In 2020, Erin Silo (CAN) was shopping for a dressage horse to develop. She’d been on the hunt for months, but was having little luck.
“I vetted one in Poland. I vetted one in Langley. I’d gone to North Carolina. I had gone to Alberta. And then covid happened and I kind of gave up on finding a horse since traveling wasn’t really an option,” she shared.
Then fate, and a good friend in fellow dressage trainer Ashley Moore, intervened.
“Ashley actually went up to [the Okanagan to] try [Jett] because her Grand Prix horse was by the same sire [Johnson], but he was too small for her,” said Silo. The aptly named black gelding is only 16.1 hands. “So I’m very fortunate that she’s tall and I got him because I’m short! It was like the universe aligned to bring him to me.”
Even still, it took the former-eventer-turned-dressage-pro a beat to commit to buying the horse.
“I definitely liked him, but I was very apprehensive to spend [the money]. I grew up in the eventing world, buying horses off the racetrack for $5,000. So that was the first time that I was spending more than $5,000 on a horse,” she continued. “He was lovely, but I was really scared to make a commitment that big. I had sold my apartment and I was like, I’m spending my apartment profit on a horse. It was a totally irrational decision.”
In the end, it was her trainer Shelley Lawder’s confidence in the horse that convinced Silo to make the leap. But it was Jett’s charming personality that made her glad to have done it.
“He’s a quirky little dude. He’s super, super affectionate, but he can be quite spirited. He can be a little ball of energy that you don’t necessarily always know what’s going to happen,” she smiled. “But I love his quirkiness and I love his personality.”
On Friday at tbird, the Touch of Class judging panel loved their partnership. Sixteen pairs came forward to contest the FEI Prix St Georges CDI1* sponsored by Bonnie Brae Farm of Victoria, BC. It was Silo and Jett’s second ever CDI show and their first ever CDI victory. Earning a score of 69.563%, the Canadian rider and KWPN gelding were the only pair to crack the 69% barrier. It’s their personal best score by nearly two percent.
“Hands down it’s our biggest win,” smiled Silo.
“I was just pleased with how he handled himself and the environment. I thought he might think the Jumbotron was going to eat him. But, overall, he was good. He let me really ride him and I thought, for a green horse, he showed a lot of ride-ability and a lot of heart. And I love riding his tempis because they’re just a forte for him.”
Silo was equally impressed with the venue. “I’m just gobsmacked to be at Thunderbird. The facility looks insanely beautiful. It’s such an amazing experience to be able to come out and ride at a setup like this, with the caliber of judges and everything.”
She and Jett will try their hand again in the FEI Intermediate 1 CDI1* on Saturday and the Freestyle on Sunday.
FEI PRIX ST GEORGES CDI1*
Rider / Nation / Horse / H / C / B / Total
1. Erin Silo / CAN / Jett / 68.235 / 70.147 / 70.306 / 69.563
2. Dominique Buckland / CAN / Spangkaergaards Ramulus / 69.559 / 68.088 / 68.676 / 68.775
3. Lindsay Seidel-Wassenaar / CAN / Iko / 68.088 / 68.382 / 68.088 / 68.186
4. Gloria Schriever / CAN / Hilton OC / 68.088 / 68.382 / 67.647 / 68.039
5. Crystal Kroetch / CAN / Jysta Wizard / 67.206 / 68.382 / 65.735 / 67.108
6. Shelley Lawder / CAN / Epona S / 66.912 / 68.971 / 64.559 / 66.814