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22/03/2018

Katie Dinan and her horses ...

It is no coincidence that Katie Dinan's past, present and future can be linked to Selle Francis horses. Six years ago, she made her name in the sport with Nougat Du Vallet by Sherif D'Elle x Saphir D'Elle, a compact chestnut gelding who took her to three appearances at the FEI World Cup Final, victory in the Aga Khan at the Dublin Horse Show, and many top finishes around the world.

Now, at age 17, Nougat Du Vallet has returned to jumping the grand prix level with Dinan after extended time out of the sport. “Nougat doesn't ever really leave my sight,” the 24-year-old rider from America says. “This is going to be our eighth year together. For me, he's not even really a horse anymore; he's part of the family. I love that horse more than anything else in the world.”
Dinan selectively aims Nougat towards special classes, with the plan to keep him in competition as long as he wants to do it. “I'm trying not to make any big plans with him, but just to take it week by week and enjoy every moment.”

As she's built up her string for the future, to prepare for the day that Nougat does retire, Dinan, who is based in Florida and New York, has found herself drawn to Selle Francis horses. Not exclusively of course—she competed the Swedish star Glory Days in 2013 and 2014, and her partnership with the Irish Sport Horse Dougie Douglas has been well documented, and she was partnered with the BWP stallion Amaretto D'Arco.
But among her up and coming horses are mostly Selle Francis: the French-bred geldings Vic Des Cersiers by Olympic D'Anguerny x Desir Du Chateau; Tarioso Manciais by Arioso Du Theillet x First Bride, and Atika Des Hauts Vents, and 8-year-old mare bred by Jean Aurelien.

“I have to say, because I had Nougat, a super French horse who is 100% French on both sides, I've always had a soft spot for a Selle Francis,” Dinan says. “I really like the way those horses go. You can only pay so much attention to the breeding, but I like that they are for the most part quite light, and have a lot of blood, which is something that really suits me as a rider.”
So it wasn't a total coincidence, bit it was very big news when the latest Selle Francis joined Dinan's string; last week it was announced that Dinan's Grant Road Partners had purchased Sydney Une Prince, the fantastic mare ridden by France's Roger Yves Bost.

Together, Yves Bost and Sydney helped France win Team Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and the pair is deeply loved by all of France. When the opportunity to purchase Sydney came up, Dinan tried the mare and they clicked. Sydney arrived in the United States last week, and will soon arrive at Dinan's stable in New York.

“I had a super feeling when I tried her,” Dinan explains. She hopes to start showing Sydney later this spring.
Under the guidance of her trainer, Beat Mandli of Switzerland, Dinan competes around the world, spending several months based in Europe each summer. “We are taking enough time with Sydney so that we're ready to go when I go to the show,” Beat is definitely one of those people who doesn't really see any point in showing or moving up until you have a good feeling at home,” Dinan says. “He's been riding alongside Bosty for the last 30 years, and has huge respect for his program, and his riding. That was very important for me.”
Dinan recalls meeting Bosty for the first time in 2013, when she was competing in Europe for the first time, at the Gothenburg World Cup Final. Bosty was kind to the shy young rider, and did a double take when Dinan mentioned that his top horse at the time, Nippon D'Elle, shared the same sire as her Nougat du Vallet.
”Nippon was the only brother of Nougat that was showing at that level. I told him that our horses are related, and he couldn't believe it,” Dinan remembers. “I was American, 18, very shy, and he was so nice and welcoming. Bosty says exactly what he's thinking, and he rides with his own style, which is great for the crowd. You never forget once you've seen him, and for sure I have big shoes to follow with Sydney now. I know that, and I will just take my time with it.”


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