Tales from Hagen Europeans: Meet the buckskin dressage horse who only started competing this year

  • There is a buckskin dressage horse competing at the FEI European Dressage Championships who has rather less competition experience than most of his rivals in Germany this week (7–11 September).

    Guapo, the mount of Poland’s Katarzyna Milczarek, only started competing internationally in April this year. Katarzyna bought Guapo in March 2020 from Spain, but it is lucky that Guapo made it to his new home at all.

    “I bought Guapo two days before the borders closed due to Covid,” she explained. “It was fate I got him back to my yard before it was too late.”

    But this means that Guapo, who is 10 and owned by his rider, has had even less competition experience than Katarzyna originally hoped for.

    “He had never done a competition when I bought him, but he knew a lot of the ‘tricks’,” explains Katarzyna. “But he only did his first competition this year, so it is testament to his temperament that he has made it here.”

    Katarzyna set out wanting to purchase a Lusitano, but this one isn’t a grey, as you perhaps might expect.

    “Although it says Guapo is bay in the programme at this competition, he is actually a buckskin, and Katarzyna says that his breeder, Manuel Braga, is ‘very proud’ of the buckskin grand prix dressage horse he has bred.”

    Fifty-five-year-old Katarzyna has almost 20 years of competition experience, including competing at the World Equestrian Games, European Championships, World Cup finals and the London 2012 Olympic Games, but she sold her previous grand prix horse a few years ago.

    “I sold my old grand prix horse but then I thought I still wanted to have a bit of fun with the higher level movements,” she explains. “So that’s why I bought Guapo – I only have him at grand prix level and then a couple of younger ones at home – breeding is more of a focus for us.”

    Today (7 September), the pair scored 66.93% in the grand prix, which puts them in 27th place at this stage of the competition, and Katarzyna smiles when asked about Guapo’s character.

    “He is lovely and very clever – when he hears my voice, he screams at me – he is a wonderful horse.”

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