Get to Know the ‘Flyest Horse at Kentucky’ Grooming Award Winner Ayleen Stuhr, Groom to Anna Siemer

We were pleased to present our “Flyest Horse at Kentucky” award to the sole German representative, FRH Butt’s Avondale, and her groom Ayleen Stuhr. FRH Butt’s Avondale was piloted by Anna Siemer, who completed her first CCI5* at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS Equestrian in the top 30. We caught up with Ayleen just after she returned to Germany to get to know her and FRH Butt’s Avondale a bit more.

Coach Hans Melzer, Ayleen and Anna after the first jog at Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Ayleen Stuhr.

EN: How long have you been working with Anna?

AS: I started working for Anna directly after high school, so I have been grooming with Anna only for past 1 and 1/2 years. My first experience as a groom on international competition was at the European championships 2019. I still have my accreditation. I also ride, but on a much lower level than Anna! I’m very happy that I am allowed to ride Anna’s horses, because I don’t own a horse anymore.

EN: Was this your first overseas trip with Anna? How did you get to the U.S.?

AS: I travelled the whole way with Avondale. We started in Luhmühlen to Belgium, then we flew to New York. Because of the Quarantine we had to stay 2 days. After that we had long Trip with the Truck to Kentucky. I already was on a few international competition with Anna, for example Bokeloe, Strzegom, Barbarowko or Arville. But Kentucky was the first completion oversea, that was a real adventure.

Photo courtesy of Ayleen Stuhr.

EN: What is FRH Butt’s Avondale like at home?

AS: Avondale is a really brave and mostly calm mare. She really likes traveling and can also do it very well. We had to wait on the airport on the trip back home, so we unloaded her and grass a little bit. She acted like ist was totally normal. In the barn she loves looking out of the window and you have stroke her or give her a treat. Also in the barn doesn’t really have a nickname, mostly we call her Avondale or Avo.

EN: What was your routine while you were at Kentucky?

AS: Avondale was our only horse in Kentucky so we could focus on her. In the morning after feeding and cleaning we always went for a walk and a bit lunging. The rest of the day was depended on what happend, is for example dressage day or a little hack. Also Avondale really enjoyed her Mash in the evening. As a caretaker I am always a little bit excited, especially while traveling this long way. However, our time was pretty relaxed as we only had one horse with us and when it got stressful we could solve it quickly.

Photo courtesy of Ayleen Stuhr.

EN: Tell us about your favorite moment of the weekend.

AS: One of my favorite moments was when we drove to the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time, just overwhelming. Also the great dressage of Avondale and Anna. The really difficult cross country that both mastered with aplomb. I could list a lot more things like that, it was a great and exciting adventure.

Made it home safe and sound! Photo courtesy of Ayleen Stuhr.

EN: What is one of the most important things a groom should know?

AS: One of the most important things to know as a groom no matter in the barn or on competition is to keep your horse happy and fit.