Oregon member Cari Schwartz and her 17-year-old Trakehner mare Exsarena finished the 2017 competition season #2 in the Nation among all horse/rider pairs competing in Working Equitation, and #1 in Region 1 Standings for Advanced Level.
Cari has owned Exsarena since she was born (Cari’s mom owned Leading Melody, her dam, and Exsar, her sire). She says that Exsarena is quite a character. “She likes to lick people and is very friendly and sweet; however, she loves to outsmart me and prove horses are the superior beings. She is very elegant but loves to roll in the mud, especially after bathing for a show. Sometimes my friends don’t recognize her and ask who the new paint horse is, as she is supposed to be white!”
With almost two decades together, it’s not surprising that Cari and Exsarena have done a lot. “We like to explore nature by trailriding or hanging out grazing on a sunny day,” Cari says. “We enjoy dressage Musical freestyles and jumping too.”
Cari, who was the first person in North America to earn her Silver Medal in Working Equitation, is also a WE United ‘r’ Judge and has hosted numerous clinics and schooling shows in northern Oregon and southern Washington. She first learned about the sport when it was offered at the Oregon State Fair in conjunction with the Andalusian Division and quickly saw the potential in the sport.
“I like the technical challenges and the variety of skills needed for success,” she says, “and the fact that your horse participates as a willing partner to succeed.”
When asked if there was anyone in particular who has been key to supporting her journey in the sport, Cari had no problem coming up with a name. “Lizann Dunegan has supported me and encouraged me to succeed,” she said, “and I may not have known of the sport in its infancy in the US without her love of Andalusians and interest in pursuing this fun sport! Thanks Lizann!”