From Ooltewah came a triple national champion last week at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Lexington, Ky.
Crimson N Color, a Half Arabian Half Saddlebred owned by Ooltewah's Cynthia Hayes, won national Arabian titles in Prix St. Georges and Intermediate 1 and also was recognized as the United States Dressage Federation all breeds champion.
Another Ooltewah resident, Shannon Betts, trains and rides the horse known more familiarly as Remmy. That's short for Rembrandt, Hayes explained.
"When I bought him I didn't really like the name 'Crimson N Color,' so I gave him the barn name Rembrandt. He looked to me like he had been painted," she said. "Now I'm kind of sorry I did that. He's proven he deserves his real name."
Dressage is the most particular form of horse training - it's what is seen in the Olympics - and tends to be dominated by European breeds, Hayes said. That's not normally a forte of a Half Arabian Half Saddlebred.
"That makes Remmy's accomplishments even more special," Hayes said.
She bought the spirited champion seven years ago in Ocala, Fla., when he was a 3-year-old.
"That was after a few years of searching," Hayes said. "I wanted a tri-colored half-half and Shannon wanted a dressage horse. I had no idea he would be this good at it."
A couple of Europeans also help with the training, as Remmy typically spends his winters in Wellington, Fla. Only a few people are able to ride him, the owner noted.
Betts has earned her USDF silver medal as a trainer through her work with Remmy. In 2009 he was the U.S. Equestrian Federation horse of the year for dressage through the fourth level, the USDF all breeds winner for the third and fourth levels and the national Arabian third-level reserve champion (runner-up). Last year he was the USEF champion for the South Region and earned the USDF Prix St. Georges all breeds title.
Region championships preceded his national titles this year, and he appears well on his way to Grand Prix status, the highest in the sport.