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Archive for February, 2012

A Big Win for Karl and VDL Ulando H at Rocking Horse Winter II

It was an incredible weekend for Karl and VDL Ulando H at Rocking Horse Stables in Altoona, FL  with a win at their very first advanced horse trial together.  VDL Ulando H is owned by Ruth Armstrong and his partnership with Karl began in the spring of 2011 and since then they have been steadily progressing through the ranks.  This was an even more meaningful weekend for the Slezak team following the devastating loss of  Katlyn Hewson’s Jacks Irish Z one week ago at the Florida Horse Park. “We’re a close knit team and this weekend’s turnaround with Ulando is helping us push through some very tough times. I have no doubts that Irish was keeping an eye on us this weekend at Rocking Horse.”

Following a strong start to the competition season in Florida, Karl decided it was time for VDL Ulando H to make the move up to the Advanced level and through the help of Canadian Team Coach, David O’Connor as well as FEI dressage rider Jackie Brooks they began the weekend with a beautiful dressage test that put them in good standing for the rest of the competition. “Ulando is just unreal. He tries so hard to please both during training sessions and at each competition. His dressage has definitely improved through the coaching I’ve received from Jackie and David. It has helped us put in a smoother test and knocked a few points off of our score. It’s always nice to move into the show jumping sitting in one of the top placings”, says Karl.

While VDL Ulando H’s dressage test turned heads this weekend with a 33.10 from the judges, he always seems to save his best for the show jumping laughs Karl, “This is where Ulando gets to play. This is a horse that literally jumps for fun. Giving every fence two feet of extra air is just something that he does. That being said, it’s taken me time to get used to a horse with so much jump! I think this round was one of our best. It flowed really well and Ulando didn’t touch a thing.”

Karl and VDL Ulando H went into Saturday’s cross country sitting in second place behind Olympian Karen O’Connor and her mount Veronica. “My goal for Ulando’s first Advanced cross country run was to set a steady pace and really focus on a confident, smooth and safe round. I feel as though that’s exactly what we did.  He skipped around the course and was always ready for my instructions heading into some challenging questions. He is so good at jumping out of stride that I didn’t need to push him at all to come close to the time which gave us the win.”

With a start like this to his advanced career Karl and owner Ruth Armstrong couldn’t be more thrilled for what’s in store in the months and years to come. ” While I’m thrilled with the win, my focus is always on building confidence, following a plan and using these horse trials as preparations for the larger FEI events to follow. I’m beyond thrilled with his performance this weekend and am so grateful to Ruth for giving me the ride on VDL Ulando H. I also want to thank all of my sponsors as well as Team Slezak for their support and enthusiasm along the way”.

Next up for this pair will be Poplar Place from March 23-25th as preparation for their first CIC*** at The Fork from April 5-8, 2012.

Photography by XpressFoto

Jacks Irish Z (2003-2012)

Katlyn and Jacks Irish Z at Midsouth CCI*

We are extremely saddened by the loss of Jacks Irish Z.  Irish broke his leg on the landing side at the second last fence on the Intermediate course at Florida Horse Park late Saturday February 11th and was humanely euthanized on site.

Jacks Irish Z was owned and ridden by Katlyn Hewson who has worked to develop him since he was first imported to Canada in 2008.  His incredible talent and loving personality were cherished by Katlyn who brought him up very successfully through the ranks of the sport. Together this pair shared many victories and were well loved both on the winter circuit in Ocala, Florida and on the Ontario Eventing circuit in Canada.

Irish had the heart, talent and athleticism to compete among the best. He will be greatly missed by Katlyn, her family and the entire Slezak Eventing Team.


Talented CCI* Horse For Sale


Offered for Sale: Heartbreaker is a 9 year old, 16.1hh, Canadian Sport Horse gelding. Flashy with lots of chrome and a big white blaze!

  • He was 7th out of 58 horse-rider combinations at his first FEI event at the Kentucky Midsouth CCI*
  • He won the preliminary horse division at Richland Park Horse Trials in 2011
  • He has placed very well in Canada this year at his first season competing at the Preliminary level

Known around the barn as “Jerry”  he is a pleasure to be around with a kind personality, solid work ethic and lovely ground-manners. Jerry is currently located in Ocala, FL where he will be competing this winter. He would be a perfect young rider or adult amateur horse!

Please contact Katlyn Hewson at (352) 484-7331 or withoutatrace_1@hotmail.com for more information.