Julie Coles is thrilled with her new show hunter, Odiel (aka Odie) — and rightfully so. At the Warrenton Horse Show, they entered only one class, the $5,000 Warrenton Toyota Scion & Miller Toyota Scion Hunter Classic, and they won in a very competitive field of 22 with E. Sue Bopp and Chawton, winners in 2013, placing second, followed by Eliza van der Woude and Copeland.
“Odie can march into a strange ring and be a gentleman — it’s his background as a grand prix jumper in Europe,” said Coles. “He’s very scopey, very athletic, and my goal is to make him a Derby horse.”
Odiel made his competitive debut as a brand new show hunter at Upperville in June. Sloane Coles, daughter of Julie and John Coles, joint-MFH Orange County Hounds, showed him in Performance Working Hunters (3’3”), winning one over fences class and earning the reserve championship. The duo also contested the USHJA Hunter Derby for 12th place overall.
Odie, a Spanish-bred warmblood sporthorse, had enjoyed a successful grand prix show jumping career in Europe. Last winter, he competed in Florida in 1.40meter jumpers before landing in April at Sloane Coles’ Spring Ledge LLC, The Plains. Odie, owned by friends of the Coles, was for sale, a good home was essential. As it turned out, he had found it.
Coached by Sloane, Julie and Odie made their debut together at Lake Placid, in July, in the Adult Amateur Hunters (over 50). They won three out of four classes over fences to harvest the championship.
“My mom’s a great rider and they got along really well,” said Sloane. “Odie has shown all over the world, and I think he’s happy to be a hunter. He’s such a good boy in the stall, the paddock and the ring. Odie still looks like a jumper, but he’s right up there with the best.”
With foxhunting a major element of life for the Coles, Julie already has two field hunters. Her plans for Odie include Hunter Derbies. She doesn’t intend to hunt him even though they go on trail rides a couple times a week. Odie’s foot-perfect cross-country and nothing seems to faze him.
“John and I bought Odie, because I’m nuts about him,” said Julie. “He’s all the things you wouldn’t think a 13-year-old grand prix jumper could be — he’s really quiet and hacks cross-country better than my field hunters. He’s absolutely perfect. At Warrenton Horse Show, I knew, if he was good, that I could win the Hunter Classic. It’s a fun, fun place to show with the crowd and everything. I wasn’t concerned at all about taking him into that ring without an introduction. He showed all over Europe in day and night classes.”
Sloane, who along with Kitty Barker (Middleburg) coaches Julie, was showing in New York and missed the Hunter Classic. “At Warrenton, it was John and I and our stable manager, Lillibet Motion, so she trained me that night,” said Julie. “It was such a treat to win that class. Odie was wonderful. It’s his scope and attitude and he’s so athletic. There are fancier horses out there, but Odie could jump a house. I’m thinking he can do the big derbies, the big options, and I think he’ll be fun and really good at it. I’m so happy to have him. He’s a trooper and a real sweetheart.”
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