American Saddlebred Versatility Association

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MEET FRITO and Natalie

This article shines the Spotlight on Savannah's Warrior, a registered American Saddlebred 5-gaited gelding Known as "Frito".                 ~ J. Booth

Frito was adopted from Saddlebred Rescue, headquartered in Hardwick, NJ in December of 2010 by Angie Cardis for her granddaughters Hailey and Natalie Parker. While in training at North Wind Stables, Hailey showed Frito at the Dream Park in south Jersey and elsewhere in 5-gaited classes. The horse was moved to a jumper barn closer to home in the fall of 2011.  That's where Natalie (age 10 at the time), started walking him over ground poles and then tried to jump him. He took to it right away. 

But the trainer thought Saddlebreds were too likely to spook and run off. As Natalie worked with Frito, the trainer realized that he was different from his warmblood sport horses, but had a good attitude and wanted to please. So he started giving Natalie one lesson a week on his horse and one on Frito.  When Angie convinced him to take Frito to a jumper show at the Dream Park, he insisted that Natalie's older cousin, an experienced jumper, show him for the first time. Frito entered the ring, looked around and said, "I've been here before. It's show time!"  In three classes he had only one refusal. Natalie has been showing him ever since - indoors, outdoors, rain or shine. She also takes him on beach rides, hunter paces and even on fox hunts.

Fast forward - February 20, 2015: Frito wins Reserve Championship, Woodedge Horse Show Series, (twelve rated shows) in the .85 meters jumper division! This spring, plans are to move up to a division with higher jumps! 

Focusing on Frito is only part of this story. Frito was purchased just one month after Natalie's father died after suffering a long illness. Frito entered her life at just the right time.  According to her Mom, Gwen Parker, Frito gave Natalie something to focus on during the time that she was deeply depressed and saddened. "The only time she smiled was when she was with Frito. It is for this reason we always say that Frito rescued Natalie as much as we rescued Frito."  And how did Frito get his  name? Well, because everybody loves Fritos.  

03/18/16 Update - Natalie and Frito have set a goal to show at Devon this year.  Wishing them continued success!

(1) Natalie and Maureen Allen, at Woodedge Awards Ceremony  (2) Natalie & Frito, the Jumper, 2014  (3) Hailey & Frito, the 5-Gaited Pleasure Horse, 2011