Ocala, FL – This week’s Ocala Sunday Spotlight shines on Con L’Anima owned and ridden by Josh Dolan. This 13-year-old Westphalian mare has competed in the .70m Jumpers for most of her life until recently, when Josh Dolan piloted the talented mare to consistent scores in the high 80s and 90s in the 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derbies. We caught up with Dolan to learn more about his new mare and her first few shows in the hunter ring.
WEC: How did you come across Con L’Anima?
I have owned her for maybe ten days now. I originally tried her in December. At the time she hadn’t done the hunters yet. A friend of mine told me about her for a client of mine that was looking for a horse. We sat on her and I fell in love, but it wasn’t the right match for my client.
During week VII the people that owned her were back and asked if I would catch ride. I showed her in the Conformation on Thursday and she was amazing. She won both of the classes then I did her in the derby the next day where she was second to Sam and In The Know. I am good friends with Sam, so getting second to her is like winning. I was freaking out after that class and was smiling ear to ear. I went to dinner with my barn that night and we were all trying to figure out how to buy her. I ended up calling a good friend of mine and we partnered to buy her.
WEC: Tell us a bit more about Con L’Anima.
I believe this is her fourth or fifth time showing in the Hunters. She did Dressage until she was about six. Then ever since she’s been competing in the .70m Jumpers with an Adult Amateur. She taught the woman that owned her how to ride, but then they realized that she was meant to be a hunter, and decided to sell her.
She showed in the Hunters in December, then once before I showed her. The trainer asked what we thought about doing her in the 3’6”-3’9” Derby, and I was like well she’s 13, so I don’t think anyone is going to care if we break her green. We have done three derbies together and the first two she got scores in the 90s and in the last derby she scored in the high 80s.
We aren’t speaking the exact same language yet. I ride super soft and when I put my leg on her she doesn’t quite understand yet. I think once we speak the same language and click, I think it’s going to be a really cool partnership.
WEC: What is her personality like at the barn?
I have a zoo at my farm with the Peeps Foundation and all of my animals. She was not a fan of my ostrich, and he has free range of the property, so she broke the cross ties twice now. She’s finally starting to get used to him, but doesn’t mind when my lemur is flying around on the crossties. I just think she’s not a fan of massive birds.
She’s probably the biggest horse I have ever owned. She’s 17.2hh, but you would never know it. She’s a bit grumpy and marish, but I am obsessed with my horses, so I am pampering her all the time and giving her treats. She’s so sweet in the field, but in her stall and on the cross ties she’s business. She knows when it’s time to ride and go to work.
When you walk into the ring with her, she gives you that winning feeling. She means business and she’s ready to do well. It’s a great feeling and I think for the first time in my life I have a good group of horses that can go to Derby Finals.
I have never been to Derby Finals, but now I have three horses that I think I could go with. It’s incredible and I am so grateful to have such a great group of horses. They are all completely different, but all so fun and unique in their own ways.
Thank you, Josh for taking the time to chat with us about Con L’Anima! We are excited to watch your partnership grow!