Wellington, FL – January 28, 2018 – Local rider Heather Blitz made it three victories from three starts in week three of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), an annual 12-week dressage circuit at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.
The smile on Heather Blitz’s face when talking about Praestemarkens Quatero is a clear indication of how highly she rates the nine-year-old, winner of the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3* class, presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, with 73.6%. And it’s with good reason.
“I knew his dam by Rohdiamant while I was living in Denmark and suggested to his breeder, Inger Recht, that she use the stallion Quaterback on her,” she explained. “I moved back the US, but when ‘Q Ball’ was six, they asked if I’d like to try him. When I sat on him he felt like he was already my horse; like putting on a familiar pair of jeans.”
Their small tour freestyle began with halt to canter, and included extended canters down the center line into tight pirouettes, flying changes on tight, curving lines and shoulder-in performed on the center line. The only blip was a stride of canter in the trot half-pass right, but they were on the beat of the music throughout and it was more than enough to convince the judges to award victory to the pair.
Imported to the U.S. in early 2015, Praestemarkens Quatero has been in trying with Blitz in Florida and the two have been building a strong rapport. That bond appears rock solid as they have won eight of their nine CDI starts.
“Q Ball is extremely powerful with a big personality and always wants to give 120%. But the power works in his favor, and he now trusts that I know what I’m doing. His confidence is growing with each test,” added Blitz, 49, who credits work out of the saddle including yoga, Pilates, weight lifting and cardio, for her ability to “keep up with the youngsters in the sport”.
Their next stop, after a couple of rest weeks, is the CDI in Tryon, North Carolina in mid-April, where Blitz will also be coaching her pupil, Paralympian Annie Peavy, who will contest the CPEDI the same weekend.
Second-placed Eliane Cordia van Reesema (USA) was also riding a nine-year-old, her own Cristallo gelding, Codiak, who scored 71.725%. Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished in third on Ribot with 71.25%.
In the amateur division Intermediate I CDI class, Sonia Zügel and Hemingway (her own 14-year-old by His Highness) claimed the blue ribbon with 63.647% ahead of Amanda Lopez’s two rides, who both finished on 63.059%. She took second on Taranco and third on Quantum, split on collectives alone.
This concludes week three of the 12-week 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) – an annual circuit at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Florida, that boasts seven CDI competitions. The next is the showcase contest, the CDI5*, which runs February 8-11, and features top names including Laura Graves and Adrienne Lyle.
Mill Spring, NC – April 23, 2017 – Heather Blitz (USA) and Praestemarkens Quatero made an impressive FEI CDI debut in Small Tour competition at the Tryon Spring CDI 3* presented by Adequan® at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Blitz and Praestemarkens Quatero received a 74.250% to secure the win in the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 3* presented by Adequan®. Christilot Boylen (CAN) and Rockylane took second place with a 72.600% while Ashley Holzer (USA) and Radondo finished in third place with a 71.775% on the final day of competition.
Blitz and Praestemarkens Quatero, a 2009 Danish Warmblood gelding (Quarterback x Rohdiamant) owned by Blitz, made their first FEI CDI appearance this week, taking all three classes in the Small Tour including the FEI Prix St. Georges, FEI Intermediaire I, and FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle. Blitz has had the ride since 2015 and has taken her time solidifying their communication and understanding together before pursuing a competition schedule.
“I was a little funny getting started today and was a bit behind the music from the beginning, so I played a bit of catch up. I wasn’t sure how he would do in the rain, but quite frankly, we have such a great trust in each other now that if I tell him it’s going to be okay he goes with it,” commented Blitz. “There were a few little errors in the test, but for his first time in a CDI and to do the freestyle, which we only finished two weeks ago, is just amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”
Blitz has been working patiently and diligently, earning the trust of Praestemarkens Quatero, who she feels has an immense talent and strength that will make him a top mount in the future. While it’s taken time for Blitz to feel completely confident in bringing the gelding out, over the past month he proved that he was ready to be tested in a larger competition atmosphere.
“I got him two years ago and during that time we have gone through a lot. It’s been all about learning to trust each other from day one. Whatever he has in his mind is what he’s passionate about, so now that I’ve gained his trust he passionately wants to please me,” she elaborated. “His willingness to listen to me was phenomenal this week; especially knowing that deep down he was very nervous. He stuck with me and I thought the strength for us this week was his steadiness. He flows really well and he’s a powerful horse, which comes across quite impressively in the ring.”
It was an instant connection for Blitz when she tried the gelding in Europe and has really seen their relationship blossom over the past year. His steady and willing demeanor helped the pair pull together one of their best performances together to date.
“The first time I sat on him, I knew he was the one. We clicked right away. Our partnership and his stability has really shown this week. The strengths outweighed the glitches throughout the competition. I came in super positive about this show because of the way that he’s been going at home and how consistent he’s been.”
Having worked with renowned freestyle choreographer and composer Marlene Whitaker for over a decade, Blitz felt confident that the pair’s music selection would show off the quality of Praestemarkens Quatero’s movements and expression. Whitaker helped Blitz pull together the routine, which was only completed two weeks ago for the pair to begin practicing.
“Marlene Whitaker has been working with me for almost ten years and I completely trust her opinion and judgment when it comes to choosing music. She gave me three adaptions to look at and as soon as I heard this one, I knew that it was it. The choreography is very fitting for him and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it went today.”
To see a full list of results from the Tryon Spring FEI CDI 3* and to learn more about TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.
Heather Blitz. Photo courtesy of HeatherBlitz.info.
Wellington, FL – March 29, 2014 – Horse Radio Network’s once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured dressage and para-dressage trainer Heather Blitz and Jim Koford. Each trainer talked about their experience working with an international high-performance para-dressage athlete. They spoke of the parallel comparison between able-bodied dressage and para-dressage. Both had their athletes on the show including Angela Peavy (USA), a grade III, rider who trains with Blitz and 2010 World Equestrian Games athlete Mary Jordan (USA), Grade IV, who trains with Jim Koford. Episode #252 was hosted by Paralympian Hope Hand and dressage rider Regina Cristo.
Heather Blitz of Wellington, FL is the 2012 U.S. Olympic Dressage Team reserve rider and 2011 Pan American Games Team Gold Medalist and Individual Silver Medalist. Blitz’s love for horses started in Kansas where she grew up on her parents’ farm. Blitz began competing in dressage competitions in 1994 and has won numerous regional and national titles on an array of horses. Her career-changing horse came in the form of Danish Warmblood stallion Rambo DVE 373, whom she began training as a 12-year-old. The pair showed at the CDI Grand Prix level throughout Florida and at the prestigious Dressage at Devon where they placed third. Blitz is currently working with Paragon, an 18-hand Danish Warmblood bred by Oak Hill Ranch.
–Blitz and Paragon claimed the Reserve Championship in the USEF National Intermediaire I Dressage Championships at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions.
–Represented the U.S. at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico winning Team Gold and Individual Silver medals.
–Blitz and Paragon finished second in both the Grand Prix CDI3* and the Grand Prix Special at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI4* presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach.
–WEF Dressage Classic: Blitz and Paragon won the Grand Prix Freestyle and finished third in the Grand Prix Test.
–The 2012 year also saw Blitz and Paragon in Gladstone, New Jersey for the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions and Selection Trials for the U.S. Dressage Team in June. After four rounds of competition over two weekends, Blitz finished sixth overall with a combined total of 70.384%.
About Jim Koford: (excerpt from KofordDressage.com) James has been immersed in the dressage community for the last 35 years. He was catapulted into the FEI dressage ring aboard the Pinto Dutch Warmblood stallion, Art Deco. James started showing Art Deco as a 4-year-old and advanced him to Grand Prix. This popular duo became one of the most recognizable FEI combinations on the East Coast.
As a competitor, James enjoys tremendous success on a wide variety of horses. He has competed in the Grand Prix on six different mounts and has guided over twenty horses to the FEI levels. James’s horses have won numerous regional and national awards from Training Level to Grand Prix. Some of his most successful horses include the stallions Donatelli II winning at Grand Prix with scores to 72% (2007) and Don Principe winning thirteen straight PSG and I1 classes in 2008.
James distinguishes himself as one of the very few riders in the world to compete at both Four Star eventing and Grand Prix dressage. James trained and competed the horses Bank On It and Max Motoring at Essex**, Bromont**, Fair Hill*** and Rolex****. James continues his commitment to the eventing community as a highly sought after dressage coach, for eventing riders at the national and international levels.
In 2009, Koford had success with a number of horses. Aboard Don Principe, Koford took home top honors in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the WEF Dressage Classic, the Grand Prix Test at the KDA Spring Warm-Up Show, and the Grand Prix Test and Freestyle at the KDA 23rd Annual Dressage Show. Koford, aboard Rhett, was awarded the Anne Barlow Ramsay grant from The Dressage Foundation to travel to Germany to train and compete. Koford and Rhett trained with Michael Klimke in Germany and competed in the small tour at national shows in Germany.
2010 led Rhett and Koford back to Germany where they successfully competed in Open Grand Prix classes at national shows. The pair also competed in the Medien Cup classes for young Grand Prix horses. The same year they secured two wins at the USDF Region 1 Dressage Championships.
Koford and Rhett made their debut at the CDI Grand Prix level in 2011. In Wellington, they capped off a great season with a win in the International Horse Sport Champions Cup Grand Prix. They had another win that year in the Grand Prix Test at Dressage at Devon. In addition, they finished out the year with two more Grand Prix wins at the USDF Region 1 Dressage Championships. Also in 2011, Koford also won two Grand Prix classes at Dressage at Lexington aboard Pharaoh.
2012 began with a win aboard Pharaoh in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Wellington Dressage show. Koford finished second with Rhett in the Grand Prix Special at the Wellington Dressage show as well. Koford and Pharaoh finished second at the Florida Dressage Classic with an exceptional freestyle performance. In June of 2012, Koford and Rhett were selected to compete in the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions and Selection Trials for the U.S. Dressage Team. They finished 12th with an overall score of 67.858%. Rhett and Koford continued their success in 2013 with a second place finish the Grand Prix Special at the World Dressage Masters.
Susan is on the Board of Trustees of the US Driving for the Disabled and is on the PATH Driving subcommittee.
Once a month, the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on international FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including Olympians, Paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.
The Horse Radio Network is the voice of the horse world with listeners in over 40 countries. Eight different entertaining shows cover all aspects of the horse world and you can listen any time on your computer, MP3 player or smart phone.
We believe that people own horses for fun and entertainment. Why else would you put up with the early morning feedings, stall cleaning, vet bills, long trips to shows, empty bank accounts and everything else that goes with being a horse owner?
Our goal with these shows is to help your chores go a little faster and to put a smile on your face! Learn more at www.horseradionetwork.com.
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.
Wellington, FL – February 14, 2013 – The Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W, presented by the USPRE Association, started today at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Competition at the Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W runs through February 17. With 18 entries in the $6,000 FEI Grand Prix, victory went to Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Don Auriello, owned by Lövsta Stuteri and Antonia Ax:son Johnson. Today’s competition marked the first day of the second CDI competition in the AGDF, which runs through April 14.
Judges for today’s CDI class were Sandy Hotz (USA) at E, at H was Jennie Lorison-Clarke (GBR), at C was Jean-Michel Roudier (FRA), at M was Jacques Van Daele (BEL), and at B was Victoire Mandl (AUT).
Despite inclement weather and an hour-long delay, Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello rode a strong test for first place. The 11-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding by Don Davidoff x White Star and his rider received a score of 75.511%. Taking second place was Heather Blitz (USA) with her and Robert McKean’s Paragon (Don Schufro x Loran). Blitz and the 10-year-old chestnut Danish Warmblood gelding received a 71.128% from the judges. Vilhelmson-Silfven also received third place honors riding Divertimento (Di Versace x Ferragamo) owned by Antonia Ax:son Johnson. With a score of 70.574%, the 11-year-old bay Westfalen gelding and Vilhelmson-Silfven secured the yellow ribbon.
Wellington, FL – February 7, 2013 – The 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued this week with the Dressage National 2 Show on February 5-6, 2013. Dressage riders competed for top scores and more experience in front of judge Beverly Rogers. The AGDF continues next week with the Florida Dressage Classic, CDI-W, presented by US P.R.E. Association on February 14-17, 2013. The AGDF will host another three national shows as well as a CDI 3*, CDI 5*, and CDIO 3*, concluding on April 14.
Taking the win in Tuesday’s FEI Grand Prix – Open class was Tuny Page on Woodstock, her 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Havel x Contango. They scored a 70.213% for the win over Michael Barisone and HF Victor, who received a 66.277%. Third place went to Ryan Garza and Oleander, who scored 63.191%.
Woodstock, a ten-year-old KWPN gelding by Havel x Contango, is a new horse for Page since mid-December. He showed in a couple of national grand prix classes in France and is now having success under his new rider.
Wellington, FL – January 28, 2013 – Swedish Olympians Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Patrik Kittel were the big winners at the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach January 24-26. Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello took the championship in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday while Kittel and Watermill Scandic H B C took second. The previous day, they swapped spots when Kittel placed first in the Grand Prix and Vilhelmson-Silfven took the second place honors.
In Saturday evening’s freestyle, Vilhelmson-Silfven and Don Auriello, an 11-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding owned by Lovsta Stuteri, rode the momentum from an enthusiastic crowd to claim the championship. Vilhelmson-Silfven collected a personal best score of 84.075% for her electrifying freestyle performance. She received a standing ovation from the crowd as she exited the ring.
“It’s just such an honor to ride a horse like Don Auriello,” she said. “He is so fun to ride. He was enjoying himself with me, enjoying the time, enjoying the energy. It was a great atmosphere.” She credits the Florida dressage circuit as a catalyst for the horse’s development. “Florida’s been very important for Don Auriello,” she said. “He has done a lot of his best starts here, I think.”
Wellington, FL – March 18, 2012 – The last rider to enter the ring, Heather Blitz, rode Paragon to a score of 75.350% to win the Grand Prix Freestyle at the $15,000 Wellington Dressage Classic CDI***, presented by the Chesapeake Dressage Institute, held March 15-18 at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF)Stadium show grounds in Wellington, FL.
Blitz had a rough day leading up to her win. With her four year old, she memorized the 4 year old FEI test, not the USEF 4 year old test. Then she managed to give the wrong freestyle music to the announcer. The jury allowed her to correct the snafu and return last to complete her test, but even that was not without trauma. Blitz could not find the correct music. Fortunately she had it on her phone, so the announcer was able to access it that way. “Yeah, I guess I learned my lesson,” she said afterward.
Wellington, FL (January 28, 2012) – At the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, Adrienne Lyle of the United States bested the international field to win the Grand Prix Special at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center on Saturday afternoon. The 26 year old Idaho-based rider scored 73.244% riding Wizard, a 13 year old Oldenburg gelding owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas.
“My horse handled everything beautifully. I’m really excited and happy,” said Lyle, who placed fourth in Friday’s WDM Nürnberger Grand Prix, and was eligible to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle, though she opted to ride in the Grand Prix Special instead. “As much as I would have liked to ride in the freestyle, I need a Grand Prix Special qualifying score for the Olympic Selection Trials,” she explained.
Lausanne (SUI), 20 October 2011 – American Dressage riders swept all before them when returning a record-breaking fourth consecutive team victory and filling all the steps of the individual medal podium at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. On Sunday they cruised confidently into pole position in the team event ahead of the silver medallists from Canada while Colombia claimed the bronze. And yesterday Steffen Peters steered Weltino’s Magic to individual gold ahead of Heather Blitz with Paragon in silver and Marisa Festerling and Big Tyme in bronze.
It was a convincing performance at all levels, and anchorman Peters was the linchpin of the American side. But, as he pointed out in the aftermath of the team success, he was under considerably less pressure than usual due to the highly-competitive performances of his team-mates. “Over the past few years I have always had to carry a lot of weight on my shoulders as the very last rider, but the team did an awesome job – every single horse, every single rider,” he pointed out. The silver medallists from Canada and bronze medallists from Colombia had plenty of reason to celebrate too, as their second and third-place finishes have provided them with qualifying spots for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
TEAM MEDALS A total of 12 nations battled it out for the team medals, and the combined US score of 75.754 gave them a clear five-point victory. Peters and Weltino’s Magic produced the only score over 80% – his 80.132 setting a new Pan-American Games record – and he was awarded the leading mark by all five members of the Ground Jury – Great Britain’s Stephen Clarke, Raphael Saleh from France, Canada’s Cara Witham, Argentina’s Gabriel Armando and President, Lilo Fore, from the USA.
The U.S. Dressage Team continued to own the Guadalajara Country Club’s beautiful dressage arena, continuing their medal run at the 2011 Pan American Games. They added Individual Gold, Silver and Bronze to the Team Gold they won on Sunday and they all scored over 80 percent in today’s freestyle.
Steffen Peters (San Diego, CA) wasn’t sure it would be possible to top Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL) and Paragon’s score of 86.650%, but he rode with a fierce determination and got every point out of Weltino’s Magic. They scored 87.300% for their freestyle to music by Seven and Five for a combined average of 82.690%. Jan and Bruce Hlavacek’s 9-year-old Westphalian gelding gave Peters his second Gold medal of these Games.
“What an amazing day and an amazing competition,” said the Olympic veteran. “I still have to think about the moment that I came out of the arena and when the scores were announced it probably took 30 seconds but it seemed like three hours. It is a very exciting day, congratulations to my teammates. The big score that Heather pulled in – I don’t think I’ve ever had that much pressure going into the arena knowing that there was an 86% in front of me.”