Simonne Staub Standing Out at the 2005 Sunshine Tour

Sun, 04/10/2005 - 00:00
2005 Sunshine Tour

Swiss dressage rider Simonne Staub stood out at the 2005 Sunshine Tour in Spain competing three high quality dressage horses. With Wendolin II and Laertes as small tour partners and Robespierre as big tour companion

, the talented Swiss FEI rider scored in the upper sixties and harvested two trophies and plenty of ribbons during her three-week stay in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain.

Riding the 10-year old Robespierre, Staub constantly positioned herself in the top ten on the leader board. The combination improved considerably towards the end of the show by claiming a final fifth place (67.500%) in the invitational Grand Prix kur to music. One week before, they also achieved 67,833% in the Grand Prix.

Robespierre is a Danish warmblood gelding by Raimondo out of Lakarina is very green at Grand Prix level. "With 'Robi' we did our first Grand Prix together," Staub told Eurodressage. "I also rode the Grand Prix Special and Kur for the first time in my life. I never had the possibility to start at Grand Prix before in Switzerland, because we only have three Grand Prix competitions this year." Staub purchased the dark bay Robespierre as a 5-year old and trained him to Grand Prix level herself. He is partly owned by Mr Motta.

With the 9-year old Hanoverian gelding Laertes II, she won the Prix St Georges with 69,167% the first show weekend. She placed third ( 65,167%) in the Intermediaire I the second weekend and second (67,668%) in the Prix St Georges in the third and final phase of the Sunshine Tour.

The Grand Prix ready Laertes II (by Lauries Crusador xx x Nurmi Novum xx) is Simonne's up and coming FEI horse. In 2004, the pair was submitted to the Swiss Elite Small Tour team by team coach Jurgen Koschel. Before Laertes' international debut at the Sunshine tour, the athletic bay gelding already claimed multiple victories at Intermediaire I level at several Swiss national dressage shows.

"'Lenni-Boy' is very sensitive and wants to do a good job. Sometimes he's still a bit unfocused, because he used to be a stallion until last summer. He likes the ladies around him and forgets that I am here too," Staub joked. "Often he tries to do the test by himself, because he knows exactly what will come. He is an absolute show man; the more people are watching him the bigger his movements get and then he is 100 % with me during the ride."

Simonne's third ticket to success in the Sunshine Tour was the bold 13-year Swiss bred gelding Wendolin II (by Wandango x Moldan). Aboard Wendolin II, she became the distinct winner of the Intermediaire I (66,500%) the final show weekend at Montenmedio.

Wendolin II has only been in training with Staub for four months, so the Sunshine Tour was the horse's first big outing. "He did a good job. Not everything worked the way I wanted it, because we do not know each other by heart yet," Staub explained. Nevertheless, the gelding, who is owned by Mr and Mrs Gantner, showed remarkable solidity in the small tour movements.

The 2005 Sunshine Tour was the ideal preparatory stepping stone for the big shows coming up this spring and summer. "The Sunshine Tour was a very good experience for me," Staub stated. "It's super to compete one weekend after the other, especially with young horses who don't have much experience. I think it's the best training you can give them. You can try out different things and know relatively soon if it works or not. However, I would never go there again without having a trainer by my side from start till end."

With the 2005 European Championships in Moscow set as goal for the year, Staub hopes to excel on Robespierre at international shows such as the CDI's in Bern, Munich, Lipica and Barzago, and attract the attention of the Swiss team selectors. "This was the reason why I decided to go to Spain. I had the possibility to add experience and points for international qualification and for becoming a member of the Swiss Team. I decided to go even though I knew it was a risk, as I did not exactly know where we stood. But I believed very much in my horses and told myself, "if it doesn't work, 'so what,' nobody knows me" and we will have a nice time," an open-hearted Staub declared.

The Swiss Federation will send five riders to Moscow of which four will compete and one is reserve. Staub has set her mind on capturing that coveted team place. "I try to do my best. I think I have a good chance. I have worked out a competition plan that it is not too strenuous for the horse and we'll still have a safety margin. Of course, I have to ride all mandatory competitions, which all Swiss riders have to do if they want to be in the team. It's called direct confrontation," Staub explained.

Though Staub said that she loves all her horses, she admitted to having a very special relationship with Laertes. "With Lenni I went through very hard times last year. He was in the clinic for a very long time because of a teeth operation. He was in a very bad shape with plastic tubes in his face. I went to the clinic every day before and after work to groom and walk him. I really feared for his life, but he survived and we really "glued" together since then."

The 33-year old Simonne Staub runs a dressage sales and training center with her husband Hans Staub in Bäretswil, Switzerland. She works her horses under the supervision of her husband, who is the triple Swiss dressage champion, and regularly trains with the legendary Georg Wahl, who coached Christine Stuckelberger to Olympic Gold. "Wahl taught me to ride with my back and legs and to have a very soft and flexible connection to the mouth without disturbing the movements," Staub revealed.

Though riding is her passion, Staub combines a career in horses with a professional career as business manager and investment consultant for the renowned Swiss private bank UBS.

"It is extremely difficult to manage both worlds," she disclosed. "Both are very demanding and I can't say to my horses (seven at the moment) that I have not time for them. The same goes for work. I have to do a good job on time without exceptions. This makes life sometimes a bit difficult, because you are in the office and have much to do and you know you should be home, because otherwise you are riding until 11 at night. But I work with a super team at UBS. They support me and motivate me to go ahead."

With an encouraging team behind her both at work and in the barn, Staub is a rising star for Switzerland. She proved her worth at the 2005 Sunshine Tour CDI and it is obvious more is in store for her.

Text and Photos copyrighted: Astrid Appels/

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