It’s an exciting time for Hannah Sue Burnett as her four-star partner Harbour Pilot is coming back into work after sustaining an injury at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last fall, and it’s made even more exciting by the new horses she’s been welcoming into her barn.
Her most recent new addition is Cooley Dream Extreme, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Cruising out of The Dreamseeker, by Ramiro B) that campaigned very successfully in England and France with Piggy French, most notably finishing third in the 6-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers last fall.
Hannah first looked at the horse, who was previously called “Herbie” but has been rechristened “Cooley,” in England last fall thanks to a tip from Jess Montgomery, who has helped find numerous horses for U.S. riders since moving across the pond with husband Clark in 2012.
“The timing didn’t work out to buy him then, as Piggy couldn’t decide if she wanted to keep the ride for a little longer,” Hannah said. “I fell in love with him, and Jess knew I really liked him, so she kept an eye on him for me. When Piggy decided she wanted to sell him, I was luckily the first one to get him.”
Hannah’s longtime supporter Jacqueline Mars stepped in to buy half of the horse, while Mary Ann Ghadban, a new owner for Hannah, bought the other half. Cooley will go to his first event in the States at Surefire Horse Trials later this month, followed by the CIC1* at Stuart Horse Trials, with the ultimate goal being to move him up to the Intermediate/two-star level and contest the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI2* this fall.
If you think Cooley is royally bred for eventing with Cruising and Ramiro B lines, then Hannah’s new mare Wilhelmina is another head-turner on paper. By Laurel, a Stan the Man xx son, out of Fantastic Dream xx, the 5-year-old Trakehner mare bred by Dr. Annette Wyrwoll made the trip from Germany this past January to join Hannah’s string.
“Willow” is the first event horse for new owner Margriet Langeberg, who Hannah said is very excited to be a part of the sport. We can expect to see this lovely chestnut mare competing at her first events in the States very soon alongside Jitter Bug, the other red mare in Hannah’s barn and still a fairly new ride to her.
After acquiring the ride earlier this year from Lauren Billys, Hannah and Jitter Bug, a 9-year-old Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare (by Daimler D’ Adriers out of Nesthöckerli, by Nickolson) owned by Jacqueline Mars and Sherry Nemmers, won the CIC1* at Red Hills International Horse Trials in March.
“Sherry is a new owner into the sport, and she’s really excited about Jitter Bug,” Hannah said. “We’re starting to mesh, and she’s starting to understand her job more now. She’s really coming into her own, and the goal is to aim for the two-star at Fair Hill in the fall.”
Hannah has even more new horses in her barn in Under Suspection, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, and Alonzo, a 10-year-old Dutch gelding, both owned by Mary Ann Ghadban and previously campaigned by Sharon White. Both horses have been recovering from minor injuries and are now coming back into work.
“I’m really excited about having Mary Ann as a new owner,” Hannah said. “She’s been wonderful and is really excited about supporting Team USA and buying into other syndicates. I think it’s really great for the country to have such an enthusiastic owner.”
Fans of Harbour Pilot, the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, will be happy to hear that he is on track in recovering from his injury sustained at Burghley, where he was withdrawn prior to show jumping after sitting in seventh place following a clear cross country round.
“William is doing incredible and even better than we expected at this stage of his recovery,” Hannah said. “Dr. (Christiana) Ober has been an amazing vet and has been right by our side for every step of the recovery and legging him back up. My groom, Sara (McKenna), has been awesome with him too. He’s almost ready to start flatting.”
Hannah hopes to get William out to a horse trials in the fall, and she doesn’t see a reason to push to get to a big event like Fair Hill — where he won the CCI3* in 2012 — or Burghley or Pau. Instead, the goal is to aim for a return trip to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event next spring, where they finished 15th in 2014.
“I’m so lucky to have such a great team and really good support around me,” Hannah said. “I’m excited to have such an awesome string of horses right now, and I’m looking forward to getting them all out competing.”
Best of luck to Hannah with her beefed-up string. Go Eventing.