Erin Silo’s “Dance Monkey” Scores New Personal Best

Canadian dressage rider Erin Silo didn’t have the ride she was hoping for on Saturday at the Thunderbird Dressage CDI, presented by Winifred Steinkopf Hall, Gordon & Wendy Christoff, and Blue Heron Farm. Come Sunday, she turned that setback into a comeback.

Aboard her nine-year-old KWPN gelding Jett, Silo scored a win and a new personal best in the CDI1* FEI Intermediate I Freestyle, sponsored by Winifred Steinkopf Hall.

“I didn’t ride my test very well yesterday,” said Silo of her performance in Saturday’s CDI1* class. (They finished third on a score of 67.147%.)

“I let one mistake rattle me a little bit and I didn’t give my horse the confidence that he needed in the arena. I had to take the lesson from yesterday and go out there today and apply it and be present, which was a good lesson. Today, it was all about keeping him in front of my leg and just going out there and enjoying it, not overthinking it.”

It was a feat accomplished. Silo and the 16.1 hand gelding earned a score 71.755% from the judges, the best score to date for a pair that only started competing at the CDI level in June.

“He was a good dance partner today,” smiled Silo.

No doubt playing to their advantage on Sunday was their infectiously upbeat freestyle music featuring Tone and I’s “Dance Monkey.”

“It’s definitely different,” said Silo of the musical arrangement. “It’s super playful and kind of bouncy to match his personality. He’s a small, weird little guy. I don’t think classical music or anything traditional would suit him in the slightest. So I wanted to play off the fact that he’s tiny and bouncy and quirky.”

The judges concurred. Silo and Jett’s highest mark on the day, a 73.757%, came from Jane Weatherwax, the Judge at E. Acclaimed FEI 5* judge Stephen Clarke, the judge at C, awarded the pair a 71.375%—it was the second highest CDI score he issued that week. (Only Silo’s coach, Shelley Lawder, earned a higher mark from Clarke for her winning Small Tour performance on Friday).

Winning is becoming a habit for Silo and Jett at Thunderbird Show Park. In June, they scored a pair of personal bests at the Touch of Class CDI, winning both the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediate I. Sunday’s victory in the Freestyle completes their Small Tour trifecta.

“It’s always a work in progress,” said Silo. “But, every time I get to go in the arena with him, I learn. I learn more about him, and I feel like it grows our relationship.”

Carol Robinson (CAN) and Lightfoot took second in the Small Tour Freestyle on a score of 70.090%. Amy Wellburn (CAN) and Dinamico TG finished third on 66.440%.

Silo and Jett will dance one more time next week at the CDI in Calgary, Alberta.

CDI1* FEI Intermediate Freestyle Results
Rider / Nation / Horse / E / H / C / M / B / Total 

1. Erin Silo / CAN / Jett / 73.575 72.500 71.375 69.925 71.400 71.755
2. Carol Robinson / CAN / Lightfoot / 73.550 68.350 68.250 71.225 69.075 70.090
3. Amy Wellburn / CAN / Dinamico TG / 66.900 67.575 64.750 67.475 65.500 66.440