American Grand Prix rider Heather Blitz has pulled her top Grand Prix horse Paragon from competition sport. The 13-year old Danish warmblood has not been competed in almost two years and is currently working as a schoolmaster for Blitz' students.
Paragon is an American bred Danish warmblood gelding by Don Schufro out of Pari Lord (by Loran x Astaire). He is bred at Oak Hill Ranch in Louisiana, USA and is owned by Heather Blitz.
The 183 cm standing chestnut was saddle broken by Blitz in the U.S.A and she took him to Denmark, where she worked as a rider for four years. After her return to the U.S.A in 2010 Blitz began Paragon's competition career at small tour level. They qualified on the U.S. team for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they won team gold and individual silver.
The duo made the transition to Grand Prix level in 2012 and became the U.S. team alternate for the Olympic Games in London. Although he did not compete at the Games, the horse won the mock competition held during U.S. training camp in England before the Games.
In 2013 the pair competed extensively on the Wellington show circuit, but Blitz declined a grant to train and compete in Europe in the summer, citing that she did not want to push her 10-year old. In 2014 the combination only competed in three CDI's. Two in Wellington after which they dropped out of U.S. team contention for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, and then the CDI-W Devon.
In 2015 they competed in three CDI's in Wellington. The horse was withdrawn from the Special in the first CDI and at their last, the CDI-W Palm Beach Derby begin March, they were eliminated from the Special. The international judging panel officiating in Wellington often struggled marking the incredibly gifted mover Paragon. Many score discrepancies appeared on the board for Paragon, which exposed a clear weakness in the judging system. Blitz' and Paragon's all time Grand Prix high score was 74.064% (kur score 75.350%). Their lowest mark was 62.820% in their last Grand Prix class.
"I made the decision to not show him anymore for various reasons," Blitz told Eurodressage stressing that it was a personal decision. "I've been able to allow assistant trainers and students to benefit from lessons on him and he's enjoying a less scrutinized life. He was too extraordinary and caused a huge divide."
Blitz' competitive future is looking bright though. She is competing two small tour horses at international level: the 10-year old Trakehner Ozzy Cooper (by Hibiskus x Arrak) and Oak Hill Ranch's 8-year old Danish warmblood Ripline (by Hotline x Cavan).
Photo © Astrid Appels
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