Sometimes you have to give up something near and dear in order to get something special back. That, in a nutshell, is how Ali Ramsay found herself in a partnership with Lutz.
“I was selling my best horse, Hermelien, to Evergate [Stables]; Jenn Gates was trying her,” Ramsay began. “They offered Lutz as a bit of a trade situation. I tried Lutz one day and there was not much to not like about him. Pretty much that night we decided we would go forward with it; they ended up buying my horse and I got Lutz.”
In retrospect, it was a huge development for the 30-year-old Canadian, a former assistant trainer at Juniper Farms who now runs Ali Ramsay Equestrian in Aurora, Ontario.
Ramsay knew what she was getting with Lutz, a 12-year-old chestnut Westfalen gelding. “He was 10 years old when I tried him and what was cool about the whole thing was that I had actually known the horse for years since Nayel [Nassar] had the ride on him, probably two years prior to that. I think he was jumping $1 million classes on him.
“The horse has a very distinctive look ‒ he’s very cute and he’s a splashy jumper. So when they had suggested him as an option for me to have him, it seemed crazy. The horse has travelled everywhere; he’s been to Rome, he’s been to Paris, Nayel rode him on the Global Champions Tour. So it was just a bit surreal for me to ride a horse of that calibre that had been so many places, seeing how I’ve only ever had six- or seven-year-olds and developed them myself. I’ve never had a horse that has been there, done that and gotten to build a partnership off of that.”
He’s also a bit of a ham, one of the qualities that Ramsay loves about him. “He’s very, very sweet,” she said. “He loves attention. He’s the type of horse that if he doesn’t have food in his stall, he has his head out looking at you. If you’re standing within eye range of him, he’s got his eye on you and he expects you to be there, paying attention to him.
“I think he knows how handsome he is. He’s a very nice horse to be around in the barn. He’s always pleasant and a bit goofy, pulling his blankets off and knocking things over.”
Once he gets into the ring, however, his competitiveness trumps all other traits. “What I find so special about him is he’s so athletic,” Ramsay said. “He can jump from anywhere. When he feels on his top game I feel like the horse can do anything. The hardest thing with him is matching body and mind, because his body is very capable and sometimes he can get a bit distracted. I’m learning how to put the right pressure on at the right moments and how to make him as successful as he can be. I honestly believe he has all the pieces to do anything.”
With their two-year anniversary in April, Ramsay and Lutz have had some time to compete, although not as much as she’d like due to the pandemic. There are already some highlights.
“Probably our first grand prix win together was the coolest because I took my time with him,” she explained. “I didn’t really know exactly how much time you’re supposed to take before you’re both capable. I think I took it slower than maybe some would, getting to know him. Our first FEI show together was Bromont in 2019 and we won the three-star grand prix ‒ his first FEI win and my biggest [richest] grand prix win. It was cool to see that slow and steady really paid off in the relationship, so that was a special win for both of us.”
Jennifer Gates (USA)
Nayel Nassar (EGY)
Jens Baackmann (GER)
Zascha Nygaard Andreasen (DEN)
Maja Auer (GER)
Top-5 2020/21 Results
(Desert International Horse Park, Thermal, CA)
March 19 2021 – 3rd FEI $36,600 1.50m
March 1 2021 – 4th $25,000 Open Classic 1.40m
March 2020 – 5th Diamond Tour $150,000 Grand Prix
Feb 21 2020 – 1st Diamond Tour $40,000 Speed
Favourite food: “Anything edible. He loves bananas.”
Best friend: “It’s kind of sad. His best friend was my horse Casino that I just sold [to Emmeline Adamick of the US]. They lived beside each other and they would go out in these two big fields beside each other. They would go to FEI together and if one would leave, the other would scream for him. They were brothers; they were buddies. As sad as we were to see Casino go, we felt even more sad to separate the ‘brothers’, but he’s gone to a really great home. Now Lutz has his other ‘siblings’ to bother in the meantime.”
Fun fact: Lutz’s sire, Lordanos, is also the sire of Lisa Carlsen’s Livestream 2.