“He’s like Dennis the Menace.”

That’s how Callie Schott (USA) described Southern Arches’ Garant.

“He’s always looking to chew on things, bite things. He’s just a busybody all the time,” she continued. “And every day he comes out and he loves to work. His ears are pricked all the time. He just loves life. He wants to do this job. He really is a show jumper.”

Garant’s enthusiasm was on full display in the Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Grand Prix Saturday night at Traverse City, Michigan.

Schott topped a four horse jump off to capture the first five star Grand Prix of her career. She’s the fourth rider to accomplish the feat in the past five weeks.

©MLSJ/Atalya Boytner
©MLSJ/Atalya Boytner

In the context of Schott’s career, it seems a serendipitous overlap of past and present.

Garant is an 11 year old gelding that was previously campaigned by four-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden (USA). Schott, now head trainer at Southern Arches LLC, came up as a young professional under the Maddens. As Beezie has stepped away from the U.S. team, Schott (37) is stepping up with the support of Southern Arches. She started training with John and Beezie again last fall.

“We started helping Callie some last year and then really full on last fall and beginning of this year,” said Beezie. “As we were switching gears from me trying to do championships to me trying to develop horses and sell them, we [said to Callie] ‘Well, we think we have one of the best horses in the country or in the world, possibly, and if you’re interested, you should give it a shot.’

“It seemed like a good fit from the beginning.”

It was Schott’s past though that made Madden think the match would work.

“Callie’s accurate and sympathetic, she has nice feeling with horses. And she’s ridden horses for us that were aggressive and made a little bid [at the jump] like he does and did a good job with them. I said, ‘This one’s easier than some of the other ones you rode for us when you were younger,'” smiled Beezie.

©MLSJ/Atalya Boytner

Schott and Garant their debut appearance in Wellington in March. They’ve finished top 10 in 50% of their 1.55m appearances to date (JUMPR App).

“We’ve really been building our partnership over the last few months. And I feel like Thursday’s class [the 1.50m Premier Equestrian CSI5* at MLSJ Traverse City] was the first class I really went in and from start to finish was smooth and we were together,” said Schott, who finished seventh on the day with a double clear.

“He gets very aggressive and wants to get too close to the jumps sometimes, then jumps too high, and then it just makes it a little erratic. It was the first course that I really put it all together, and I think it just carried over into [Saturday].”

Schott’s Crusaders teammate Nick Dello Joio set the time to beat in the short track with a double clear in 41.97 seconds. With Schott last to return, the Maddens were at the in-gate dishing out final instructions. John’s advice: “Listen to Beezie!”

“We just said to trust that she had a naturally fast horse under her and keep it smooth as much as she could, and that she could take a little more shot into the double than Nick did and then bring it home,said Beezie.

Schott followed it to the letter, shaving a second and a half off Dello Joio’s time to take the win in 40.61.

All signs point to more victories to come, too. Sidelined for much of 2021 after shoulder surgery to repair her labrum, Schott has returned to the show ring in 2022 to have one of the most successful years of her career. She’s landed seven international podium finishes since January, including now two Grand Prix wins.