Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

ABIC/USDF Region 3 Finals PDF Print E-mail

By Cathy Cottrill

Reprinted with permission from Sidelines, the National Equestrian Sport Magazine covering Show Jumping, Polo, and Dressage. Originally appeared in the November 18, 2000 issue. NEWBERRY, FL

gg&wendell2000.jpg"Two life-long horsewomen"one a 30 year veteran, the other a talented teen - won multiple championships at the 13th annual Arredondo Dressage Society USDF Young Riders Benefit Show and ABIC/USDF Region 3 Championships Oct. 27-28.

Gigi Nutter 46, of Whitesburg, Ga. Won the open Prix St. Georges championship with a 66.75% and the Intermediaire-1 open championship with a 63.875% on Fahrenheit, the 10 year old Hanoverian gelding sheâs brought up the levels from a youngster. She also claimed the blue in the second level open championships on Katinka, and 8 yr old Dutch mare owned by Julie Ballard-Haralson, with a 70.698% in a closely-contested class. Jodie Kelly, 17, a straight A senior at Fort Walton Beach High School who wants to be a trainer, rode two young Dutch geldings to victory in the young riders first and second level championships, and claimed a handful of first and second place ribbons in the benefit show as well. Kelly won the first level junior/young rider championship aboard Manhattan with a 65.147% and the second level junior/young rider championship with Leiden, scoring a 69.651%. In addition to sharing a love of horses and collection of championship rosettes, the two women have another trait in common: they were riding before they were even born.

Nutter's parents, George and Deanie Fenical, began the first trail riding business in the Pocono Mountain area of East Stroudsburg in the 1940's," said her husband Scott. Her mother literally rode the day Gigi was delivered (1954). When she was only 10 months old, her father modified a western saddle into sort of a saddle/bassinet so Gigi could ride in the hack string with her mother. She truly was in the saddle before she could walk." Kelly, too, got an early start in the saddle. Her mom rode while pregnant with her, and little Jodie got her first pony at the age of 2.

In their younger years, both women also rode over fences, but ultimately decided that dressage was the way to go. "jumping was fun, but I didn't have the guts for it," says Kelly. Scott Nutter says his wife "rode by the seat of her pants until she was about 18, but that didn't stop her from winning hunter and jumper classes against adults at age 11 and 12." The Nutters' farm in Whitesburg, Ga. is named after her first jumper, Touch 'n Go, who lived to the unprecedented age of 43. With the exception of brief stints in secretarial and retail jobs, Gigi Nutter has been an equine professional her entire life. She recalls that George Morris suggested that she ride with Gunnar Ostergaard. That was the beginning of her love of dressage. She considers Karl Mikolka "unquestionably the greatest influence" in her approach to riding and training. Irma Hotz also helped her for seven years to balance her competitive nature with classical schooling. She has also worked with Jessica Ransehausen, Robert Dover, Georg Heyser, Michael Klimke and others. In jumpers, she began training with George Morris and continued with him for years, but she also trained with Bernie Traurig, Frank Chapot, Michael Matz, Bruce Davidson and many others.

She has brought along a half-dozen green riders to their USDF bronze medal and another handful to their silver. Her students have become judges, instructors, FEI riders, NAYRC riders and regional champions, such as Adrienne Rogers. Her jumper students have been intercollegiate jumper champions and Medal/ Maclay qualifiers. She also has several successful USCTA riders.

Nutter began riding FEI in 1983 and started showing grand prix in 1988. She won her USDF gold medal in 1988 and was long listed for the USET in 1989. Fahrenheit, a 10 öyear-old Hanoverian, is her seventh FEI horse and the third she has schooled through grand prix movements. Nutter couldnât have been more satisfied with her championship PSG test. "High points?" she said when asked what she liked about the test. "Everything was a high point! I had his attention. He listened. He was just right there! It was just a gorgeous ride." The due earned 8s on their walk and canter pirouettes, and on their halt/reinback. In the extended canter, I had a big smile on my face," she said.

She bought Wendel as a 3-year-old jumper prospect, but decided to stick to dressage after becoming pregnant with her daughter, Cassidy Anne, now 5. Nutter started Wendel at first level at age 5 and they began fourth level in 1999, winning the fourth level championships at the Region 3 last year.

"I never thought he would come this far," she confesses, adding that Wendel has had his difficult moments. Nervous and spooky, he frequently asks, "do I have to do this?"

"He's an average horse with an above average trainer," says Scott."Wendel was far from the best horse in his classes. He was the best trained and, that weekend, best ridden."

She has her sights set on the I-2 championships next year and after that, Grand Prix. Wendel already knows his one tempis, piaffe and passage. Though not as satisfied with her winning I-1 ride, Nutter was nonetheless thrilled to claim two victories on a horse she's brought along herself. But even more elated was her husband of six years. "I'm Gigi's designated cheerleader," says proud husband. "Scott is my number on supporter," she agrees.

In addition to her championship ride with Katinka, Nutter won third level test two open with a 64.47.4% and third level test one open with a 66.667%. Katinka is undefeated in her first year showing. Shown ten times at second level, she has a 71.75% average. "She is wonderful," said Gigi Nutter. "I think she'll go all the way."
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