Amy Speck-Kern and Amadeus. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)
Loxahatchee, Florida (October 7, 2015) – Patience, dedication, and long hours in the saddle are paying big dividends for the horses and riders of Excel Dressage, where head trainer Amy Speck-Kern has qualified a number of horses for the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships. The team at Excel Dressage will travel from their year-round base in Loxahatchee, Florida to compete at the Championships October 9-11 in Conyers, Georgia at levels ranging from 3rd to the FEI.
Amadeus, a 2005 KWPN gelding (Flemmingh x Welt Hit II) owned by Speck-Kern, competed in the FEI Prix St. Georges this winter, with qualifying scores over 68%. The exceptionally elastic chestnut was scouted by Speck-Kern and Gwen Poulin in Holland, where Amadeus’s standout rideability and athleticism prompted Speck-Kern to purchase and import him in 2008. The pair has since worked their way up the levels to the FEI, and are currently schooling the Grand Prix where the gelding has displayed international quality piaffe and passage.
Speck-Kern’s string of talented competition horses also includes Zenanta, a 2004 KWPN (Krack C x Ferro) mare who recently returned to competition with scores up to 70% in only her third outing at 3rd Level. Bred in Holland by Annemiek Raaijmakers, Zenanta is owned by the WBS Group; an investment group consisting of Excel Dressage supporters, WBS stands for ‘work before success,’ and is a reflection of Speck-Kern’s journey with Zenanta. The mare’s brilliance is paired with a high level of sensitivity, and the combination have strived to achieve trust and balance in their relationship before tapping into the mare’s natural suspension and athleticism to realize her full potential. Qualifying for the Regional Championships is a major step towards this ultimate goal, and the time, effort, and patience put into the ride by Speck-Kern has developed the mare into an exceptional FEI prospect.
“I am really thrilled with the progress Amadeus and Zenanta have made in the past few months,” said Speck-Kern. “Both are really coming into their own, and I’m looking forward to debuting Amadeus at the Grand Prix. With Zenanta, I plan on continuing to let her develop at her own pace, build confidence and muscle, and bring her out in the FEI when she is ready.”
Another talented combination at Excel Dressage is Katie Hoog and her Dutch bred mare, Taylor. The pair has been competing at 3rd Level under Speck-Kern’s guidance, earning their qualifying scores and debuting their freestyle, set to the big band music of the 1920s, all at the same show. In their next outing at the Gold Coast Summer Solstice, Hoog and Taylor scored an impressive 69.615 in 3rd Level Test 3 to win the class and seal their trip to Regionals. The bay KWPN mare (Gribaldi x Symfonie) was imported from The Netherlands to the Hoog farm in Loxahatchee, Florida and both horse and rider have been blossoming since their show debut in the late spring.
“Our goals going into Regionals are for each horse and rider to put in the best test possible,” said Speck-Kern. “If we happen to place well that is just icing on the cake. We do this because we love the horses and the sport, and having healthy, happy horses and riders is our top priority at Excel Dressage. This sport also requires the combined strength of so many team members and supporters, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the guidance and knowledge of the Poulins, our vets Dr. Robert Scott and Dr. Suzan Oakley, farrier Don Later, the owners of Tantalus Farm South Joe and Helen Sandven, my groom Domingo, my clients, husband, family, and all of the investors at the WBS Group.”
Excel Dressage was founded in 2010 by Amy Speck-Kern, and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. Speck-Kern began her career as a working student for Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin in Deleon Springs, Florida. A USDF Silver and Bronze medalist, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective style of riding appeals to sensitive, athletic horses as well as to students of all abilities. After overcoming leukemia at the age of 18, she was inspired to pursue her dream of international dressage success. She was recently accepted into the prestigious USEF “r” program, after graduating from the USDF L program with distinction, and offers a unique training point of view as both a judge and rider.
For more information, visit Excel Dressage’s website at www.exceldressage.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Excel-Dressage-116416331755220/timeline/.
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