January 30, 2014- International Para-Equestrian Dressage competitor Susan Treabess and 2005 Pura Raza Española (PRE) stallion Kamiakin have been working hard with less than five months before the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ USEF Selection Trials. Susan was at this moment once before in 2010 before she qualified and competed for the United States at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. In 2014, Susan has been training at home in Winters, CA, while being a mom to her 17 month old baby, and running a full-circle training and boarding facility at her own Winterhaven Dressage & Horsemanship. When August approaches Susan and Kamiakin, owned by Susan in partnership with Katie and Scott Hill of the Netherlands, hope to be representing not only the United States but the PRE community.
Looking at Susan in the FEI ring, a spectator may not notice her left hand is a prosthesis. Her preciseness and elegance in the ring has brought her not only multiple accolades in the high-performance sport of Para-Dressage but also in the able-bodied Dressage ring. Her abilities both in and out of the ring have made her noticed by numerous high profile Dressage trainers and owners. As a Grade IV rider (the classification she was given due to her disability) Susan must be on par with able-bodied professionals in order to be competitive internationally with other para riders in her division. “After I saw the quality of horses and riders in the grade IV division at 2010 WEG, I knew I needed to up my game and make a serious commitment if I wanted to have a shot at a medal,” states Treabess. In the fall of 2010, Treabess left her high profile job as a political consultant for a California State Senator in Sacramento to open her own training business at Federica Beatrice’s Somerset Farm in Winters CA. “Giving up my professional job was scary, I’m not going to lie,” laughs Treabess, “but I’ve applied many of the same skills that made me successful in political negotiations, within my horse business. The WEG provided an incredible networking opportunity and opened many doors for me to meet and consult with the best-of-the-best in the horse industry. Riders, Coaches, Veterinarian’s, Equipment Makers, Equine Therapists, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers, etc. I’ve been able to see what goes in to the makings of success. What many people don’t realize is that it’s so much more than training and riding. You can have the best coaches and best horse in the world, but if your horse is nutritionally deficient, or his feet aren’t right, or the saddle doesn’t fit, or you are working on bad footing, or his neck is a bit tight…the castle will fall. And the rider has to be in the same place as well, good nutrition, fit and healthy. We are in a great place right now because Kam is in the best shape he can be in, so for this year it’s about getting me back after having my son. It’s going to come down to my fitness and riding.”
“Kam,” is Kamiakin, a coming 9 year old PRE stallion who is American bred, raised and trained. In 2011, after a successful show year as a six year old with a median score of 73% at training level and a United States Dressage Federation All-Breeds Champion award, Katie and Scott Hill sent Kam to Susan for training and possible sale. Within a short amount of time Susan knew that this horse was headed for the top level of the Dressage world. “I knew I was 100% behind this horse the first day I saw him,” says Susan of Kam, “He was going to need some time and I was newly pregnant so I turned him over to my assistant Eva (King) and he just blossomed during that year. His temperament and trainability are outstanding. He has this incredible ability to focus. Sure he has his stallion moments, but you can get him back and depend on him. Its exactly what we need in the international ring.” In 2013, Treabess showed Kamiakin at third level and in the first Para WEG qualifier held at Rancho Murietta, CA. “2013 was about ring exposure and gait development. We kept it simple and he just got better and better as the year went on.” Kam won many high-point awards in 2013 including USPRE High Point Award and the Tambu Trophy (high point stallion) at the California Dressage Society Championship. Kamiakin is currently being prepared for the FEI Developing Horse in addition to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™.
In the past few years Treabess has become an advocate for the PRE horse, 4 years ago she had just one in her barn where now she has 11 that either she rides or her clients ride. “The PRE’s are special, they are easy to form a bond with and they are partners for life. For me, no matter what the breed, I need a horse that I can ride off my seat with an elastic contact. My good hand has some nerve damage so it falls asleep often, and the heavier the horse in the hand the worse it is for me. Originally I was attracted to the PRE’s because of this, but then once I gained more experience with the breed I realized they could be everything I was looking for in an international horse.” Susan also explains that she does look for a certain type of PRE for herself and her clients, “I like the sporty types. I look for the horses that are elastic in their body and show aptitude for suspension and gait development.” Treabess says that it will be incredibly rewarding should she and Kam earn their place to represent the US in Normandy, “Kam is a horse that we have developed from training level; he was bred by a US breeder in eastern Washington and was bought on a hope and a prayer as a gangly 2yo by Katie who saw his potential when not many others did. If we make it to the WEG it will be an extraordinary example of several people living the American Dream.”