his article was published in Issue 10 of NOËLLE FLOYD Magazine. To see the full spread, visit this link and flip to page 70.
When DSP Alice first stepped onto the soil of the Gut Eichenhof farm in Bavaria, Germany, she carried herself like a stallion: neck elongated, prideful, and self-assured in her movements. The DSP mare, by Askari and Landrebell, had a presence filled with spook and energy— characteristics that remain to this day at the age of 11. For her, now, 29-year-old owner and rider, Simone Blum, what was more striking than the horse’s attitude, however, was the unforgettable expression in her eyes.
The horse with the frame, grace, and self-carriage of a ballerina was always expected to be great. As a 7-year-old, “Elsi,” as she is affectionately called, was purchased by Blum from Eastern German rider, Stephen Buchheim. Buchheim had owned Alice from the time she was 4. Although she didn’t compete in her first CSI2* until she was an 8-year-old, in late 2014, it was clear from the start that Alice possessed all the quality and heart in the world.
Alice has one, not-so-secret weapon: Simone Blum
These traits, when harnessed, propelled her through the levels. Nevertheless, when it came down to capitalizing on her potential, Blum knew it would take some time—and effort—before the German-bred mare truly came into her own.
It wasn’t a matter of “if” but of “when.”
With careful management, Alice progressed through the bigger classes as a 9-year-old, finding success in multiple grand prixs, as well as a first-place finish in the 2016 German Championships in the women’s division. In June of 2017, the pair went on to win the German Championships for the men’s division, a catalytic moment in a year that would prove pivotal for their career.
Although CHIO Aachen in 2017 was Blum’s first time stepping Alice up to the CSI5* level, it didn’t take long for the duo to give the field’s veteran horses and riders a run for their money. A week later, on July 29, the partnership finished second in the highly competitive €300,000 LGCT Grand Prix of Berlin CSI5*. The following month, they went on to win their first CSI5* together: the €270,000 Longines Grand Prix of Lausanne on September 17.
“She has the best attitude toward the sport,” said Blum. “She is very careful and has huge scope and a lot of heart. She will fight for you every day.”
Blum wasn’t the only person to notice world-class ability in Alice. Even when she was a 7-year-old, the offers for her then untapped potential poured in, increasing in frequency as she got older. After Blum has since declared that the horse would not be sold, the requests have slowly died down. But with Alice continuing to produce commanding performances at the best shows in the world, it won’t be long before they pick back up again.
“She has the best attitude toward the sport."
So, what’s so special about the horse that everyone wants? Aside from her pocket-rocket engine, her scope over the fences, and her willingness to take off seemingly from anywhere? Alice has one, not-so-secret weapon: Simone Blum.
“I think we are a very good team,” Blum said. “She is truly a mare, and she needs a relationship between herself and her people. I spend a lot of time with her throughout the day, which I think is very essential for her. I spend a lot of time riding her or giving her the freedom to move around.”
“At times, when I ride her, she might need a lot of training or exercise,” she added. “At the end of the ride, she can still have fight and be spooky, but she’s so careful over the fences that it actually doesn’t matter. I think it’s important to let her express her character, and I just let her be herself.”
DSP Alice also won ‘Break Out Horse’ in the NoelleFloyd.com Best of 2017 Awards. Read the Best Of awards wrap-up here.
This article was published in Issue 10 of NOËLLE FLOYD Magazine. To see the full spread, visit this link and flip to page 70.
After three days of intense competition and a team bronze medal, Simone and Alice are currently in the No. 1 position heading into the individual World Equestrian Games show jumping final in Tryon, North Carolina.
The top 25 individuals will return for Round A with Simone and Alice jumping last, in reverse order.
Competition begins this morning, promptly at 9:45 AM EST. Coverage of the event is available at FEI TV.
All photos: Andreas Pollok