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Ariana Chia and Guateque IV: A Stellar Duo Takes Wellington by Storm


Guateque IV, bred and owned by Coves Darden has not lost any sparkle. Ridden by Canadian Ariana Chia, this duo has taken the spotlight by storm. In their first season in the Grand Prix, the scores have gotten better and better, and last week they set a new personal best with over 70%.

A total of eighteen riders competed in the Grand Prix CDI3* (AGDF7). Ariana Chia along with Guateque IV closed in the top five with a score of 67.022%. In the Grand Prix Special session, Ariana secured the silver position with a 70.298%, setting a personal record.

For a long time, Ariana Chia has been in the winner’s circle. She started riding and competing when she was seven. From Winnipeg, Canada, Ariana very quickly knew she wanted to pursue the sport more seriously, so she started traveling to Wellington during the winters in 2007. She competed at NAYC 3 times, twice as a junior and once as a Young Rider, and she has been competing internationally at the Grand Prix level since 2017. Most recently she was competing with Fiderflame, a horse that she owned and trained up to GP from a foal. Her biggest success so far has been short-listed for WEG in 2022

Do you have any fond memories of your first contact with a Spanish horse?
One year ago, I started working with Coves Darden Farm’s horses and I was blown away by the quality of PREs they are consistently producing. I had previously worked with a few Spanish horses here and there, with clients, but had never been exposed to the quality of them that we currently have in the stable. Miguel and Dorothea are a dynamic team when it comes to breeding- they have learned to refine the breed to be better for the sport, really improving the walks and the canters, which is so important for dressage.

What do you like most about the Spanish Horses?
For me, it’s the mind. Whether I’m working with a 3-year-old stallion or a 14-year-old, their minds are so much more logical than warmbloods. They are highly intelligent, super comfortable to ride, and a pleasure to train.

If you could ride a famous PRE horse right now, which would it be?
I would say I’m already riding him! Guateque IV

This season you made your debut in GP and recently beat your personal record by over 70%. Did you expect such results?
Since this was Guateque’s first time competing at the CDI Grand Prix, I have been optimistic but realistic about our goals. I could feel there was a good 70% in this horse after riding him for a few weeks. But of course, everything has to come together perfectly for that to happen, and I had to spend the summer getting him fit enough to put it all together and not run out of steam. And we are all just so glad it did and he was able to show off his quality, competitiveness, and most of all his heart in the ring.

Can you tell us more about Guateque IV?
Guateque IV is a 14-year-old PRE stallion bred and owned by CDF, by Layco out of Yasmin (Salinero XIII). He is one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever worked with and comes to the ring every day motivated and focused. This weekend, one of the judges came up to us and said “he gets a 10 for his ears!” And that is one of my favorite things about him, that he also passes on to his offspring, in addition to incredible temperaments. He is a horse that takes everything in stride- even if he’s never been into a ring before, he walks in with confidence as if he’s been there two dozen times already. That’s the kind of horse that makes competing on an international stage a pleasure. He’s always cool, calm, collected, and eager to take on the next challenge.

What are your short and long terms with Guateque IV?
Right now, we are working towards achieving all our MER scores for Paris. Then it will be about refining the tests upping our average and hopefully securing a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.

What do you think about the PRE breed in the US?
It’s been wonderful seeing the PRE breed break into the international dressage scene more and more over the years. To me- they are the ultimate AA horses due to their character, and how easy they are to sit and put together. They have proven to be super competitive at the FEI levels in recent years as well and that’s a very exciting development for the breed and the sport.