Gladstone, NJ – Over the next two weeks a total of six USEF National Dressage Champions will be crowned, along with the U.S. Dressage Team taking a step closer to the London Olympic Games. The first week of the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions got underway Friday with the Veterinary Inspections and all 47 horses were deemed fit and sound to compete. Competitors in the Grand Prix, Young Rider, Junior Rider and Pony Rider division will compete June 9-10 in the Dick and Jane Brown Dressage Arena at the historic USET Foundation Headquarters.
National Grand Prix Dressage Championship
In addition to crowning a National Champion, the Grand Prix division also serves as the USEF Dressage Selection Trial for the US Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympic Games. These horses and riders will compete this weekend and return to the Brown Arena June 15th and 16th to conclude their competition. Both weekends they will contest the FEI Grand Prix Test and the FEI Olympic Grand Prix Test, with the score from each test counting towards 25% of the overall average.
Gladstone, NJ (September 27, 2011) – Rebecca O’Connor has certainly found herself surrounded by Lusitanos lately; she recently became the proud owner of a beautiful Lusitano bred by Interagro Lusitanos, and following her trip to Gladstone she is also the happy recipient of a copy of the book The Lusitano Horse – Basic Lineages by Dr. Paulo Gonzaga, founder of Interagro Lusitanos in Brazil, which is the largest breeder and exporter of Lusitano horses in the world. O’Connor, who is from Canton, Georgia, won the book in a raffle at the Lusitano booth during the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey.
O’Connor was thrilled to win the book and said she is looking forward to her Lusitano arriving at her home. O’Connor purchased Allure Interagro from Char Ann Ireland at The Dressage Center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. “I have now completed my pre-purchase of Allure and am most excited as he is on his way from Pennsylvania to his new home in Atlanta,” she said. “I purchased him because I think Interagro’s Lusitanos make lovely dressage prospects because they have good steady minds that focus on their rider and they have gaits I can actually ride – and not see the chiropractor afterwards!”
O’Connor said her trip to Gladstone was an exciting experience. “To see such quality in both horses and riders is an experience I will not forget. Winning the raffle at the Interagro Lusitano booth was an added bonus!” she said, adding that she is also excited about bonding with her new Lusitano. “My plans with Allure include a long period of getting to know one another, which will work out well since the show season is almost over. I plan to compete him starting next season and attend various clinics to improve our skills. Even though I don’t know him well, there is something special about his attitude. I looked up his grandsire Apolo Do Mirante in The Lusitano Horse — Basic Lineages, and it was interesting to note that his offspring are known to have good temperaments, elevated movements and a lot of personality.”
Gladstone, NJ (September 19, 2011) – Dr. Cesar Parra, the international dressage rider who has made no secret about his love for the United States of America, realized a dream come true during the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions when he was named as a member of the 2011 United States Dressage Team headed to the Pan American Games in Mexico. Parra also made history with his Pan Am goal, becoming the first Latin American rider to compete on a United States Dressage Team. The Intermediaire I Championship served as the USEF Selection Trials for the upcoming Games, and Parra rode Michael and Sarah Davis’s Grandioso to third place in the division and to a spot on the team.
Parra, a former dentist from South America who went on to become one of Colombia’s top international riders, moved his family to the United States in 1999 and became an American citizen in 2008. Last year at Gladstone Parra recognized his first dream of becoming an American champion when he rode Lori Washton’s Olympia to the National Intermediaire I Championship. Parra’s second dream, to represent the United States by being a member of the U.S. Dressage Team, has now also become a reality.
“This past weekend was very emotional and exciting for all of us. We had set as a goal to make the USA team for the Pan Am Games, so to accomplish that is wonderful. I feel very blessed to be representing the country that has given my family and I such a wonderful new life,” Parra said. Parra is no stranger to the Pan Am Games as he placed fourth individually at the 2003 Pan Am Games riding for Colombia. As a Colombian rider he also competed in the Olympics, the World Equestrian Games and was named the Colombian National Champion multiple times.
Gladstone, NJ (September 16, 2011) – Dressage rider Caroline Roffman added another prestigious title to her growing resume, cementing her place in the history books of dressage riders by winning the Young Adult Brentina Cup Championship aboard Beemer at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey. Roffman’s Brentina Cup victory comes on the heels of a successful 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in which she rode away with three Reserve Championships aboard San City, Bon Chance and Pie.
As dressage’s reigning “it girl,” Roffman piloted Beemer to a close victory over Olivia Lagoy-Weltz and Riffalino. Roffman said she was thrilled to ride Beemer, a sales horse owned by her trainer Lars Petersen and Global Dressage, and that the 13-year-old gelding has given her a great introduction to the Grand Prix ring.
“I had dreamed of competing at Gladstone in the Brentina Cup for years, ever since the class was developed,” Roffman said. “To win this award was so exciting, but it was mostly icing on the cake. Just being there and being part of it was thrilling.”
While Roffman has been riding Beemer throughout the year, she wasn’t certain if he would be available to compete in the Brentina Cup since he was for sale. “The opportunity Lars gave me to ride Beemer was incredible and gave me so much experience. I am so lucky and I cannot thank him enough,” Roffman said. “Beemer will now be marketed for sale and with several people already inquiring about him I doubt he will be around for long.”
Gladstone, NJ (September 14, 2011) – The inaugural USEF National Pony Rider Championships may have been a small division at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey, but for Massachusetts resident Barbara “Bebe” Davis it was a big experience and one she will remember the rest of her life. Competing on her pony Bohdjan, Davis captured the Reserve Championship in the new National Pony division, but also experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in one single weekend.
Riders in the USEF Pony Rider Championship are the future of dressage riders for our country, and Davis said she would use her experience at Gladstone to grow and as a stepping-stone for future national competitions. Davis grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts, and her family bought a home in New Jersey to be close to their trainer, Dr. Cesar Parra, and his Piaffe Performance Farm. “Bohdjan did really well the first day. We came in second with a score of 63.611% while Allison Cyprus came in first with a 63.944%, so I felt confident with such a close race,” Davis said. “During the awards ceremony my pony got scared and he never settled down the rest of the weekend and was certainly nervous during our second test and didn’t perform well. I was disappointed, to say the least, because I didn’t want to let my trainer Dr. Cesar Parra down.”
Parra, who trains Davis out of his Piaffe-Performance farm in New Jersey, praised the 13-year-old rider and said disappointment was the furthest thing from his mind. “I was really proud of Bebe. It’s very special to ride at Gladstone and coming up the hill to the arena, knowing there is a crowd of people on both sides can be intimidating,” Parra said. “Bebe handled it really well and it was a great and growing experience for her. A show like the Festival of Champions makes you a better and stronger rider mentally and no one can ever take the experience, and what you gain from it, away from you.”
Gladstone, NJ – Steffen Peters went six-for-six at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions at the USET Foundation Headquarters. First, he swept the Intermediaire I on Weltino’s Magic (earning a place on the team for the Pan American Games in the process) and then dominated the Grand Prix National Dressage Championship on Ravel – scoring 77.660% in the Grand Prix, 80.083% in the Grand Prix Special, and 81.100% in the Freestyle to average 79.247% to win by more than six percentage points.
On a day when the nation remembered September 11, 2001, the national anthem played proudly in Gladstone, NJ.
Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farm’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding cruised to a title that they last won in 2008. Ravel was tired after putting in a tremendous effort in the Grand Prix Special on Friday but America’s dressage superstar hung in there and, despite some mistakes, what he did well – he did very well.
“Interesting, obviously a little tough on the finish line,” said Peters. “There was the one piaffe that didn’t happen and that makes me not think about the other movements that were good… the changes and pirouettes were better than Aachen.”
Ravel always tries, but Peters knew based on how well behaved his superstar was in the prize giving, that the horse is ready for a vacation. He has had a busy few years, competing and winning at the biggest shows across the globe.
Gladstone, NJ – The results of the 2011 National Junior Dressage Championship remained unchanged as Kya Endreson and Pik L swept both the Team and Individual Tests to win Endreson’s very first National Championship title.
Pik L is a very experienced 18-year-old Hanoverian stallion, who has been an incredible small-tour horse for nearly a decade. Endreson rode him to Team Gold at the 2011 Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North this summer, but took her first national title at Gladstone today.
“It was awesome,” said the 16-year-old from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. “I feel so lucky to be able to ride such a great horse… he’s just so awesome and he’s helped me so much.”
Pik L’s son Pikko del Cerro HU contested the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship this weekend, finishing eighth. Pik L’s career includes two Pan American Games and scores of wins at the Intermediaire level. He is now happily showing Endreson the ropes and their two-day score of 70.612% rewarded the only combination to go over 70% in either test.
“I feel like it went pretty well,” said Endreson. “He was a little strong at some points and he was a little tired from yesterday but he stayed with me.”
Endreson is a full-time working student at Hassler Dressage.
Gladstone, NJ – The top three placings in the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship never changed throughout the week at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm Dressage Festival of Championship and Steffen Peters dominated with Weltino’s Magic finishing on a three day average of 78.661%.
Riding for Jen Hlavacek, Peters owned the Dick and Jane Brown Arena this morning, and to music by Seven and Five, he showed off the 9-year-old Westphalian gelding’s strengths and was rewarded with a freestyle score of 81.250%. This was the only score over 80 in this division all weekend.
“It is fairly new,” said Peters about his Freestyle. “I’ve only done three freestyles with Magic. The music is by a group called Seven and Five, it’s not too dramatic but it’s not too much like elevator music. It was fun, there are some days where it is a little more work with Magic, but today it was fun.”
Weltino’s Magic was started by Peters’ wife Shannon, who rode him to reserve championship honors in the 2008 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships as a 6-year-old. He is a strong horse and Peters knows that managing that strength is a major part of his job.
“He’s a powerful horse and he can be once and a while a little strong,” said Peters. “I have to be careful that I break things up a little bit (in the freestyle)… The changes have become straighter that is why I did them down the center line and the trot work is stronger than the canter work which is why I put it at the end.”
Gladstone, NJ – The third day of the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions meant the second day of the USEF Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship. The results remained unchanged as Steffen Peters won his third class in a row taking the top spot in the Intermediaire I test on Weltino’s Magic with a score of 76.421%.
He fought back from a couple of mistakes early on and overcame a couple of misunderstandings to duplicate his win in yesterday’s Prix St. Georges.
“It wasn’t quite as easy,” said Peters. “There were a couple of misunderstandings. When I asked for the left half-pass he thought extended trot. In the two-tempis one of the changes felt short behind. Where I think we won it was with really good pirouettes and the walk.”
Peters explained that when things aren’t going to plan in the test, he tries not to let it distract him from the task at hand.
“He’s a pretty straightforward horse,” said Peters. “If I don’t screw up, he doesn’t screw up.”
The Intermediaire I Championship also serves as the USEF Selection Trials for the 2011 Pan American Games, and Peters, despite being an Olympic and World Championship veteran and medalist, has never ridden on a Pan American Team. He and Jen Hlavacek’s 9-year-old Westphalian gelding have been winning at a record pace not only on the West Coast but they also swept the small tour in Aachen this summer. Peters has been nearly invincible with this horse and with Ravel in the Grand Prix and lead a dressage resurrection in the United States.
Gladstone, NJ – Just over 3/10ths of a point decided the Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ champion – the first Championship awarded at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions at the USET Foundation Headquarters.
Caroline Roffman and Beemer edged out Olivia LaGoy-Weltz for the top spot with a two-day combined score of 65.822% to LaGoy-Weltz’ 65.518%.
Roffman has had a very successful Young Rider career and has done very well training and producing young horses, but Beemer is showing her the Grand Prix ropes and has given her the first Brentina Cup win of her career.
“I’m honored to be here and feel lucky to have the opportunity to ride this horse,” said Roffman about Lars Petersen and Global Dressage Sales’ 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
Because Beemer has been for sale this year, Roffman didn’t know if she would still have him in the barn to be able to bring him to contest these championships. She capitalized on the opportunity of him not getting sold.
“It was cleaner,” she said about her performance in the Young Rider Grand Prix test. “I wanted to have a clean ride. It lacked a lot of the brilliance from Thursday, but I did a better job.”