Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

BioStar US Sponsored Quadrille Team to Perform Exhibition at Challenge of the Americas

Tigger Montague coaching Lisa Lewis and Allison Kavey of the BioStar US Quadrille Team.

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 20, 2020 – BioStar US, maker of top quality whole food supplements for horses and dogs, is excited to announce its very own Quadrille Team set to compete in this year’s Challenge of the Americas (COTA) in Wellington, Florida. For 16 years, Challenge of the Americas has been bringing the equestrian community together to fight against breast cancer in one fun, competitive event and gala to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Play for P.I.N.K.

“BioStar believes in supporting causes and organizations who seek to unite us, not divide us,” said Tigger Montague, founder of BioStar US. “The Challenge of the Americas is important both for its mission of funding breast cancer research and also for its ability to bring all of us in the equine community together.”

The renowned event features a musical Grand Prix Quadrille Dressage Team Challenge with the teams vying for the judges’ top marks of their choreographed routine. This year, BioStar’s team coached by Montague includes riders Lauren Chumley, Becky Cowden, Lisa Lewis, Sarah Schmitt, and BioStar sponsored riders Allison Kavey, Jim Koford (technical advisor and rider), and reserve rider Liz Austin. The team will dance to a musical routine, choreographed by Montague, in coordinating costumes to compete for the top honors of the night, bringing awareness and support to the event’s beneficiaries. The team’s practices are now underway as they prepare for the event, hoping to claim the first place prize for the second year in a row.

Set to take place Friday, March 6, at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, the Challenge will also host a gala immediately following the evening’s competition that will include a gourmet dinner and an awards presentation for the top teams. Carrying on the festivities long after the show is complete, the gala will give guests, riders, and judges the opportunity to mingle and raise more funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Play for P.I.N.K.

Be sure to secure your tickets to the season’s most exciting charitable event and support Team BioStar US in the Quadrille competition.

To learn more about the 2020 Challenge of the Americas, please click here.

Adequan U.S. Para-Dressage Team Dominates at Paralympic Qualifier in Florida

Roxanne Trunnell, Grade I, and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2020 – Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team rode into the new decade dominating the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. This first show of the Paralympic calendar year took place January 8-11, in Wellington, Florida, at the beautiful grounds of the Global Dressage Festival. The Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, included David Botana (Portland, Maine), Grade I, and Lord Locksley, a 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Grade III, and El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, and Solitaer 40, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.), Grade I, and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Equestrians rode over three days for both team and individual accolades. Champion of the CPEDI3* was USA rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring an average of 81.871. Reserve Champion was Marie Vonderheyden and London Swing. This was the first look of the year with only seven months before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1* was not only the place for each duo to finesse their tests in this Paralympic qualifier but it was also where riders with new horses like Beatrice DeLavalette and Ellie Brimmer were able to get into the international ring in front of top judges.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline was excited for the U.S. riders. He noted, “Our riders have risen above all expectations showing great dedication and competence while maintaining U.S. Para Dressage in top FEI ranking position with a team average of 75.55%, our highest to date. Roxanne Trunnell’s progression seems unstoppable and Karin Flint’s Dolton is moving into FEI world number one position on the current ranking list with record breaking U.S. scores. Also very exciting is the broadening of our athlete base getting high scores in the 70% range. We have a great team of riders, owners and support staff working in strong unity; their endeavor continues.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand added, “The weather was challenging due to gale force winds that seem to grace us in January every year, but the skies were clear and the temperature was just about perfect. The first show of the season is always exciting to see all the new combinations. It was also fun watching our WEG medalists who draw a crowd with their celebrity status setting the stage for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We were confident in our team to do well but still on edge since every competition going forward is an important Paralympic qualifier. Over the last year, the Elite riders ramped up their fitness and riding programs to prepare for the January early start. Hard work does pay off big time. Roxanne Trunnell stole the limelight with her personal best scores each day exceeding 80% pushing her to the top of the World Individual Ranking List. She certainly rocked it and raised the bar for the other riders. Canada and Mexico followed the lead and also performed well, earning individual first places. The 2020 race to Tokyo undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the greatest athletic contests of strength and determination.”

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.

Fuqua Wows at WEF 1

Fuqua and Cornell 22 (Photo by Elegant Equus Photography)

Pony Champion, Big Eq, Juniors, and a Newly Arrived ‘Dream Girl’

Wellington, FL (January 14, 2020) – Starting off Winter Equestrian Festival Week 1 with a bang is the goal of every rider who descends on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center show grounds. Tri-colored ribbons in the first week set the tone for a season of success, and Kat Fuqua jumped at every opportunity to ride into the spotlight. From the Juniors to the equitation, ponies to dressage, Fuqua is primely positioned for a banner year at WEF 2020.

Bringing her skills in the pony ring back to Palm Beach, Fuqua claimed Large and Medium Pony Championships, including the highest score she’s ever received. In the Larges Fuqua rode Upside, a pony owned by Rivers Edge and trained by Scott Stewart, to victory in 3 over fences classes and a tri-color in the Large Pony Classic. Under the tutelage of her trainer, Jimmy Torano of JET Show Stables, Fuqua and Upside were awarded a 90 and an 86 for a total of 176 in the Classic. While she was once before awarded a 90 aboard her own highly decorated Large Pony Prince, repeating such an impressive score was one of the week’s highlights.

In the Mediums, Fuqua rode another Champion catch ride for Nashville’s Alexa Karet, taking her pony mare Galianna to two firsts Over Fences and first Under Saddle. Galianna is trained by Tom Wright and Mitchell Robinson.

Fuqua changed rein from Ponies to Junior Hunters and Equitation, again riding for a prestigious name in the hunter ring. Riding I Love Lucy, a mare owned by John & Stephanie Ingram and trained by Tom Wright, she finished 3rd in the 3’3″ Under 15 Juniors. With her own Cornell 22, Fuqua began her official 2020 career in the Big Equitation with top finishes under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano.

Fuqua and Dream Girl (Photo by Sara Hellner)

While the Ponies, Hunters, and Equitation have been Fuqua’s forte for most of her life, her roots stem from a decidedly dressage family. Her home base of Collecting Gaits Farm recently welcomed a new FEI level dressage mare to their barn, the aptly named Dream Girl. A bay mare shown through the Intermediaire I in Holland, Dream Girl arrived in Miami in the first few days of 2020. Under the guidance of dressage trainer (and Dream Girl’s scout) Jason Canton, Fuqua has already ridden the bay a few times in quarantine with the goal of competing and qualifying in the Junior/Young Rider divisions down the road.

“This was an amazing WEF 1 and I’m really excited for everything happening this year,” said Fuqua. “Riding Upside to a 90 was definitely a highlight, as that is the highest score I’ve ever received at WEF in a pony class. I also was really lucky to be able to ride Tori [Colvin’s] International Hunter Derby horse I Love Lucy in the 3’3″ Juniors to an 84 and third in the class. Dream Girl is a whole different style of riding, but one I’ve grown up around and am excited to develop a relationship with her.”

Kat Fuqua’s passion for horses is reflected not only in her highly decorated Pony Hunter, Equitation, and Junior Hunter rider results, but also in the joy and dedication she shows each time she swings into the saddle. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia and under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano, every aspect of Fuqua’s riding, training, and show career reflects a unique ardor for equines and horse sport. She balances her equestrian lifestyle with attendance as a full time 6th grade student at Holy Innocence Episcopal School and takes pride in developing alongside her horses. In addition to riding, Kat enjoys spending time with her school friends and her favorite subject is French.

For more information, visit www.KatFuqua.com.

Inaugural Lövsta Future Challenge Series Kicks Off at AGDF

Pablo Gomez Molina and Ulises De Ymas with Swedish Olympic dressage rider Louise Nathhorst and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven of Lövsta.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2020 – In the inaugural Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II series qualifier for developing grand prix horses, it was winner Pablo Gomez Molina who took the coveted qualifying spot for the final in the Global Arena, which takes place during the 12th and final week (March 25-29) of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The 25-year-old Spanish rider paired up with Ulises De Ymas, a 10-year-old Spanish-bred gelding. He is owned by Gomez Molina’s employers, Yeguada De Ymas, who bred the horse.

“It was only our second inter II,” said Gomez Molina, who has been riding the horse since he was four. “We tried our first one on Thursday to see if we could do the qualifier today and Ulises was really good. It was a good plan to go early in the season to secure the place in the final.

“Ulises really tries all the time and stays with you. It’s great to have the opportunity to do the Future Cup to develop a young horse like him. He’s probably not quite ready for grand prix, but a class like this helps get you to the grand prix little by little.

“He’s a really sweet horse; you can put anyone on him. But when you ask him to work, he’s right there with you and always tries to do everything. Even if he doesn’t understand, he tries to make you happy. It’s so great to have a horse like that to compete,” added Gomez Molina, who rides around 12 horses a day.

Gomez Molina has worked for Yeguada De Ymas for seven years and splits his time, spending winters in Wellington and summer in Europe, competing on both sides of the Atlantic.

Croatia’s Karen Pavicic and Danish rider Rikke Poulsen tied for first place in the Future Challenge Prix St. Georges test with both scoring 69.927%, meaning both now qualify for the final. Pavicic piloted her own eight-year-old Totilas x Donnerhall gelding Totem, while Poulsen rode her own nine-year-old Furstentanz, by Fürstenball.

Poulsen said: “I was really pleased that I showed him Thursday and Friday in the national Prix St. Georges because he can hold his breath in a test. I finally felt him more with me and relaxed so I could enjoy riding the test. Furstentanz has been a really late bloomer, but finally I feel it all coming together.

“Now that he’s pre-qualified in the big ring, if he can mentally take it, then maybe I’ll do a small tour CDI. He is a fresh horse and can be naughty, which is why I want to make sure I don’t push him too hard too fast,” added the 41-year-old who has been based in Wellington since 2008 and trains both dressage and jumping horses.

She also praised the Future Challenge developing horse classes, saying: “You can compare yourself with the other young horses and see where we are at in your training. I’m very excited that they put those classes in the schedule. It’s great to have the final to look forward to and train accordingly now that we qualified this early in the season.

Grand Prix rider Anna Marek (USA) had been knocking at the door all week in the small tour classes and she finally broke through on Sunday to top the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition.

Marek, who is 30, rode a challenging floorplan on the rangy and appropriately named Snoopy Sunday on the concluding day of the season’s opening week. The ambitious floorplan included flying changes out of counter-canter and the 11-year-old gelding, by the Sandro Hit son Sungold, was rewarded with 73.8%.

“Yesterday he was very spooky and I’m not sure why,” said the Ocala-based rider. “I was thrilled today after such a tough ride yesterday. He’s really not a spooky horse, but he’s not been in an arena like this and so yesterday I was a little surprised. There were just so many mistakes and he was so scared of the wind and the tent, so I was really excited that he was so good today.

“Karen Robinson put the freestyle together for me and we made it for Snoopy. She matched the music really well to his movements, and what I love about it is that I can hear the transitions into and out of the pirouette or the changes or the trot half-passes,” said Marek, who finished third in the previous day’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3* riding Dee Clair.

“I trust Snoopy,” added Marek, who is 6ft tall. “I trained him for the owner a couple of years ago and took him to a few small horse shows, then ended up buying him. We get along really well and I love him, although he’s actually quite small. Anne [Gribbons] told me that he was too small for me and I kept telling her that I thought he was a really nice horse. She didn’t really believe me at first, but I kept showing him to her and saying, ‘I swear this is a good horse!’ And now she believes me and loves him as much as I do.”

Ariana Chia (CAN) won the two small tour CDI3* classes earlier in the week, but in this instance had to settle for second with her own ultra-consistent gelding Fiderflame. The 10-year-old by Fidertanz scored 72.85%.

In the day’s other Intermediate I class, amateur rider Amanda Lopez contested the class on her two horses, clinching the win with her own 16-year-old Quantum, who is by the jumping stallion Quite Easy. The Swedish-bred gelding posted 66.324%.

In the day’s highest-level class, the Intermediate II CDI3*, Susan Dutta (USA) showcased her and her husband Tim Dutta’s 10-year-old Hanoverian Don Design DC. A couple of niggling errors towards the end of the test subdued the score, but they finished on 69.853%, a sign of the horse’s talent. The dark bay gelding is by the stallion Der Designer (since gelded), who was sold as a five-year-old at the PSI auction in 2011 for €1.1 million.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Steffen Peters Aces the Grand Prix Special in Week One of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – USA Olympic team medallist Steffen Peters stamped his authority on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, in the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding Suppenkasper pulled off a fault-free performance and were rewarded with 76.149% — including a high score of 78.404% from the Colombian judge at H, Cesar Torrente. This is the horse’s first visit to AGDF and he and Peters will remain in Wellington until the CDI5* show in week seven (February 19-23).

California-based 55-year-old Peters said: “That was really fun. He has endless energy; he’s a dream. If any rider would get on this horse they would say that this is the ultimate feeling.”

Peters attributed his almost 6% improvement from the Grand Prix to an altered warm-up routine for the big-framed but light-footed Spielberg x Krack C 12-year-old: “He’s such a firecracker, like he was in the grand prix. My dream is always to keep the feeling from the warm-up into the ring, and that worked out perfectly today.

“I walked him this morning and then I worked him for half an hour at lunch time, then I put him away and let him completely settle down, then I did another 20 minutes before the test. That’s what I used to do with Legolas and maybe this might be the new recipe for ‘Mopsie’.”

Peters has the World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July in his crosshairs.

“Mopsie is sometimes a bit tricky in the arena, and we still have a huge hurdle to go with the freestyle, as it’s quite a different atmosphere and it’s still a bit about desensitizing, but hopefully with one more good freestyle score, we will head to Vegas,” added Peters, who picked up nines for the extended canter, pirouettes and for his riding.

“Since Tryon, where he got extremely excited, he’s been getting better and better. I’m one of those extremely lucky guys who gets to ride a horse like that and I think there’s an 80% in there; so many times we’ve been close, but I rate him as my big hero, as my best friend. He’s one of those horses that can easily make you shed happy tears.”

Of the 15 starters, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape who was once again the bridesmaid. She rode Harmony Sporthorses’ 11-year-old Zenon stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch to second place with a shade under 70% after mistakes in the one-time changes pulled their score down. The USA’s Anna Marek filled third with the charming bay mare Dee Clair. Diane Morrison’s 12-year-old Sir Sinclair daughter scored 68.851%.

Having finished second in the week’s earlier Prix St Georges CDI1*, Swedish rider Carline Darcourt went one better, riding Bon Coeur 1389 to a 71.882% victory in the competitive Intermediate I CDI1* class.

The sporty black eight-year-old is a well-known breeding stallion in Europe, having already produced more than a dozen licensed sons. He is owned by Lövsta Stuteri who also own his sire, Benetton Dream. This is his first ever international show. The previous day’s winners, Susan Pape (GBR) and Bourani, had to settle for third place, with home rider Katie Johnson riding Paxton finishing second. All three scored over 70%.

Canada’s Ariana Chia once again topped the leaderboard at small tour, winning the Intermediate I CDI3* on Fiderflame with 69.5%. This marks their second win of the week, and Chia will be bidding to make it three out of three when she contests Sunday’s Intermediate I CDI3* freestyle class with the 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz.

In the FEI para classes, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) held her lead in the Grade I after scoring a career-high of 83.167%. Trunnell piloted Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, to the overall champion award.

“It feels really good; we’re training a lot at home and it’s all coming together,” Trunnell commented, adding that it was Dolton’s first time competing under lights, resulting in a touch of tension.

Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) dominated the Grade II para division after receiving her highest score of the week. She earned 73.667% aboard Nicolas De Lavalette’s Duna, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) came a close second with 72% aboard his own Phoenix.

The Grade III para division saw Rebecca Hart top the leaderboard after scoring an impressive 72.644% on Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune 500, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“It was really a good experience and I had a nice easy start to the season. The next qualifier is in week three, so we’re hoping to up our scores and represent really well,” concluded Hart, who has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Lee Garrod of Canada improved her score again, scoring a 71.833% in the freestyle to win the Grade V para division on Question, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quaterback.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jill Irving Records Personal Best in First Freestyle of AGDF

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas 12.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2020 – Day two of the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) heralded the first Friday night under lights of this competitive season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The result in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Lövsta, was an exact repeat of the previous day’s results, with three Canadian ladies, all trained by Ashley Holzer, filling the podium. They were led by Jill Irving on her own long-time partner, the De Niro gelding Degas 12, who scored 76.06% — a personal best score. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to second place (75.74%), while 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte filled third with 75.645% on Statesman.

“Degas is 18 this year so I’m thrilled with his energy,” said Irving, who rode to a Beatles compilation. “His piaffe and passage felt great. He’s really flexible and, with age, he’s become less nervous, which used to be an issue. I was super thrilled with him and it’s really fun to be part of all this at Global. It takes a village to make this sport roll.”

Fraser-Beaulieu, who is back riding after the birth of her first child in the summer of 2019, said: “This is my second competition back and he’s the type of horse that needs to be in the ring a fair amount, so yesterday in the Grand Prix I felt he was a little sticky and unsure. Today he came out ready to rock. The beginning of my test felt incredible — the best feeling I’ve ever had on him. Then I had a mistake in my ones, which was a pity.”

Laliberte was riding in her first Friday Night Stars class, a long-held dream of hers. She said: “I’m really happy to finally be competing here. I thought Statesman did a great job in there; it’s a different atmosphere and apart from one rider mistake, the rest felt quite amazing. We’re still newcomers; I’m happy to break the ice.”

This is her third season with the 13-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, and only their seventh grand prix competition together. They were part of the gold medal winning Canadian team at the Pan American Games in July 2019 and this was their first show since then.

Judge Bill Warren was impressed with what he saw: “To sit at Global at C and see the quality of horses and riding was just thrilling. I’ve judged Jill and Brittany many times over the years and I’ve seen the relationships develop with their horses, and it’s been really gratifying to see where they’ve come from and where they are now.”

The 2020 season’s first small tour class, the FEI Prix St Georges CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, went the way of the Canadians, with Ariana Chia returning to Wellington with Fiderflame for the second year running and winning their first class of the show. The 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz was the only one to break the 70% watermark, scoring 71.47%. This is Chia’s fourth year in a row competing at AGDF.

In the FEI Prix St Georges CDI1* class, all three top finishers of the nine starters scored over 71%, with the winner’s sash going to Great Britain’s Susan Pape and Harmony Sporthorses’ Bourani. The nine-year-old gelding by Belissimo M had not competed internationally in a year, and this was his first ever plus-70% score. Hot on his heels was Lövsta Stuteri’s breeding stallion Bon Coeur 1389. The eight-year-old by Benetton Dream FRH was ridden to 72.529% by Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt. Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton rounded out the top three.

In the para equestrian division, Grade II rider Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) topped the leaderboard with 68.398% riding Sky High 15 in the individual test and then pulled off a 71.569% victory riding her other horse, Duna, in the championship test. This followed a disappointing performance the previous day when she finished third on Duna with 68.2%.

“Today my coach Shayna Simon really told me to push her, to keep her upright — and she was right,” said the 21-year-old of her own 12-year-old KWPN mare by Vivaldi. “I worked very hard during the test to make sure that she wasn’t too far down and that she was active. It was hard, but definitely worth it.”

De Lavalette was the most critically injured survivor of the Brussels Airport terrorist bombing in March 2016. She suffered partial paralysis and lost both her lower legs, making the accuracy with which she rides particularly impressive.

“I was very proud of my eight-meter circles today, because those are hard. Overall, it was a very good test, so I am happy,” added De Lavalette, who has only been riding Duna since July, having bought her from Judy De Winter in the Netherlands. Previously, she had been competing a PRE, so switching to a warmblood was a major change.

“When we first started with Duna it was a completely new, different horse. I had never had a warmblood before, so we were able to explore those new sensations and paces,” she concluded.

At Grade I, home rider Roxanne Trunnell continued her sizzling form on Dolton, scoring 81.964% to lead the class by a clear 10% over the budding talent of David Botana and the grand prix-trained stallion Lord Locksley. She has, this week, become one of very few riders worldwide to achieve scores of over 80% in a non-freestyle class, where the scores are typically higher.

Kate Shoemaker (Solitaer 40) once again posted an impressive score in the Grade IV division. The USA rider scored 74.634%, picking up two eights for her riding of the consistent 13-year-old black stallion by Sandro Hit. Grade V rider Lee Garrod (CAN) improved on her previous day’s score, landing a win with Question, a 12-year-old gelding by Quaterback, with 69.087%.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Grants Awarded to Two Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders

Meghan Benge – photo by Nicole McNally.

January 8, 2020 – The Dressage Foundation is pleased to announce that $1,000 grants from its Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund have been awarded to Meghan Benge (SC) and Erika Wager (NY).

Meghan began riding when she was six years old and has trained in hunters, para-driving (she was the 2008 Para Driving World Championships gold medalist), and now para-dressage. She has been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Development Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train and compete in Wellington with her trainer, Melissa Vaughn. Meghan said, “My ponies, Trip and Zoey, and I are very thankful to receive this grant. It will allow us to obtain additional training prior to and in between our shows during the spring season. It will help put us one step closer to achieving our goals.”

Erika began riding at the age of 5 and has been focused on para-dressage for the past year. She has recently been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Emerging Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train with Susanne Hamilton and attend USEF/USPEA clinics. Erika said, “I’m so grateful to be selected as a grant recipient! The funds will go towards continuing my education as a Para-Dressage rider with my horse, Clifton Zander, and are a tremendous help.”

The purpose of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund, seeded by a gift from the Lowell Boomer Family Charitable Remainder Unitrust, is to provide financial support for para-dressage riders to attend educational events that will enable them to receive training to help them reach their riding and competition goals.

For more information about applying for a grant from TDF’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund or to make a donation, contact TDF at (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

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.

Article courtesy of The Dressage Foundation

Canadians Dominate on Opening Day of 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas.

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2020 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, with Canadian riders filling all three podium places in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Lövsta.

The 15-strong class was won by last-to-go Jill Irving on her own Degas 12 and was the qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, which takes place under the lights on Friday evening.

“I was really thrilled with him,” enthused Irving, who is based between New Brunswick in Canada and Wellington, Florida. “He’s going to be 18 this year and I’m going to be 57, so we’re both having to take good care of ourselves for the future. I’ve had him since he was six and this cooler weather was really his cup of tea.”

The De Niro son’s test was well balanced and unhurried, with just a single mistake in the two-time changes. Irving and her teammates have their sights firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and this marked a good start in her and Degas 12’s campaign. This win comes off the back of Canada’s team gold at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in July of 2019 and this was the duo’s first competitive outing since then.

“It’s my childhood dream to go to the Olympics — for every athlete they’re the dream. I feel really prepared for this journey, but Canada needs to take the best horse/rider combinations and I hope that’s me, but if it’s not, we take the best,” said Irving, who has a second horse, Arthur, at international grand prix level.

She also praised the AGDF for elevating the status of competitive dressage in the US: “The AGDF is amazing and I’ve been coming here since 1992; it’s less stressful than a European tour where you’re always moving to different venues, with paperwork and travel,” she explained. “But here, the Friday night under the lights shows prepared me for Aachen. I thought, it’s just like Global, but bigger.

“Dressage horses need this show in North America. The footing is great and we’re a family here; I can come and invite people to watch and it’s a world class facility. It gives us the opportunity to compete against people like Steffen Peters and Laura Graves — all the big guns — without having to go to Europe. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Global. It’s put dressage on the map for the United States. When I’m an old lady and I can’t ride a horse, maybe I can own one and still come.”

The top three finishers in the class — Irving, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, and the up-and-coming 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte — all train with Ashley Holzer, with whom Jill is based at Wellington.

For Fraser-Beaulieu, this was her second show back with her long-time partner All In since having a baby in the summer of 2019. She and the large-framed 15-year-old chestnut gelding by Tango scored a little under 70%, with Moreira Laliberte and the elegant Sandro Hit son Statesman less than 1% adrift.

There were 19 starters in the day’s other grand prix class, the CDI3* Grand Prix presented by MTICA Farm, which is a qualifier for Saturday afternoon’s CDI3* Grand Prix Special. The California-based 55-year-old Steffen Peters, the penultimate rider, overtook the long-time leader, Great Britain’s Susan Pape, to claim the class with 70.826%.

Under Peters, Akiko Yamazaki’s 12-year-old gelding by Spielberg out of a Krack C dam showed brilliance peppered with patches of over-exuberance, resulting in a wide range of marks from the five-strong panel of judges. This was Peters and Suppenkasper’s first show since competing at Aachen in Germany in July of 2019.

Susan Pape finished second with 70.435% on Harmony’s Eclectisch, an 11-year-old black stallion by Zenon, who was stepping up to grand prix internationally for the first time. Germany’s Michael Klimke was third on another Harmony Sporthorses-owned ride, scoring 70.109% with Harmony’s Royal Dancer, a 14-year-old by Royal Blend.

In the morning’s para equestrian classes, Grade 1 rider Roxanne Trunnell convincingly won her classification, riding Karin Flint’s Danone I son Dolton, to an 81.131% victory — a winning margin of almost 6%.

“I was extremely proud of how Dolton handled the windy weather today,” said Trunnell of the eight-year-old gelding who posted a personal best score in this class. “He has been really eager to go these past few days so it’s been nice not having to remind him to keep marching, but at the same time I’m having to sit relaxed enough so as not to make him look like he’s rushing. It’s a really fine line.

“Dolton has taken it upon himself to make sure I’m safe on his back, so I think the windy weather really made him tune in and listen to what I was asking,” added Trunnell, who is competing in Wellington for her fifth consecutive year.

Kate Shoemaker rode Solitaer 40 to a 71.667% win in the Grade IV test, while Beatrice De Lavalette piloted Sky High 15 to a 70.435% victory at Grade II. The Grade III was also won on over 70%, with the USA’s Rebecca Hart and Fortune 500 (70.049%) beating Canadian Olympian Lauren Barwick and Sandrino (69.5%).

In the Grade II class, Mexico’s Erika Baitenmann Haakh and Leonora performed an incredibly consistent test to win the six-strong class with 70.101% — the only plus 70% of the classification.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

USET Foundation Announces Leadership Gift for U.S. Equestrian Dressage Development Program

Photo by Cealy Tetley.

Lexington, Ky. – The U.S. Equestrian High Performance Dressage Development Program will continue to provide strategic guidance and resources to dressage athletes, thanks to the generous support of Fritz and Claudine Kundrun through the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation.

Newly named the Kundrun Dressage Development Program, the U.S. Equestrian initiative was created to provide support to selected athletes with the perceived ability to make it to the podium or to contribute to program scores.

“This program allows us to provide more support to those athletes that are identified as potential future team athletes and horses,” said Hallye Griffin, U.S. Equestrian’s Managing Director of Dressage. “We’re setting our eyes on Los Angeles 2028, with it being a home Olympics that year. This program should be producing horses and athletes for those Games, as well as Games and World Championships preceding them.”

The Kundruns have been long-time supporters of U.S. dressage programs and have owned top horses for the U.S., including Flim Flam, who partnered with Sue Blinks to win a team bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and a team silver medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games, and Rosevelt, Ali Brock’s mount who helped clinch a team bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“My wife and I have a passion for dressage,” said Fritz Kundrun, who is supporting the Dressage Development Program through the USET Foundation, the non-profit organization that works to provide the necessary resources to make equestrian competitive excellence possible, both now and in the future. “Hopefully, we can make a difference for the next Olympics and World Championships. We are in this for the love of the sport and for the love of the animals.”

The Kundrun Dressage Development Program is overseen by the U.S. Equestrian Development Coach, Charlotte Bredahl, with the assistance of the U.S. Equestrian Dressage Youth and Young Horse Coaches, as well as the U.S. Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor.

“With this gift from the Kundruns, the program will expand, and we will be able to give even more support to upcoming athlete and horse combinations and offer more educational opportunities and grants,” said Bredahl. “Our goal is to find and help develop the next generation of top international and Olympic combinations.”

Athletes are selected for membership to the program through Evaluation Sessions held throughout the year. Once named to the program, competition and training targets are agreed upon with each athlete. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are monitored by the Development Coach and used to measure progress.

Athletes in the program will have access to grants for national and international events, and there will be an emphasis on the U25 divisions.

“The Kundruns have been instrumental in supporting our programs for many years. Their commitment and contribution will open doors for more combinations and provide access to crucial developmental opportunities that will strengthen our program for the future,” said U.S. Dressage Team Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald, who served as the Development Coach for 10 years.

Applications are now open for the 2020 Kundrun Dressage Development Program evaluation sessions and can be found online here.

Learn more about the Kundrun Dressage Development Program by visiting www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/dressage/development-program.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

All those things make you feel good right? I used to think so. I used to compliment all the other horses in the barn, thinking I would be helping their self-esteem by reminding them how great they are. But new studies indicate that this may not be the case.

An article by Po Bronson, posted in New York Magazine, states that certain types of praise can have a negative effect on the behavior of people. (For the entire article, go here: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/.)

A study was done that indicated that if children are constantly told they are “smart” or “talented” or “the best,” it can create a situation in their minds that makes them “risk averse.” They become so sensitive to any task that isn’t immediately easy, that they stop trying. They won’t take risks that might prove to their parents or teachers that they don’t have the natural talent or brains with which they’ve been labeled. In equestrian terms, it takes away their “try.”

So, what should you do instead? Acknowledgement is important and you still want to acknowledge success and effort. However, you can change the way you “praise” by simply stating (with a positive tone in your voice) what action was actually completed, without the qualitative words like “good,” “best,” “smart,” or “talented.”

What’s the difference? Instead of saying something like “You’re really good at lead changes,” you simply state with a happy voice, “You did three lead changes!” It may sound like the same thing, but it’s NOT! To say “good lead changes” makes the statement qualitative and about YOU, the observer, and what the observer has just observed… indicating that the action has now been judged as “good.” But to say “you did three lead changes” acknowledges a FACT about what the person (or horse) factually DID. It’s only about the person who just completed the task. There is no judgement, no opinion, just the facts about what was done. And such a statement will automatically cause the subject to look back at his or herself, and say inside with pride, “Yes! I did three lead changes!” It feels so good to acknowledge the self without first seeing it through the observer’s point of view, that the behavior will most likely be repeated!

This subtle difference is very powerful. And it’s a bit confusing at first. Practice acknowledging your students, children (if you have them), and friends (both two and four legged), and see if you can just state the FACTS in a happy, appreciative voice. Then watch how they react. You may be able to see their attention switching to their inner self with a smile and a straightening of their posture. It’s very interesting to observe.

It is important that you acknowledge yourself this way, too. Rather than saying “I rode well today,” say “I rode my horse today, and we ran through First Level, test two, four times.” Or, “I went to the barn and brushed my horse today.” State what you DID, without a qualifying or judgment word. Notice how acknowledging the FACTS about what you did, changes how you feel inside.

I completed eleven one tempis in a row today! I practiced pirouettes for ten minutes today. I slept in the sun for two hours this afternoon. I dictated this message to you today. Acknowledging these facts gives me a great sense of accomplishment!

What have YOU done today? Just the facts, ma’am. Just the FACTS….

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com