Custom Saddlery Names Wendy Christoff ‘Most Valuable Rider’ at Golden State Dressage Festival
Rancho Murieta, CA (April 24, 2017) — When Wendy Christoff arrived in Rancho Murieta, California for her tenth year competing at the Golden State Dressage Festival, the odds seemed to be stacked against her. The Canadian dressage rider and coach traveled all the way from Delta, British Columbia with her two Dutch Warmblood geldings, 17-year-old Treffer (Niagara x Haarlem) and seven-year-old Flash (Van Gough x Jalonde), both of whom would have a lot to overcome if they were to do well at the show.
“Treffor had been sick most of the winter,” Christoff said. “We were able to train him a little bit over the last six weeks, and I just hoped that it would be enough. Flash, who I just started working with last January, is young and has not been shown a lot. This was his first CDI and Small Tour, so it was a little bit of a leap of faith to take him down there and put him in that show.”
To add to the challenge, the weather during the weekend of the show was severe, with wind and rainstorms accompanied by thunder and lightning and gusts up to 60 mph. But with Christoff in the saddle, Treffor and Flash remained calm and focused, overcoming their respective challenges with apparent ease to make this an unexpectedly successful weekend for Christoff. Aboard Treffor, she placed second in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special, and aboard Flash, she placed third in the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediate I.
“Flash really grew up over the weekend,” said Christoff. “He behaved beautifully, even in the jog, which he had never done before but acted as if he had done it every day of his life. Treffor came out of both tests feeling great, so I was very proud of him and also of my own horsemanship.”
Christoff’s excellent horsemanship also stood out to the show committee, who were so impressed that they selected her as the most recent recipient of the Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award. Custom Saddlery saddle fitter Stacy Berger presented Christoff with a Custom Saddlery tote bag, a MVR Award ribbon, and a gift certificate for $150 off of a Custom saddle.
Berger, who is Custom Saddlery’s expert fitter for Sacramento and Northern California, Nevada, and Oregon, said, “Despite the wind and rain, Wendy showed up and did well, treating her horse, show personnel, and other competitors with class and a smile. She is just a super gracious lady – it’s no wonder show management chose her for this award!”
Christoff herself rides in Custom saddles, having been introduced to this world-class saddle manufacturer in 2009 when she was asked to try one of their saddles with her Grand Prix horse. “It was a new saddle that had just been made, in the Custom Saddlery Everest line, and I had a horse with very high withers,” she recalled. “It made such a difference for him in his comfort level doing his job, because the Grand Prix is very hard. I was sold on the way that the saddle fit and how comfortable it was for me, as well. I have continued to stay with Custom ever since, and I try their new saddles on all of my horses as they come through the barn.”
That’s how she discovered the Wolfgang Matrix, a monoflap design with a special hybrid panel and a straight, flat tree. “My Custom Saddlery fitter, Lesley McGill, brought the Matrix for me to try with Treffor when it first came out two years ago,” said Christoff. “He is short-backed and round and doesn’t have a huge long wither or long sloping shoulders, so this saddle fits him really well.”
On Flash, Christoff rides in the Custom Advantage Monoflap for close contact.
Christoff was thrilled when she found out that she had won the Custom Saddlery MVR Award. “I’ve always believed that what you put into something is what you get back, so I have always tried to be helpful at shows and do things for the community, and I volunteer on a lot of different committees,” she said, referring to her work as a board member for Dressage Canada and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s Equine Health Research Fund, her co-management of the all-youth dressage show Rising Stars, and her support of various other projects while also riding, teaching, and coaching at her own facility, Blue Heron Farms. “It’s always lovely to be recognized for doing that, so I was absolutely thrilled,” she added. “I can’t thank Custom Saddles enough for sponsoring the award.”
Photo: Dressage rider Wendy Christoff (left) won the Custom Saddlery MVR Award, presented by Stacy Berger of Custom Saddlery (second from right), at the Golden State Dressage Festival (Photo courtesy of TamarawiththeCamera.com)
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