Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Houston Dressage Society Hosts CDI Small Tour Showdown

Bonnie Canter and Fifinella in the CDI2* Prix St. Georges. Photo by Susan J. Stickle.

The Houston Dressage Society’s (HDS) Texas-sized clash of the Small Tour horses at the Shoofly Farm CDI and Houston Dressage Classic I & II in Katy, Texas was a battle for the books.

Adult Amateur Bonnie Canter and professional trainers Nancy Hinz and Marta Renilla duked it out and each took home a win in the CDI2* Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I and Intermediaire Freestyle April 27-29 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

Canter led the class of 12 competitors in the April 27 CDI2* Prix St. Georges, where she and her own Fifinella GCF captured the win with a 68.824 percent followed by Hinz on Carzanola with a 67.843 percent and Renilla on Rhustler with a 66.569 percent.

It was the 8-year-old Fifinella’s first Prix St. Georges. Canter wasn’t keen to start the mare’s Small Tour career with a CDI, but she was persuaded to do so in order to support HDS and to be a part of the only CDI in the state of Texas.

“It was all my husband’s idea,” she said of her husband Doug, a member of the HDS board of directors. “But the CDI was a great experience. It was fun to watch all the talented pairs at work, particularly since many of them are good friends. We are lucky to have a super well-run show like this, with this level of competition, in our own backyard. A big thank you to HDS, Shoofly Farm and the other sponsors.”

Canter has owned Fifinella, a 15.1-hand, Connemara/Hanoverian cross (ES Fred Astair-South Ridge Bliss) since she was 2 and has trained the mare up the levels herself. In the last two years, they have won a championship at Second Level and two reserve championships at Third and Fourth Levels at the US Dressage Finals.

“I was happy with the ride and really, really proud of Fifi. Looking at the video you can always see things that you’d like to do better. She is just 8 this year so it’s the very early days for her.”

Since the mare has just started competing at PSG, they did not enter the other Small Tour classes at the Shoofly CDI. Instead they entered the Developing PSG class where the pair earned a 68.897 percent on April 29.

“I hope to nudge her up to I-1 toward the end of the year,” she said. “At this point, she needs the strength and we need to tidy up the loose ends before we move up a level.”

Small Tour Showdown Continues with Intermediaire I

On April 28, with 11 in the class, the standings changed and Renilla claimed the blue ribbon in the CDI2* Intermediaire I on Rhustler with a 68.725 percent to edge out Hinz by a quarter of a percentage point.

“Rhustler is a horse that is just getting stronger and stronger,” Renilla said of her 9-year-old American Hanoverian gelding (Rosseau-Rheporter, Royal Prince). “He’s taking longer than other horses. He can do everything Grand Prix but now he’s starting to show off his power in the small tour.”

The pair has represented Spain twice in the Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida, and in 2017, they earned a team bronze medal there. She said he got a tune-up in late March while in Florida, where she trains with Conrad Schumacher.

“I had Nations Cup and then I was able to have the clinic with Conrad,” she said. “That brought me even more feel of what I am looking for and then at the show I had a plan. Rhustler is a horse who needs his mama. When I’m on his back, the world can explode but he has mommy on top. I think when you have that partnership with your horse, it’s very special. I feel very grateful that he gives me his best every time I ride him.”

Renilla said she will continue training the Grand Prix and enter some recognized shows at that level.

“Canter pirouettes are very easy for him and canter zig-zags are a piece of cake,” she said. “He’s very talented for everything. He can do the tempis for Grand Prix effortlessly. He has big suspension and big gaits but he has to learn to get shorter and quicker behind in the piaffe. Because his gaits are so huge, he’s boing, boing. He’s a dancer. He doesn’t know how to trot average.”

Freestyle Shoot-Out

On April 29, the tables turned and Nancy Hinz edged out the others in the Intermediaire Freestyle on Carzanola, her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lanola-Tuschinski, Wellington) with a 71.808 percent. Renilla took second place with a 69.933 percent.

“It was really fun,” Hinz said. “It was fun for me because it was good competition. Everybody had good rides and the numbers were close. I had been working really hard to get him ready for the PSG and I-1 and everything paid off. What I like best about that horse is, personality-wise, he is very consistent so I can count on him to do the work he knows how to do. Wherever I take him, it doesn’t matter if it’s inside or outside or noisy or quiet, he’s not reactive to the environment.”

Hinz was quick to praise the HDS for consistently putting on an organized show.

“It’s an amazing group of people. There are a good number helping out and the volunteers are just wonderful. We have some people who don’t even ride who come and learn how to be a ring steward. A mother of one of my students pitches in and she’s not really an animal person and she was happy to run tests to the judges.”

Hinz is particularly fond of the camaraderie of the other professionals at the show and she’s thankful for the support of the competitors as well as her clients. One of her junior riders, Sarah Evans, earned her USDF Bronze Medal at the show on her new horse, Winterstolz.

“She just got him in January and it was her first time competing on him,” Hinz said. “This was her first third level experience. It was just a very exciting weekend for all of us.”

Long-time show sponsor Kimberly Rathmann of Shoofly Farm also had praise for the competitors, show organizers and volunteers.

“It was a great show,” she said. “As always, it was run to perfection. The volunteers work behind the scenes to make it happen and it’s always lovely. We have a wonderful lot of great riders – people coming up to different levels and willing to try things. There’s a lot to be proud of in this group of people.”

Valentino captured blue ribbons in the Grand Prix on both April 27 and 28 with Andrew Phillips aboard.

She was quick to point out that other USDF Group Membership Organizations (GMO) in Region 9 helped contribute monetarily to the show.

“The most important thing about this show is the team of people who put it on,” she said. “They just get it done and it is better every year. We have the most wonderful group of volunteers who work tirelessly – just super-duper nice people. I appreciate HDS. They are just awesome. It’s such a joy to watch people move up and really dance with their partners. I can’t wait until next year.”

For more information, contact:
Chris Renne
President, Houston Dressage Society
president@houstondressagesociety.org

Spectacular Dujardin Dominates on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

CSI5* Show Jumping kicked off on day three of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, with five of the world’s top 10 riders taking to the prestigious Castle Arena over the course of the day. The highlight of the evening performance, the CDI4* Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, once again saw Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester dominate, taking the top two spots for the second night in succession. Earlier in the day, there was a popular victory for Her Majesty The Queen with her homebred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, in the Highland Showing class.

DRESSAGE: FREESTYLE BY NAME, FREESTYLE BY NATURE

Mount St John Freestyle lived up to her name, winning the FEI Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Ridden by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, the pair dominated the class, running away with the victory and was the only one of the 12 combinations to break the 80% barrier with a score of 81.2%.

The nine-year-old mare produced a confident programme that made the most of her off-the-floor paces, impressive passage and extensions.

“That was only her second freestyle and it’s not something we practice at home so I am really happy. Everything she does, she does so well and I can’t ask for more, especially at this stage,” said Charlotte who rode the programme to the music ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ that was originally made for Valegro. “It was Valegro’s very first music and brings back many memories and always gives me goosebumps – and I just love riding to it.”

Carl Hester also chose to introduce Hawtins Delicato to freestyle using a former successful programme, originally used for his Olympic team gold medal horse, Uthopia. Delicato, like Freestyle, however also looked at ease performing to music.

“He felt much more rideable tonight,” said Carl who bought the British-bred gelding as a four-year-old from breeder Judith Davies, and has since bought a sibling. “He is a very exciting horse and at this stage just needs nursing along.”

Former British team rider Gareth Hughes finished one better tonight to make the top three with Don Carissimo and was ‘over the moon’ with the outcome. “That is only his second outing this year and was a whole lot better than the first – he is a real trier,” said Gareth.

Once again the five British riders took the first five places, with British-based Dane Ulrik Moelgaard and Michigan completing the top six.

SHOW JUMPING: D-DAY AT ROYAL WINDSOR AS CSI5* GETS UNDERWAY

Daniel Deusser made a winning debut at Royal Windsor Horse Show, taking the feature class of the day, the 1.50m CSI5* Bahrain Pearl Stakes, in spectacular style. With 16 horses through from the first round, it was an exhilarating jump-off, with an open course encouraging forward riding and leaving no margin for error. As second to go, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and the brilliant Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit, set the pace with a fast and faultless round that was sure to take some beating. Following him into the prestigious Castle Arena, Britain’s Robert Smith, looked like he might pose a serious threat, with an extremely tight turn to the double across the middle of the arena, but he crossed the line in a time 0.58 seconds behind Lamaze, enough for eventual fourth.

As fifth to go in the jump-off, Deusser, riding the fourteen-year-old mare Equita Van T Zorgvliet, rode a beautifully smooth and deceptively fast round to shave 0.15 seconds off the previous fastest time and take the lead, stopping the clock in 37.63 seconds. With 11 riders to follow, the win was by no means certain, but no-one could topple Deusser from pole position. The notoriously fast Emanuele Gaudiano, riding Chalou, posed the biggest challenge as last to go, but despite exceptionally tight turns throughout, his time of 38.22 seconds was only good enough for third place.

Speaking after the class, Deusser said, “I am very happy with my horse Equita Van T Zorgvliet. I know she has a very big stride and is naturally very fast. I saw a bit of Eric’s round, so I knew I had to try hard to beat his time, but everything went well and I’m really happy about that. It’s my first time here at Windsor and I was very impressed when I walked onto the showground; it’s a beautiful showground; there’s a lot of space to ride and it’s great to see such a big crowd on a Friday afternoon. I must say congratulations to the organisers!”

Earlier in the day, it was a Belgian one-two in the opening CSI5* competition of the Show, the Manama Speed Stakes, a 1.45m two phase competition. As first to go, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor set the standard with a double clear aboard Veneno, however compatriot Bertram Allen was the first to lay down the gauntlet, knocking over eight seconds off O’Connor’s time, to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr, a recent winner at CSI4* Hagen, jumped an impressive round, keeping his foot to the floor throughout and making an exceptionally tight turn to the Big Ben fence at 12, to post a time of 28.93 and take the lead. Crowd favourite, Britain’s John Whitaker, came close to challenging with a time of 30.25, but it was not until the penultimate to go, Wilm Vermeir, riding the twelve-year-old chestnut mare Gentiane De La Pomme, that the lead was jeopardised. Taking a stride out to the planks at 11 and galloping to the last, Vermeir managed to knock 0.27 seconds off Mathy Jr’s time to take the victory.

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

A Welsh Section C stallion was this year’s judges’ choice as Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In-Hand champion. Moorcroft The Master, a 13-year-old bay stallion owned and bred by the Howard family from Wales, looked majestic in the sunshine as he strode away with this most prestigious award.

Janine Sehne’s versatile Connemara mare, Tyan Ma’Lady, was reserve in the capable hands of Sue Deakin, who will partner the eight-year-old in the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland section.

Her Majesty The Queen, who as always took a keen interest in these classes, posted her second win of the Show when her home-bred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, headed her Highland class and stood reserve champion of the breed.

Oxfordshire-based producer Jo Bates clinched The Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship for the second year running with Suzanna Welby’s 2016 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) champion, Elusive, after some of the strongest classes seen for some years. In the Castle Arena finale, the elegant bay pipped the reigning HOYS victor, Young Lochinvar, who won the Small Height division.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Cob Championship went to Lancashire-based home producer Anne Gilliver after a sparkling performance on Sue Benson’s “low-mileage” lightweight winner, Whitegate Dazzler. Although Anne has ridden at the Show before and judged here three times, this was her first Royal Windsor championship and her joy was clear to see.

“I think a lot of this horse — we don’t show him much but he’s so sensible and straightforward that he takes it all in his stride,” she said of the seven-year-old. “However, you never know what’s going to happen so this is the most tremendous thrill.”

DRIVING: A CLOSE CONTEST IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Competitors in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix horse pairs class face a close competition after today’s Dressage phase as just five penalty points separate the first four names on the leader board. In first place is last year’s winner here – Lars Schwitte from Germany – who counts his 2017 Royal Windsor win as his most memorable sporting achievement. Driving his KWPNs he drove an accurate test to take the lead less than two penalties ahead of experienced Swiss horse pairs competitor Beat Schenk.

Schwitte’s win was all the more satisfying for him in that he was a late entry. Eager to compete here, he was put on a waiting list by his Federation and the Show, with his entry confirmed only in the last few weeks. As a warm-up, he competed in the Dressage phase at a GB national competition in Essex last weekend where his smooth test impressed those watching. With four international wins to his credit from 2017, he was a member of the silver medal winning team at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Second-placed Schenk first competed here in 2006, when he won the horse pairs class, repeating this achievement in 2009 and 2011. In 2017, he was third at Royal Windsor, won the international event at Saumur, France and was a bronze medallist at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Only just behind him in third place is Baroness Amely von Buchholtz from Argentina, a regular competitor here over the years. She took third place in the dressage phase in 2017.

ENDURANCE: ROYAL WINNER AT ROYAL WINDSOR ENDURANCE

Royal Windsor Endurance, supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain, provided another memorable day of sport, and Bahrain itself celebrated a win in the CEI2* with HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa riding Vipper De Luriecq coming in first in a time of 05:04:48. Portugal took top honours in the CEI1* with Rui Pereira riding a sublime three laps on Bloodie Mary finishing in 03:33:13.

HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said, “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to ride in Windsor Great Park today and to be able to shake hands with her Majesty the Queen. What a pleasure, aside from winning, to come here and raise my flag and perform.”

British riders were also out in force with 68 entered across the three classes. One notable success was Carri Ann Dark from Wiltshire, who finished a brilliant third in the CEI1* on former Team GB Gelding, HS Drift.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Every Day at the Barn Is Mother’s Day

Faye with the Welsh Pony M.E. Don’t Come Back Jack and Eloise with the Andalusian Robusto AF. Photo credit: Gina Falcone/Courtesy of Carlyn Nuyda-Calloway.

In families where parents and children both ride, that experience can be especially fulfilling. That’s what California-based fashion designer and Meditation Studio owner Carlyn Nuyda-Calloway and her daughters, Eloise and Faye, have found. The three are the latest in a line of female equestrians in their family who have shared the connection with horses down the generations, from the East Coast of America to the Philippines and now in Southern California.

“For me, it creates such a strong bond with them. I get to share their joy, and they get to share mine,” Carlyn said of equestrian life with her daughters. “It’s also about teamwork. Sometimes we disagree, but, because there’s a horse involved, we have to agree to disagree. We have to come to a point where we’re all in this together. We are able to finish each other’s sentences beyond the barn partly because we spend so much time together in the barn. It’s made us so much closer as a family. Although my husband is allergic to horses, he does come to the shows and he does his part, too. But the whole thing has definitely created a synergy between me and my girls.

“And it’s just so much fun!”

“Whenever I’m at the barn, and especially when I’m riding, it reminds me that equestrianism is the only sport where your equipment can decide not to cooperate,” said Eloise, 14. “And you can’t really get mad at them when they go against what you want, because it doesn’t really help. I think it teaches us all to sit back and go with the flow. It teaches us to look at the bright side of things and be satisfied with what we have and work through it, patiently.

“It’s definitely strengthened our relationship,” she added. “Being there forces us to ask each other for help. You know, I wouldn’t always want to ask my little sister for help outside the barn, because that’s the way siblings are with each other. But being at the barn, we’re all equal and friends.”

Faye, 11, explained it succinctly. “At the barn, everything is happier!” she said. “We get along much better and can relate to things much better — not saying that we don’t do that at home, but it just feels so free at the barn.”

Carlyn’s mother, Rocio Nuyda, now retired, also frequently accompanies her daughter and granddaughter to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, where Eloise and Faye ride. In fact, the love of horses has been passed down through several generations of women on Carlyn’s father’s side of the family.

“I’ve always been a horse girl for as long as I can remember,” said Carlyn, who grew up in the Philippines. “My grandmother was an amazing horsewoman, and she was the one who influenced me to really love and embrace that whole world.”

Carlyn came by her love of horses honestly. Her grandmother, Evelyn Rollins Nuyda, brought equestrianism with her when she moved from Washington, D.C. to the Philippines after marriage. “She was an English hunter jumper rider, and she also did steeplechases,” Carlyn said, adding that her grandmother competed for the Philippines in competitions both as an equestrian and as a swimmer. “We never had the opportunity to ride together. I was a young girl when I watched her ride at the Manila Polo Club.”

One day her grandmother told Carlyn, then about five or six, “Someday you’re going to want to ride your own horse.” She handed the girl a belt, as if it were a pair of reins. Holding the ends of the reins — where a bit would go on a real set of reins — Carlyn’s grandmother tugged slightly against Carlyn’s hands. “’That’s what you call contact,’ she said. Then she pulled the belt, and the leather slipped out of my hands. She said, ‘When that happens, you no longer have contact. Now I’ll show you how to hold the reins.’ She put the belt between my three fingers and my pinkie, and then she tugged again, and this time the ‘reins’ didn’t slip. She taught me about contact and also about feel, about give and take. I remember that.”

Throughout much of her childhood, Carlyn’s riding centered around ponies rented for the Christmas holidays. “I would practice that contact my grandmother taught me,” Carlyn said, recalling that her grandmother’s instruction was to use the hands only when necessary, and after applying the seat and leg first.

“In my mind, on those ponies at Christmastime I was a grand prix rider!” Carlyn recalled. “I could be riding the shaggiest pony on an old Western saddle, but I didn’t care — I thought I was a grand prix rider.”

As a young adult, now a resident of Los Angeles, Carlyn began riding lessons as a hunter jumper at the Traditional Equitation School at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center — always mindful of her grandmother’s words on the importance of soft, quiet hands. She later tried some combined training with trainer Linda Bierma, adding beginning dressage to her riding experience, and leased a Hanoverian mare named Schwann. But when she got pregnant with her first child, Eloise, she took a break from the saddle.

Happily, the girls — first Eloise and then Faye — showed signs of loving horses from an early age. “I waited until they were both old enough to start riding with me, and then we started riding together on rented horses. It was my way of getting back to horses and staying all together.”

Eventually, the family fell in love with a Tennessee walking horse named Dixie, who became a horse of a lifetime for Carlyn and her daughters — and found her “forever family,” as Carlyn puts it — after trainer Dana Kanstul allowed Carlyn to adopt the mare.

“The moment I got on Dixie, I felt this rush that overwhelmed me,” Carlyn explained. “It was unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life, a surge of warm energy. I could feel her talking to me. I fell in love with her. And I knew this was the horse that was going to teach my children to love the whole experience of horses.

“I don’t think they would have become the horsewomen they are without her,” she continued. “She taught them humility and about being gentle and being kind. That was the gift she gave us: to have that reverence for the horse and to understand the privilege of being on their backs. That is not to be taken for granted.”

Eloise and Faye blossomed as young equestrians in their own right, earning blue ribbons or high-point awards in disciplines as varied as saddle seat, Western and English pleasure and equitation, and dressage. Dixie died last October after a long and happy life, but the happy experiences she gave Carlyn and her children have carried on.

Eloise’s focus is now on dressage, in which she has recently been showing at Training Level with her 10-year-old Andalusian, Robusto AF. The family bought “Robbie” from Nancy Latta of Amandalusian Farm.

“The breed is known not only for its long history and beauty, but also for its versatility,” Carlyn said. “They can do dressage, saddle seat, hunt seat, Western — you name it. Our thought was that, since this is her first horse and dressage is very new to her, we’d consider buying a horse who could change his job title in case dressage didn’t turn out to be her cup of tea. He’s absolutely stunning and very kind, and the Andalusian temperament really suits our personalities as a family.”

And dressage suits Eloise well, the young rider says. “I guess you could say this about pretty much every equestrian sport, but it’s the connection between the horse and the rider,” Eloise said. “But, for some reason, in dressage it seems so different. One day I watched a video of Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro, and I don’t know why, but I just started crying. That’s when we knew I had to do dressage. Everything feels like it’s in slow motion, and there’s almost a kind of telepathy, where we’re reading each other’s minds in slow motion.”

Faye, meanwhile, also began training in dressage on a 25-year-old Welsh Pony named Jack — short for M.E. Don’t Come Back Jack — that the Calloways previously leased from Bryce Quinto at Lehua Custer Dressage.

“It felt like Jack and I were connected, like we were one person,” said Faye. “When I rode him, everything felt like I was in a different, perfect world. It was an amazing feeling. I recently had to end my lease with Jack because our training program has changed, but I will always have a special place in my heart for Jack. He taught me so much, and I’m very grateful.”

Today, the family rides with Tim Keeling at Quiet Canyon at the LAEC.

“I know I’m a mom who is proud of her children,” said Carlyn, “but even back when they were riding rented horses around Griffith Park, Eloise and Faye were constantly connected to the horses. Even if they were talking to each other, they were constantly aware of their horses and communicating with them.”

Carlyn recently acquired an 18-year-old Andalusian, too. “After Dixie’s passing, Amadalusian Farm trainer Sandy Shields offered to have me take over her beautiful horse Centello H,” Carlyn explained. “He has had many years on the show circuit. Having a disability like multiple sclerosis, it’s very important to be able to feel confident and safe around horses. Centello is kind, well-behaved, and a true gentleman to me. He and the kids and I are beginning to bond with one another similarly to the way Dixie did when we first laid eyes on her. He came from heaven, really, thanks to Sandy Shields.

“I ride for pleasure,” she added. “I go out on a hack, and I just love being around the horses.”

That bond between horse and human — and among family, too — is something Carlyn believes will continue to carry on through her daughters, thanks to the experiences they’re all sharing now.

“I like being their cheerleader, and I like being there on days when they feel helpless or despair or when they feel challenged,” she said. “We are sharing our joy together. If they didn’t want to ride, that would have been fine, and I wouldn’t want to be the mom who made them ride if they didn’t want to — it’s not fair to the horse if you’re not committed to them. But I’m glad they did.”

The kids seem glad, too, and they’re appreciate the character-building and the happiness people derive from working with horses.

“When I’m at the barn there are times when I’m doing things and thinking, ‘Oh, why am I having to do this? It’s so irritating!’ or ‘This bucket is so heavy!’” said Eloise. “But then I think to myself, ‘When you get older and have the money to pay for your own things, sure, you can think that. But, right now, you’re not the one who’s doing this for you. Everyone else around you is making this possible: your mom and dad, you sister, your grandmother, your aunts and uncles.’ The reason I’m getting to any of this is because of my family. They’re sacrificing things in their life to make this possible for me.”

Whether you’re a mom or not, Carlyn and family recommend a little barn time. It’s not just for holidays, after all.

“If you’ve got the chance to be with a horse, you’ve got to make it count, because it’s not often you get to interact with one of God’s most majestic creatures at that level,” said Carlyn. “It’s like your soul is entwined with theirs, and that’s so special.”

by Glenye Cain Oakford
© 2018 United States Equestrian Federation

Dujardin Dazzles on Second Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

International competition got well underway on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The CDI4* Dressage kicked off with the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix which saw Britain’s best duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, take the top spots aboard their exciting new partners, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato.

DRESSAGE: BRITISH RIDERS LEAD THE WAY

It might have been only the third grand prix together for Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle but it was another winning one. The pair gained their third victory in The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix with Charlotte heading off trainer, mentor and British team mate Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato.

Freestyle, a nine-year-old mare owned by Emma Blundell of the Yorkshire based Mount St John stud, belied her main ring inexperience impressing the judges with her ground covering paces and relaxed attitude to the atmospheric arena to produce a winning score of 78.58%.

“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said the British Olympic gold medallist. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level – I am so, so happy.”

Carl was equally happy with his ride, the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, who was also competing in only his third Grand Prix and was not far behind the winning score – some judges even had the pair of riders and horses on near equal terms.

“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said Carl who is aiming Delicato for a team place for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ that will be held in the USA in September. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”

Richard Davison rounded off a British one-two-three, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%) while British riders Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite, and Gareth Hughes with Don Carissimo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Iranian rider and Windsor first-timer Litta Soheila Sohi might have finished at the other end of the leader board but was simply thrilled to be competing at the Show.

“I will never forget this moment,” said Litta, who is aiming to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta later in the year. “This is no ordinary Show – there is so much going on at the same time; it is overwhelming. Just to be a part of it is as good as winning and I am just thrilled to be through to the freestyle tomorrow night.”

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

Royal Windsor debutante Vikki Smith, from Hapton, Lancs, was as surprised as she was delighted to head the largest section of the Show so far. Riding Michelle Cuerden’s 14-year-old traditional stallion Del Boy, Vikki beat more than 100 entries to take the coveted Coloured Ridden Championship, having topped a line of 35 in her Native and Traditional class.

“I can’t believe a traditional pony could have beaten all the plaited horses,” Vikki said, “but Del Boy is an out-and-out showman and just loves his job.”

She now takes her place in Sunday afternoon’s Royal Windsor Ridden Supreme Showing Championship.

Oxfordshire-based working hunter specialist, Rory Gilsenan, went one better than last year to regain the section title he last won in 2016 with Aoife, the Land Rover Lightweight Working Hunter. His partner this time was Christian Kwek’s versatile mare Kenlis Carrera, class winner and reserve Champion last year, whose fluent clear round was one of only seven over a testing course in a strong Lightweight class. A storming gallop in the Castle Arena finale then clinched the overall title ahead of the Heavyweight class victors, Katy Green and I’m a Diamond, who produced one of only two clears in her division.

Sofia Scott, of Norfolk-based Team Hood, partnered her own former flat racer L’Amiral David to win the ROR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series, and then stand Champion.

SHOW JUMPING: BRITISH DUO VICTORIOUS ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

The opening Show Jumping class of day two, the Land Rover Grades B & C Jumping Competition, went to British Olympic team gold medalist, Ben Maher, riding Eracantos, a horse recently acquired from The Netherlands for which Maher has high hopes for the future. With 12 double clears in the 36 horse class, Maher’s second-half draw proved advantageous as he shaved 0.05 seconds off runner-up Georgia Thame’s round. Tracy Priest, who set the pace from an early draw, finished in third with her grey mare Diamants Aurora.

The first CSI2* Class of the Show, the St George Two Phase, went to Joseph Davison, riding Vilenco, a homebred Je T’Aime Flamenco mare owned by his father, Dressage supremo Richard Davison. Davison’s double clear in a time of 31.20 seconds was 0.14 seconds faster than South African Charles Luyckx in second, with Scarlett Charles, daughter of London Olympic gold medal winning Show Jumper Peter Charles, in third.

Luyckx secured his second runner-up placing of the day in the following class, the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd, which was won by Britain’s Tracy Priest on Caristo VDL. The twisty course allowed riders to take a few risks with tight turns throughout, but it was Priest who negotiated the quickest route to take the victory.

Later in the day, the focus shifted to the young horses of the future, with the Jumping Competition for Six-Year-Old horses. 49 combinations started the 1.20m single phase competition, which proved challenging, with only eight combinations jumping a double clear. William Rekert’s exceptionally speedy round with Hot Bluebird took the spoils, over two seconds faster than Megan James in second, with Alfie Bradstock a further second behind in third.

DRIVING: WORLD-CLASS START FOR WORLD NO.1 IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Reigning world champion and eight times Royal Windsor winner, Boyd Exell (AUS), got off to the best possible start in the Horse Four-in-Hands in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, storming to the top of the leader board a clear five penalties ahead of his closest challenger. Driving his mixed team of black Swedish and Dutch horses, his dressage test earned him top marks from all five judges.

“The horses moved beautifully as a team,” remarked President of the Jury, Bert Jambon from Belgium. He continued, “It was an accurate test with, above all, excellent transitions.”

Following him into the arena was Chester Weber (USA) winner at the Show in 2014 and 2015. His bay Dutch horses completed a fluent, forward test, but a few small mistakes put him in second place. Only these two competitors posted scores in the thirties.

In third place, seven penalties behind Weber, is France’s Benjamin Aillaud with his impressive Arab x Friesians. He last competed here ten years ago, after which he took a break from competing horse four-in-hands until just a couple of years ago. GB’s highest placed competitor is Wilf Bowman-Ripley, in 18th place.

Also completing this first dressage phase were the Pony Four-in-Hands which saw last year’s winner Tinne Bax (BEL) take the lead from the Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, who has recorded five previous Royal Windsor wins. Less than two penalties separate these two with Jacqueline Walter (GER) driving her eye-catching palomino team of Welsh Bs taking third place. Great Britain’s Roger Campbell is well in touch in this class in 5th place.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Dressage Is Tracking Up at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of SDP Photography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 7, 2018) – With top tier arenas, an indoor coliseum like no other in the area and over 400 permanent stalls, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center provides everything a dressage rider needs to enjoy competing with their equine partner.  The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is becoming the go-to destination for dressage-focused equestrians, so it should come as no surprise that in the past month there were two dressage shows and in the upcoming month two more are on the calendar.

Host to the First Coast Classical Dressage Society’s annual shows and clinics, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a premier Northeast Florida venue, offers a world-class showing experience to the society’s members. Lisa Beardsley, Vice President of the First Coast Classical Dressage Society, said, “We have been having shows at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center since 2014. Our first year, we held 3 shows.  Since then, we have put on 5 shows a year; all but one have been held at the equestrian center.”

The First Coast Classical Dressage Society plans to stay with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center long-term. “We have dates booked with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center through the end of 2018, and ‘requested to reserve’ show dates through 2020,” said Beardsley. During the Spring Dressage Challenge held April 21, they had thirty entries featuring a unique event called a showposium. “The show was enjoyed by all.  Our judge for the weekend, Cheryl Holekamp, “S”, from Ocala, came up on Friday to host private lessons with our members. Education spilled over into the weekend during our Showposium, with each entry riding their test and receiving immediate feedback and hands on training right afterwards.”

In addition to the Spring Dressage Challenge, the NFDA Schooling Show was held on April 21. The event ran two arenas all day with classes ranging from Western Dressage to Fourth Level test one.  Judges on hand were Charlotte Trentelman and Lisa El-Ramey.

Coming up in the month of May, South East Horse Shows will host the May Day Qualifier on May 12th, and on May 19th NFDA is hosting another Schooling Show.

For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

US Equestrian Names Short List for FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has named the Short List for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team. The Short List will compete in designated Observation Events throughout the summer.

The following horse-and-athlete combinations have been named to the Short List (in alphabetical order):

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danilo

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her and Curt Maes’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades

Ashley Holzer (New York, N.Y.) with Diane Fellows’s 11-year-old Hanoverian mare Havanna 145

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) with her and Mary Anne McPhail’s 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Lonoir

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) with Betsy Juliano’s 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion Salvino

Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) with Diane Perry’s 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s 11-year-old Rheinlander mare Rosamunde and Four Winds Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding Suppenkasper

Sabine Schut-Kery (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) with Alice Womble’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion Sanceo

Combinations will be required to compete in a minimum of two Observation Events. The Observation Event schedule, as well as the complete Selection Procedures, for the 2018 WEG The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team can be found here.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Little Comes Up Big in Dressage at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Lexington, Ky. – It was no surprise that after the first day of dressage, reigning champions of the Kentucky Three-Day Event, Michael Jung of Germany and fischerRocana FST, were sitting comfortably in first place. However, the second day of dressage did hold some surprises, as American combination Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous took control by turning in a personal best to grab the lead with a 24.8, more than 2 points ahead of Jung’s 27.1. Australia’s Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18 are keeping pace in third with a 27.9.

In addition to her top placement on the international leaderboard, Little (Frederick, Md.) is also currently leading the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship. Her stunning score is believed to be the lowest in the history of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

“She gave me a great ride today,” said Little. “She was a little bit excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere, which we are familiar with at Kentucky. I was excited to go on Friday afternoon and knew she could handle it well. She was very businesslike, and it was a great ride. She was looking to please and she did her job.”

Little calls the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, and Phoebe and Michael Manders, “Kitty.” Kitty served as Little’s mount for the Pan American Games in 2015, where the pair brought home two gold medals.

“She’s been with me for a while, but she’s changed so much,” Little said. “I knew she was capable of putting in a great test today. She’s been steadily improving. We haven’t competed much because we’ve been focusing on training, but I thought if she had a personal best she could be on top today.”

Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) and Cooley Cross Border, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by The Cross Syndicate, sits in second in the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship on a score of 28.3. Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Tsetserleg, the 11-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, and Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) and Vermiculus, Jacqueline Mars’s 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding, are tied for third on a score of 31.2.

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Marilyn Little Takes Lead on Day Two at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 27, 2018 – USA’s Marilyn Little produced a breath-taking dressage test to score an incredible 24.8 and take the lead from defending champion Michael Jung. Partnered with RF Scandalous, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, Little looked calm and focused as she entered the arena knowing she needed to achieve under 27.1 to top the leaderboard. Australia’s Christopher Burton laid down the gauntlet earlier in the day to nearly clinch the lead aboard Nobilis 18 securing 27.9, finishing the day in third place.

Marilyn Little commented after her ride, “She gave me a great ride toda;, she was a little excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere here at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but then she really focused and did her job. Tomorrow’s course is well presented and Scandalous is a very good cross-country horse, so I am looking forward to it. There are a number of questions on the track but as long as we are prepared I think we will go well.”

“This is a really special weekend for me. I am going to try and enjoy this feeling of the being in the lead for now, as with Michael close behind, I know it might not last!” — Marilyn Little, USA

The cross-country course, described as ‘the best cross-country track in the world’ by Christopher Burton, is set to test the 46 world-class horse and rider pairings as they not only need to cross the finishing line clear, but also need to ride inside the optimum time of 11.03 mins to keep their current scores. Course Designer, Derek di Grazia, carries years of experience and will no doubt have some tricky combinations laid down, with all eyes on the Land Rover Head of the Lake as the riders steer through the famous water complex.

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
508.698.6810
marty@classic-communications.com

Jung Rides to Early Lead at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg (Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Martin and Tsetserleg lead Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship after First Day of Dressage

Lexington, Ky. – Michael Jung of Germany has won the top prize at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day-Event the last three years aboard fischerRocana FST, so it comes as no surprise that after the first day of competition he is sitting in the top spot on a score of 27.1 penalty points. Chasing him are two Americans: Boyd Martin in second riding Tsetserleg (31.2), who leads the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship as the top American combination, and Tamra Smith in third aboard Wembley (32.1).

Tsetserleg, a gleaming, black 11-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, is contesting his first four-star, but he has history in his blood as a son of the Olympic and Kentucky Three-Day competitor, Windfall. “Thomas” put in a clean test punctuated with his flashy gaits.

“I was very pleased,” said Martin (Cochranville, Pa.). “It’s his first four-star, and our first through the new (dressage) test. When you finish you always wish one part here or there was a little better, but Thomas did as well as he could do for where we are at the moment. I’m very pleased with him.”

Martin’s most famous mounts have been Thoroughbreds, so a Trakehner like Thomas is a new experience for him. “He’s the first I’ve had into the top of the sport. Ten years ago when I first came to America, I saw Windfall, and I’ll never forget watching his dressage. Who would have thought 10 years later I’d be riding a Windfall baby? Thomas’ personality is wonderful, like a big pony, very cuddly in the barn. At home he doesn’t try that much, and you wouldn’t think he could do a four-star, but then you get to a big competition and he grows into an 18-hand horse. The atmosphere perks him up.”

Tamie Smith’s (Murrieta, Calif.) horse, Wembley, is 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kevin Baumgardner, an upper-level rider and a former president of the U.S. Eventing Association. Baumgardner purchased Wembley in England, originally as a competition mount for himself. Baumgardner trains with Smith, and last fall he handed over the reins to her.

“It’s been great,” Smith said. “I’ll never forget when we tried him – we took him cross-country schooling and he said, ‘You get on him first,’ and I said, ‘No, because if I ride him I’ll just tell you to buy him.’ They are huge supporters of me, and that’s what it’s all about, really. They’ve become family to me, so to be here is really great.”

The big, gray Dutch Warmblood is a powerful mover and a flashy presence, but Smith seemed a little surprised to find herself in the top standings. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because he can go in and be quite tense in the ring, but he was quite relaxed, and very workmanlike,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked him to go better. I think I did a little too much warm up, so he got a little tired, but I was thrilled. He was very good.”

All three riders expressed some trepidation about Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course.

“I think it’s really tough,” admitted Martin. “The first half is forward and gallopy and looks nice, but the second half gets much more difficult, and we know horses tire a bit in that second half. It’ll be hard to make up time on course. (di Grazia) usually gives us a nice, long gallop somewhere in the second half, but not this year. It’s as tough as I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s pretty technical,” agreed Smith. “The Head of the Lake will be quite influential, and the brush combination towards the end might catch out some tired horses.”

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Michael Jung Leads Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event after Day One

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 26, 2018 – Germany’s Michael Jung stormed into the lead on the opening day of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Partnered with his champion horse, FischerRocana FST, Jung showed he is here to win, producing a stunning dressage test to land a score of 27.1. USA’s Boyd Martin is hot on the German’s heals securing 31.2 to finish the day in second position aboard his black gelding, Tsetserleg. Tamara Smith (USA) currently lies third on the leaderboard with Kevin Baumgardner’s Dutch Warmblood, Wembley, on a score of 32.1.

Michael Jung commented on his early lead: “I am very happy with FischerRocana today; she felt really nice and did a good test. I am looking forward to the cross-country on Saturday; we need to prepare well but the course looks nice and the ground is perfect.”

“I really enjoy riding here; it is such a beautiful place, not just the riding but all the other elements you can enjoy. FischerRocana loves it here; she feels well; she feels at home and is amazing to ride.” — Michael Jung, Germany

Michael Jung currently sits in top position but with some of the world’s best eventers still to complete their dressage tests, the competition remains wide open. US Event rider and runner-up in 2016, Lauren Kieffer, has two strong rides, Landmarks Monte Carlo and Vermiculus. Olympic Bronze Medallist, Phillip Dutton competes his second horse, I’m Sew Ready, and Great Britain’s Oliver Townend will be eyeing up the top prize to continue his Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing journey, following his victory at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last September.