Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

US Para-Dressage Athletes Showcase Talent at Burlington Capital International Omaha

The team of Karen Pavicic, Kate Shoemaker, and Tillie Jones (c)Lili Weik Photography.

Omaha, Nebraska – April 19, 2019 – Four U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to compete in the $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge at the 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha April 4-7, 2019. Those riders included Kate Shoemaker (Grade IV), Deborah Stanitski (Grade I), and Emerging Athletes Laurietta Oakleaf (Grade I) and Cindy Screnci (Grade V). USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline was also on location to support this collaboration. The $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge featured teams comprising a Senior or Amateur rider paired with a Youth (Junior or Young Rider) and a para-dressage rider. Each of the three teams aimed to capture the title in the CHI Health Center arena with scores remaining close until the end. Each team rode their team and freestyle test. The freestyle on Saturday, April 6, was Presented by Rowan O’Riley and Mission Control. Earning the overall title was the team of Senior Rider Karen Pavicic, para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker, and Young Rider Tillie Jones.

Following the competition, the three riders announced they would donate a portion of their winnings to Nebraska flood relief. Take pride in a unique gift. The Team Challenge was an opportunity for para-dressage to showcase the international and national talent the discipline contains. It was also an exciting collaboration between able-bodied and para-equestrian sports.

For Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, this trip was a 60 hour drive over 3200 miles with her horse Solitaer 40. Shoemaker commented, “The Dressage Team Challenge at the Omaha International led the way for para-dressage inclusion by combining FEI competitors from both dressage and para-dressage. This event brought our sport to the community of Omaha and beyond in a way I’ve never seen before. I enjoyed the warm up in the center of the trade fair and the interaction with spectators after riding. It was a wonderful way to show people firsthand the love and joy that our sport brings. On a personal note, I was very proud of my horse Soli for handling the unique and very busy environment extremely well. It demonstrated just how strong his trust in me has become over the last five years. Soli’s favorite part of the show was interacting with spectators. He loved the extra pets and posed for every photo with a fan. Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity we had in Omaha and especially grateful for International Omaha Dressage Manager, Thomas Baur and Dressage Team Challenge sponsors, Rowan O’Riley of Fair Sky Farm, Becky Reno of Mission Control, and Lisa Roskens. It was an irreplaceable amazing experience.”

Deborah Stanitski, a Grade I para-dressage rider, flew out to Omaha and borrowed horse Staccato de Gervalto to compete with teammates Senior rider Gracia Huenefeld and Junior rider Raegan Lingenfelter, both of Lincoln, Nebraska. The team came in second place with Stanitski and horse Staccato de Gervalto earning the High Point award. Stanitski noted, “My horse Staccato de Gervalto (Billy) was absolutely awesome. There were lots of people there, lots of clapping, and lots of cheering. I enjoyed the experience and borrowing a horse from Jonis Agee turned out great. It was a really beautiful facility and the show was well run and organized. It was nice to work with our para-dressage and able-bodied riders and to have our coach Michel Assouline on hand. I am so thankful to all the generous owners that allowed us to use their horses for this showcase and for the incredible help of Gracia Huenefeld and her industrious team.”

Laurietta Oakleaf, Grade I para-dressage Emerging Athlete, rode Indigo, owned by Carole Kryska, and her team came in third in the Team Challenge. Oakleaf recalled, “I was very honored that Carole trusted me to ride such a talented and good-hearted horse and trusted me to ride him. Omaha was a wonderful experience as a rider and I very much enjoyed the show, facility, and especially the staff. They went above and beyond to make us all feel welcome. The facility is a top-notch facility that takes you to a whole new level out there.”

Brand new Grade V para-dressage Emerging Athlete Cindy Screnci rode horse Win Some Chauffeur (James), owned by Rebecca Mouras. Screnci stated, “The Omaha International was an amazing opportunity for me. It was the first chance I’ve had as a para-dressage equestrian to ride in such an incredible venue. I catch rode James. Riding a borrowed horse can be challenging but the support of not only the Omaha officials to allow us ample time to school, but the support of my teammates, other para-dressage riders, and even the crowd was inspirational. I love this sport and look forward to competing in Omaha next year.”

The 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha, the ‘Midwest’s Largest Horse Event,’ took place at the CHI Health Center arena in Omaha, Nebraska, home of the highly successful 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals. Now in its seventh year, the Burlington Capital International Omaha hosts everything under one roof – stabling, warm-up, competition arena, educational and exhibit area, demonstrations, dining venues, and shopping for both the horse aficionado or anyone just looking for a unique gift.

Further information is available at www.internationalomaha.com.

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.

Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145 Take FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145. ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Tryon, NC – April 20, 2019 – Ashley Holzer (USA) and Havanna 145 strutted to victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* at Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 3* presented by Adequan® at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), dancing in tandem to music compiled by Tom Hunt and earning a total score of 77.225%. Jill Irving (CAN) and Arthur, her own 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Contango), grabbed reserve honors on a score of 74.075%, while Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon, 2008 Connemara Cross gelding (Gun Smoke x Kynynmont Tara) owned by Pam Liddell, combined to receive a score of 67.925% and third place.

“I’m thrilled. I’m really over the moon with her,” emphasized Holzer of the 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hochadel x Rodgau) owned by Diane Fellows. “We had a bit of a setback last year, so this is her just sort of coming out of it, and she is really exceeding my expectations. The one little mistake she made was completely my mistake and she was just phenomenal. She kept answering the call and I had some moments even in the warm-up where she’s just bringing it to another level.”

Holzer and Havanna danced to “Havana,” bringing some sauce with the new floor plan. There were several aspects of their performance that Holzer was particularly excited about, she detailed: “I was really hoping in the beginning to just flow with her. Sometimes I get a little aggressive in my forward and it ends up looking a little rushed and hectic, and think she flowed really well through the first half pass and then coming up to the first passage, and I was really thrilled with the way that flowed to the music.”

Holzer continued: “I love the music, and I was sort of laughing to it [“Havana” by Camila Cabello] while I was in there. It’s so her, and I was getting a bit of a chuckle,” she admitted. “It’s funny, because it was really her owner, Dianne Fellows, that truly was responsible for this freestyle. I was a little bit like, ‘Really, Havanna to Havana music? Come on,’ and she really put her foot down and was really the one that got it made. And she’s right – it’s amazing, and it really works! I have to thank her. Without Diane, that music would not be her freestyle.”

Despite a small bobble, Holzer relayed her excitement about the overall improvement she sees in the mare: “I was a little behind the music and then I gunned her a little bit, but the rest was right on. I think it’s a really great feeling when you feel the music and the horse sync so well together,” she said. “But I really think what was amazing for me is that I feel she has more power, and she’s ramping up with more power, and she’s able to control it instead of getting nervous, and is relaxing with that power. That’s a big step.”

Holzer and team were using this weekend’s CDI competition as a test for bigger steps planned, she elaborated. “We really wanted to see how this show went, and she exceeded our expectations. I’m hoping to go to Europe,” she concluded, “and hopefully it will be our next big step.”

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Adrienne Lyle and Harmony’s Duval Make a Big Splash at Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 3*

Adrienne Lyle and Harmony’s Duval. ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Tryon, NC – April 19, 2019 – Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Harmony’s Duval danced to victory in FEI Grand Prix competition to kick off Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 3* presented by Adequan®, earning a personal best score of 75.130% to top a field of 14. Ashley Holzer (USA) and Havanna 145, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hochadel x Rodgau) owned by Diane Fellows, garnered a score of 72.478% to be awarded second place, while Jill Irving (CAN) and her own Degas 12, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Regazonni), rounded out the podium on a total score of 70.978%.

For Lyle and the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Rosseau x Riverman) owned by Duval Partners LLC, their clean test was “a big deal” and full circle from their first National Grand Prix competition at TIEC exactly a year ago, she explained.

“At this show a year ago we did our first National Grand Prix, so he’s only been in Grand Prix competition for a year. It’s always been about getting him [to] focus,” she elaborated, “and not get flustered and get through a test without mistakes, so this is a really big accomplishment.

“He hasn’t shown that many places in his life, and we’ve only been at [Adequan® Global Dressage Festival] all season, so this is new for him. I love this showgrounds – it’s maybe my favorite showgrounds in the world to show – but it’s great for the horses to get to come to a new place and ride in a new stadium with atmosphere like this. It’s really fun.”

Her young mount showed great composure despite several rain delays through the day, and “is always ready to go,” she revealed. “He’s a horse that I get out several times before his test, tack-walking and hand-walking a lot, so he’s in and out a lot through the day. [Today] we had to wait a bit, but that’s just part of the game. The good thing about him is he’s always ready to go – he has endless energy. So when we throw the tack on, he’s ready for it, no matter when that is.”

Lyle called Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort the ideal stepping stone for her next challenge with Harmony’s Duval: taking on Europe. “I wanted to come to this CDI to get one more show in before we go to Europe this summer. I think this is a really good stepping stone to get him some exposure and solidify him a little bit more. He got a grant to go to Europe this summer from the USDF that will help fund him there,” Lyle continued. “He was US bred and born, so he’s never been out of the country. He’s a really wonderful horse – we’ve had him since before he was saddle-broke, so it’s a fun culmination of many years of work with him.”

Before Europe, Harmony’s Duval will take on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, which Lyle predicted will feature his strongest work: “We’re on to the Special on Sunday, which is always a really strong test for him. His piaffe and passage work is always a highlight for him, so I’m really, really excited about him,” she concluded.

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show Unveils All-Star International Line-Up

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show welcomes the world’s best horses and athletes from 8-12 May 2019. The Show will play host to elite equestrian competition across four FEI equestrian disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving, and Endurance.

International CSI5* Show Jumping

Current World No. 1 and winner of the FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019, Steve Guerdat will headline the shortlist of leading riders set to compete in the prestigious Castle Arena at Royal Windsor Horse Show. On Sunday 12 May, in the Rolex Grand Prix – the highlight of the event’s Show Jumping action – Guerdat will be looking to emulate last year’s victorious performance in the class. This year, with a record-breaking prize fund of €500,000, the Swiss maestro will be determined to maintain his position at the top of the rankings.

Guerdat is one of six of the world’s top 10 Show Jumpers set to appear at the 2019 edition of the Show, highlighting the appeal that Royal Windsor enjoys among the jumping community. Competing against Guerdat will be compatriot and this year’s FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final silver medallist Martin Fuchs and current World No. 3-ranked Swedish rider Peder Fredricson. The latter, fresh from claiming a bronze medal on home turf at the FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, will be joined by fellow Swede Henrik von Eckermann, the current Rolex Grand Slam live contender.

World No. 5 Daniel Deusser will be returning to the Show in a bid to replicate last year’s stellar performance where Germany’s Olympic bronze medallist won both the CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup and the CSI5* Pearl Stakes. Kent Farrington rounds off the top 10, and, after returning from a serious leg injury in 2018, is beginning to reclimb the rankings. Given his pedigree, spectators can expect another bold performance from the American rider, who will be hoping to mirror his 2017 victory in the Grand Prix.

Representing Great Britain in the top 10 is Ben Maher, who will be joined by a large British contingent, featuring John, Michael, and Robert Whitaker, William Funnell, Laura Renwick, and 19-year-old prodigy Harry Charles. Also sure to receive a strong reception from the throng of British supporters will be Scott Brash, the only rider ever to have won the inimitable Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

One contender who will be particularly popular among music fans is Jessica Springsteen, daughter of rock legend Bruce. The 27-year-old has built a strong Show Jumping career, claiming the CSI5* Falcon Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2017.

Travelling from Ireland will be young rider Bertram Allen, who is widely tipped as an up-and-coming talent, and will be joined by his fellow countryman Billy Twomey. Adding further international experience to the class will be Canadian Olympic individual gold medallist Eric Lamaze and Italians Alberto Zorzi and Lorenzo de Luca.

International CDI4* Dressage

Top riders from across the world will challenge some of Britain’s best when the Royal Windsor Horse Show hosts the Al Shira’aa CDI4* Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May, respectively. Among the world-renowned names confirmed to compete is homegrown hero Carl Hester, the London 2012 team gold medallist and a rider who needs no introduction. Having already achieved so much within the discipline, Hester will be looking to further add to his illustrious collection of medals and accolades, as he returns riding Nip Tuck. The duo is sure to be backed by vociferous domestic support.

Household name, and the first Dressage rider ever to win Sky Sportswoman of the Year in 2014, Charlotte Dujardin will be returning to the iconic grounds after giving spectators a masterclass in success when she claimed the Dressage title at the Show in 2018. Teammate and friend to Carl Hester, the pair will be putting their friendship to one side as they go head-to-head.

Joining the British team will be Olympian Richard Davison; after coming third – following Dujardin and Hester – in 2018, Davison will be setting his sights on the top spot, along with fellow team mates Louise Anne Bell and Vicky Thompson Winfield.

Adding to the British line-up will be a strong start list of international talent, including Caroline Chew, Katherine Bateson Chandler, Kate Dwyer, and Heike Holstein.

International CAI3*/CAIO4* Driving

The CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, one of the most important driving events in the UK, and an FEI World Cup™ qualifier, returns for another adrenaline-fuelled competition. A real test of horsemanship, the event includes three stages: driven dressage, the marathon stage, and cone driving for the three competition categories: horse and pony, four-in-hand, and horse pairs.

This year’s roster of 28 competitors involves drivers from 11 nations, with arguably the most well-known in the class being Australia’s Boyd Exell. The current indoor and outdoor World Champion has had much success at Royal Windsor in the past, with a victory last year propelling him to a total of nine wins at the Show. This year, Exell will be looking to secure an impressive 10th win at Windsor and further cement his position at the top of the world rankings.

Attempting to foil the Australian’s challenge at Windsor will be four drivers from the Netherlands, three of whom feature in the top 10 of the Driving World Rankings, with both Bram Chardon and Koos de Ronde accompanying Exell in the top three. Bram Chardon will be competing against his father and multiple world champion Ijsbrand Chardon. Completing the Dutch quartet is Mark Weusthof, he himself a FEI World Driving Championships gold medallist.

The CAIO4* will be heavily dominated by British drivers, with six athletes competing, including well-known equestrian stuntman Daniel Naprous, who, in recent years, has put in a number of thrilling performances at indoor shows, such as Olympia, The London International Horse Show. Completed by experienced sisters Karen and Pippa Bassett, as well as Wilf Bowman-Ripley, James Broome, and Dick Lane, Great Britain’s four-in-hand line-up looks set to mount a strong challenge.

A back-to-back 2014 and 2015 winner, the USA’s Chester Weber is no stranger to success here and will be looking to regain the form that pushed him up the rankings. He is joined by his compatriot Misdee Wrigley-Miller.

In the CAI3*competition, the horse pairs will contain a field of 20 athletes from 10 countries, including four-time Windsor horse pairs winner Beat Schenk. The Swiss will be looking to emulate his 2018 performance at the Show but will face stiff opposition from British competitors David Matthews, Libby Priest, and Chris Smith, the current chairman of British Carriagedriving.

Another eight drivers will compete in the CAI3* pony four-in-hand, including Roger Campbell, who picked up third place at the 2018 edition of Royal Windsor Horse Show. Campbell will believe he can elevate himself to the next level and pick up first place this year. The Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, last year’s winner, already has seven wins to his name at Windsor and will hope to perform once again to the same high standards that he holds himself to. However, he will have to contest the vocal support of the home crowd for domestic drivers Sara Howe and Rowena Moyse.

International CEI1*/CEI2* Endurance

On Friday 10 May, Windsor will welcome competitors for the Royal Windsor Endurance supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The long-distance event will see the best equestrians from around the world ride across Windsor and Ascot countryside, as they compete in the 80km and 120km classes, which will be a true test of stamina and teamwork.

Show Director Simon Brooks Ward said: “The quality of international entries that 2019’s Show has managed to attract is testament to Royal Windsor’s strong appeal and stature within the equestrian community, furthering its reputation as one of the world’s top shows. Once again, we welcome the world’s best horse and rider combinations to Windsor and are excited to host a number of elite equestrian competitions for our loyal spectators.”

A list of entries for each discipline can be found here.

Tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show can be booked online at www.rwhs.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 796 6100 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743 589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Six-time Olympian and American Dressage Icon Robert Dover to Visit Because of Horses April 19

Listen to Elise’s conversation with Robert Dover on the Because of Horses podcast, Friday, April 19

Robert Dover’s professional and competitive accolades have left a legacy unmatched by any other American dressage rider. A dressage specialist since the age of 19, Robert’s dedication, creativity, and commitment to excellence have proven influential in raising the standard within the sport in the U.S.

Robert made his first Olympic appearance at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games at the age of 28. He went on to represent the United States at the next five consecutive Olympic Games, earning four bronze medals along the way. In addition, Robert rode on four World Equestrian Games teams. In 1987, he made history by becoming the first American to win the Aachen Grand Prix since 1960, defeating six-time German Olympic gold medalist Reiner Klimke in the process.

After retiring from the competitive arena, Robert served as the technical advisor/chef d’Équipe for The Dutta Corp/U.S. Dressage Team from 2013 through the 2018 World Equestrian Games. Under his leadership, the team earned a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and a silver at the 2018 World Equestrian Games. He has served on the U.S. Olympic committee Athlete Advisory Council and the U.S. Equestrian Team Dressage committee.

Robert is well-regarded as a coach to both established and up-and-coming international pairs. He played a critical role in fundraising for the high-performance competition and training program and has taught in several growth and development programs, seeking to increase the depth and skill of riders aiming for the international ring.

In 2007, Robert partnered with the Fox Reality Channel to create and promote a TV show called “The Search for America’s Next Equestrian Star: Dressage.” A field of 400 applicants was whittled down to just six who competed for the chance to become Robert’s second assistant trainer at his Romance Farm in Wellington, Florida, along with other prizes. He also is the creator, producer, and master of ceremonies for “American Equestrians Got Talent” that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for high-performance equestrian sport.

But Robert’s impact on the equestrian community extends beyond just the dressage arena. In 1996, he founded the Equestrian Aid Foundation, an organization which financially assists equestrians suffering from life-threatening illness, catastrophic accident, or injury. He remains involved as the chairman emeritus.

Through his new Robert Squared, a line of luxury vegan leather tack and equipment, he gives a portion of all the proceeds to Equestrian Aid Foundation, Brooke USA, and Danny & Ron’s Rescue.

For his overall horsemanship and dedication to the sport, in 1994 Robert was named the U.S. Olympic Male Equestrian Athlete of the Year. He was inducted into the Roemer Foundation/U.S. Dressage Federation Hall of Fame in 2008.

For more information, go to BecauseofHorses.com.

Unprecedented Number of National Entries Announced for Royal Windsor Horse Show

Organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show announced a record-breaking number of entries for this year’s Show. Almost 3,000 entries have been received across the national Showing, Show Jumping, Carriage Driving, and Dressage classes.

Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward commented: “It is very gratifying to see the level of entries for Royal Windsor growing so well. The team work hard to put together a schedule that appeals to all levels of competitors and I am proud that their work is paying off.”

Chief Showing Steward Nigel Hollings said: “To see an incremental increase of entries every year is a feat which should not be understated, particularly given the new rule changes that have been brought in this year. I’m sure it will be another special year to remember for the Show, and we are excited to see which competitors come out on top.”

National Showing

Hosting over 140 Showing classes, the 2019 edition of Royal Windsor Horse Show will welcome some of the biggest names in Showing, as competitors travel from far and wide in the hope of being crowned champion.

Names to look out for this year include former racehorse Cue Card, a prolific National Hunt racer who won an incredible 16 races in his career, including one at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010. Cue Card will be competing in the RoR Open In-hand Show Series Qualifier, after recently joining renowned Showing producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable at her home in Essex.

Further complementing the Showing line-up will be Buckinghamshire-based Irishman, Rory Gilsenan, who, only three months after undergoing emergency cancer surgery, returns to the Working Hunter stage at Royal Windsor, where last year he claimed the Working Hunter crown on the now-retired mare, Kenlis Carrera. Whatever happens at Windsor, Rory will undoubtedly receive warm applause from spectators in the Castle Arena.

Speaking ahead of the event, Rory’s wife, Vanessa, said: “He’s so intent on competing at Windsor that he wouldn’t risk starting the next round of chemo in case it made him too tired. He is determined to try and win again here – it’s like no other venue in the world.”

Sure to be keeping a watchful eye on her own horses will be Her Majesty The Queen, who will be hoping to replicate her many years of success at the annual equestrian event, particularly after she won the 2018 Part-Bred & Anglo-Arab Championships with Whalton Highwayman.

National Show Jumping

In addition to the CSI5* International Show Jumping classes, Royal Windsor Horse Show also offers top-class National Show Jumping action, with several of the UK’s most talented riders confirming their attendance at the Show. Ben Maher, who currently sits at No. 7 in the FEI world rankings list, will be one to watch, as will young rider Emily Moffitt, who has reaped the benefits of being trained by Maher. Both riders will be going head-to-head in the H&C TV Senior 1.35m Open Jumping Competition.

One of Britain’s leading Show Jumpers, Laura Renwick, will be looking to further improve her already sterling reputation at Windsor but will be up against good competition, including husband and wife, William and Pippa Funnell, and the rapid Guy Williams, who will have spectators holding their breath, as he competes across a range of classes with his Dutch Warmblood, Mr Blue Sky UK.

This year’s Show will welcome a strong contingent of young British talent, as many of the next-generation Show Jumpers confirm their attendance. Young names to look out for include 20-year-old Joseph Stockdale, and brothers William (20) and Oliver (16) Fletcher. All three riders – who have had exciting starts to their careers – will take each other on in the The ClipMyHorse.TV Under 25 Jumping on Sunday 12 May, bringing in the hottest young talent on the Show Jumping circuit.

Another surname that carries a lot of weight within the equestrian community is that of Alfie Bradstock, son of Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning National Hunt trainer Mark Bradstock. Having already represented Great Britain in both Eventing and Show Jumping, the 25-year-old is now firmly committed to Show Jumping and will be looking to continue his impressive form at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show can be booked online at www.rwhs.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 796 6100 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743 589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Cesar Parra Brings Sir Beckmann Up through the Ranks, Winning Again AGDF Week 12 CDI

Cesar Parra and Sir Beckmann (Photos Courtesy of Performance Farms)

Wellington, FL (April 6, 2019) – The 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) will go on record as another successful season for Dr. Cesar Parra of Performance Farms.  Well known in the international dressage community for always having a stable full of happy talented horses, Parra continued to gracefully dance his way into the winner’s circle on some of the most willing equine athletes around. Most recently, Parra’s success has been with the big, gorgeous Hanoverian gelding, Sir Beckmann (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita).  Bringing this young horse up through the ranks over the last few years has been a joy for Parra, and he feels Sir Beckmann is coming into his own.  His outstanding performances in the FEI Tests for 7-year-olds during Week 10 of AGDF showed off the pair’s hard work. “The horse felt really fantastic with such amazing gaits,” Parra recalls about Sir Beckmann. “He did everything nice and clean overall.  I am very, very pleased with him. I love him very much, and I’m looking forward to what he’s going to bring in years to come,” he adds.

Receiving gait scores of 9 on trot and 9 on canter, Sir Beckmann stepped up and made his rider proud. Parra describes that showing as a 7-year-old can be challenging, but his horse was up to the task at hand. “The 7-year-old classes are a little bit different from the 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. In the 7-year-old, you have two sets of scores,” he explains. “One set of scores is about the gaits and normal things like with the 6-year-olds, but then you have another score sheet which is as if you were in a Prix St. Georges. So, a 7-year-old has almost the same requirements as a Prix St. Georges, which is pretty intense and demanding for such a young horse.”

Parra goes on to say that he is looking forward to bringing Sir Beckmann up further through the ranks as he matures. “The plan is to be very vigilant in his development and training to make sure he keeps loving what he does,” he explains. “We really want to have a happy athlete. We want him to have harmony, and we want him to be comfortable.  I don’t think he’s learned yet how to fully move through his body, so that’s what we’re working on,” Parra continues.  He also explains that he’s only planning to show Sir Beckmann once a month going forward. “I don’t want to show him too much because I don’t want him to get sour at the shows,” Parra describes. “I want him to be happy in the show environment.”  Parra also says that he’s added a little something extra to Sir Beckmann’s training program. “I’ve been taking him on a lot of trail rides, which in the beginning was a little scary, but it’s getting better and better!” he smiles.

The extra time, love, and attention that Parra gives to all horses in his charge is consistent with his personal philosophy, as well as that of the classical training methods of Performance Farms. Parra’s philosophies by which he conducts his life are discipline, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, sharing, and strength of character. These are the same qualities he tries to pass on to the students and staff who make up his team. The Classical Training Methods are those taught by the old Masters and perfected by some modern-day riders. These Methods are based on the Training Scale: Relaxation, Rhythm, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, Collection (Losgelassenheit, Takt, Anlehnung, Schwung, Geraderichtung, Versammlung).  This Training Scale is the foundation of the Classical System and of Parra’s training philosophy.

Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and also Jupiter, Florida, Performance Farms provides its clients with full-service training programs that are tailored based on the needs of the individual horse and rider combination. For more information, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
DrCesarParra@msn.com
www.piaffe-performance.com

Graves Earns World Cup Silver for Third Time in Gothenburg

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Gothenburg, Sweden – In the dramatic conclusion of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, Laura Graves and her loyal mount Verdades piaffed their way to silver in front of an enthusiastic Swedish crowd of more than 11,500. Showing the strength of the American dressage program, all three U.S. combinations broke the top seven with scores over 80%.

“I was thrilled. [Verdades] was so rideable, and I was just really thrilled with his focus and his energy today,” said Graves. “Like Isabel [Werth] said, the crowd was amazing. They all have this ticker of a live score, and as riders you are going ‘yeah, this feels pretty good.’ You kind of hope that the judges are agreeing with [the crowd]. You hear the crowd clapping along and you think ‘okay, well at least everyone is enjoying it as much as I am,’ and that’s really special.”

With a final score of 87.179%, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding gave now three-time World Cup champion Isabel Werth (Germany) and Weihegold OLD a run for their money. With 10 combinations scoring over 80%, it was a tight race to the finish and Graves rode 14th in the order.

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation

Werth Proves Unbeatable One More Time

Isabell Werth. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

In a competition that built to an incredible climax, Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) stood firm to win the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title for the fifth time in her extraordinary career. They came from all around the globe to take on the most successful equestrian athlete of all time and gave it everything they had, but she didn’t buckle under the pressure. That’s not her style.

As she entered the arena, second-last to go of the 18 starters, the crowd held its breath in anticipation. They had watched rider after rider throw everything they had at her, piling on the pressure as they also bid for the trophy they all want to win. The spectators were in a frenzy when Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello drew the first half of the competition to a close with a breathtaking ride on her great Don Auriello, and they went into complete over-drive when it re-started with a new leading score from their own Patrick Kittel and Delaunay OLD.

But Laura Graves (31) blew the competition wide open when strutting to a score of 87.179 with just five left to go. As the American pointed out, her gelding Verdades, one of the five stunning 17-year-old horses who have graced this Final, is just getting better with age and she stayed out in front despite a spectacular ride for Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) who didn’t hold anything back when steering the stallion Blue Hors Zack to a score of 85.468.

With a beautifully balanced test during which her elegant horse Goerklintgaards Dublet looked like he could do one-tempi changes all day, another of the strong American contingent, Kasey Perry-Glass, slotted in behind him. So, Graves was still holding court at the head of the leaderboard as Werth set off. But it wouldn’t be for long.

“My ride was really fantastic; my mare did a perfect test and she really deserved the win!” said the lady whose trophy cabinet is laden with gold medals, including six from Olympic Games, eight collected at World Games, and 12 from European Championships who put 88.871 on the board. Werth is never altogether pleased when asked what still drives her, at almost 50 years of age, to still be hungry for success, but she replied simply, “I live what I do… and this is what keeps me so competitive!”

Reflecting on her performance she said, “I could take all the risks at extended canter and take her back and the pirouettes were great. We could not have been better!” Except, as she admitted, in the one-tempi changes where there was a little blip. “I was arrogant there, so that was my fault!” she said.

She may have been brilliant once again, but the prize for the most exciting test went, without a shadow of doubt, to her compatriot and 2013 champion Helen Langehanenberg who finished third on a mark of 86.571 after a performance that, quite literally, ended with onlookers gasping in disbelief. None more than Judge at C, Magnus Ringmark, whose expression was priceless as the German rider’s 17-year-old stallion Damsey FRH exploded down the centreline in a massive extended trot, halting only inches from his table. “I thought he was going to end on my lap!” the Swedish Ground Jury member laughed afterwards.

“The sport has changed a lot since I won my first Final,” Werth reflected. That was 27 years ago, also in Gothenburg riding a horse called Fabienne. “We now have such a professional team around us, and there are great improvements on all sides. It is very important for us to keep the respect for the horse for the future and it’s great to see so many older horses still performing at this level; it shows how well they are cared for and how much respect their riders have for them,” she said.

Both runner-up Graves and third-placed Langehanenberg were riding two of those 17-year-olds, still full of the joys of life and still intensely competitive. Langehanenberg said of the hard-pulling Damsey FRH, “I am thankful and really proud of him. The clapping motivated him at the end of the test and I think he would have been quite happy to start all over again!”

This didn’t just mark Werth’s fifth victory; it was also her third in succession and, each time over the last three seasons, it has been Graves who she has had to pin back into runner-up spot.

“Like Isabell said, it is our duty to take care of our horses and try to keep them healthy. My horse likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss! He was so rideable today, the crowd was amazing, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as me!” said the American.

The greeting the riders received in the prizegiving suggested that the crowd most certainly did.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

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Shannon Gibbons
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Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp Floats to Top CCI 4*-S Dressage at The Fork

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night.  ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tryon, NC – April 5, 2019 – Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) topped the leaderboard placing first and second in CCI 4*-S Dressage competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). For the first-place position, Halliday-Sharp earned a score of 24.80 with Fernhill By Night, and secured second with a score of 30.10 astride Deniro Z. Tied for third place, Boyd Martin (USA) put in a score of 30.20 aboard Tsetserleg, and Felix Vogg (SUI) achieved the same score riding Colero.

About her test in tandem with Fernhill By Night, a 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, Halliday-Sharp stated, “I have to say, I think that’s the best test Blackie [Fernhill By Night] has ever done in his whole life, actually. I was totally over-the-moon thrilled with him.”

“It was probably the first time that I haven’t had to work really hard in the canter – I’ve been able to just sit there and feel like I have the hind legs and just enjoy it, and just put him through the movements he does so well,” she revealed. “I think the score reflected that. I was hoping when I came out of the ring that score would be sub-25 and I don’t always think that. I really felt the horse couldn’t have given me more today, so I’m really pleased with him. He was a good boy,” she commented.

Recalling her second-place test, Halliday-Sharp said, “I think Deniro did a lot of great work. His first halt was off, but the other two were very good, so that’s been an improvement from Carolina.”

Halliday-Sharp continued, “The lead change is a work in progress, like it always has been. I think he easily would’ve been in the 20s without two very low marks. I actually sort of thought he would have been in the 20s anyway because the rest of his work was really, really nice, and had a lot of flow, and I actually thought it was a better test than at Carolina, but different judges see different things,” she analyzed.

While Deniro Z is being aimed at competition in Kentucky and is focusing on rideability in the remaining phases, for Fernhill By Night, Halliday-Sharp explained that her strategy is to go for the win. “He’s 16 now and doesn’t run a lot, so we’ll give it my best shot. I think it’s a strong Cross-Country from what I’ve seen. I think he’s up to it, and feeling the best he’s ever felt in his life, so we will try and jump clear on both days and keep kicking,” she continued.

On the course, Halliday-Sharp said, “I think it’s up to height and substantial, and there are some big questions. I think there’s a lot to jump and I’m guessing the time will be tight enough because there’s quite a few questions that need a little bit of respect. It was pretty tight last year, as well. Obviously, on the undulating ground it does make the time add up, but I think this rain today will make the ground pretty good. It’s always a big atmosphere in this ring to show jump as well, so we’ll just go in and do our best, really.”

Tied in third, Martin (USA) remarked of Tsetserleg, a 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner. “The test was pretty good. It doesn’t suit my horse that much, but to be honest it’s great to be able to get in here in this stadium. Like I said yesterday, it’s a wonderful preparation for Kentucky because the horses do get nervous in a bit of atmosphere and practice going down the center line.”

Martin said he was pleased with the performance considering how much time his mount has had to practice it, too. “I think my guy’s in good shape. He’s working well, and there’s just a couple little technical things we messed up, which I’m not too worried about because I haven’t really been focusing on this test at all. I just learned it yesterday, but I think we’re in good shape to put in a smoking hot test come Kentucky.”

On preparation for the Cross-Country course, Martin remarked, “Everyone is having a laugh at me this weekend with Tsetserleg and saying, ‘How are you going to ride that water jump?’ And I simply say I’m going to completely do everything I didn’t do last time!

“In all seriousness, it’s a great track. When you ride in a championship or a big-time international event it’s so exact and precise on your lines. It’s a world championship fence [the WEG water jump] that caught some of the best in the world out, so it’s a great opportunity for these horses to ride around a true international track,” he concluded.

Also sitting in third with an identical score, Vogg (SUI) with his own mount, Colero, a 2008 Westphalian gelding (Captain Fire x Bormio XX), admitted that he is looking forward to showcasing Colero’s strengths in the remaining phases since he was more comfortable in the warm-up than in test itself. “I think he has good Dressage form [despite some mistakes] because he’s doing so much fitness work for Kentucky,” he stated.

“I hope his [Cross-Country] score turns out good. I am trying to get him as prepared as I can for Kentucky, and I think it is good to ride a course like this. There’s not as many turns [on the course], but there are a lot of questions, so you have to be quick in the head, and the horse has to be quick in the head, and you don’t get a long break in between each, so it’s good,” Vogg explained. “I will ride to give him a good feel that it’s all getting done as it should be done.”

In the CCI 2*-S Division, Hannah Sue Burnett rode to the top with Carsonstown earning a score of 32.00, while Ryan Wood placed second with Ruby with a score of 33.00. Doug Payne took third with Baymax with a score of 33.20.

Click here to follow along with live results from The Fork at TIEC.