Chip Davis, founder of Mannheim Steamroller, one of the best-selling musical acts of all-time, can now add Grand National and World Championship horse owner to his list of achievements.
Davis is the proud owner of Storm Shadow, a 2-year-old metallic buckskin Warlander stallion who finished the 2009 show season with an unprecedented number of Grand National and World Championship titles. Not only is this a phenomenal accomplishment for such a young stallion in his first full year of competition, but these victories almost never happened because he was destined to be sent to a Canadian slaughterhouse after his breeder Genevieve de Montremare died of leukemia. Even though equine slaughter is no longer allowed in California, it continues in Mexico and Canada.
With trainer Sarah Snell, Davis sought to acquire a “special horse.” As destiny would have it, Storm Shadow, at first glance, was to be that special horse. Without knowing each other, Davis introduced himself to Storm Shadow, and Storm Shadow began to play with his whiskers, his watch and his jacket. It was evident to all that a match was made.
Davis did not know of Storm Shadow’s beginnings, but fell in love with this young stallion’s kind demeanor, lovely warm eyes, stunning conformation, unusual color and movement. When the transfer of ownership was complete just days before the IALHA Grand Nationals in Texas, Davis was informed that Storm Shadow qualified to compete. Without question, he said, “If it can be done, Storm Shadow should be there.”
Within two short days of leaving California, Storm Shadow met up with his new trainer Sarah Snell, of Omaha, NB and handlers Gareth Selwood and Steven Stiller, both of Selwood Park, WI, at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, TX. The 2-year-old stallion for the first time would step into the national scene against the top six ranked horses in the country, many fully mature horses defending their national titles.
For those of us that knew of Storm Shadow’s past, seeing him in this arena was accomplishment enough. It was amazing to hear the announcer roar out the anticipated placements one by one, as deemed by the three judges, “Storm Shadow is your Grand National Champion, In-Hand Dressage Sport Horse, In-Hand for Conformation, In-Hand for Best Movement.” The elation and joy of these amazing events rang out throughout the show grounds and the countryside via news media: “a young horse destined for slaughter is, by unanimous decision, your National and Grand Champion! Not once – not twice – but four times!”
In typical 2-year-old fashion, Storm Shadow was happy to be loved, brushed and supplied with cookies. As a father watching the victory of his new four-legged son, Chip Davis saw uncontested proof that Storm Shadow is a tribute to his fine lineage and Royal heritage.
For most, this would have been the end of the show season but not for Storm Shadow. Next he set out to prove the value of his Friesian heritage at the IFSHA World and Grand National Championships at the Nations Championship Center, Lake St. Louis, MO.
Storm Shadow was once again met with his show team Snell, Selwood, and Stiller, only this time, he was to compete with Chip Davis’s musical influence in the Stallion Liberty class to a special composition that Chip wrote for the Olympic Games, and in a class that was very emotional for many: the IFSHA founder “Genevieve de Montremare Memorial Class.” Once again Storm Shadow entered the arena – could he do it again? The show started with the National Anthem, a new USDF official for the Sport Horse In-hand, and a new set of three USEF judges, this time for IFSHA National and World honors.
One can only hope that he could be victorious again, but one should not hope with Storm Shadow, one should just believe. Day after day, class after class, Storm Shadow took his place to be proclaimed Dressage In-Hand National Champion as well as World Champion Stallion In-Hand, World Champion Stallion Liberty.
His crowning achievement, and as quoted by his trainer Snell, “the most meaningful award,” was being honored as the recipient of the Genevieve de Montremare Memorial for the best representation of his breeders – breeding program as presented by trainer, Sarah Jo Snell.
Chip Davis and Storm Shadow have become a triumphant duo. Davis, composer and creator of Mannheim Steamroller, hit #1 in the New Age music charts this week with the release of his 25th Anniversary Collection CD set, featuring 25 of the group’s famous holiday classics, while launching the 2009 Magical Christmas East & West Tours.
Article provided by American Gramaphone LLC / Mannheim Steamroller LLC. For more information on Storm Shadow, contact Sarah Jo Snell at