Tag Archives: Amy Speck-Kern

Zenanta and Amy Speck-Kern Victorious in I1 Freestyle Debut

Amy Speck-Kern and Zenanta in their I1 Freestyle (Photo courtesy of Jonna Jodko)

Wellington, FL (July 14, 2018) – A sweltering Florida summer couldn’t stop Excel Dressage’s Amy Speck-Kern and her KWPN mare Zenanta from attaining another milestone in their dressage career. During June’s Gold Coast Summer Solstice, held at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex in Wellington, Florida, Speck-Kern and the elegant bay mare topped their debut FEI Freestyle class with a 72.230%. Zenanta (Krack C x Ferro) made her Intermediaire I debut only in beginning of 2018, and her debut Intermediaire I freestyle victory demonstrates the alacrity with which she is successfully progressing up the levels. The pair danced to a selection of violin covers of pop music from Avicii, Kygo, Lindsay Sterling, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez, all choreographed to the movements of the Intermediaire I. Winning their first freestyle is a meaningful step as the mare continues to make progress towards the Grand Prix, and Speck-Kern also has her sights set on possibly taking Zenanta to regionals to do the Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I, and Intermediaire I Freestyle.

The pair’s freestyle was designed by Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage. Beginning with a tribute to the late Avicii in the opening canter song, Gonna Love Ya, the test progressed to a Martin Z cover of Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man for Zenanta’s trot, a Lindsay Sterling cover of It Ain’t Me by Selena Gomez and Kygo for her canter, and Love Yourself by Justin Bieber for her walk. “I chose music that was easy to ride to and upbeat to match her elevated gaits,” said Speck-Kern, who trains out of her Loxahatchee facility with Olympian Ali Brock. “We decided to do the Freestyle as a step towards the winter CDIs next season; I’ve never done a CDI and wanted to practice with her in the summer when there was less pressure. She’s really been stepping up in her training, and our lessons with Ali [Brock] have been going really well. We are preparing her for the Grand Prix, but are very much taking our time and letting Zenanta determine when we are ready. There’s no rush, and the emphasis will be on quality. For now my plans are to show our I1 freestyle one more time this summer, then maybe go to regionals with an eye on nationals before seeing where our training is for the beginning of the 2019 season.”

Speck-Kern closed out her 2018 winter season with successful rides on her two campaign horses, Zenanta and Amadeus (Flemmingh x Welt Hit II). A and Z, as they are known around the barn, put in solid tests at the national level during the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Zenanta began by making her Intermediaire I debut just before the start of season and closing AGDF Week 12 with a personal high score at the level; she and Speck-Kern also won the Intermediaire I during the Palm Beach Dressage Derby with a score of 66%. Amadeus, a gelding Speck-Kern scouted and imported from Europe as a 3-year-old, is making currently competing at Intermediaire and making steady progress towards the Grand Prix.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judging Exams and PSG Win: Successful Summer Continues for Excel Dressage

Amy Speck-Kern and Zenanta on their way to victory in the White Fences Summer Fun II Prix St. Georges. (Photo by Equinium Sports Marketing)

Loxahatchee, FL (July 21, 2017) – Excel Dressage’s Amy Speck-Kern has had a progressive summer, with multiple FEI debut performances and the advancement of her goal to receive her ‘r’ judging license with training in Lexington, Virginia. Just before flying north to undergo the rigorous judging exams, Speck-Kern also slipped in to win the Prix St. Georges at White Fences Summer Fun II, held July 8-9, in Loxahatchee, Florida. Speck-Kern rode Zenanta, a KWPN mare (Krack C x Ferro) owned by WBS Group, to a 68.421% to win the FEI Prix St. George and qualify for regional championships.

Zenanta, debuted at PSG in June of 2017 with scores in the mid-60s. The flashy moving mare, who has been displaying increasing consistency over the past few months, is becoming more and more relaxed in the show arena, allowing Speck-Kern to showcase her incredible shoulder freedom and engaged hind leg. Speck-Kern has struck a balance between off site lessons with Olympian Ali Brock, a carefully evaluated nutritional program, and innovative tack and equipment to bring the sensitive mare to competition success.

“She continues to improve, and especially showed her balance and impulsion in the canter pirouettes, the left of which we were awarded an 8,” said Speck-Kern. “It has been a long journey with this mare as she is spectacularly talented but needed the time to build her confidence, strength, and to put all the pieces in the right place. I couldn’t be happier with her effort and progress this summer.”

Bred in Holland by Annemiek Raaijmakers, Zenanta’s owners, WBS Group, were formed to support Excel Dressage’s equestrian vision and Speck-Kern’s competitive career. WBS represents ‘work before success,’ which is a reflection of Speck-Kern’s journey with Zenanta. Zenanta’s diet was of particular importance to Speck-Kern throughout her training, and she found complete nutrition in Crypto Aero, a wholefood horse feed that keeps Zenanta cleaning her bucket despite the stress of showing or training. Wanting Zenanta to be as comfortable as possible in her tack, Speck-Kern began riding her in the Tota Comfort System noseband, whose innovative design relieves the torque and pressure along the poll, facial nerves, and TMJ, making it a happier option for Zenanta to step into the hand.

Founded in 2010 by Speck-Kern, Excel Dressage offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses minutes from Wellington’s equestrian center. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training methods drew a strong client base of competitive amateurs. A successful FEI competitor, in addition to her recent wins and debuts in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I, Speck Kern was ranked top in the nation at the 2016 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships aboard Kathryn Hoog’s KWPN mare Gerona, and has developed a base of international adult amateurs that compete through the FEI level. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern is also an equestrian Ambassador for the Kids Cancer Foundation. By providing the local community and afflicted families with therapies, treatments, counseling and support, the Kids Cancer Foundation is reminiscent of the research and protocols that saved Speck-Kern’s life when she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 18. With her sights set on eventually obtaining and international judges accreditation, she was also recently accepted into the USEF “r” program, attended the exams in Virginia in July, and continues to develop her string of competition horses and list of clients.

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

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

Zenanta and Amadeus Debut at Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire II

Amy Speck-Kern and Zenanta (Photos courtesy of Joanna Jodko)

Loxahatchee, FL (June 26, 2017) – Despite the summer storms and Florida’s sweltering heat, two of Excel Dressage’s FEI competitors advanced through the upper ranks of dressage during White Fences Summer Fun I, held June 3-4, 2017 in Loxahatchee. Amy Speck-Kern rode Zenanta (Krack C x Ferro) in the mare’s debut performance at Prix St. Georges, and Amadeus (Flemmingh x Welt Hit II) in his first official attempt at Intermediaire II. Both horses delivered solid initial performances during the rated show, positioning themselves for more success in the FEI divisions.

Zenanta, who is owned by WBS Group, scored 65.1% on Saturday and 65.7% on Sunday, displaying the consistency Speck-Kern was striving for in weekly training sessions with Olympian Ali Brock. The 2004 KWPN mare’s incredible shoulder freedom and engaged hind leg naturally lends her to the FEI levels, but channeling this talent into relaxed power has been the challenge for Speck-Kern. “Because of the sessions at Ali (Brock)’s farm, Zenanta’s entire persona changed. She became much bolder, more confident, and more comfortable in her work, making it much easier to achieve a consistent connection even during the excitement of competitions,” said Speck-Kern. “With Ali’s help and simulating a competition by shipping in for lessons, she was able to progress in leaps and bounds.” Regularly awarded 8s for her half-passes and with exceptional strength to sit in the pirouettes, Zenanta’s newfound confidence ensures more FEI performances in the future.

Speck-Kern’s Saturday morning ride in the Intermediaire II was Amadeus’s first recognized score in the division, and gave them a solid starting point to develop towards a competitive Grand Prix. Brilliant in the piaffe and passage, Amadeus, who was scouted and imported as a 3-year-old by Speck-Kern and Gwen Poulin, also continues to build his confidence in the show ring. Trained to the FEI by Speck-Kern, he also excels in trot and canter extensions, and has a superb walk, for which he received 8s in the extended walk. Speck-Kern was especially pleased with this score as the extended walk comes right after the passage, a challenging transition. “Going from the energy and power needed to produce a good passage to the total relaxation and suppleness of the extended walk can be quite difficult. I was really proud of him because I felt him take a deep breath and start to demonstrate a bit of what he can do,” said Speck-Kern. “Both horses are hot and extremely sensitive, but I am very pleased with them and their effort in this show, and I’m very thankful to my entire team and fantastic sponsors for their support.”

Speck-Kern and Amadeus

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses in Loxahatchee, Florida, just minutes from Wellington’s equestrian center. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong client base of competitive amateurs. A successful FEI competitor, Speck-Kern was ranked top in the nation at the 2016 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships aboard the Kathryn Hoog’s KWPN mare Gerona, and has developed a base of international adult amateurs that compete through the FEI level. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern is also an equestrian Ambassador for the Kids’ Cancer Foundation as a way to give back to the research and therapies that saved her life when she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 18. With her sights set on eventually obtaining an international judges accreditation, she was recently accepted into the USEF “r” program and continues to develop her string of competition horses.

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

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

Excel Dressage’s Students Excel in National Qualifiers and FEI Levels

Katie Hoog (left) and Amy Speck-Kern with Gerona (Photo courtesy of Excel Dressage)

Wellington, Florida (November 11, 2016) – As 2016 begins to wind down, Excel Dressage and its students are winding up for the national championships and setting personal records in the FEI levels. Based in Loxahatchee, Florida and led by head trainer Amy Speck-Kern, Excel Dressage celebrated a number of milestones over the summer and fall, with top finishes for its riders on a few different levels.

Speck-Kern’s 2016 Markel/USEF Young Horse Championship mount, Gerona (Tango X Odessa X Junior STV), forged a new partnership with her amateur owner, Katherine Hoog, and the pair successfully qualified for the 2016 US Dressage Finals, November 10-13. The invitation only competition recognizes the best amateur and professional riders in the country, and Hoog and the elegant 5-year-old KWPN mare will travel to the Kentucky Horse Park this week to vie for the Training Level Adult Amateur Championship. With Speck-Kern at the reins, Gerona, known around the barn as Gigi, placed among the top 15 5-year-olds in the nation this summer, after only a few months of being imported from The Netherlands. Hoog took over the ride on the mare with her sights set on the Finals, and qualified in one shot during the USDF/GAIG Region 3 Championships at the Atlanta National Fall Show in Georgia, the mare’s second National Championship qualification in less than a year. With qualifying scores in the mid-60s, the pair also won an entire Open/AA class with a 73.8% and was fourth in her Championship class out of over 50 riders with a score of 72.5%.

“I’m extremely proud of Katie’s success with Gerona, a horse she scouted and imported and now has qualified for the US Dressage Finals,” said Speck-Kern. “We experienced an almost 30 degree drop in temperature, intense wind, and a huge atmosphere at Regionals. Katie stepped up to the plate and rode like a pro, showing a great deal of poise and skill in presenting a young horse. In training at home, they took time to get to know each other, especially the timing of the aids to get Gigi moving freely forward in self-carriage. Talented young horses are wonderful to ride, but they don’t just do it by themselves. In addition to athleticism and balance, it takes a lot of feel from the rider.”

Bonnie Kretchik, another Excel Dressage student, recently debuted at the FEI level after beginning her career with Excel Dressage schooling 4th Level. With scores in the mid to upper 60s at 4th and Prix St. Georges, in their most recent show at the Wellington Classic Fall Challenge she and her 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding San Dante (Sandro Hit x Weltmeyer) scored a personal best of 66% in the Prix St. Georges, only their third show at the FEI level.

“Bonnie has come a long way in the past year,” said Speck-Kern. “When we first began working together she was just starting to show 4th Level and has made a ton of progress. They are now confident at the Prix St. Georges and are just about ready for the Intermediaire I as well. Sammy [San Dante] was not a schoolmaster and has never been competed at Prix St. Georges by a professional, so Bonnie gets a lot of credit for training him at the FEI level and developing him in to a true show partner.”

Esteban, an Excel Dressage import, also made his way to Nationals with his new owner, after being scouted and imported in November of 2015 and sold in January of 2016.

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong international client base of competitive amateurs. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern is also an equestrian Ambassador for the Kids Cancer Foundation as a way to give back to the research and therapies that saved her life when she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 18. With her sights set on eventually obtaining an international judges accreditation, she was recently accepted into the USEF “r” program and competing her FEI mounts on the 2017 Wellington show circuit.

For more information on Amy or Excel Dressage, visit www.ExcelDressage.com.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
holly@equinium.com
954 205 7992

Amy Speck-Kern Places Top in Nation at Young Horse Championships

Amy Speck-Kern and Gerona at the 2016 Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, Florida (October 15, 2016) – For Amy Speck-Kern, dressage is a passion that gave her the inspiration to overcome childhood cancer. This passion, combined with cutting edge treatment protocols and the support of her family, friends, and outreach groups, allowed her to defeat Acute Myleoid Leukemia (AML) and pursue her dream of a successful FEI dressage career. Speck-Kern hit a milestone this summer, after qualifying the newly imported KWPN mare Gerona for the 2016 Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships. The pair finished as one of the top 15 ranked 5-year-old combinations in the nation, and through the generous contributions of her family, friends, and colleagues, was able to pay the success forward in the form of a donation to the Kids Cancer Foundation of South Florida. The 501(c)(3) non-profit charity provides hope and support to local children and families battling childhood cancer, and is a reflection of the support and guidance that was so imperative to Speck-Kern’s conquering the disease.

Following her national championship debut, Speck-Kern attended the Kids Cancer Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Celebration at Lands End Farm in Wellington, Florida. In addition to ponies and face painting, the day of equine fun also centered around raising support and awareness for the children that battle the disease. “It’s important to remember that treatment is just one piece of the puzzle,” said Speck-Kern, “and normally the only one covered by health insurance. Education, support, and resources like psychologists and the camaraderie of other children who are experiencing the same reality are priceless. I love that we can work the horses into the support programs because I know that was a huge drive for me, and to see the kids interacting with them makes it obvious how much of an impact it has.”

Wellington’s equestrian community has a long history of supporting children’s cancer research and the Kids Cancer Foundation. This past winter, the KCF’s team at the Great Charity Challenge placed 3rd overall, earning a donation of $112,500. In September, the Southeast Medal Finals auctioned off a Kids Cancer Foundation custom Wood Craft Solutions jump with all of the proceeds to benefit the KCF. And it’s not just showjumping and dressage: international polo star Nic Roldan is also one of the Kids Cancer Foundation’s Ambassadors, channeling his success on the polo fields into awareness and support for this local charity.

Mini humans and equines at the Childhood Cancer Awareness Celebration at Lands End Farm (Photo courtesy of Moonstruck Photography)
Mini humans and equines at the Childhood Cancer Awareness Celebration at Lands End Farm (Photo courtesy of Moonstruck Photography)

“The equestrian community has always been exceptionally generous and supportive of our organization, and have made a huge difference in the lives of these children and their families,” said Michelle O’Boyle, RN, CPON, founder and executive director of the Kids Cancer Foundation, Inc. “Having survivors and high profile riders like Amy and Nick involved gives the kids hope for their own futures, as they see that there is life after leukemia or childhood cancer and that its worth fighting for.”

To learn more about the Kids Cancer Foundation, visit their website at www.KidsCancersf.org. Help us help them fight!

Amy’s Story: Riding for Childhood Cancer Research

In 2003 and at the age of 18, only barely still considered a child by medical standards, Amy Speck-Kern was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia. Known by the acronym AML, this childhood cancer attacks multiple blood cell types, including red blood cells, platelet-forming cells, and white blood cells other than lymphocytes (when leukemia attacks lymphocytes, it is known as acute lymphoblasic leukemia, or ALL). AML represents only 20% of leukemia diagnoses, so Amy and her doctors realized it would be a challenge to successfully defeat the disease.

“They told us they couldn’t guarantee her next month, next week, or even tomorrow,” says Liz Mikutowski, Amy’s mother. With high school graduation quickly approaching, Amy went onto the course of treatment, a newly devised protocol from the Children’s Oncology Group, for which she was one of the first patients. Previous treatments had a 60% survivor rate for AML, and around the time of Amy’s diagnosis, the survival rate experienced a surge up to 90% thanks to advanced research and development into cures for childhood cancer. The new protocol for Amy featured these advancements, and coupled with diet, exercise and the support of family and childhood cancer organizations, she completed the treatment at an accelerated rate. After only 6 months, Amy was cleared of AML, thanks to the tireless work of children’s oncologists, doctors, nurses, and the generous funding, grants, and donations that made the research possible.

“I know that I’m here because of the research,” said Speck-Kern. “The disease and course of treatment inspired me to pursue my passion, and find a way to give back to the cause that has made it possible.” Her passion can be found in the saddle, astride thousand-pound dressage horses she teaches to move and dance in tandem with their riders. Now a professional FEI dressage trainer in Loxahatchee, Florida, she rides, trains, shows, and competes on Wellington’s prestigious international show circuit. After learning from and working with some of the best trainers in the industry, Amy founded Excel Dressage and, leading into the 2016 show season, has begun the process of giving back to childhood cancer research.

For more information on Amy or Excel Dressage, visit www.ExcelDressage.com.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
holly@equinium.com
954 205 7992

Leukemia Survivor Qualifies for Young Horse Championships

Amy Speck-Kern and Gerona.

In 2003 at the age of 18, only barely still considered a child by medical standards, Amy Speck-Kern was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia. Last week, she and the five-year-old KWPN mare Gerona were officially selected to compete at the 2016 Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships, marking a major milestone in her dressage career. And now, as a tribute to the doctors, nurses, counselors, and support teams that helped her conquer the disease and have the chance to live her passion as a dressage rider and trainer, Speck-Kern has launched a Go Fund Me page to benefit the Kids Cancer Foundation and help her reach the prestigious championships.

Be sure to visit the Go Fund Me page, set up to help cover the costs of shipping horses and humans to compete at Lamplight, and where half of all the proceeds go to the Kids Cancer Foundation!

In 2003, Amy Speck-Kern was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia.

Known by the acronym AML, this childhood cancer attacks multiple blood cell types, including red blood cells, platelet-forming cells, and white blood cells other than lymphocytes (when leukemia attacks lymphocytes, it is known as acute lymphoblasic leukemia, or ALL). AML represents only 20% of leukemia diagnoses, so Amy and her doctors realized it would be a challenge to successfully defeat the disease.

“They told us they couldn’t guarantee her next month, next week, or even tomorrow,” says Liz Mikutowski, Amy’s mother. With high school graduation quickly approaching, Amy went onto the course of treatment, a newly devised protocol from the Children’s Oncology Group, for which she was one of the first patients. Previous treatments had a 60% survivor rate for AML, and around the time of Amy’s diagnosis, the survival rate experienced a surge up to 90% thanks to advanced research and development into cures for childhood cancer. The new protocol for Amy featured these advancements, and coupled with diet, exercise and the support of family and childhood cancer organizations, she completed the treatment at an accelerated rate. After only 6 months, Amy was cleared of AML, thanks to the tireless work of children’s oncologists, doctors, nurses, and the generous funding, grants, and donations that made the research possible.

“I know that I’m here because of the research,” said Speck-Kern. “The disease and course of treatment inspired me to pursue my passion, and find a way to give back to the cause that has made it possible.” Her passion can be found in the saddle, astride thousand-pound dressage horses she teaches to move and dance in tandem with their riders. Now a professional FEI dressage trainer in Loxahatchee, Florida, she rides, trains, shows, and competes on Wellington’s prestigious international show circuit. After learning from and working with some of the best trainers in the industry, Amy founded Excel Dressage and, leading into the 2016 show season, has begun the process of giving back to childhood cancer research.

Through partnerships with organizations like the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the Kids Cancer Foundation of South Florida, Amy hopes to raise awareness and funding for the imperative research necessary to one day conquer childhood cancers. In addition, these programs offer invaluable outreach, support, and resources to children going through treatment, as well as their siblings and families. “Most people don’t realize that treatment is only one step, and normally the only one covered by health insurance,” said Speck-Kern. “Education, support, and resources like psychologists and the camaraderie of other children who are experiencing the same reality are priceless and can make all the difference in the world to these kids.”

As an accomplished dressage rider, Amy is hoping to use her knowledge and expertise in the industry to introduce the equestrian community to the plight of childhood cancer patients. From piaffe-passage clinics whose proceeds will benefit ongoing research and development, to inviting local children and families to watch the spectacular dressage and show jumping extravaganzas hosted by the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Amy believes it is her duty to pay it forward by contributing to the ongoing need for research that saved her life and hopefully by making a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with the disease.

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

Amy Speck-Kern Secures Invitation to Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships

Amy Speck-Kern and Gerona.

Fairburn, GA (August 5, 2016) – Displaying the rhythm and impulsion indicative of an exceptional young dressage horse and worthy of comparison to The Knack’s rock ’n’ roll classic “My Sherona,” the elegant bay KWPN mare Gerona strutted to victory in both days of showing at Chattahoochee Hills Dressage, held July 16 & 17, 2016. With Amy Speck-Kern of Excel Dressage in the saddle, Gerona (Tango x Odessa x Junior STV) was awarded a 7.900 to top the FEI 5-Year-Old test on Sunday. Combined with the pair’s past score of 7.840 for a total of 7.870, the average landed them in the top 15 on the 2016 Markel/USEF 5-Year-Old Young Horse Championship Ranking List and secured them an invitation to compete against the nation’s top young horses at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Despite being only recently imported to the United States, Gerona has proven her mettle and poise in the dressage arena. In the mare’s debut performance on US soil, Gerona and Speck-Kern scored a 7.840, securing their first qualifying score towards the Markel/USEF Young Horse National Dressage Championships. Speck-Kern, who operates Excel Dressage out of Loxahatchee, Florida, has had less than a month’s worth of preparation following the mare’s arrival and quarantine in the States in May, and was impressed with the young horse’s composure despite long hours in the trailer and a completely new environment at qualifying shows.

“Gerona showed us once again her talent and intelligence,” said Speck-Kern. “The judges were very complimentary of her gaits, especially her trot, which they awarded an 8.6. In the short time I’ve been riding her she has truly blown us away with her composure and brilliance in the arena, and I’m thrilled to have qualified her for the Young Horse Championships!”

Gerona is owned by the Hoog family, and Katie Hoog, who has been purchasing horses from The Netherlands since 2007, scouted the Ster PROK predicated mare on a buying excursion to Holland in March of 2016. In a pressure crunch of time and travel, the decision to purchase the mare was made from only a video and quick lunging session, but that was enough to seal the deal. As a 3-year-old, Gerona won her mare testing with an 82.5%.

“Her three gaits, excellent conformation, and beauty are what originally caught our attention as a potential FEI prospect,” said Hoog. “With the added bonuses of intelligence and character she has everything she needs to be a real contender in the Young Horse divisions. Amy has done a fantastic job getting her qualified in a limited timeframe, and we are looking forward to seeing her in the arena at Lamplight.”

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong international client base of competitive amateurs. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern was also recently accepted into the prestigious USEF “r” program. With her sights set on eventually obtaining international judge accreditation and international show ring success, she offers a unique training viewpoint as both a rider and judge.

For more information, including up-to-date news and horses for sale, visit Excel Dressage’s website, visit them on Facebook, or contact them directly at amy.speckkern@gmail.com, +1 414 550 1176.

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

Excel Dressage Qualifies Multiple Horses for Regional Championships

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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