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A Solid Program Pays Off for Bellis Show Jumping Riders

Steve Schaefer rode Caribe to the win in the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake at HITS Balmoral Park. Photo Chicago Equestrian.

Maple Park, IL – June 3, 2017 – Bellis Show Jumping has a strategy for their training program that works year after year, leading to success in the show ring. After a winter of new mileage for riders, the spring season is showing the benefits of hard work during the winter months as trainer Steve Schaefer began showing in May at the new HITS Balmoral Park in the greater Chicago area.
Schaefer is well known for his competitive spirit and speedy jump off skills, which he demonstrated in the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake during the Showplace Spring Classic series. Schaefer and his mount, Caribe, won the class week two and finished in second during week one. Always trying to move up in the ranks, Schaefer finished in third place in the first ever grand prix at Balmoral Park on week one and did one better, taking second place in week two.
“Next is Showplace’s Spring Spectacular I, II and III,” explained Schaefer. “Caribe really jumped well there in May and it was a very good conditioning show for him. I am currently planning on two to three prixs and two welcome stakes, but I will allow him to help make those final decisions. After Balmoral, I plan to look to the hills to freshen him up mentally and to build a deeper muscle base through his back and hind end. I would consider 10 - 20 days out west in the Galena area to hit the hills. We try to balance his work of being a show jumper with the hills and fresh surroundings.”

Schaefer and Caribe in the $35,000 HITS Grand Prix. Photo Chicago Equestrian

Schaefer is big on keeping his horses fresh minded. His farm in Maple Park has a big field and plenty of hills to change it up for the horses versus only riding in a ring. They also fox hunt and trail ride on occasion to keep the horses from getting bored. Schaefer likes to use the natural terrain to train both horses and riders, rather than just jump after jump on a flat surface. He teaches riders balance and how to balance the horse while riding up and down hills.
Rider Caelinn Leahy, 15, competed in the 1.30m jumpers last year and spent the winter moving up to the next junior jumper division. She won a Medium Junior Jumper class at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Tzartgazer and has been working on building the skills needed to jump higher fence heights in a sport where mileage is key.

Caelinn Leahy and Splendor won the $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic. Photo Chicago Equestrian.

Leahy came out swinging this spring, winning the $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic on her mount, Splendor, and taking third place on Sonas Douglas during week two of the Showplace Spring series. She also placed second in the popular $10,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.30m Jumper Classic with Splendor.

“There’s always a learning curve in riding,” said Schaefer. “A rider learns skills and becomes proficient at a lower height and then moves up and has to learn a new set of skills for that height. It takes some time and experience to perfect those skills and once a rider gets it, they win in that division and can challenge themselves to move up again. Caelinn [Leahy] worked on, and is still working on techniques to be fast and clean, but she is a hard worker and practices so she can eventually get to some big grand prixs.”

Heidi Schaefer and Caladesi won the $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic at the Showplace Spring Classic. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography.

Leahy’s mother, Heidi Schaefer, rode Sonas Douglas during the winter at WEF and earned herself the Championship in the Adult Jumpers during week two after taking the top spot in the Adult Jumper Classic. She handed the reins over to Leahy during the spring shows and rode Caladesi instead, winning the $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic during week three.

Heidi Schaefer and Sonas Douglas winning at WEF. Photo Chicago Equestrian

“I miss Sonas Douglas,” said Heidi Schaefer, “but Caelinn is having fun on him and the more horses she can ride the more mileage she gets. It’s fun to watch them. Caladesi is a fun horse too and takes care of me so he’ll be a good one for me to show this season.”

Lindsay Scianna and Rockerfella at WEF. Photo Sportfot

Young rider Lindsay Scianna, was just on a pony last year moving up to horses. This winter she gained her show mileage riding horses during WEF. At the Showplace Spring show, Scianna won the Puddle Jumper Classic during week two on Fahris, getting experience in the jumper ring. She is another example of how Schaefer skillfully moves riders up the ladder as they are ready.
Schaefer also provides riders with a variety of experiences, like riders Holly and Matt Yeterian. Holly rode the hunter, Color Pearlz, during WEF to win the Amateur Owner Under Saddle and also rode their jumper, Zanzsiboy, to a second place finish in the Low Adult Jumper Classic at WEF in February.

Holly Yeterian and Zanziboy at WEF. Photo Chicago Equestrian.

“It’s fun for riders and it teaches them different skills every time they get on a different horse,” added Schaefer. “Mixing it up is good for both horses and riders. Keeping the training fresh and keeping horses and riders inspired and excited is half the battle. Skills and mileage are the other half.”
To learn more about Schaefer’s training program or to schedule a visit at their farm, visit their website at or call Steve Schaefer at 847-612-3257.
You can also find them showing at the new HITS Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois, June 7- 25th and follow them on Facebook.
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