PARAGON is my 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding by the elite stallion, Don Schufro out of a famous Pari line mare by Loran. He was bred by Oak Hill Ranch in Louisiana, USA.
I’ve known Paragon since the night he was born. I actually helped him to stand for the first time on his long, baby legs that night. The character and rideability of his mother was a major factor in my decision to purchase Paragon, then when I saw he was chestnut, I was sold. At three days old he showed a lot of talent at the trot, a very good canter and had a seriously likable personality. At three months old, he was remarkable in his ability to get airborne in his gaits with out any effort. He was the biggest foal in his group that year, which thrilled me as I am six feet tall. Don Schufro is known for producing large offspring so I knew the chances were good that Paragon would be tall enough for me. At ten months old he was gelded to ensure an easier life for both of us.
In the spring of 2006 when he was turning three years old I started working him under saddle and he was one of the easiest horses I’ve ever started. He was so straightforward and never needed anyone holding him while I mounted. After about a month of round pen work with tack, I just got on him one day and started riding.
When I moved to Europe in the summer of 2006, Paragon made the trip with me. Just three years old at the time, he made the long trip overseas without any concerns. Actually, I think he enjoyed the adventure. This was another good sign of his temperament and adaptability. As I was busy during that time with Arabella and Otto competing in Germany, Paragon went to Denmark without me to enjoy some pasture time. When I went to Denmark a few weeks later he was already settled into his new European lifestyle.
Paragon’s training has progressed well and within normal expectations. Not everything has been easy but for the most part he has been a natural. At three years old he stood about 16.2 hands (168 cm) and now he is 18 hands. (183 cm) So he grew a huge amount between age three and six but I’m happy to see that he is finished growing now. Because of his growth spurts, many days he felt tired and sluggish, uncoordinated and goofy. Only since the spring of 2008 did he start to realize what he had to offer the world. At that point he began having fun exploring his potential and discovering his possibilities and limitations. For the first time in his life, obedience became an issue and a struggle for him as life started to get serious. It only took about six months for him to accept the boundaries I gave him and then he settled into a solid working routine building strength and endurance. This is when his real education started.
In early 2010, I moved back to the USA and began Paragon’s competition career. Paragon proved his superior abilities in the small tour starting about a month after our arrival in the States. His first competitions on the Florida circuit were marked with impressive scores from 71 to 76% percent, qualifying him for the prestigious CDI 3* at Dressage at Devon where he won both the Prix St George and Intermediaire I with over 70%. These scores qualified us for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico where he won both the individual silver and team gold medals. With these results, I decided to make the move to the big tour and we launched our Grand Prix career at the 2012 World Dressage Masters. I had entered the CDI 3*, which ran concurrently with the Masters, and because of our high placing, we were invited to compete in the Masters the next day. Started off our Grand Prix career with a bang. We placed over 70% in both the Grand Prix and the Special, which proved that Paragon was a serious contender. Later that year we qualified and were selected as the Traveling Reserve for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
2003 Danish Warmblood Gelding (Don Schufro x Loran)
18.00 hands / 182cm
Bred by Oak Hill Ranch, Folsom, Louisiana, USA
Owned by Heather Blitz