Wilmington, Ohio – This week’s Wilmington Sunday Spotlight shines on the incredibly talented mare TC Latina 262 (Lancer III x Carvalla) aka “Lala.” The 12-year-old Westphalian mare owned by True Course has been a fan favorite at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington throughout the 2023 Winter in the Midwest Series. When she jumps in the Standlee Sanctuary, Lala tries harder with each step in the ring and never fails to leave her True Course team with big smiles as she exits the arena. We caught up with Sarah Ash, Michaella Gerlacher and Charlotte Oulanoff to learn more about their favorite mare in the barn!
WEC: Tell me about Lala and how did you find her?
Sarah: Lala was bred in Ukraine and was later shared with us by friends Cameron Fraatz and Stephen Long who were looking to get her some more exposure to be sold. We picked her up in Kentucky and showed her at WEC! We took her in a little class, and she just jumped right around. As we went higher, she just kept jumping! We fell in love with how brave she was. When we got home, Charlotte rode her a bit and they got along great! The next show we went to, Michaella was schooling some small jumps when I told her to “jump that.” ‘That’ was a 1.35m oxer. We had not jumped that big yet and Lala just popped right over and didn’t even bat an eye. At this point we were all just so in love with her, so I called her owner and bought her so she could stay with us.
WEC: What is her personality like at home and in the show ring?
Sarah: Lala is such a doer. She tries so hard every day, whether it is a pole on the ground, a simple exercise, the Adult Jumpers with Charlotte, or the Prix with Michaella. Everything is 110% with her and she loves her people. At home she is very playful, she loves to greet everyone that comes down the aisle and likes to be a part of the group. She loves to be doted on and never misses an opportunity to explore what could be a snack! She gives a little sass in the barn and even lifts her lip like she’s snarling at us, but her personality is all the more reason we love her.
Do you have a favorite memory with her?
Sarah: My favorite memory of Lala is when we had her at WEC for the first time and she was very suspicious of all the new people. This is when we first saw the snarling and she would pin her ears; she definitely didn’t trust us yet. After the week was finished, she started to show a more affectionate and loving side. I believe this is why she tries so hard: she loves her people! She’s such a team player.
Michaella: Not necessarily a specific memory, but I love every time I get to walk in the ring with her. I’ve really enjoyed riding one that I have to ride a bit differently. You have to ride to the base and balance to place her in the right spot. I’ve loved developing a new partnership!
Charlotte: My favorite memory with Lala is when she jumped her first double clear with Michaella in the Futures Prix. She came out of the ring looking so proud, her ears straight up when she came over to us!
WEC: What is a typical day in her life?
Sarah: Lala has been spending most of her mornings outside in the pasture lately, enjoying the sun and the grass. At home, she usually has some light lessons and flat work. She is a barn favorite for the staff. I always make sure to bring some bananas for her, they are her favorite!
WEC: What are your future plans with her?
Sarah: We plan to keep Lala forever. Michaella will continue to show her in the big classes, and Charlotte plans to do the Low Amateurs with her. She will only ever do the height that is best for her as she gets older, but she will always be a part of the True Course team. We would also love to see Charlotte qualify for NAL finals and show at Indoors!
WEC: If Lala could be any other animal, what would she be?
Sarah: Lala would definitely be a cat. She’s super affectionate but very independent. She chooses who she loves and when she chooses you, you get it all!