The Snowbird Diaries: We’ve arrived!

Maat van Uitert has flown south to Wellington for the winter with her two upper-level dressage horses, a retired FEI mare, and a baby event horse, and she’s letting HN tag along.

If you missed the first installation of her series, read it here.

From Maat:

It’s hard to believe how much has happened in 2012, and since it seems we all survived the Mayan Apocalypse unscathed, I think it’s safe to assume 2013 will bring even more.

I started out the year competing at Intermediate II with Nikita, and we were in the ribbons at every competition. We moved up to Grand Prix in April, and were in the top three places at all our competitions during the 2012 competition season. Sublime spent the first part of 2012 resting from his importation, and I started him back up in serious training in April. My partnership with him solidifies daily, and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring for him. TopGear, who came late to the party in August, competed twice, and was 5th at both his events after only three months in training. Hava, my homebred 2012 Dutch Warmblood filly (by Bugatti and out of Nicolbria), was first in her breed class last summer, and 4th out of 10 in the fillies of 2012 class.  What a year!

We arrived in Florida in early December–just in time to avoid the snow and ice in Maryland. The drive down was long, but uneventful, and everyone (four horses, two humans, one dog, 550 pounds of grain and 31 bales of hay) made it in one piece (although there was quite a bit of kicking from Sublime, who tends to be a princess). It’s been great meeting up with friends I haven’t seen since last season, and things got super busy right away! The horses are all happy to be in the warmer weather, and Sublime in particular has been having a great time playing in the sun.

We immediately got down to the business of training, and we’ve been working with Bent Jensen (who’s helped me with my horses for the past couple years). I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to watch horses being trained at his facility, and since there’s horses of all types and levels, there’s been a lot to take in. One nice thing about Wellington–there are a ton of learning opportunities within a five-minute radius!  Nikita is pretty much perfect, so I’ve been working on getting her stronger in the piaffe and passage work. Sublime occasionally forgets he has hind legs, so I’ve focused on getting him more on his hind end for collection and for the extended work. I’ve always known Sublime is a great horse, but as I’ve increased the work load, I’ve been impressed daily with his willingness to please and his ability to focus. His wonderful attitude means he’s made a lot of progress quickly!

It’s become quite obvious since our arrival that Nicolbria (who foaled Hava in 2012) is ready to be a mommy again. Every horse was born to do a job, and cooking babies is Nicole’s raison d’etre. The tease has propositioned even Nikita, and I’ve had to separate her, since the multitude of downed fences means I’ve spent way too much time on repairs. In April, she’ll be bred to Sir Sinclair for a 2014 foal!

January promises to be full of excitement, with the Global Dressage Forum North America, the Global Dressage Festival, the World Dressage Masters, and plenty of other learning opportunities!

Sublime (right) and Chamonix SSH (left) in the
trailer on the way down

About the author: Maat van Uitert is a USDF gold medalist based in Maryland and Wellington, FL (Dec-April). Maat currently accepts horses for sales and training, and her training program focuses on developing horses for FEI competition. Her website is

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