Mar 04, 2019

USEA Horse of the Month: Danito

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff

Congratulations to Danito, the March 2019 USEA Horse of the Month! Owned by Ruth Bley and ridden by Tamra Smith, Danito is a 10-year-old Hanoverian chestnut gelding (Dancier x Wie Musik). Danito won the CCI3-S at the Fresno County Horse Park on February 15, the first FEI event of 2019. No stranger to earning the blue ribbon, Danito has 12 wins to his USEA record including a win in 2014 at Lone Tree Farm’s Young Event Horse (YEH) competition with John Michael Durr in the irons.

Thanks to our friends at EquiRatings, we can share that Smith and Danito’s win at Fresno put Danito in a category with top event horses like Veronica and Mystery Whisper.

Smith explained what he’s like around the barn, his favorite treats, and described him as a horse with “a heart of gold.”

About Danito:

  • Barn Name: “We call him Cheeto. Burrito. Flaming Hot Cheeto. It’s kind of whatever is rhyming at the time.”
  • Favorite treat: “He likes everything, even Cheetos.”
  • Favorite phase in eventing: “He’s pretty fun in all three phases. Cross-country is my favorite and he seems to love it the most.”
  • Introvert or extrovert: “He’s a bit of an introvert. Intellectual type. Kind of the nerd in the class. He reminds me of the dorky guy who nobody really thinks is that hot, but after you meet him and get to know him he’s the hottest guy around.”
  • Fun fact: “He is only 15.3 hands with a heart of gold. He knows when it’s show time and really has a special spark about him.”

EquiRatings Statistic

Danito’s win at the Fresno County Horse Park gives him three wins from three international runs with Tamra Smith. This means they become only the 20th combination since 2008 to win their first three international runs as a combination. Two other combinations on this list are Veronica and Lauren Kieffer and Mystery Whisper and Phillip Dutton.

Danito and Tamra Smith on their way to a fourth place finish at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

About the USEA Horse of the Month

New in 2019, the USEA is recognizing an event horse each month on the USEA website and social media. The USEA Horse of the Month is determined based on statistics and event results and announced at the beginning of every month. The March Horse of the Month was selected based on the performance of the first FEI event of 2019, Fresno County Horse Park CCI. Danito and Tamra Smith won Fresno’s CCI3-S wire to wire, earning him the title of USEA Horse of the Month in March 2019!

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Having this historic competition close isn't the right result for the sport, and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) is working hard to find a solution. The organizer and landowners operate exceptional events on a beautiful piece of land. We are deeply sensitive to the history of the word "plantation" and its connection to slavery; however, this property has no known connections to slavery and was instead named after 'plantings' on the property.

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