By Catie Staszak/Catie Staszak Media
Sorensen Stables has long established itself to be a source of top hunters, and another reference was sold this winter season, as Paisley Park has joined the stable of Geoffrey Hesslink and Little Brook, LLC. The leading WCHR Professional of the Northeast Region in 2021, Hesslink, who runs his Hesslink Williams operation alongside trainer Brendan Williams out of Wellington, FL, is fresh off his first career victory in the prestigious WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. His winning mount was the Holsteiner gelding Mon Tresor—owned by Little Brook.
Sorensen Stables originally scouted Paisley Park for longtime friend and client Danielle Baran, who rode with the Sorensens when their operation was based in Canada and Florida. After achieving many successes with Baran, Paisley Park wasted no time proving his top quality for his new owner and rider, jumping to Championship honors in the Performance Hunter 3’6″ division at WEF 8.
“We are thrilled to see Paisley Park join such an outstanding program, with a great owner and rider,” said Sorensen Stables’ Whitney Sorensen. “We’ve known this horse for a very long time, and we believe him to be one of the best in the world. It’s been a joy to be a part of his career and watch him win with top amateur, junior and professional riders. We can’t wait to see what’s next for him.”
“Professional] Quincy Hayes did a lovely job developing Paisley Park for Danielle Baran who is very accomplished in the hunter ring in her own right,” Chris Sorensen added. “Quincy really took the time and developed him as it should have been done, and we’ve seen him now have success with multiple riders at the top level.”
The Sorensens had only recently relocated to The Netherlands when they first saw Paisley Park. Having spent nearly two decades immersed in the horse show industry throughout the U.S. and Canada, they were uniquely positioned to identify horses with potential to succeed in the North American market. They immediately knew the Dutch Warmblood gelding would be a special hunter prospect.
“Because we’ve had a business coaching in North America, we know what it takes for a horse to be suitable for our clients,” Chris said. “Until you have put those horses and riders into the ring as a coach yourself, you can never totally appreciate exactly what you need in a horse from Europe to ensure they will be successful.”
Paisley Park has since earned himself distinction, with accolades from the Winter Equestrian Festival to the Canadian Hunter Derby Championship, which he won in 2020. He earned himself a place in the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in both 2019 and 2020 by way of the Performance Hunter 3’6″ division, and he captured the 2018 Green Hunter 3’3″ Stake at the prestigious Capital Challenge Horse Show, universally understood as the most prestigious hunter competition in the country. He began his 2022 season with the Large Junior Hunter 3’6″ 16-17 division Championship under Augusta Iwasaki at WEF 4.
“With us, the biggest thing is mentality. In Europe, you’re not buying a hunter. You’re buying a jumper or a young horse,” Chris said. “You have to see potential and know how it’s going to develop. That comes from the experience of being part of the journey for hundreds of horses that have gone through that transition.”