Katie Poag and Zonnekoning. Photos ©SusanJStickle.
Mill Spring, NC – April 21, 2017 – The first international dressage competition of the 2017 season commenced at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), featuring both Small Tour and Large Tour competition in the George H. Morris Arena. The highlight class, the FEI Grand Prix presented by Adequan®, was championed by Katie Poag (USA) aboard Zonnekoning, who earned a 68.840% to take the win. P. J. Rizvi (USA) and Breaking Dawn finished in second place with a score of 68.222%, ahead of Arlene “Tuny” Page (USA) and Dr. House 2, who collected third place on a score of 68.100%.
Poag and Zonnekoning narrowly edged Rizvi and her veteran mount, Breaking Dawn, after performing a consistent and relaxed test in the main arena. After spending their winter season in Wellington, FL, perfecting the movements of the Grand Prix test, the pair displayed a strong connection, ultimately leading to their win and a personal best score.
“I thought it went very well today. It was a fairly consistent test for us. Our trot work, as we’ve moved through the levels, has been our strongest piece and I felt like we were able to really clean up the canter work today,” said Poag. “I was very pleased. I think we can all desire and want more, but it was a great performance today.”
The pair collected several strong finishes during their winter season and has built on their foundation of strength and confidence since the conclusion of the winter circuit. With improvements to several areas of their test, Poag was beaming with their final result.
“Our flying changes went a lot better today than they did during our last outing. The piaffe and passage tour is the strongest it has been too,” she continued. “I thought that it was accurate and where he needed to be today. He was listening to me and I felt like that was shown throughout the test.”
Poag and Zonnekoning will contest the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* presented by Adequan® to conclude Large Tour competition. Poag selected the music herself and has built the choreography around the pair’s strengths.
“I really enjoy our choreography for our freestyle. We get to be creative and really highlight the movements where we excel. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I really enjoy the music that we have.”
A native of Greensboro, NC, Poag, who now bases her business in South Carolina, commented on the convenience of having an FEI CDI competition in the Carolinas’ region. She commented, “We really enjoy coming here. We were here last year for the first CDI in April and then returned in September for the second CDI just to school around. I’m looking forward to coming here more and it feels like it’s in my backyard. I’m from North Carolina and now we live in South Carolina, so I’m familiar with this area. It feels like we’re home.”
Heather Blitz (USA) and Praestemarkens Quatero, a 2009 Danish Warmblood gelding (Quarterback x Rohdiamant) owned by Blitz, took a commanding win in the FEI Prix St. Georges presented by Adequan® after receiving a score of 72.974%. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Montana captured second place with a 69.237%, while Natalie Pai (USA) guided her own Fritz San Tino to third place, receiving a 68.605%.
For more information, please visit www.tryon.com.