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She’s Back and Charming As Ever

The American Royal represented a milestone for Puttin’ On The Charm and Sara Van Galder. It was final proof that the mare is just, well, better than ever.

Purchased as a junior horse from Dena Lopez, Puttin’ On The Charm went into training with Scott Matton at Knollwood Farm. He showed the flashy young mare in junior classes and then teamed her with owner Sara Van Galder for her five-year-old season. It’s been a learning process for Van Galder and Charm since the beginning. The game mare literally didn’t know what to do with herself.

Van Galder and her mare spent their first two seasons together working through the “learning curve” and trying to get to know each other. This year, Charm’s seven-year-old season, was on track to be their best yet. “This year was our first year really getting together,” said Van Galder.

The pair showed at Madison Classic and then went on to one of the season’s most competitive midseason competitions, Mid-West Charity. “She got sick right after Midwest in June,” Van Galder explained. The mare suffered from acid buildup in her muscles and Scott Matton made the decision to give her time off.

Van Galder credits her recuperation and return to the show ring to the efforts of both Scott and Carole Matton, Eric Griedl, Laura Fulton and veterinarian Chris Besset. “They worked so hard and were so dedicated to her,” Van Galder said.

The time away from the show ring allowed the mare to recover completely, but it also did something else. “The time off helped her. She’s so game and she didn’t know what to do with it. She’s finally settling in and getting comfortable with herself,” said Van Galder. “She’s better now than she was before she got sick. Scott [Matton] says she’s finally the horse he knew he bought.”

Van Galder and Charm returned to the show ring at the Wisconsin Futurity. They were reserve in the Amateur Five-Gaited qualifier and won the championship. They then went on to the new Mid America Mane Event show and finally to the American Royal where they claimed the top three finish in the Amateur Five-Gaited Mare class.

Van Galder was thrilled with her mare’s performance. “She’s done a complete 180 degree turnaround. She’s letting me maneuver her now. We’ve had great shows where we didn’t get a top ribbon, but we accomplished what we needed to. This show proved we're getting together. That’s all Scott asks of us.”

The flashy liver chestnut mare and Van Galder have a lot to look forward to. They keep getting better and are looking toward the 2004 show season.

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