“We always joke when [Hilton] comes out of the ring, ‘Oh, my mom’s so happy. Her boy did so well!’ And she’ll say, ‘My girl did well, too,’” laughed Gloria Schriever.
The Canadian rider, 36, may be the one in the saddle, but she’ll be the first to tell you that the striking black gelding belongs to her mom, Iris, in the stable. It’s been that way since they imported the 16-hand Portuguese Sport Horse as a five year old.
“I found [Hilton] through a friend in Portugal. She had imported him from Spain as a yearling and he turned out to be too small for her. And that was perfect for me,” said Gloria, who is a diminutive 1.50m (five feet tall) “on the dot.”
“Everybody in our stable knows I’m the rider, but my mom is his person. He bonded with her immediately. Even today, she gets him ready in the stable at home, but also at the show. She’s his number one person, his number one fan.”
Iris Schriever was no doubt smiling on Saturday at the Thunderbird Dressage CDI, presented by Winifred Steinkopf Hall, Gordon & Wendy Christoff, and Blue Heron Farm. Her daughter and “her boy” rode away with a win and a personal best score of 69.500% in the CDI1* FEI Intermediate I, sponsored by Winifred Steinkopf Hall. It’s the pair’s first time cracking the 69% mark and first CDI win.
Shelley Lawder (CAN) and Balancee, winners of Friday’s Small Tour class, took second on a score of 68.176%. Erin Silo (CAN) and Jett finished third on 67.147%.
Gloria credits Hilton’s warmblood and Lustiano breeding—he’s sired by famed KWPN stallion Totilas and out of a Lustiano dam—for providing “the best of both worlds” in terms of his naturally aptitude for collection and extension, skills they showed off to good effect on Saturday.
“Because of his Portuguese influence, the pirouettes were easy and they were definitely one of our highlights. They’re quite solid, so I can usually go into the ring and I know he knows what to do when we go into the pirouette. The changes were also quite good today. The two [tempis], it almost felt like I could just sit back and he took those away from me in a good way. He knew they were coming and they were expressive. They were straight. He did very well on those.”
In fact, the biggest challenge for Hilton this week wasn’t in the saddle at all, said Gloria. It was being in a stall.
“Coming to a CDI and being stalled for almost a week, that’s always a big challenge for him mentally because he basically lives outside at our house,” she explained, noting that Hilton has a busy mind and a busy mouth. At home, they keep him entertained with multiple Jolly Balls in his paddock and an assortment of hanging toys in his shelter.
“He can’t wear blankets. He can’t wear a stable wraps because he will take them off. He’s a Houdini! He has a huge personality.”
As of Saturday, he’s also a CDI winner.