CORK-born Shane
Sweetnam, who won his fourth opening competition at Florida’s Winter Equestrian
Festival last night (Wednesday) with the Irish Sport Horse Solerina, revealed
that he uses a television set in the stable to acclimatise the mare to the
competition arena’s giant video screen.

“She is very funny about the
jumbotron (the giant video display), that is her big thing. She has matured
about it, but she is still kind of nervous about it. Today in the practice ring
she was nervous; you could tell that she was nervous. She’s a much better horse
when there is no TV, ” he explained.

The 33 year-old US-based Irish rider
said that to help with Solerina’s nerves about the jumbotron, the mare has a TV
screen that she watches in her stall at horse shows.

“It helps a little,
but I’m not sure how much,” Sweetnam admitted. “She’s not as dramatic about it
as she was before, but as soon as she sees a big TV it is still a factor. At
shows she always has a TV in her stall. Spruce Meadows show jumping is what
she’s watching at the moment. It used to be some cowboy guy before. I better get
the Winter Equestrian Festival video, maybe that will work

Despite her reservations about giant TV screens, the 15 year-old
Cruising mare, who is owned by Sweet Oak & Spy Coast Farms, still took home
the winner’s trophy in Florida last night with a comfortable two seconds in hand
over Mexican challenger Eugenio Garza and the stallion Providence

Sweetnam has so far won four opening speed classes with different
horses since the equestrian festival opened in Wellington, Florida eight weeks


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