Devon Kane and Destiny. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)
Wellington, FL (October 24, 2014) — Devon Kane and her self-trained Grand Prix gelding Destiny have made their presence known upon returning to Wellington, Florida, after a summer of unexpected events and learning experiences in Europe. At the 2014 Great American Insurance Group USDF Region 3 Championships and Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge on October 16-19, 2014, Kane and Destiny proved to be unbeatable in the Grand Prix.
Kane recently returned from a summer of training with Olympic Gold Medalist Hubertus Schmidt in Germany in preparation for the winter dressage season in Florida. Kane and Destiny entered the Global Dressage Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center this past weekend looking better than ever. Kane and the Danish Warmblood won the Grand Prix on Friday with a 72.450%, and went on to sweep the Grand Prix Regional Championship with a commanding lead on Sunday. They are now qualified to compete at the 2014 US Dressage Finals in Kentucky.
Kane feels that her time in training with Schmidt this summer and Destiny’s brief period of rest following a minor injury actually helped them to achieve the win at the show. “It wasn’t what we planned, but it worked out for our benefit. It’s like solving a Rubik’s cube. You get one side in line, then the other side’s messed up again and you have to go back and fix it,” the USDF Gold Medalist explains. Kane was thrilled with Destiny’s performance at the Championships. “It feels like it’s all coming together.”
With fresh spirits and a recent win under her belt, Kane is ready to ride into the competitive winter season. “My horse is feeling super right now,” she said. “He’s really fit and his muscles feel good. He’s training really hard and well. We have a couple more shows before season starts to fine-tune some things, and hopefully we can keep the momentum we have right now flowing.”
Kane and Destiny are based at Diamante Farms in Wellington, Florida, where Kane is the head trainer. For more information about Devon Kane, Destiny, and the top-quality training, clinics, boarding, and sales that Diamante Farms offers, visit www.DiamanteFarms.com or call 210-240-1614.
Erin Brinkman (right) and April Leonard of Neue Schule at the USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships. (Photo courtesy of JRPR)
Wellington, FL (October 22, 2014) — At the Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge held in conjunction with the 2014 Great American Insurance Group USDF Region 3 Championships on October 16-19, 2014, beautiful horses and skilled riders filled the Global Dressage Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. As the competitors executed piaffes and passages in front of the judges, the Neue Schule Bits distributor Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery was intently focused on the riders’ hands.
Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, the North American distributor of Neue Schule bits, knows that even the best bits are only effective when riders use their hands correctly. Metlar awarded the Neue Schule Best Hands Award to the rider with the softest and most sensitive hands at the show to applaud this skill.
Erin Brinkman, the selected award winner, says that the connection between the bit and the rider’s hands is “amazingly important.” Brinkman admits that she did not always use the hands-to-bit connection with as much skill as she currently does — and she can certainly feel the difference. “For so long I was so ignorant with my hands, and now I can ride just with one finger I feel like!” she explains. “It really took a long time to understand how light horses can be ridden and that they really respond better the lighter the hand.”
Mette Larsen, owner of Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, says, “We are excited to once again present the Best Hands Award in Wellington. It’s a great opportunity to recognize exceptional ‘hands,’ and at the same time support the dressage community during the Autumn Challenge, which is held in conjunction with the Regional Championships.”
Metlar presented Brinkman with a quality pair of Neue Schule reins to complete her excellent hands-to-bit connection. The successful FEI and Grand Prix horse trainer was thankful for the award and recognition, saying, “I have a lot of gratitude. I feel really special — thank you!”
Brinkman, of Wellborn, Florida, is the head trainer at Valhalla farm and also operates her own training, lessons, and sales business called Spica Dressage. She brought her horse Herzenfurst and six students to the 2014 Great American Insurance Group USDF Region 3 Championships and Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge. Brinkman and Herzenfurst earned first and second places in the USEF Third Level division. “Herzenfurst had a really good season — he’s had about a 71 average and it’s his first season out!” She smiled. “He’s a lot of fun and I think he’s going to be a very good FEI horse. He has a fantastic piaffe! He’s home bred, by my stallion Donaufurst.”
Brinkman’s students also achieved impressive results at the show. “My young rider Lindsey Holleger got the Gold Medal in the junior division with a Donaufurst that I bred as well. I coached her, I bred the horse, and I trained the horse, so it was like a triple treat! Great show so far, cannot be happier. Some of my students are putting in tests that are much improved even from the last time they showed, so it’s very exciting.”
Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery was happy to award Brinkman with the Neue Schule Best Hands award, and is glad to see that Brinkman is passing on the importance of having good hands to her students. For more information about Metlar, Neue Schule, and the ergonomically designed bits that Neue Schule offers, visit www.NeueSchuleBitsUS.com or call 631-252-5574.
On behalf of Wellington Classic Dressage (WCD), we are responding to the recent article posted by Ken Braddick on Dressage-News.com regarding a potential date conflict for the Friday date only of the upcoming Back to White Fences show in March 2014. This potential date conflict was part of an on-going process with USEF between Wellington Classic Dressage (WCD) and Equestrian Show Holdings (ESH), which started back in 2013. WCD did not suddenly “file a complaint” against Adam Pollack or his White Fences Show Licensee, and this was NOT an intent to sabotage the season so close to the actual show dates as was incorrectly reported in this article. It was simply a dispute regarding 1 show day in an entire show season. It is unfortunate that this appears to be a pattern of reporting that does not represent an accurate and unbiased account of the facts. Instead, it reports only the opinions of the author and of Adam Pollack, and is not based on any official comment from USEF, WCD or ESH.
There are numerous inaccuracies in the article related to the intent and manner of the date conflict. First and foremost, Wellington Classic Dressage was and remains the Priority Date Holder for the Thursday and Friday show days for this respective competition week. WCD hosted USEF licensed and FEI recognized competitions on this date since its inception, primarily at the Equestrian Estates venue as part of the IHS Show season, although WCD remained the licensee. As part of a joint meeting with USEF and the Florida CDI organizers back in May of 2013, we were asked to work together to reduce the Florida CDI and national calendar. Throughout the summer of 2013, WCD and ESH had numerous communications with USEF regarding the 2014 season date calendar for Florida, and as part of a joint agreement for 2014, WCD and ESH signed joint permission letters to allow ESH to run a competition on the March 20-21, 2014 date. It is unclear how, but without the permission of WCD, Adam Pollack’s White Fences show was allowed to run on our 2013 Friday date. When WCD and ESH submitted our joint permission letter to USEF for the 2014 season date, USEF advised us of a potential date conflict for the Friday date with the White Fences show. Subsequently WCD requested USEF look into the matter and to resolve the date conflict. It was our intent to work this out amicably and in a manner that was fair to all parties involved.
For the record, both ESH and WCD have declined to host the show on Friday March 21, 2014, so Adam Pollak will be allowed to host his White Fences show on this date for 2014.
Wellington Classic has supported the sport in the community for many years and we look forward to doing so in the future.
President & CEO
Wellington Classic Dressage
Wellington, FL (February 14, 2013) – Dr. Cesar Parra has coached yet another Piaffe Performance Team rider to the top of their game. Carlos Munoz and his mount, Klouseau, took first place in the Intermediaire I Freestyle at the Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Challenge, held in conjunction with the World Dressage Masters, claiming victory in his very first CDI level show. “I couldn’t be happier,” Munoz said about the win. “This is the best reward for all the years of hard training. It’s definitely worth it!” Munoz and Klouseau, a 12-year-old Trakehner by Charly Chaplin, scored a 70.4% to ride away with the blue ribbon in the class. The music for the ride, selected by Munoz himself, helped set the stage for a powerful battle, driving the team on to an emotional and victorious performance, of which everyone watching could feel they were a part.
Parra was equally proud of Munoz’s success. “Since the first time I saw Carlos on a horse, I knew he was special,” describes Parra. “He has all it takes to build his future as an international professional rider. He’s super talented, and also a very nice person! Carlos is a very important part of my team and I’m grateful to have him working with me. I am so proud of him and everything he’s accomplishing.” Parra continues, “Carlos’ win proves what can be accomplished with hard work and having confidence in your horse, in your trainer, and your whole team. This victory is the result of constant training and trusting in how much we can do together. Good work always brings great results.”
Parra’s words proved to be true with the other Piaffe-Performance Team riders pulling in great results at the WDM as well. Nicolas Torres Rodriquez, and his horse, Silver Label, placed second in the Junior Young Rider Individual Test and took another second in the JYR Freestyle. Dominique Cassavetis and Charming Princess placed fourth in the FEI Young Rider Individual Test along with taking second place in the YR Freestyle. Bebe Davis got a first and second in the FEI Pony Team and Individual Test winning on Bohdjan the first day and Poldy 10 the second day. Katie Riley won the FEI Test of Choice with Zanzibar, and also took third and forth in the FEI TOC on Sunday with Beethoven (69.013%) and Zanzibar. Also, Diana Rey and Toy Story placed first and second at their first horse show together!
Wellington, FL – February 15, 2013 – As Italian dressage star Silvia Rizzo wraps up her impressive South Florida debut, the combination of high-level competitive opportunities and a friendly, supportive atmosphere at shows has her already looking forward to next year.
The proximity to the beach doesn’t hurt either, and Rizzo has been taking in the Florida attractions between shows and training sessions on the striking Oldenburg stallion Donnerbube 2. The balance of hard work and a little relaxation seems to be working, as Rizzo and “Bubi” have put in some of their best performances to date.
“I’ve broken three of my personal records here: Grand Prix score in a 5*, Grand Prix Special score in a 5*, and Kür score in a World Cup event,” Rizzo said.
“Bubi loves it here,” she added, explaining that he enjoys the quiet atmosphere where he is stalled at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Palm Beach County. Along with Rizzo, Bubi has become a fan favorite and regularly poses for photos with his admirers.
Rizzo has put together a series of steadily improving performances in Grand Prix competition. Most recently, she and Bubi took seventh in the Grand Prix on a sweltering hot day at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI3* (Feb. 8-10), and then put all the pieces together for a standout third-place effort in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Other season highlights include top scores and a fifth place finish in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach, along with seventh place finishes at the Wellington Dressage CDI-W and Gold Coast Opener CDI-W.
Rizzo’s success in Florida has helped her move up the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Standings. Her 23 points place her 15th in the competitive Western European League.
“I want to thank everybody for the hospitality and for the friendship here,” Rizzo said. “I want to thank the organizer and everybody that supported me, as well as the Americans, who were so friendly to me. I really enjoyed meeting new riders and establishing new connections.”
Michele Betti, Rizzo’s partner and the former chef d’equipe for the Italian eventing team, noted that the number and proximity of competitions in South Florida make it an appealing destination for European competitors, who often have to travel long distances between competitions.
“When you are here, all the competitions are close together, so you don’t have to travel a lot,” he said. “In Europe, we have a lot of competitions, but for example, when we have to go to Spain, we have to drive nearly 2,000 kilometers. The weather is another thing, honestly. I spoke with some people in Germany this morning and it was minus six (degrees Celsius). So it’s difficult.”
“It’s important to know other people, to open a little bit the mind, and try to understand,” Betti continued. “For example, here we can meet some people from Venezuela or Canada. We don’t have that opportunity when we are in Europe – they don’t come there.”
Rizzo and Betti credit the ample opportunities to compete as key to Rizzo’s improvement. “I think it’s a big help to compete one week after the other,” Betti explained. “You are all the time more focused. And if you learn that something is not so good, you have the opportunity to practice immediately, and you see how it’s working the week after. Every time you have to find something new to improve.”
“If you have one competition after two months, it’s much more difficult,” he pointed out. “You lose time, in one sense. You arrive in the next competition, you have forgotten which is your problem of the competition before.”
Spectators charmed by Rizzo’s bubbly personality, as well as those who haven’t yet seen the fashionable blonde in action, will be happy to hear that she plans to set up shop in South Florida for several months next year. She will bring several horses from Hof Marabunta, her base in Germany, to train and compete. Rizzo and Betti, an accomplished eventing and show jumping trainer, both look forward to taking on American students, who will benefit from the pair’s expertise and international experience.
Wellington, FL – January 26, 2013 – Canada’s Mathilde Blais Tetreault and Michelangelo scored a 69.781% to win Saturday’s FEI Young Rider Individual Test YR NAJRC Sponsored by Diamante Farms. The pair also won Friday’s CFEI Young Rider Team Test (PSG) YR NAJYRC GAIG/USD with a 67.061%.
The 20-year-old was pleased with her ride on her own 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood bay gelding. “Everything was really relaxed and steady and my extensions were really good and my tempis also,” she explained. “Today I went for more expression and I think that’s why I got a better score. I am really happy.”
Rebecca S. Cohen earned second place on Downtown, her own Westphalian chestnut gelding, in today’s class with a 65.088% and third place in Friday’s class with a 62.325%. “Yesterday was OK but today was a lot better,” she said. “It was really solid today. We didn’t make any mistakes.
Wellington, FL – January 24, 2013 – Lisa Wilcox and Pikko Del Cerro HU scored double wins at the Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Challenge CDI3* with victories Friday in the Grand Prix Special and Thursday in the Grand Prix.
Pikko Del Cerro HU, a 16.2 dark bay Hanoverian stallion owned by Horses Unlimited and Anne Sparks, scored 68.854% in Friday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3* USEF HP $1,000 sponsored by Palm Beach Equine and Sports Complex. The pair won Thursday’s Grand Prix CDI3* with 69.574%. In both tests, Pikko Del Cerro showed off his expressive, high piaffe and smooth tempis.
Wilcox was pleased with the horse’s improvement and concentration on the second day of competition. “I’m very happy with that,” she said. “He was right where he needed to be. I absolutely enjoyed that ride.”
Wellington, FL – January 24, 2013 – Lisa Wilcox and Pikko Del Cerro HU’s effortless test impressed judges and earned them the win at today’s Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Challenge Grand Prix CDI3*. Pikko Del Cerro HU’s showy gaits and big extended canter were rewarded with a score of 69.574%. This was the pair’s first international competition, and Wilcox said she was “very, very pleased” with the results.
According to Wilcox, Pikko Del Cerru HU was “a little hesitant” in front of the crowd. “He’s a little bit looky, so I’m the last thing on his mind,” she said. “So I have to remind him that I’m up here!” But despite the distractions, he was “very good to ride.”
David Marcus and Don Kontes produced an expressive passage and floating one-tempis to take second place with 67.532%. Marcus noted that Don Kontes was a little tired after competing last weekend at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W, but the rider was delighted with his horse’s performance, saying, “I couldn’t ask for more.”
Wellington, FL – January 21, 2013 – As World Dressage Masters (WDM) CDI5* Palm Beach approaches, the top names in international dressage are gathering. On Saturday evening, Jim Brandon Equestrian Center welcomed two horses that will certainly catch the eye of spectators at the Jan. 24-26 competition.
Withney van ‘t Genthof, who will be ridden by Hans Peter Minderhoud, and Inter Floor Next One, Edward Gal’s mount, stepped off the trailer around 6 p.m. A veterinarian representing the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was present to supervise the horses’ unloading from the sealed trailer.
Minderhoud arrived not long after the horses, while Gal, who was feeling under the weather, was resting after the trip and did not come out to Jim Brandon. Minderhoud hoped that Wellington’s warm climate would help Gal recover, saying, “We’ll put him in the sun tomorrow!”
Wellington, FL – January 19, 2013 – Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic added a brilliant victory in today’s Gold Coast Opener Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W to their win in Friday’s Grand Prix CDI-W, both at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. The pair of strong showings establishes them as top contenders in the World Dressage Masters (WDM) CDI5* Palm Beach at Jim Brandon, which will take place January 24-26.
WDM will be far from a walkover, however. Kittel and Watermill Scandic will go up against many of the top-placed pairs from today’s competition, as well as an array of new challengers that includes Steffen Peters, Edward Gal, and Hans Peter Minderhoud. But Kittel and Scandic impressed both the judges and the crowd with their stirring freestyle routine.
They performed to an assortment of upbeat rock tunes, displaying impeccable passage transitions to “Hot in the City.” “I think it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in the piaffe/passage,” Kittel exclaimed. Although “Dancing with Myself” was also among the musical selections, Kittel and Scandic danced together in complete harmony through rhythmic one-tempis and a striking canter half-pass. The judges awarded them a score of 80.125%.