The Excellent Equine series is bought to you by The History & Theory of Modern Riding class Fall 2015. “Hula – Excellent Equine” was researched and written by Shannon Hahn.
In March 2013, Hula came to St. Andrews to join our Therapeutic Riding program. He is a Belgium Warmblood who was born on November 3, 1991 in Germany. He is part of the line of African Drum, who is a well-known show jumping stallion. Hula is by Prins-Drum Van Bellet and out of Diablesse Du Ruisseau. He was registered with the name Houla-Hop Du Ruisseau.
Hula had a successful career showing all across Europe. He showed as a young jumper and progressed through the ranks while in Europe. 1999 found Hula showing in Greece where he was purchased by Wilhelm Genn. After Mr. Genn bought Hula, he imported him to the United States for Randy Hannold and Holli Adams.
After arriving in the United States, he was registered with the name “Hula-Hoop,” which is a shortened version of his European name. Mr. Hannold then purchased Hula from Mr. Genn with the intention of showing in the Grand Prix division. Hula did compete at the Grand Prix level for a while before Randy Hannold and Holli Adams made the decision to occasionally show Hula in the Regular Working Hunter Division. This division is now the High Performance Hunters. This is a lot of Hula’s history before he entered the lives of the Porath Family back in 2003.
In March of 2003, Elizabeth Porath was at a show in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently had an injured pony and did not have anyone to show. Looking back she cannot remember who actually proposed the idea, but during second weekend of the show in Atlanta, she showed Hula in the pre-children’s hunters division. She remembers the jumps being so small that he halted in front of one of the jumps, and being so tiny herself, she just slid down his neck! She went on to show Hula in Aiken the following month, and in her words “after that it was game over.” She recalls that Randy and Holli insisted that he was “not for sale” since Hula was a favorite of Holli’s in the barn. Luckily for Liz the ended up allowing her family to buy him.
2003-2008 consisted of a lot of traveling, competing, and winning for this duo. Hula took her all the way from the younger Children’s Hunters to the Large Junior Hunters. He also took her all the way to Devon, Capital Challenge, Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show. The duo amassed many ribbons in equitation classes, the $100,000 hunter classic at the Queen City Classic, ribbons in all of the finals, as well as many tricolors and grand championships at shows. Some of these shows include the Aiken Spring Classic and the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.
Hula’s prolific showing career ended suddenly after a freak trailer accident on his way to Devon. From here, Hula entered our Therapeutic Riding program in March of 2013. Hula has been a huge addition to our TH program. According to one of our TH instructors, he is one of the few horses that we have in the program that is lift trained. This means that he will stand quietly beside the mechanical lift used to place riders on the horse’s back who are unable to use the ramp or a mounting block. Overall he is a great TH horse who always takes care of his riders. Due to his background, he has more movement than some of the other horses in the program, which is good for those riders that are “seeking movement” and can feel the horse’s movement. Hula is such a versatile horse that he is able to aid the program in many other ways. It was said that he “is a TH pony by day, and an IDA and IHSA horse on the weekends.” Hula has truly been a great addition to our program here at St. Andrews.
All of Hula’s history is courtesy of Liz and Sandra Porath. The information regarding his participation at St. Andrews is courtesy of Rachel Gaardsmoe.