When Japan’s Karen Polle and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding With Wings (Larino x L.Ronald) captured their first CSI5* level win in the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, the celebration that followed paid tribute to both their historic accomplishment and the path they’ve paved for themselves over the span of their partnership.
The story of the horse that Polle initially bought as a junior jumper is now very well known, due to the successive, international victories that With Wings and Polle have racked up since last September. While she has a string of up and comers that she’s developing, With Wings is Polle’s only top horse, making her success with him all the more remarkable. The two most recently finished 3rd in the €300,000 Grand Prix Rolex du Jumping International du château de Versailles CSI5*, a promising start to their summer season.
With the 2018 World Equestrian Games nearing closer by the day and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics quietly looming in the back of every rider’s mind, it’s safe to wonder what the future could hold for the duo who continue to reap the benefits of their hard work, dedication, and commitment to both the sport and each other.
- In 2010, Polle purchased Wings from Lynn Little stables in Florida. The two started out competing at the Low Junior Jumper level, and have since worked their way up to the five-star-level.
- When I first tried Wings, I knew that he was the right horse for me, and that he was going to be a superstar.
- When he was younger, there were times when he had an attitude and didn’t really want to go in the ring and jump.
- The duo had their first major career win on August, 31st, 2015, finishing 1st in the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix in Bridgehampton, NY.
- His stable name is “Wings”
- He knows his job by now, and I don’t jump him a lot at home so that I can save him for the shows. My main-focus at home is to keep him really fit and fresh, and I’ll mix up his routine. Some days I’ll work him in the sand ring or the on the grass field if there’s one at the farm, somedays I’ll do a lot of hill work to build his strength, and somedays I’ll take it easy on him.I try to make sure that we are communicating well and that he doesn’t get too bored.
- On maintaining consistency at the CSI5* level: When I came to Europe, I was really happy that I was able to go clear in the Grand Prix and finish 3rd with him in my first show. It was like carrying on what we started in Florida, but in a lot of ways, you’re only as good as your last show, so I think reaching consistency is something you have to continue to work at and strive towards.
- He still has a ton of attitude. That was him as a 7 year old and it’s still him as a 14 year old. In a lot of ways, he’s the exact same, which is what I love about him and I wouldn’t change a single thing. He’s always been a little bit quirky, and I feel like that attitude is what makes him so good at his job, and I love it.
- Since Versailles, he’s been on a break, and his next show will be the first week of Spruce Meadows, in Calgary.
- This year I’m starting to compete more at the best CSI5* shows around the world. When you have a once in a lifetime horse like this, you try to go to as many amazing shows as you can and get those experiences. I hope we can do that and be successful at those shows.
- On WEG 2018 would be a huge goal and a huge dream of ours, so hopefully things will go well for us.
- The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo would also be a huge dream of mine to do with him. He might be too old for it [in 2020, Wings will be 17], but of course if he’s feeling good it would be my biggest dream in life to be able to go with him.