Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) won the $50,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix in Wilmington, Ohio with Akuna Mattata on Saturday night. And she’s got two more promising mares just like her in the stable.
Exactly like her.
The eight-year-old mare is one of three foals born to the Shahinian-Simpson’s former grand prix mare, SRF Dragonfly, in 2008.
“[Owners Katie Polk and Carol Rosenstein] bred her to Quinar. They did one breeding and flushed four embryos—three took. They put them in surrogates. It’s a very unique story. They got three for three very interesting mares for the future,” says the Wellington-based rider.
Of the triplets, the naturally fast Akuna Mattata is the most advanced career-wise, despite her rather unique way of going.
“She’s our rebel child,” laughs Shahinian-Simpson. “She likes to go the way she goes. But she’s actually the easiest [of the three]. People always say, she looks so difficult. She’s not! She takes no training. My barn manager rides her, hacks her, and takes her on trails. I basically only ride her to jump her.
“She really knows the routine, knows the sport, she’s all business. Even with her style, she’s really quite focused.”
The other two mares—April Moon and Abbey Road—are also moving up the jumper ranks.
“As five year olds, six year olds, seven year olds, they were always first, second, third. They were always in the same classes and what not. As the get moving up they get on different schedules,” she continues.
“All three are very intelligent. They really tell you their schedule. They tell you when they are going to move up and this is a really crucial time for them. It’s a different game when you get to this level. So you really have to pay attention to what they are telling you and keep their confidence, keep everything on the right path.”
While all three are very different, she says, they share many similarities with the dam.
“They are very good at taking care of themselves. They rest a lot, like their mother. They dunk their hay like their mother. And they are very, very sweet in the barn,” says Shahinian-Simpson.
So if Akuna Mattata is the rebel, what doe that make her siblings?
“April Moon is sort of our old soul. Abbey Road is our little sports model. She looks like a beautiful conformation hunter,” she smiles.
“It’s fun to know the ins and outs of them.”