During the JUMPR App Newsdesk, show jumping sports analyst Catie Staszak predicted Callie Schott and her 11-year-old Zangersheide would be the “dark horse” of the CSI2* 1.45m tbird Grand Prix at Thunderbird Show Park.

“That’s another fresher partnership…they’ve been kind of knocking on the door in 1.45-1.50m classes,” replied JUMPR App Newsdesk co-host Nayel Nassar.

“But this is her first outing of the summer, so it’s probably a little soon to expect a clear round out of them.”

Yet Saturday proved to be not a moment too soon. Schott made the CSI2* their first Grand Prix win as a pair, topping an 42-horse field deep on top talent.

“He’s just so funny because he is either like a teddy bear or very high octane,” said Callie Schott (USA) of her 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding.

You need a high octane to win an international jump-off, so his duplicity came in handy. Schott crossed the timers in 39.67 seconds ahead of Ali Ramsay (CAN) and nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding Conrado (41.58). Rounding out the podium was birthday girl Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and her 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Catinka.

“His name is very suitable. In the barn, he’s like a teddy bear. He’ll come and groom you with his teeth. If you go up to his stall, he’ll put his teeth on your shoulder and you’re like, Are you trying to bite me? But he’s just grooming you,” laughed Schott.

“And then he’s very explosive at times…out of all the horses [in the barn], he’s typically the quietest one. [But the first day we got here] he was screaming and I couldn’t leave the walk because I thought he was going to explode,” said Schott.

Schott is the head trainer at Southern Arches LLC, who are also the owners of Teddy Z. Southern Arches works side-by-side with John and Beezie Madden, and the support of both became integral in sustaining Schott’s string as she recovered from shoulder surgery to repair her labrum last year.

“I was out for almost half a year. We got him in December and then I had my surgery in March, so we hadn’t had him that long and then we had a little lull. And then [during] the circuit in Florida became a good team together.

“I was so lucky because Patty, who owns Southern Arches, my owner, she’s so supportive. And the Maddens helped keep the horses going…I feel like over a year later I’m like back to 100%,” said Schott.

Back at 100% and winning Grand Prix.

“It feels unbelievable,” she smiled.

“I’m just thankful that it all has worked out and I just feel very lucky and so happy with Teddy.”

Feature Image: Thunderbird Showpark // Quinn Saunders