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Wearing Your Shadbelly for the First Time

Updated: May 5, 2020

Loxahatchee, FL – March 26, 2016 – Hailing from Houlton, Maine, Rebecca Waite made the trek down South a little over a year ago, where she began working and training with fellow Mainer, Shelly Francis. The University of Maine graduate studied Business Management, but never thought she would get the opportunity to combine her passion for horses with her degree in business. Working with the internationally successful champion, Waite is learning everything from barn management to horse training. On the opening day of Welcome Back to White Fences II, with the support of Francis and Patricia Stempel, Francis’ longtime sponsor, Waite put on her shadbelly for the first time and entered the ring for her first Prix St. Georges test.

Waite rode Firlefanz, a 17-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Stempel, to a score of 63.816 percent. Firlefanz is no stranger to the show ring, having competed in the international Stadium at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The massive gelding has been training with Francis since the age of 7. In 2007 he traveled with Francis to Germany to train with Johann Hinnemann. Firlefanz has been out of the show ring for a while, so Waite had to redevelop that confidence.

“Some of the highlights were the feelings and the overall flow of it,” Waite said. “He got a little excited, but maintained his mind pretty well. He’s kind of a hot horse, despite his age. A lot of the time he gets behind the aids. We’ve been working on keeping him up and in front of the aids. He knows most of this stuff; it was just getting him good on my aids so he could go through the whole test looking light.”

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