Six years into their international career and Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) and Royce are just hitting their stride.
So says Engle.
“He’s really matured. I know it sounds funny, but we’ve both matured a little late together. He’s just starting to get the rideability so nice. He’s getting more manageable and he’s really become seasoned and it’s made my job quite a bit easier. He’s always had the jump and been super careful, super powerful, but we lacked in the rideability, but now he’s riding nice so it makes my job easy.”
The vertically mismatched pair captured the $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Saturday night, so concluding their best season on record.
“He’s been showing lightly for the last few months and has really only done big shows, probably for the whole year. I think this is only his second show that wasn’t a CSI 5*. I’ve been able to save him a little bit with Dicas coming up and the young ones. He’s quite fresh,” explained the 60-year-old Olympian.
Topping a field of 37 entries, Engle and 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion posted the only double of clear of the evening. The two-round format brought the top twelve combinations back to contest the short course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA).
“I knew going into it that there was only one more behind me that was clean and the one ahead of me that was clean had one down. I know Marilyn [Little] is very fast with Clearwater and I had better take a shot, so that even if I had one down I’d at least get a good piece of it. I was just going to go medium fast, but the further we got around course the better he felt, so I just went with it. It felt like he was getting into so I went with it and keep going,” said the Florida-based rider, stopping the clock in 49.04 seconds.
“I honestly think he jumped better in the jump-off. The more I started kicking him at the jumps the higher he got.”
Engle credits flat work with Olympic silver medalist dressage rider Lisa Wilcox for Royce’s improved rideability.
“It’s nice because he’s been home for a little over a month and Lisa Wilcox helps work with him on the flat and whenever she works with him he goes that much nicer,” she chuckled. “She helps me with the flatwork with quite a few of the Grand Prix horses.”
Canada’s Susan Horn and Lillyfee captured second place with a time of 60.14 seconds in the jump-off. Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and H5 Quintol rounded out the top three placings with four faults and a time of 49.32 seconds.
Engle also won Friday’s $35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic CSI 4* aboard the nine-year-old gelding Dicas.