Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Records Broken at the First 2018 Friday Night Stars at AGDF

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2018 – The second day of action at the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) culminated in another show-stopping performance by Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (SWE) on Lövsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The Swedish warmblood Paridon Magi had never scored over 79% before, so his winning 81.15% represented a huge new record for the 15-year-old gelding by Don Primero.

“It’s really nice to be back here again,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén, who rode to a Queen medley by Cees Slings. “I like to start the season like this – and then keep going like this; that would be nice.

“I’m extremely happy,” added the seven-time Olympian, who is enjoying her eighth consecutive winter season in Wellington. “This is the perfect place to compete, with all the different details for the horses worked out.”

Paridon Magi’s groom, Johanna Jendland, was presented with a $500 check by sponsors Adequan®, who have signed on for another three years as title sponsor.

Allyn Mann of Adequan® said: “It’s really become a family here: owners, organizers, riders, press, everyone. We look forward to another exciting season, especially as the riders look forward to the bigger picture in Tryon this year.”

Shelly Francis (USA) filled the runner-up spot on Patricia Stempel’s 14yo Hanoverian gelding Danilo, posting 77.725%. It was the first time the pair had performed under lights.

“He was a bit edgy as it was at night and he got hot, so there were little mistakes, but it was really fun and I could actually smile while riding. He keeps getting better; he’s nice and fit, a little more tuned up,” added Francis, who rode to a compilation of music put together by Marlene Whitaker.

The 20-year-old Spaniard Juan Matute Guimon filled third after a rousing performance on his father’s 12-year-old Quantico Ymas, whom he has been riding since the horse was seven. His expressive test included one-handed pirouettes that earned whistles from the appreciative crowd, and 75.275% from the judges.

“I felt like a gladiator out there! It was a challenging ride, but I earned all my points,” said Matute, who rode to music made by his mother and a floorplan designed by his father.

Earlier in the day Matute bolstered his prize-money further, topping both the FEI under-25 Grand Prix presented by Diamante Farms, as well as the FEI Young Rider Team test, sponsored by his family’s stud farm, Yeguada de Ymas.

His smooth 71.643% U25 grand prix win came aboard the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding Don Diego Ymas, taking the horse’s tally to two wins in two days. His young rider horse Copernico Ymas – an eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding by San Amour x Don Gregory – scored 71.235% to win the small class convincingly.

Another rider recording back-to-back victories was America’s Jennifer Baumert. She topped the FEI Intermediate I CDI1* with 71.471% – improving on her winning Prix St. Georges score – with Elizabeth Juliano’s Handsome, a 13-year-old Hochadel x Weltmeyer Hanoverian gelding.

Canadian rider Diane Creech steered her own and Louise Leatherdale’s Robbie W to FEI Intermediate I CDI3* honors. The 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Rubin Royal x Inschallah posted 69.706%. The class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, was a nail-biter, with Creech finishing just 0.03% ahead of second-placed Melissa Taylor (USA) and Ansgar.

Four riders contested the amateur FEI Prix St. Georges class, sponsored by Rowan O’Riley. It was topped by Janne Rumbough on Armas Zumbel, a Spanish-bred PRE by Escarzo x Relampago II. The 15-year-old grey gelding scored 68.441% for the win. Rumbough will celebrate her 74th birthday next month.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Victory for Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén as Adequan Global Dressage Festival Kicks Off

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi. Photo credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida with Swedish competitor Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and the 15-year-old Paridon Magi posting a new personal best of 75.87% in the FEI Grand Prix CDIW, presented by Adequan® AGDF, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition through March 31.

“It was the best ride I’ve had on him and I was happy that he was open minded and really working with me,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén of her 2017 European Championships partner.

She first came to Wellington for the AGDF in 2011 and was so impressed that she has come back every year since.

“It’s such a super preparation for my horses and the best way to keep them in the winter,” added Vilhelmson Silfvén, who was second in this class last year. “I gain so much to have them train over here. To have the opportunity to compete again and again, as much as you like, is fantastic.”

It was seven months ago when Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor last set foot in a competition arena, but the pair was on form to win the MTICA Farm-presented FEI Grand Prix CDI3* with 72.543%, earning over 71% from all five judges. The duo, who is ranked 54th in the world, was last to go, and took over the lead from the penultimate competitor, Susan Pape (GBR) on Harmony’s Don Noblesse.

“Doktor was a bit tight to begin with, chewing and clanking his teeth, so I had trouble finding the rhythm in the early trot work, but I was pleased with him,” said the 59-year-old of her 15-year-old Oldenburg by Diamond Hit. “He’s been a bit of a project; I didn’t do the award ceremony with him because I usually put ear plugs in, but as I was last to go I didn’t have time. Some people might think I’m a chicken but I’d like to live a bit longer; he runs flat out in there.”

The pair has been together since Francis found the horse at Michael Klimke’s barn in Germany. They now progress to the grand prix special on Saturday, where Francis plans to “press for a little more”.

The FEI Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition – the day’s opening class – was clinched by Heather Blitz (USA) on her own nine-year-old Danish warmblood Praestemarkens Quatero (by Quaterback x Rohdiamant). At only his second FEI show, the chestnut gelding logged 71.961%, and was the unanimous winner across the three judges.

Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon stormed the under-25 CDI FEI Intermediate II class with 72.599%, winning by over 6% from first draw. Sponsor Diamante Farms presented the prize to Matute and the long-legged Don Diego Ymas, a 15-year-old black Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico x Wolkenstein II.

Jennifer Baumert (USA) on Elizabeth Juliano’s Handsome was the only rider to crack the 70% barrier in the day’s second Prix St Georges class – the ProElite-sponsored CDI1* – finishing on 70.637%. The 13-year-old Hanoverian son of Hochadel (out of a mare by Weltmeyer) beat Lemony’s Nicket – ridden by Michael Klimke – who sold to the US for the then record price of €900,000 in Verden, Germany in 2011 – in to second place.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Deloitte US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Earns Gold at the AGDF CPEDI3*

Margaret McIntosh and Heros. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Margaret McIntosh and Heros Top International Para-Dressage Competition Followed by Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2018 – United States Para-Dressage riders ended a fantastic weekend earning an unprecedented number of scores over 70. Top Grade I rider and 2016 Paralympian from Reading, Penn., Margaret McIntosh, rode Heros to the overall highest individual score. Equestrians from the USA and Canada competed at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3* Week 0, January 4-7, sponsored by By Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. It was an exciting three days in Wellington with unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds but the importance of this international show could be seen from the outstanding scores. For Para-Dressage athletes in Grade I-V, the AGDF shows (Week 2 is January 18-21) are two of only three stateside opportunities left to secure their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. These shows are also a chance to showcase their rides in front of the FEI Ground Jury consisting of Dr Jan-Holger Holtschmit (GER), Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Sarah Leitch (GBR). The Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team earned Gold with USA Teammates Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell, Michele Bandinu, and Katie Jackson. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline.

It was a weekend of record breaking with the largest amount of US Entries in a CPEDI and the greatest amount of riders earning over a 70 or even the high 70s in a CPEDI.

Kai Handt commented, “We had a very large competition and we will do it again in another week. It was a great weekend that began with some inclement weather on the first day of schooling. A lot of people got a little nervous in the beginning but our riders are used to dealing with all types of atmospheres and weather and their scores in the show ring showed that. We had some new team members this week and our system changed where our selection committee picks the team instead of the Chef.

Our team did great and overall and the competition went well. We have some top elite riders that are on the right path to superb tests, our riders scores can be seen improving from the outside resources including the online judging program and the additional Center of Excellence symposiums and Coach Development Programs. I hope we can see some more consistency at the next show and get even more athletes in the mid-70 range.”

Michel Assouline confirmed, “It’s interesting because we have the same two top riders that we had last September in Tryon at the CPEDI3*. I am seeing a great deal of improvement especially with the unprecedented amount of scores in the 70s. The riders had some challenges including the wind and distractions but the high performance riders made it work. Overall the quality of the performances is improving. I can see they are benefitting from the online judging each month helping each rider raise the bar. I have only been in this job for half the year and I already see changes. Gigi (Margaret McIntosh) has moved up by 3% and Annie Peavy has moved up by 2%. We still need more depth, more riders, and more quality horses.”

Before working for the US Equestrian Team, Assouline was with the British Team for 12 years. Assouline explained, “I love the U.S. and I love the challenge of having another project. We have good athletes and immense support but we need more horses. The structure is there and a lot of people are willing to help. America has a great culture in Equestrianism and the horses are brilliant here. But it seems that para-equestrian has been a little behind compared to the European sport. So now we need to push everyone that is on board. It’s nice to see US Equestrian, Murray Kessler, and many other individuals and organizations pushing forward and getting the wheels in motion. A para-equestrian athlete isn’t just an athlete with basic athlete requirements for their sport. A para-equestrian is not only competing and getting that opportunity but we are giving them a better life overall.”

Assouline was instrumental in 2017 with his wife Mette and Margaret McIntosh’s Coach Missy Ransehousen finding McIntosh her new horse Heros. The duo dominated the CPEDI at Global posting scores in the high 70s over the weekend solidifying their partnership for the 2018 year.

McIntosh explained, “We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, Missy road her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.”

McIntosh added, “When I looked at my scores I was delighted to have Sara Leitch’s judging feedback because Michele speaks very highly of her as a ground jury member. So when I was received the highest score in the individual test that was vindication that we are on the right track. I am thankful to my Coach Missy, my family and to all the US support staff for their hard work this weekend.”

McIntosh was one of the four members of the US Team which included fellow Grade I rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas). Trunnell, a 2014 WEG rider and 2016 Paralympian had a consistent week with NTEC Daytona Beach. “I am very happy with Daytona and our tests went really well,” said Trunnell. “We have been working on Daytona’s stretching to the bit and keeping her walks the same tempo. She was quite precise this weekend overall and I enjoyed being a part of the U.S. Team.”

Trunnell rides with Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt at the North Texas Equestrian Center along with Grade V top rider and U.S. teammate Katie Jackson. Only one year ago, Jackson was looking at her first CPEDI competition in The Stadium, and in October 2017 Jackson took over the ownership of this high performance horse Royal Dancer.

Jackson stated, “It’s wild in some ways because it seems like a long journey in a short amount of time. It’s exciting to be back here. It’s my favorite place to show, Royal is happy here, and the arena is great. There isn’t anywhere else I would want to show. I was really pleased with how Royal performed this weekend. He was with me and listening to me. We have been working really hard this fall and it is rewarding to see it all come together in the ring. I am thankful for Kai for helping me focus on each detail of our test. I am also thankful for the clinics with Michele (Assouline). We have plenty to improve on but I am happy with how far we have come. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to own a horse like Royal and we are getting to know each other better and better. He tries his heart out and he just wants to please. There is so much more in him that I haven’t even tapped. I get these glimpses of what the possibilities could be and it’s riveting.”

Michele Bandinu (Santa Barbara, Calif.) rounded out the team of four for the U.S. Bandinu, a grade IV rider, drove his two horses Soulman 13 and Skagen from California for the CPEDI3* shows. “It was an honor being a part of the U.S. Team. There is definitely a lot of support with Michele (Assouline) and Kai (Handt). I am also thankful to my coach Ryan Torkelli and trainer Albrecht Heidemann. As a West Coast Para-Dressage rider I wish there were a few more opportunities on the West Coast since the logistics and mileage can be hard on the horses.”

Also from the West Coast was Alanna Flax-Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) who flew out to the East Coast to work with Sara Schmitt Dressage LLC. Flax-Clark secured the Grade II win with Captain Moonlight TG. This was her first CPEDI3* and first time in Wellington, FL.

“It was a great show,” stated Flax-Clark. “I have only been riding him a few weeks but he is fantastic. He had to learn a lot for our partnership to work and he learned quickly. He’s a smaller horse with big gates and as soon as he enters the show ring he knows to turn it on. I enjoyed the ride this weekend and I am thankful for all of the support from California, New Jersey, and here in Florida.

In Grade III Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Penn.) finished the weekend with a 74.167 in the Freestyle competition and obtained the Grade III championship. As a Three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Hart is comfortable with the electric atmosphere of The Stadium at AGDF. So when Hart and her new mount El Corona Texel paraded down centerline Hart showcased her horse’s power and finesse.

“He’s kind of a unicorn,” smiled Hart. “I am so blessed and I can’t thank Rowan O’Riley enough for helping me with him and backing me. It’s been a true pleasure to experience a horse of such quality and character. Without Rowan it would not have been possible. It has been an amazing four months and I am really looking forward to the future.”

Hart continued, “This weekend has been an incredible event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring and it’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and new programs. Tex is an extremely talented young horse. He continued to listen, focus, and do his job even when it was windy and cold, which shows his talent as a high performance horse.”

Hart concluded, “I personally want to thank Melissa MacLaren Felix, Sara Mullins, Rowan O’Riley, and my groom Alexandra Philpin for helping us in and out of the dressage ring. I also want to thank all of the managers, sponsors and volunteers, that make Global a first-class event.”

In Grade IV Annie Peavy, 2014 WEG athlete and 2016 Paralympian, performed outstanding with Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy (Avon, Connecticut) and Royal Dark Chocolate overtook Grade IV with scores in the middle 70s. Together they were the reserve champion high point rider.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival Welcomes Back World Renowned Competition

Photo Credit ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 4, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is set to once again host one of the most highly-anticipated and competitive dressage circuits in the world, beginning January 4 and continuing till March 31, 2018, at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). This winter circuit will provide indispensable opportunities for a diverse group of riders seeking qualifying scores for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). The season will feature four qualifying events for the discipline of Dressage and two for Para-Dressage.

“We are incredibly excited for this upcoming dressage season,” said Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. “This year we will see riders from all over the world coming to Wellington to prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. We are presenting a new structure of classes at the Grand Prix level, as well as Small Tour levels, and are welcoming top judges that will also be featured at the WEG.”

The season will feature new Large and Small Tour class updates, implemented to allow riders to compete multiple horses in different classes and help the continuation of class growth throughout the season. “We have made the Large Tour into two separate Grand Prix divisions,” commented Monica Fitzgerald, Show Manager at AGDF. “One division will qualify you for the Grand Prix Freestyle and the other will qualify you for the Grand Prix Special. By dividing them into separate classes, we then have the ability to run more Grand Prix rides, which we think a lot of our competitors will be very happy with.”

Baur added, “We are looking forward to the benefits that the new scheduling format will provide. These adjustments will benefit riders, giving them the opportunity to ride two horses, but in separate classes. Fewer starters in each class will also allow more placing opportunities for competitors, and will make the time table run at a smoother pace.”

Competition at AGDF will begin Thursday, January 4, and continue through Sunday, January 7, with the first CPEDI 3* of the season. International competition then continues with the first of seven FEI CDIs hosted during the twelve-week season from January 11-14. The Lloyd Landkamer Memorial CDI-W will begin international CDI competition and serves as a season-opening tribute to longtime AGDF manager Lloyd Landkamer, who passed in 2015.

The second CPEDI 3* competition will follow during AGDF 2 (Jan. 18-21), offering Para-Equestrian athletes another opportunity to earn valuable qualifications for the remainder of the year. AGDF 3 will host another CDI-W from January 25-28.

Competition continues on Thursday, February 8, with the season’s only CDI 5* during AGDF 5, featuring many of the world’s top competitors in the circuit’s largest international week. The week will also host CDI 3*/1* competition alongside the prestigious CDI 5*.

A historic staple of the season commences with the start of the Palm Beach Derby CDI-W, one of the longest-running dressage competitions in South Florida. More recently, a traditional Dressage Derby competition was added to the week’s competition schedule and features four Large Tour riders competing against each other on unfamiliar Small Tour-trained horses in a knockout-style competition, while judges’ commentary is announced following each ride.

The final week of the AGDF season welcomes the FEI CDIO 3* (March 28-31), the only non-championships CDIO 3* in the western hemisphere. The week features top riders competing for their country’s colors in hopes of earning team points towards the overall FEI Nations’ Cup Series.

The 2018 AGDF season features four CDI-Ws, a CDI 4* and CDI 5*, as well as a CDIO 3* and two CPEDI 3* competitions. Local spectators are welcomed and encouraged to come out and enjoy world-renowned competition, as the show is always open to the public and free general admission. The weekly “Friday Night Stars” evenings take place every Friday during international CDI events and showcase the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class, where combinations ride to choreographed musical routines. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the class begins at 8:00 p.m.

For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Zenanta and Amy Speck-Kern Post Career-Best Prix St. Georges Score at White Fences Polar Express

Loxahatchee, FL (December 24, 2017) – A balmy December for Excel Dressage was highlighted by career high scores of 70.132% and 69.3% in the Open Prix St. Georges class during the White Fences Polar Express dressage show, held December 16 & 17 in Loxahatchee, Florida. Zenanta, a KWPN mare (Krack C x Ferro) owned by WBS Group, broke the 70% barrier after just a handful of shows at the FEI level. Ridden and trained by Excel Dressage’s founder Amy Speck-Kern, the flashy mare has been steadily improving her consistency and presence in the dressage arena since her FEI debut.

The busy Polar Express show, which no doubt served as a warm up for Wellington’s bustling winter season, hosted large classes and a competitive atmosphere for Zenanta and other students of Excel Dressage. Speck-Kern’s training program with Z, as she is known around the barn, is based on using familiarity with both her surroundings and the training principles to establish relaxation. Once the relaxation is achieved, boundaries are pushed to gently bring the mare to a higher degree of collection and power within the program without undue stress. And strict adherence to these principles, as well as regular training sessions with US Olympian Ali Brock, has yielded impressive results: Zenanta was awarded an 8.5 for her entry halt, 7.5s for both canter pirouettes, and 8s on her trot half-passes.

“Zenanta has continued to develop consistency and confidence in the show ring,” said Speck-Kern. “She knows her job, and by building that confidence she is able to demonstrate her athleticism, balance, and impulsion. Ali Brock has been instrumental in helping me define the steps in our routine and figure out where and when to ask for more. I’m also extremely grateful to her owners, the WBS Group, and our team of sponsors for giving us the support to reach for our goals and continue to break our own records!”

For more information on Amy Speck-Kern, Excel Dressage, or its services, visit www.ExcelDressage.com or call 414 550 1176.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992
www.equinium.com

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage National Championship Titles

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage Lexington, Ky. – The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions has been named as the home for all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships in 2018. Hosted at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill. from August 21 through 26, the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships as well as the USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today will be hosted in conjunction with the other dressage divisions.

The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will host the following championships and divisions:

  • USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championships presented by Dressage Today
  • USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Children Dressage National Championship
  • Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships for four-, five-, and six-year-olds, as well as Developing Grand Prix and Developing Prix St. Georges
  • USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals for the 13 & Under, and 14-18 divisions

Previous years have seen the championships held at two separate locations. 2018 will be the first time that all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships are held under the same roof, at the same event, under the banner of the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.

“Previously, our USEF Dressage National Championships have felt splintered by having two different events, in different locations,” says Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage. “Holding the full spectrum of the championships in one location, over a weeklong period, will give us the opportunity to showcase the talented athlete/horse combinations across the full spectrum of the divisions. We hope that this will also prove to be an exciting event for spectators, sponsors, vendors, and supporters as we look to grow the event into something very special, while continuing to highlight our dressage competition pathways and programs in an effort to deliver continued sustainable success in our sport.”

Find out more information on the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions or contact Kristen Brett, Director, Dressage Programs at kbrett@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Rodrigo Matos Wraps Up US Tour with Clinic in South Florida

Photo courtesy Ashley Graham Photography.

Palm City, FL (December 15, 2017) — Dressage clinician Rodrigo Matos spent this Thanksgiving holiday sharing his knowledge and gift for teaching with a lucky group of riders in South Florida. Matos’s clinic was held at Treasure Coast Equestrian Dressage and Arts in Palm City, Florida, November 24-26. Clinic participants were able to benefit from Matos’s unique style of teaching, which is a product of his extensive background in classical Dressage combined with years of teaching experience all over the world.

Matos, of Portugal, began riding at a young age and has always had a passion for horses. He spent 20 years as a principal rider at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts where he gained his knowledge of the classical style of Dressage. Matos travels eleven months out of the year, giving clinics all over the world, including Europe, Australia, Dubai, Central America, and now the United States. This was his first year teaching in this country.

When teaching in the United States, Matos is employed by the Academy of Portuguese Equestrian Arts, LLC, which was founded by Sabine Schran-Collings of Heavenly Andalusians in Rogue River, Oregon. His tour of the United States this fall was organized by Schran-Collings, with clinics held in Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, and South Florida.

Hosted by Heather Bender and Standing Oak Farm in Palm City, FL, the three-day clinic was open to Dressage riders of all levels. “Rodrigo has an amazing knack for working with all breeds of horses and all levels of riders. I feel that this is what makes him so special as a clinician,” said Bender.

Matos emphasizes respect for the horse in his teaching and focuses on making subtle changes to improve the relationship between horse and rider. “Be kind and be respectful to the horse. That’s the most important thing,” explained Matos.

Matos is a proven master, working from the ground to help improve movements such as the piaffe, passage, and pirouettes.  Focusing on horse and rider relationships helps Matos to make minor adjustments that have a big impact.  During his Palm City, Florida clinic the majority of horse and riders were riding at the more advanced levels of the sport. His days were spent helping riders make adjustments and schooling exercises that helped improve their Grand Prix movements and connection.

His compassion for the horses as well as extensive knowledge of classical Dressage creates such a unique style that there is no question as to why he is in such demand for clinics. Riders left the clinic feeling enlightened and very lucky to have had the chance to work with such a gifted teacher.

Matos has several more clinics on the agenda for this year including stops in England, Norway, and Denmark. He plans to return to the United States in the spring of 2018.

For more information on Rodrigo Matos’s clinics or to inquire about his 2018 schedule in the United States, email: MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RodrigoMatosClassicalDressage/.

Contact: Rodrigo Matos
MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com
www.Rodrigo-Matos.com

Patrik Kittel Wins FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music

The world’s greatest dressage riders took to the arena for another night of thrilling competition which saw Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD clinch the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound title with the smallest of margins ahead of Great Britain’s Emile Faurie.

Alongside the world-class dressage, spectators were treated to a jam-packed programme including performances from the Chilean Huasos and the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police, a breath-taking dressage masterclass with Olympic stars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin and speedy Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, which saw Beth Casasola riding Clothie Night Idiot finish in first place. The first show jumping class of the week took to the arena, with Staff Sgt Moore of the Defence Animal Training Regiment and his partner, Lucas, riding to victory in the Services Jumping Championship as the only horse and rider combination to finish clear in the time of 53.95 seconds.

A close competition was promised and the riders did not disappoint but it was Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD (Dude) (80.560%) that rocked the auditorium with a strong, rhythmic and faultless routine to win the FEI World Cup™ Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The Swedish combination displayed a high degree of difficulty in the programme set to a medley by the rock group Guns and Roses that opened with a zig-zag of passage and piaffe, showed controlled double pirouettes to tempi changes and was on the beat throughout.

“The sport was really good and the standard was amazing tonight so I am just really happy to secure this win,” said Kittel, whose previous visit to Olympia was 13 years ago – when he then came last.

“I just loved how easy Dude found this test which has a high degree of difficulty – he just felt like he was cruising.”

The win takes Kittel to the top of the Western European World Cup™ League and he now looks certain for a place in the FEI World Cup™ final in Paris in April.

“I really love Paris and Dude is now qualified for the final so I hope nothing stops me going,” said Kittel.

It might have seemed a hard act to follow for British rider Emile Faurie and his new ride Delatio (80.405%) but the final combination of the night put in an impressive performance in their first competitive freestyle that made the most of the 13-year-old’s expressive paces, to come within a whisker – 0.155% – of the winner’s score. He is now just the fourth British rider to score over 80% at this venue.

“I just feel so lucky that after so many years without a really top horse, I now have a whole string,” said Emile who is now based part-time in Germany.

“Delatio does not have a lot of competitive experience but he is an awesome horse, such a trier and his ability to concentrate incredible.”

Grand Prix winners Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik (79.340%) were close behind in third place. The Dutch Olympian was third last year and has been in the top three here on no less than four occasions since his last win at Olympia in 2009.

“We made a few mistakes tonight and Zonik was a little tense as he is not used to such a crowd, and you don’t get this atmosphere anywhere else but the crowd really appreciates the riders and it was good experience for Zonik,” said Gal.

British riders Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) and Richard Davison (Bubblingh) all put in strong performances to finish in 5th, 6th and 7th place respectively and within 1.33% of each other.

Carl Hester once again took to the Olympia Grand Hall to put Charlotte Dujardin through her paces as part of his ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass. Charlotte was riding Carl’s Hawtins Delicato, a nine-year-old future prospect for which Carl has high hopes.

The session provided an exclusive insight into the transition required for a horse to step up to Grand Prix level, from perfecting the piaffe to mastering the mentality. Making his debut at Olympia, Hawtins Delicato took the ambiance in his stride, demonstrating the huge potential he has to be a star of the future.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Edward Gal Dominates on Opening Night of Olympia

The World’s best Dressage riders were out in force on the opening night of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, where Edward Gal (NED) was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

In addition to the top-class competition, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester took centre stage to give a dressage masterclass showcasing the training routine of a champion and performances from The Chilean Huasos and the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch gave the crowd a night to remember. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National got off to a flying start with Ollie Proctor and Holydell Sensation passing the post in front to take the first victory of the week.

Popular Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal and the young stallion Glock’s Zonik (76.68%) claimed the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The win made a cold, slow journey from The Netherlands, that was beset by delays caused by the wintery weather, worthwhile. It was also an impressive display of horsemanship from Gal and talent from the expressive and elegant nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik, who was competing in just his third ever Grand Prix, and now has two wins and a second place on his CV. Highlights of the test include ground covering half-passes and particularly impressive elastic piaffe and passage.

“The journey here was really no fun at all,” said Gal, a winner of the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2009 with the record breaking Totilas, before going on to win the FEI World Cup Final later that season. “We left home at 6am on Sunday and finally arrived in London at 6pm on Monday evening, but this win makes up for all that. I was really happy with Zonik especially as it was his first time in such a big atmospheric arena – this is really promising for the future.”

Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, who also endured a marathon journey to London, came a close second with the Oldenburg gelding Delaunay (75.10%). The pair performed a well presented and confident error free test. “I am very happy to be here for the second time,” said Kittel. “London is such a great show.”

Olympia debutant Madeleine Witte-Vrees from The Netherlands was third with the bright chestnut Cennin (73.72%), with whom she made her senior championship team debut in this year’s Europeans, while Emile Faurie and Delatio (72.86%) were the highest placed British combination. It was an impressive competitive Grand Prix debut for the pair, who has only been together for two months.

“Tonight’s Grand Prix was quite a challenge for the judges,” said Stephen Clarke, President of the Ground Jury. “They were many good combinations, some exciting expressive horses and scores that were close together.”

Charlotte Dujardin took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the first time since the retirement of her triple Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro, this time last year. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, Charlotte was put through her paces by mentor and Olympic team mate, Carl Hester, to display the key attributes and training methods for producing a champion.

Mount St John Freestyle, an eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, nick-named “Mrs Valegro” by Carl during the demonstration, is looking to step up to Grand Prix level next year, with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games as the target. The composed performance showcased the exceptional talents of both horse and rider, who have already attained several titles together, including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Dressage on the First Coast Kicks Off December Events at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Shelly Van Den Neste and The Governer SRF. (Photo courtesy of Shelly Van Den Neste)

Jacksonville, FL (December 11, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center recently began an eclectic month of events with the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show this December. The show was put on by the Northeast Florida Dressage Association, and featured nearly 40 classes ranging from Training Level through Grand Prix. Riders competed for top scores in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful outdoor show rings.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has been known for years as a host of successful dressage shows in Florida. “The staff was professional and on the ball,” said show manager Carlie Evans. Organizations like the Northeast Florida Dressage Association benefit from the facility’s knowledgeable staff, first-class amenities, over 400 permanent stalls, superior arena footing, and close proximity to major highways, downtown Jacksonville, and sunny Florida beaches.

At the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show, the horses arrived at the equestrian center for a weekend of fun and friendly competition.  “We received lots of great comments on the facility from the old regulars and a few new people that had never been there before that said they will definitely come back,” said Evans.  Winner of the FEI Freestyle Test of Choice, Shelly Van Den Neste, said that “the Jacksonville Equestrian Center has always been one of my favorite but the outdoor arena is so much better now with the new all-weather footing!”  Van Den Neste rode The Governer SRF to a win with a score of 67.525.  The show included Great American/USDF Regional Qualifying classes, USDF/Dover Adult Amateur Medal Program classes, and a USEF Dressage Level 3 Competition. Now that the show has concluded, the Northeast Florida Dressage Association plans to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in March 31 – April 1, 2018, for the Dressage on the First Coast Spring Show.

In an East meets West scenario the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also hosted the Florida Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) Last Chance show in their beautiful 150’ x 300’ indoor arena.  The event featured two days of competition ranging from trail classes to driving for juniors, amateurs and professionals alike.  This show was the last show of the calendar year to earn points and double points towards the year end awards.

The month will finish up with Community Schooling Day on December 27, which horses and riders are welcomed from 10am – 4pm to ride in the state-of-the-art indoor arena for a fee of $10 per rider ($20 if the rider has more than one horse).

Nearly every event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is free to spectators. To find out more about the facility and about upcoming events in December and throughout 2018, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221