California Riding Magazine • May, 2011

Half Andalusian Does It All

Amanda & Esperado

Esperado is an all-around good guy. When the 10-year-old Andalusian/Dutch Warmblood cross helped British pentathlon competitor Mhairi Spence earn the silver medal at this year's Pentathlon World Cup, it was only the latest of his varied accomplishments. "He's a great example of the Andalusian's versatility," says his proud owner Amanda Johnson.

Amanda lives and rides in Washington State, where she competes Esperado at B-rated Open hunter/jumper shows and on the Andalusian breed circuit, on which he's qualified for International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Shows Assn. nationals a few times. Amanda and Esperado have even done a little team penning and cattle sorting.

Amanda's ears perked when she heard that Pentathlon World Cup host, Michael Cintas of Equestrian Centers International in Rancho Mirage, was looking for horses to use in the event. Winter weather in Washington makes riding and training difficult, and the opportunity of four months of all-expenses paid boarding and training with Cintas seemed a better option. It helped that Amanda is close friends with Selena Frederick, (a California Riding Magazine contributor), who knew both Esperado and Michael's program very well.

Mhairi Spence, the Pentathlon Silver medalist, representing Great Britain.

Amanda had not heard of the Pentathlon before, but she is now grateful for her and Esperado's involvement with the sport. Esperado got a lot of dressage training in advance of the competition and he jumped like a champ for his temporary rider. Amanda came to Rancho Mirage two weeks before the event to help with preparations. She noticed that riding was rarely the strong suit of the event's five-sport contestants. "You really have to have a solid horse to do well." Which is exactly what Esperado was for his rider.