Shelly Francis’s deliberate and methodical approach for preparing horses up to the Grand Prix levels for the long-term quest in the sport of dressage is based on patience and goodwill, reinforced with clear communication. “It’s all about nurturing willingness in a horse,” stated Shelly assuredly. “If you build a relationship based on trust and fairness, a horse will give you its all.” Along with her special owner, Patricia Stempel, Shelly continues to build strong foundations in her horses for a confident future.
For the past eight years, top dressage rider Shelly Francis has trained and competed all of her horses on Sommer Saddles. Since 1995, Master Saddler Marty Haist has worked closely with the saddle founder, Theo Sommer, who developed and patented a revolutionary, handmade thermoplastic polymer saddle tree. The company designed a saddle especially for Shelly and calls it the Sommer Spezial. It is the Sommer Spezial on which she rides her top three Grand Prix horses, Doktor, Danilo and Rubinio as she continues to receive high scores in national and international competitions.
Having applied her long-term strategies and techniques for high scores at this year’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival series and the 2016 Nations Cup for a USA Dressage Team win, Shelly Francis is currently on the U.S. Dressage Ranking List with Doktor and with Danilo on the 2016 Olympic Games USA Dressage List of Candidates.
2015 Dutta Corp./USEF Festival of Champions Top Riders on Their Wins
The 2015 Dutta Corp/USEF Festival of Champions took place this past week at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival Showgrounds. Held late this year, though the competition was the National Championships, it provided one last opportunity for riders and their horses to work out any last-minute “kinks” in preparation for the upcoming winter season.
Teamwork Choreography with Marlene Whitaker for Shelly Francis’ Grand Prix Musical Freestyles
For the last three years, freestyle scores have been climbing for Shelly Francis in the international arena on Patricia Stempel’s geldings, 12-year-old Doktor and this year with 11-year-old Danilo. This past summer in Europe’s Grand Prix Freestyle competitions, Shelly scored 75.350% in Aachen with Doktor and 74.100% in Rotterdam with Danilo. “Quite a lot of thought goes into the best way to help these two horses grow as athletes for a long career on the world stage,” explains Shelly. “It takes a team.”
Shelly Francis’s distinctive approach to training Patricia Stempel’s 12-year-old gelding Doktor (Diamond Hit x Gurena) and 11-year-old gelding Danilo (De Niro x Annabelle) led Shelly and these athletic horses to northern Germany for three most difficult European competitions in Aachen, Rotterdam (NED) and Hagen this past May through July.
Shelly Francis and Patricia Stempel’s Doktor and Danilo Emerging in the International Dressage Arena
Shelly Francis riding Patricia Stempel’s 12 year old gelding Doktor (Diamond Hit x Gurena) scored a 72.200% to place third in the Grand Prix and a 74.500% to place second in the Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights at the second CDI-W during week 3 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival series in Florida. Confident of their ongoing success in the big arena, Shelly was thrilled at the victories, “I can finally squeeze him a bit and tell him, ‘Come on, let’s do a little more now.’”