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Anna Buffini: Reserve Champion in the Under 25 Grand Prix National

Anna Buffini was crowned the Brentina Cup champion in 2016 with her now-retired mount Sunday Boy, as well as the reserve championship with Wilton II the same year. She was more than happy to return with Wilton II, her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz—Olympia, Contango) after he had been out of training for a period of time, and earn the Reserve Championship Title.

Check out this excerpt from an article in The Chronicle of the Horse, written by Lindsay Berreth about Anna Buffini. The full article can be read here.

“It’s incredible to come back and to be riding Wilton, period. In 2017 he just became pretty wild and unrideable and dangerous, and he was in a field retired forever,” said Buffini, San Diego, California. “Guenter and I started reteaching him, and he’s come back better than ever. To be able to come back and not just ride but to come second is incredible. You look back on some things and think, ‘If I just did a couple things better I could have done better,’ but just being here period is a win, and there’s no one I’d rather lose to than Claire! We train together every single day. We get our nails done, we go to the movies.

“We do everything, and I see how hard she works,” she continued. “We train right after each other every day so we push each other, and we make each other better under Guenter’s incredible training. To be able to come back here with a horse I never thought I’d ride again is a dream come true.”

Buffini’s winning freestyle included some ’80s music and a recording of her singing “Hallelujah” for her walk music.

After a couple of years competing in small tour and Under-25 CDIs, Buffini made the decision to retire Wilton when he became dangerous under saddle.

“He’s a Jazz, which a lot of dressage people know they can have a difficult brain; a screw loose. It just got to the point where he got so stressed and so unmanageable we just decided it wasn’t working for him,” she said. After spending eight months in a field, Siedel suggested Buffini try bringing him back when she was without a horse to compete. The pair started him over like a young horse, working in the round pen and using natural horsemanship techniques on the ground.

“I literally had to lay on his back and walk around and get off—just a lot of patience. Basically whatever you would think how you start a young horse is how we brought him back,” said Buffini. “I’m really proud of this show because I have a stronger connection with him now even more than I did with Sundayboy, which I never thought was possible. Because if I didn’t he would be too dangerous to ride and absolutely unrideable. Just learning him, from one step to another and bringing him back to training level, then to first level, then to second level, we just kept moving up the levels, and I figured out his little tics, and he figured out how I was going to correct him through it, just gaining his trust was the biggest part to getting him back and rideable again. I was just really proud that we could go do this as a team and that he could trust me. I think there’s nothing more important than gaining a horse’s trust, because it’s all about the horse, it’s all about their welfare, and it’s the most important thing about this sport.”

Risen interviewed Buffini in 2017 and you can read her full article here: https://www.risenmagazine.com/anna-buffini/

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