KELLI CRUCIOTTI AND HER AMAZING MARE CHAMONIX H

Kelli started riding ponies at the age of 5. Her passion and dedication, as well as natural talent, has earned her the reputation as being one of the top junior riders in the sport of show jumping.

In 2009 Kelli was Grand Hunter Champion with her mount “Q” at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and was named best child rider. Kelli continued over the next several years to add to her impressive list of accomplishments and in 2013 she was Reserve Champion at the coveted Maclay finals in Lexington, KY.

From 2013 to 2015 Kelli was in the top ten of every major equitation finals on the east coast, ending her illustrious junior equitation career by winning the USEF Pessoa Medal finals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In addition to Kelli’s equitation and hunter accomplishments, she excelled in the junior jumper ring, winning many championships and classics. In 2015 Kelli surpassed all expectations and won the prestigious Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon on her mare Chamonix H. Kelli was and is the youngest rider in the history of this class to ever do so and marked the first open grand prix she had ever ridden in.

During the same year, Kelli won several other national Grand Prix’s and was gold medalists on many junior and young rider Nations Cup teams to add to her already illustrious junior resume.

In 2016 Kelli started her professional career and continued her success. She was gold medalist on the young rider Nations Cup team and won the coveted Artisan Farms U25 series in Wellington, Florida and was awarded a trip to Chantilly France to compete overseas in the Longines Global Champions Tour. During this trip to Europe, Kelli impressed the European community by placing in several International Grand Prix’s in Eindhoven and Sentower.  

Kelli finished out her international trip by competing at Spruce Meadows where she won the Encana $50,000 U25 Grand Prix as well as top placings with several other of her jumpers in various classes.

Kelli has embraced the beginning of her professional career as passionately and successfully as she has over the past 12 years. She is a dedicated, talented horsewoman that has committed her life to the improvement and success of her family’s Serenity Farm and to the industry as a whole. 

 

CHAMONIX H

 

BARN NAME: Cham

FAVORITE TREATS: Big carrots with the green tops.

IF SHE WERE A SUPERHERO WHICH ONE WOULD SHE BE? Jean Grey from the X-Men because of her incredible mind, strong character and loving nature.

IF SHE HAD A FAVORITE SONG WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE? Livin’ On a Prayer by Bon Jovi

DOES SHE HAVE ANY BAD HABITS? Chamonix has no bad habits. Her personality takes a little getting used to at first, only because she seems a little grumpy. She can lay her ears back and is not “cuddly” at all.

WHAT IS HER PERSONALITY LIKE? She is a very caring and sweet horse! She always wants to take care of you.

 

 

HH: Can you tell us a little about Chamonix? Her breeding, her age and how long have you had her?

 

KC: Chamonix is a 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare that I have been partnered with for five years.

 

 

HH: What was it like trying Chamonix and where did you get her?

 

KC: When I first tried her I felt an instant connection. She had the most comfortable canter and I felt like I could jump anything. What really sold it for me was the second day when I made a big mistake to a very tall vertical and she just took care of it and cantered away like nothing happened. We bought her from the Philippaerts family through Emile Hendrix.

 

HH: What success had she had before she came to you?

 

KC: She started her career in Sweden with Helena Persson and was very successful for many years. After her time with Helena, she then moved to the Phillapaerts stable. Oliver took over the ride and had a great deal of success at the highest level of the sport taking part in Nations Cup events and top Grand Prix’s around the world.

 

HH: You’ve had a lot of success with Chamonix! Tell us a little about your favorite accomplishments and wins…

 

KC: I have been so fortunate to be able and share so many incredible memories with her. If I had to pick a favorite it would be winning the Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon in 2015. Winning that class was a huge surprise for me and to be able to have her as my partner made it a night I will never forget.

 

HH: Chamonix had surgery and is just coming back to competition. What happened and how have you started her back?

 

KC: Chamonix was on her way back from Spruce Meadows in the summer of 2016 when she coliced and required surgery to fix her Nephrosplenic Entrapment. She spent about six days in recovery before returning home to start her recovery. Two months later she coliced again and I was not willing to put her back into surgery because what she had done for me, and her age. I told our vet that she would have to be “put down” because I did not want her to have to suffer any more. Our long time vet, Ladd Squires, looked at me and said “she had not given up, and either should you.” We then decided to take her back up to Colorado State University and they felt that the only way for her to survive was to perform a Large Colon Resection, which is the most aggressive method of surgical management of the colon. Dr. Eileen Hackett removed 80% of her colon, which is approximately 200 pounds worth. Once the surgery was completed she began to recover, but spent about two weeks at the clinic so she could adjust to her new digestive track. In typical Chamonix form she did it with ease and to everyone’s amazement looked good, all things considered. She then spent the next few months getting stronger and trying to get her muscle tone back. In the winter of 2017 we had some issues with her not feeling like herself. I decided to retire her from the sport and was hoping for her to live a long and happy life. She was not happy with her “new life” so we started to investigate what was wrong with her. Dr. Will French with Littleton Equine Medical Center came out to see why she was not feeling quite like herself and found that she had mild to moderate arthritis in her left hip joint. We all thought it was a long shot for this to be the cause of her lameness, but we were willing to try anything. Dr. French injected her hip and ever since then she has been feeling better than before I bought her. We have been going slowly to bring her back and just last week placed 4th in the 3* Speed Stake at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.

 

HH: Since her injury, where have you gone and what have you been doing with her?

 

KC: Since her surgeries and lameness we have really focused on getting her as strong as possible before pushing her to jump the bigger classes. Because of her age and the BIG job she does it is very important that she is fit, so we don’t risk another injury.

 

HH: Can you tell us a little bit about your bond and the relationship you have with Chamonix?

 

KC: It is very difficult for me to put my relationship with Chamonix into words. The closest I can come is that she is my best friend. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I know I will never have a horse in my lifetime like her.

 

HH: How do you maintain consistency in your training program with her?

 

KC: Chamonix loves her program and does not want it to change! Everyday she goes into the paddock for two hours with my first pony Miss Scarlett. When they are finished she then comes in so I can ride her, usually around 9 am before the heat. She does not like to be hot (she is THE QUEEN). When we work her she does her flatwork for 20-40 minutes either in the ring, out in the grass field or sometimes on the trails. Keeping the venue fresh for her is very important; she does not like to do the same thing over and over again. She does not jump at home! We like to save all of her jumps for in the ring and use poles to keep her fit.

 

HH: What is your future plan with Chamonix?

 

KC: To be honest I have not even thought about it because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would have another chance to show her. Everything she does now is for her As long as she still loves it then I am happy to be with her every step of the way.

 

PC: All pictures given to HH by Kelli Cruciotti with intent to publish.
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