on Ali Baba the day before, to be sure he was going to be good for Allison, and he won his class with a 66%!
This positive experience inspired me to reflect on all that Ali Baba has done for me over the years. I wanted to share my thanks and appreciation as you found him for me and trained me on him. I do not take lessons on him today, rather I just go by what I learned when I was at your barn.
When we went to Germany in search of a Grand Prix schoolmaster, I had never ridden above Prix St. Georges. I remember trying Ali Baba. He was the first horse I tried. I was flailing around attempting various aids and Ali Baba was guessing what I wanted and doing perfect movements. I got off and told you this was the horse I wanted. You told me that we had many more to try. I told you I wanted to reserve this horse. You did that for me, which was great, because someone else tried to buy him the next day, but the sellers stayed true to their word and held him for me. No other horse would do, even after trying so many other fabulous Grand Prix horses, and you arranged a flawless purchase for a great price.
… Three weeks after he came to the US, Ali Baba placed 3rd with me in an Intermediare 1 at the January 2002 Wellington Dressage show, behind you (Cesar) and Michele Gibson! That was him showing me the ropes in my first Intermediare 1. Ali Baba and I went on to win the Region 1 championships at PSG and Intermediare 1 for Adult Amateurs for 2002. He also took me through my first Intermediare 2, my first Grand Prix, my first Grand Prix Special and my first Grand Prix Freestyle…. I went in my first horse show and earned my USDF Gold Medal on Ali Baba in our first two tests. In our first season of Grand Prix, in 2003, he won the Dressage at Devon high score Adult Amateur at Grand Prix, the USDF Adult Amateur National Grand Prix champion, and the Region 1 USDF OPEN Grand Prix Championships. In 2004, he again won the Dressage at Devon high score Adult Amateur at Grand Prix, and also won the Adashi Florida Season Adult Amateur Grand Prix championship for 2004 and 2005, and was 2004 Reserve Champion USDF Adult Amateur National Grand Prix champion behind my other horse PF Robinson, whom you trained and sold me. He won many other awards…
His favorite snack are rice crispy treats, and he still HATES having days off.
He is truly, in every way, my horse of a lifetime. I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for finding this horse and for training him and me to be a team together.
Emmy Sobieski (Adwers)