Tag Archives: dressage

Michael Jung Tops Dressage after Day One at Burghley

Photo: Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam FBW. (FEI/Libby Law)

GBR’s Gemma Tattersall in overnight second with Arctic Soul and Mackenna Shea (USA) third on Landioso

World number one Michael Jung (GER) has yet again set the target with a beautifully ridden dressage test on his old friend La Biosthetique Sam, now 17, to take an early lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, sixth and final leg of the 2016/2017 FEI Classics™.

The double Olympic champions, winners here in 2015 and current FEI Classics™ series leader, impressed the ground jury — Martin Plewa (president, GER), Katarzyna Konarski (POL) and Harry Payne (GBR) — to earn the only sub-40 mark of the day, 38.9 penalties, and lead over British national champions Gemma Tattersall and the former racehorse Arctic Soul by 4.1 penalties.

“Sam is on good form. You have to be 100% perfect in all es to win and this was not our best dressage performance, but I think the cross-country is tough enough to change the result.” — Michael Jung (GER), first-day dressage leader

Tattersall, fifth individually at the FEI European Championships in Poland recently, has worked hard at containing the sensitive thoroughbred Arctic Soul in the dressage. This represents a considerable improvement on their mark of 55.8 at Badminton when brilliant performances in the jumping phases elevated them a remarkable 60 places to eventual seventh.

“I’m chuffed to bits. Arctic Soul is very shy, so the key is getting him to feel confident, rideable and relaxed. Today he allowed me to place him so that all his movements were correct.” — Gemma Tattersall (GBR), second after dressage

American rider Mackenna Shea, 24, has made a great start to her first run at Burghley and is in third place on a score of 46.1 on Landioso, a 15-year-old Dutch-bred gelding that she has produced since he was four. Shea has based herself this summer with British rider Rodney Powell, but their campaign started late due to Landioso suffering from shipping fever.

“‘I didn’t realise what a big step Burghley would be after Kentucky. Just walking the course takes so long!” — Burghley first-timer Mackenna Shea (USA), third after dressage

Jung may have an unassailable lead in the FEI Classics™ — his nearest rival, Maxime Livio (FRA) is not competing — but has he left the door open in the dressage for Burghley honours?

A host of stars could challenge for the lead. These include Zara Tindall (GBR) and High Kingdom, the pair that finished third behind Jung (on fischerRocana) at Kentucky (USA) in April, and American rider Lauren Kieffer on the lovely mare Veronica.

A quartet of New Zealanders is also likely to feature at the top of the leaderboard: Badminton winners Andrew Nicholson on Nereo, five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas ll, 2010 winner Caroline Powell with Onwards and Upwards, and Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy).

Nicola Wilson (GBR), currently third in the FEI Classics™, does not have a Burghley ride and looks vulnerable to being overtaken in the series by the likes of Nicholson, fourth on the leaderboard, Price, eighth, and Tindall, ninth, all three holding obvious chances to take the prize money on offer for third.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

Woodard, Parra Named Champions at USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Patricia Becker and Freedom, Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Champions. Photo: SusanJStickle.com.

Wayne, IL – The final two division titles of the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships were determined as competition came to an end at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Andrea Woodard and Ravenna maintained their top position following Friday’s test to earn the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship, following the FEI Six-Year-Old Final Test. Cesar Parra and Fashion Designer OLD also held onto their lead from Friday’s test to claim the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. The tests counted 60% towards their overall score. The remaining 40% came from Friday’s preliminary tests.

Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship

On Sunday, the judges were impressed with the quality and overall delivery of the tests by the young horses. However, they ultimately awarded Woodard (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Oldenburg mare Ravenna the Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Dressage National Championship. They had a superb preliminary test on Friday, winning the class with a score of 7.9. The combination only improved, scoring the only 8 in the final test and winning handedly with an 8.3 and overall score of 8.1.

The highlights of their test included the canter. With a normally expressive trot, Ravenna also showed the lightness and smoothness of this gait. With a careful plan for young horses, Woodard has cautiously aimed for the championships this year, allowing her mare time to grow up and mature.

“It feels wonderful of course. This is what I have been building up towards for such a long time now,” said Woodard. “I’ve had my eyes on this championship. She actually qualified as a five-year-old, but I didn’t feel like she was mentally ready to take this long trip. This year, I felt like she was much more prepared and mentally ready, so I went for it and it paid off. I am super excited and very happy with her.”

Ravenna also received the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg of the class by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society.

Placing second in the preliminary test on Friday with a 7.8, Werner Van Den Brande (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Flyby FLF, Linda Sommer’s Hanoverian stallion, put in an impressive final test, scoring a 7.9 and keeping them in second for the final test and overall reserve. With more energy in their second test and an improvement in the strength of the trot and canter work, the combination scored a 7.9 overall.

“We have been working for this for the last couple of months to get ready,” said Werner. “We did it and it, of course, feels really nice.”

Additionally, Flyby FLF was awarded the U.S.-Bred Award as recognition of the top U.S.-bred horse in the class.

Michael Bragdell (Colora, Md.) and Anne Howard’s Oldenburg stallion Finery kept their poise, finishing third overall with a score of 7.6. The combination finished third in Friday’s preliminary test with a 7.6, replicating their score and position in the final test to finish in the top-three.

“He held it together and stayed focused through the test,” said Bragdell. “I really couldn’t have asked him for anymore. I was just so proud of him. It is fun to come here and be here with all the great competitors. It really gives it a championship feel. I am just so proud that we made it this far and competed here.”

Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Maintaining the top position, Parra (White House Station, N.J.) and Fashion Designer OLD, his own and Martin Sosnoff’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, scored an overall score of 67.30%. Fashion Designer OLD is a true product of success from the USEF Young & Developing Horse Program, competing and placing first in the 5-Year-Old division in 2013, third in the 6-Year-Old division in 2014, and second in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges division over the years.

“First of all, I am super, super happy to get another title here at the national championships,” said Parra. “I am very, very proud of my horse. I am super grateful, too. It takes a whole village to make it out here; from the owners, from the farrier and the grooms – there are so many people that helped us to get here. Expectations are very high. You want to do well for the horse, for the team, for yourself. I am very, very happy. The footing was excellent, and I think we had a good panel of judges. I am very happy.”

The combination also earned the Oldenburg Award, given to the highest scoring Oldenburg by the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society. Parra and Fashion Designer OLD scored a 69.56%, winning Friday’s FEI Intermediate II Test and a 67.30% in Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test, placing third.

Winning Sunday’s USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Test with a 66.25%, Patricia Becker (Wadsworth, Ill.) and Dr. Anne Ramsay’s 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom were the reserve champions of the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with an overall score of 66.68%.

Tying for second in Friday’s preliminary test with a 67.32%, Becker was pleased with Freedom’s attitude and work ethic moving into the final test.

“Freedom is always a bit more tired towards the end of a big competition. Today, he felt very good in his body going in. He was very much with me. He really tried and gave me all of his focus and I was super proud of him,” said Becker.

Freedom was also the recipient of the U.S.-Bred Horse Award, given to the highest scoring U.S.-bred horse of the class.

Perhaps riding the most talked-about horse of the show due to her coloration, James Koford (Lexington, N.C.) expertly navigated his final test aboard Adiah HP, Sherry Koella’s 10-year-old Friesian/Dutch Warmblood mare. Moving from fifth place with a score of 66.84% in Friday’s preliminary test to second place in the final test with a 66.04%, Koford and Adiah HP claimed the overall third position in the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix Dressage National Championship with a 66.36%.

Koford’s relationship with Adiah HP is special and they never take themselves too seriously.

“She is three-quarters Friesian and a quarter Dutch Warmblood – she is just a horse that makes me happy every day,” said Koford. “She looks at me and it’s like she’s smiling. Every day the highlight of her day is when she goes to work.”

Koford’s expectations coming into the championship were to perform their best, giving Adiah HP an opportunity to shine.

“[Adiah HP] is new to the Grand Prix, and I just want her to feel like a champion every time she goes in,” said Koford. “I want her to be happy, have the best time, and feel really good about herself. In that way, it was a win. Honestly, she gives me chill bumps when I ride her – she makes me happy. The whole day, the whole week was really fun.”

Relive memorable moments from the 2017 Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships with photo galleries, rider video clips, and much more on the USEF Network.

By Julian McPeak, US Equestrian Communications Department

Werth Wins Ferocious Battle for Dressage Freestyle Gold

L to R: Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), Isabell Werth GER (gold), Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze). (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Isabell Werth (45) secured her third Dressage gold medal of the week when topping the individual Freestyle at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. But she had to pull out all the stops to pin German team-mate Sonke Rothenberger (22) into silver medal position while, mirroring the result of the Grand Prix Special, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (25) took bronze.

Multi-medalled Werth was under no illusions about the quality of the performance she needed to produce.

“We all pushed each other today. When I went in, both Weihe and I knew there was no little mini-mistake allowed, and that made it very exciting!” — Isabell Werth GER

That’s because Rothenberger is on the rise, producing stunning rides from his 10-year-old gelding Cosmo all week, joining Werth to take team gold, and then chasing her home in the Grand Prix Special to finish just over a mark behind. Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen produced the first over-80% score with the stunning stallion Dante Weltino before Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck fractionally improved on that to change the lead. But when Dufour, third-last to go, posted 84.560 with Atterupgaards Cassidy, the real battle commenced.

Rothenberger is a young man on a mission, oozing confidence and pizazz. Mastering the most difficult movements with the greatest of ease, he marched down the final centreline to throw down a massive score of 90.614 which really put it up to his compatriot.

But Werth thrives under pressure, and she had her game face on as her Freestyle music began. Weihegold listened to her all the way, producing a flawless performance that the crowd really enjoyed. But the tension on the German rider’s face as she waited for her mark to light up the scoreboard said it all. She knew it was going to be dangerously close.

“I was really hoping it would be good enough because Weihe was a good as she could be; it was her best test so I was happy and hoping it would be enough – and it was!” she said, having edged ahead by just 0.368 marks. In fact all three medallists produced personal-best Freestyle scores.

Werth, who also steered Weihegold to victory at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha (USA) in April, couldn’t hold back the tears on the medal podium. “I was full of adrenaline when I went in to ride, so it’s a mixture of all the emotions you have during the week – I’m really grateful and thankful for what this week has brought me,” said the lady who has experienced more golden moments in her extraordinary career than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

Rothenberger looks like a real threat to her supremacy, however. Holding his silver medal he said with a smile, “If you look closely, it’s silver with a golden edge!” — Sonke Rothenberger GER

However, Werth remains the queen of all she surveys, her latest golden haul still just another good week at the office. It’s exactly 10 years since she first took European Freestyle gold at La Mandria (ITA). That was with another of her super-star rides and, looking at her final medal of the week, she said, “Satchmo would be proud!”

Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), talking about his attitude to competition and his horse, Cosmo: “I don’t go into a test thinking of what others can do and then try to be better. I go into the test trying to show in the ring everything we practice outside and today was really a day where we made a plan and we trained outside in the warm-up, and today was a day when he gave me back exactly what I was asking for and that’s just what I do it for. He is a character of a horse and I just love him the way he is; he has this shiny edge and with his ears to the front he does the most difficult movement and I get goosebumps every time!”

Replying to a question about the Dutch connection in his family: “Maybe there’s a slight touch of orange to this medal!”

Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze): “Cassidy was more calm today he really did everything he could, and I knew I had to be no 1 when I left the arena because I knew these two were coming. So I was really happy when I saw my score at the bit-check, and I knew these two would really ride for their lives and I’m very very happy!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Double-Gold for Werth and Weihegold as They Win Dressage Grand Prix Special

Photo: Germany’s Sonke Rothenberger (silver) and Isabell Werth (gold), along with Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (bronze) (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Germany’s Isabell Werth (45) and her lovely mare Weihegold waltzed their way to gold in the Grand Prix Special at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. But the doyenne of world Dressage was chased to the line by compatriot, Sonke Rothenberger (22), who joined her on the top step of the team podium, while Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (25) produced a brilliant performance to claim bronze.

This was Werth’s third FEI European Championships Grand Prix Special title, her first claimed with Gigolo when the Special was introduced at Donaueschingen (GER) in 1991 and the next three years later in Lipica (SLO). Team-mate Rothenberger joked afterwards that his age combined with Dufour’s matched Werth’s, but youth had to wait for its day once again as the most medalled athlete in the history of international equestrian sport reigned supreme once more.

“Weihe is in the best form ever! It was a clear test without mistakes and with a lot of precision, so I’m completely happy. For me the challenge was to take enough risk but not too much because I knew the rest behind me want to make me angry!” — Isabell Werth GER

Weihe translates from German as “ordains”, and so far this week that is exactly what the super mare and her extraordinary rider have done, dictating the destination of team gold with the only over-80% score two days ago and putting the biggest mark of 82.613 on the board. But Rothenberger took silver with 82.479 and looks a serious future threat. “I watch the best riders and I steal with my eyes!” he said earlier in the week. It looks like it won’t be long before he’ll be stealing their limelight too. He’s confident and ambitious, and rightly so.

“I know my horse (Cosmo) can do it, and I never doubted from the first day I sat on him that he could beat anybody if things work out the way I would want, but it’s always a different story to bring it on the day, which is what Isabell is so good at… doing it on the day, on the spot when you need it and that’s what we try to work on, and that’s what we train for every day. We are getting closer and closer, but we are not quite there yet!” — Sonke Rothenberger GER

Dufour, meanwhile, is also in sparkling form with the 14-year-old Atterupgaards Cassidy who has been with her through “a journey from Juniors seven years ago”. Posting 79.762 she pinned Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen (34) into fourth with the stallion Dante Weltino, who like Rothenberger’s Cosmo is an exceptional talent at just 10 years old, and who earned a mark of 78.585 for an exquisitely elegant test.

Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), talking about talking about his family and his relationship with his horse: “We can’t think of a life without horses! I always thought when you have a jumping horse and you jump a 1.60m obstacle you get goosebumps and the feeling of being on a roller-coaster that you can’t have that on a dressage horse – until I sat on Cosmo, and then I realised he gives me that feeling as well!”

Francis Verbeek van Rooy (NED), Judge at C: “It’s very exciting; the other two (Rothenberger and Dufour) are so young and they are the future of our sport – there are now so many young people on top level world-wide.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Dressage Team Gold for Germany Once Again

Photo: Chef d’Equipe Klaus Roeser (left) with the gold medal winning German Dressage team – Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Helen Langehanenberg and Sonke Rothenberger. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Reigning Olympic champions are in a class of their own; Danes pip host nation Sweden for silver

They may have been thrown slightly off course a few times in recent years, but Team Germany showed that they most definitely have the bit between their teeth once again when following up their Rio 2016 Olympic team victory to claim their 23rd Dressage team title at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“This is the latest press conference I’ve ever been at in my life, and the driest, so I hope we can go to the bar and have a little party soon! We really couldn’t expect at the beginning of the year that with two horses out of the team that went to Rio we really would dominate the Europeans here in the team competition. All of us are really happy!” — Isabell Werth GER, world no. 1

Already in the lead after the first two team-members completed their Grand Prix tests, they inched ever-closer to that top step of the podium when third-line rider Sonke Rothenberger (22) took his turn with Cosmo. This is a partnership that has matured splendidly, and such was the quality of their work that they were trending with a score over 80% early in their test, eventually posting 78.343 to become the new leaders despite a spooky moment and a mistake in the tempi changes.

Rothenberger’s score brought the German total to 227.915, so victory was already well within their grasp long before anchor rider Isabell Werth (45) came into the ring. Meantime, a fierce battle was raging between neighbours Denmark and Sweden for silver and bronze, with that result finally sealed by a very special performance from Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour. Riding the 14-year-old Atterupgaards Cassidy which she has partnered since her Junior years, the 25-year-old sparkled for a score of 78.300 which put the result beyond doubt. Denmark had not been on a European medal podium since 2001 so there was plenty to celebrate along with team-mates Anna Kasprzak, Anna Zibrandtsen and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard. And for Sweden it was their fourth team bronze, and Rose Mathisen, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, Therese Nilshagen and Patrik Kittel were all riding horses that still have something to learn so Chef d’Equipe, Bo Jena, rightly admitted to feeling “really proud” of them.

Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) made a valiant effort to claw back a podium place for the beleaguered British who were always compromised once reduced to a three-member side, and his score of 74.900 placed him individually fifth but Team GB finished two percentage places behind the Swedish bronze medallists while the defending champions from The Netherlands lined up fifth.

Last to ride into the ring, it was only a matter of putting the icing on the German cake as Olympic silver medallists Isabell Werth and her fabulous mare Weihegold swaggered their way through a lovely test that demoted team-mate Rothenberger to runner-up spot in the individual rankings while Denmark’s Dufour finished third and Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg (35) and Dorothee Schneider (48) slotted into fourth and six spots, respectively. The top 30 riders now go through to the Grand Prix Special.

Isabell Werth GER, talking about her mare Weihegold OLD: “She’s in really great shape; always the question is: can you bring it into the competition, and it was really really fun to ride her this evening. It was really a pleasure and so easy. But we all know it was today, and the next day will come and I hope we can keep it up, but you never know. This will be the hardest thing, to keep her in great shape until the end of the week.”

Sonke Rothenberger GER: “I was really happy that my team-mates did such great results on the first day. Of course it was a pity for the mistakes I made in the gallop, but my horse was probably the best he’s ever been and the judges rewarded that and that’s always nice – that the results also reflect the feeling of the rider.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Great Britain and Dynamic Danes Share Honours as Para Dressage Draws to a Close

Photo: Stinna Tange Kaastrupd with Horsebo Smarties (FEI/Liz Gregg)

For the second day running Denmark went head-to-head with Para-Equestrian Dressage powerhouse Great Britain as the two nations dominated a compelling final day of Freestyle to Music action in Gothenburg’s Heden Arena at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017.

Once again Great Britain edged ahead of the Scandinavians at the finish, a bold ride from serial winner Sophie Wells (GBR) on C Fatal Attraction giving them a third Freestyle gold of the day, one clear of Denmark’s haul.

It has been another glorious Championships for the Brits who, despite fielding three debutants, take home six of the 11 gold medals on offer. But Denmark will be proud of how far they pushed their illustrious rivals on day two and three, with their dynamic mixture of teenage talent and seasoned know-how promising much for the future.

The first of Great Britain’s triple Championship gold medal-winning newcomers, Suzanna Hext, kicked off proceedings riding Abira in the Grade III finale. The individual and team champion responded to the imposing marker of 76.173% set by Germany’s Steffen Zeibig and Feel Good with a confident ride to edge another gold, this time by 0.233%.

“Coming to my first Championships is enough; winning three gold medals is insane!” — European Grade III Freestyle champion Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Teenager Tobias Joergensen (DEN) on Bruunhiolms Caribian opened up Denmark’s account for the day with bronze behind Zeibig. The 17-year-old hails from a fine line of Para Dressage athletes, as his mother Line Joergensen (DEN) competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Inevitably, Great Britain’s Julie Payne was not going to let a day go past at these Championships without producing a huge score and grabbing another gold in Grade I. The 55-year- old and her incomparable mare Athene Lindebjerg showed the virtues of doing the simple things to perfection as they strutted to 80.393%, comfortably the highest mark of the week.

Three rides, three gold medals and the three highest scores of the Championship.

“I’ve certainly had more than my 15 minutes of fame,” said the ever-modest Payne, who, in case anyone should forget, was making her Championship bow.

Rihards Snikus (LAT) on King of the Dance and Elke Philipp (GER) on Regaliz swapped places from Monday’s individual test, taking silver and bronze in the Freestyle, respectively.

In the fourth category of the day, Denmark hit back once again with Susanne Sunesen levelling the tally at two gold medals each. The Dane broke the home crowd’s hearts on the way by snatching gold from Louise Jakobsson and Zernard with the final ride of Grade IV. Sunesen has a wonderfully symbiotic relationship with her horse CSK’s Que Faire.

“Before I got my injury (a farm accident in 2006 left her with incomplete paraplegia) I was riding her, until she was six years old, then she had a foal, then I got my injury and I rode her a little bit after. And then I had a foal (her daughter Sara was in the Heden Arena crowd) and she had another foal and then I started riding her again.” — Grade IV Freestyle gold medallist Susanne Sunesen (DEN)

A disappointed Sanne Voets (NED), riding Demantur, took Grade IV bronze.

And then it was the moment for two-time Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Wells (GBR) to shine in the final test of the Para Dressage Championships. She and C Fatal Attraction knew what they had to beat: Frank Hosmar (NED) and Alphaville N.O.P.’s impressive 76.955%.

“I had no idea what I was going to get out there, but he pulled it out of the bag when it mattered.” — Grade V Freestyle champion Sophie Wells said referring to her spooky horse C Fatal Attraction

The duo stormed to a Championship closing gold with 78.350%. Switzerland’s Nicole Geiger picked up her second bronze of the week with Phal de Lafayette.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Cesar Parra Warms Up for Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle.

Wayne, IL (August 22, 2017) –  Performance Farms has yet again earned top spots in the rankings of horses qualified to compete in the elite Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. A consistent and strong competitor in this annual competition, Dr. Cesar Parra, founder and head trainer at Performance Farms, is ranked second in this year’s Developing Grand Prix Division with Fashion Designer OLD. Assistant trainer Katie Riley is also ranked second in the Five-Year-Old Division with GK Sir Beckmann.

Qualifying not one but two horses for the upcoming National Championships is an impressive feat, although one that is not surprising to anyone who has been watching Performance Farms’ horses competing this year. The qualification period for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships began on January 1, 2017, and concluded on July 31, 2017. Throughout that timeframe, qualifying took place at designated USEF/NAJYRC Qualifying Competitions. The National Championships will take place at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois on August 24-27, 2017.

Parra and Fashion Designer OLD received qualifying scores as high as 75.313 percent in the Developing Horse Grand Prix Division. Bred by Heike Kind in Germany, Fashion Designer OLD is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Faustinus x Forst-Design, De Niro) owned by Parra and Martin Sosnoff. “Fashion is a star, and I am thrilled with how he is developing,” said Parra. “His results are great, but it is his development that brings me the most joy.”

In last year’s competition, Parra and Fashion Designer OLD won the Reserve Champion title in the Developing Prix St. Georges division.

Riley and GK Sir Beckmann also ranked second, consistently earning scores over 80% during the qualifying period. GK Sir Beckmann is a Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita, Wolkenstein II) bred in Germany by Norbert and Petra Fockenberg. “Sir Beckmann is such a special horse and I am so very proud of him. He is an amazing five year old, but an even more amazing horse for the future. I am blessed and lucky to have the ride on him, and I’m grateful to Cesar Parra and his wife Marcela Ortiz for always supporting me,” said Riley, who is a founding member of Performance Farms.

Performance Farms is based in both Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and is dedicated to developing top notch horses and riders for the dressage ring. Founder Dr. Cesar Parra is an Olympian, a Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold Medalist, and a Nations Cup Silver Medalist, as well as a two-time World Cup Finalist and two-time World Equestrian Games competitor. To learn more about the training and lessons offered by Parra and Riley at Performance Farms, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

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

Germany Takes the Early Lead in Dressage

Photo: Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH. (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

Chasing down their 23rd European team Dressage title, Germany took a firm grip on the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Grand Prix at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE).

Helen Langehanenberg got them off to a great start when posting the biggest score of the day, 74.986%, with Damsey FRH, and team-mate Dorothee Schneider (48) cemented that when slotting into second place on a mark of 74.586 with Sammy Davis Jr. With two more riders still to go, including their superstar combination of Isabell Werth and Weihegold, the Germans have almost a six-point lead over their nearest rivals, the defending champions from The Netherlands.

And it’s incredibly tight going into the second half of the competition with Denmark breathing down those Dutch necks just a fraction further behind, while the hosts from Sweden are in fourth place only another 1.0% adrift. A total of 16 teams are contesting the medal placings.

Langehanenberg (35), who, during her sensational career with the brilliant stallion Damon Hill, was a member of the victorious German team at the Europeans in Herning (DEN) in 2013 and the silver medal winning Olympic team at London 2012, has a relatively new ride in Damsey FRH.

“Although he is 15, we are a young couple, just one and a half years together now. He’s a wonderful horse but he’s like a lucky bag – you never know what’s going to come out! He is in a good mood today, and he’s different again tomorrow. Today he was great!” — Helen Langehanenberg GER

Patrick van der Meer (46) and Zippo were the first Dutch partnership into the ring, scoring 71.114, and Diederik van Silfhout added a competitive 72.528 with Four Seasons to back that up. But van Silfhout’s Danish pupil Anna Zibrandtsen (23) and Arlando, the brilliant horse her Dutch tutor steered to team gold at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) in 2015, produced a stunning performance to earn a mark of 72.957 which, when added to team-mate Agnete Kirk Thinggaard’s 70.629 with Jojo AZ ensured the Danes are right in the mix.

Only the second German partnership of Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr pinned Zibrandtsen back to third place when putting a mark of 74.585 on the board. Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi’s 72.857 filled fourth slot.

Austria, Spain, France, Russia, Finland and Belarus are lining up between fifth and 11th places, but don’t discount the British yet. Down a man since Gareth Hughes withdrew Don Carissimo they could still be in with a shout according to Emile Faurie who steered another relative novice, the 12-year-old Lollipop, into sixth spot on a mark of 72.285.

When asked about his hopes for the 2011 team gold and 2015 European silver medal winning nation, he said “that Spencer (Wilton) scores 80 and Carl (Hester) rides 90, which they both can, and must! 72 (his own score) has been a counting score in the past; we’ve got two brilliant riders with two brilliant horses coming so I don’t see that as too big an ask!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Gold Rush for GB and Dutch as Para Dressage Starts with a Flourish

Photo: Pepo Puch (Europeans/ Claes Jakobsson)

Great Britain and the Netherlands flexed their considerable muscles and claimed two gold medals apiece in the Para-Equestrian Dressage on a glorious, sun-drenched first day of the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Julie Payne (GBR) led the charge in Grade I, posting a huge 77.642% score to leave the competition trailing far behind.

“That is one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best test I have done on her; she was just so in my hand; if I asked her to correct she was just answering.” — Julie Payne (GBR)

The 55-year-old was riding Athene Lindebjerg, the mare who won triple gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with former rider Sophie Christiansen (GBR). Remarkably, Payne and her new mount have only been together for three months, with the newly-crowned European champion grateful that they “just clicked”.

Grade I is for the most severely impaired athletes, with Payne describing her multiple system atrophy (MSA) as like combining motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic fatigue syndrome into one.

German Elke Philipp was delighted to take silver with 73.428%, while Rihards Snikus (LAT) held off the challenge of current freestyle world champion Sara Morganti (ITA) to snatch bronze.

Great Britain’s Suzanna Hext, a debutant on the team like compatriot Payne, edged a tight battle for Grade III glory with a score of 71.588%. She was “over the moon” with her horse Abira’s performance.

“He loves a party, loves to show off and that’s exactly what he did today. He is a horse of a lifetime.” — Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Claudia Schmidt (GER) won a second silver for Germany, with a score of 70.617% placing her just ahead of Hext’s teammate, Erin Orford (GBR).

In Grade V, defending European individual champion Frank Hosmar (NED) pushed his long-time rival Sophie Wells (GBR) into silver.

“To beat them is always what gets me out of bed,” said Hosmar of his battles with Wells and Rio 2016 freestyle gold medal winner Michele George (BEL), who finished a surprising fifth.

“We see each other in the stables, say hello and kiss-kiss; it’s not like we hate each other, but it’s fun to beat each other.” — Frank Hosmar (NED)

Compatriot Sanne Voets (NED) revealed some timely pre-competition motivation made all the difference for her gold medal-winning routine in Grade IV.

“Yesterday in the familiarisation he got really tense and today in the warm-up he was a little tense too, but I said to him ‘c’mon boy, we can do this’ and I’m really, really proud of the way he handled everything,” Voets said after scoring 72.353%.

Belgium’s Manon Claeys claimed silver with a mark of 71.560% and Louise Etzner Jakobsson (SWE) delighted the home crowd by claiming bronze.

“I am proud to be a Swede in the Championships here,” Jakobsson said. “I always try to ride like I am home, wherever I am.”

Veteran Pepo Puch (AUT), a former international three-day eventer, defended his European title in Grade II, triumphing with 73.382%, ahead of Nicole de Dulk (NED) and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Balance.

It’s the nature of all living beings to always work toward balance. Finding balance is much like driving a truck. I can feel Jane turning and adjusting the steering wheel of the truck all the time from my stall in the trailer. She doesn’t just point in the direction she wants to go and then become passive. She constantly makes tiny corrections to keep the truck and trailer going straight when the road is straight, turning when the road requires that she turns, but always heading in the general direction of our destination until we actually get there.

Finding balance in your life is the same thing. You don’t just say: from here on my life is going to be balanced. You constantly have to make tiny (and sometimes large) corrections, tweak and change your behavior, your direction, your actions, until you get to your goal or destination. And of course, once you get to your destination, there’s always another destination waiting.

When Jane rides, I can feel her body move in harmony with my movement. She is very balanced because she DOES allow herself to move as she sits on my back. If she was still and unmoving, she’d disturb my balance. And that would make it hard for me to do the things she asks me to do. It would also make us both very uncomfortable.

Where in your life are you stuck and stiff? Are there areas in your life where you’ve stopped moving with the flow and become unbalanced? Where are you too passive and without a sense of what needs to be tweaked or changed? Where are you too rigid? Can you look at the areas of your life you’d like to be different and create a new map for how you want to get to where you want to be? Are you willing to make the small and large corrections necessary so you can get there?

Go to the barn, get on your horse, close your eyes, and allow your body to move in balance and harmony with the movement of your horse’s body. Allow yourself to flow with the sway of your horse’s back. Now imagine your whole life flowing in this way. This is one of the gifts horses give you. It’s an incredible metaphor for life. This is where that special magic happens.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I love to run. I really do. I love to swim, to chase things, and run as fast as I can through the grass. My body is fit and strong because I get lots of wonderful exercise.

I’ve noticed that I really do feel differently when I’m running with one of my friends. We challenge each other in a very fun way. Somehow, I always seem to run a bit faster and jump a bit higher when I have a friend nearby. We challenge and support each other without saying a thing. Just being together changes our focus, and naturally inspires us to give what we’re doing a touch more effort.

Do you need to get more exercise? Would you like to be a bit more fit? I hear being fit really helps your riding abilities. Jane is constantly exercising to keep her body strong and healthy. She has a couple of good friends she meets with when she exercises because it is much more fun to do it with someone, and it keeps her inspired to try just a bit harder.

If there is something you know would be good for you to do, like exercise or ride more (or both!), find someone to do it with you. You’ll be surprised how much difference having a friend along will make! It helps you stay on track and keeps you inspired when you get tired.

My friend Scruggs and I are going to go swimming today. We’re going to run all the way to the pond! Would you like to go with us? We’ll race you there.

Love, Indy

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