Dressage Association of Southern California Benefit Show off to a Breezy Start
Today’s CDI Grand Prix winner Steffen Peters described competing at Galway Downs as an “honour”. The Tokyo Team USA silver medalist’s compliment was echoed by many of the 300 entries here for the Spring Benefit CDI 3*, CPEDI and the Dressage Association of Southern California’s National Dressage Show.
Organized by Equestrian Concepts, the competition is presented by Four Winds Farm and the Perrigo CPEDI is presented by Adequan® and the United States Equestrian Federation.
Picture – Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper (The West Equestrian.com)
Warm and progressively windy weather greeted competitors from Southern California’s thriving dressage scene and far beyond, including Maine, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.
Steffen was delighted with the Suppenkasper test, especially the relaxation and flow. “We’re sometimes called adrenaline junkies, but I’m a flow junkie,” he explained. “It was one of his best attempts. It was relatively easy and he was so easy with me. I felt we became one and that’s a nice feeling.” And one that earned them a 76.848%.
It was only their second release of the year and Steffen felt the break was a boon to “Mopsy’s” mood. Relaxation seems to be the modus operandi of the famed Dutch Warmblood these days, Steffen said. “He’s been so confident and relaxed since Tokyo.” Because of the result? “Who knows! I certainly told him several times that he won a silver medal.”
“It’s always been fantastic to be here,” he continued of the competition, which takes place just an hour from his home in San Diego. “Over the last three or four years they’ve made so many improvements. Every time you come here there’s another arena with a good footing, another covered VIP area, etc. It’s very much like a show international.”
There was no resting on laurels. “It’s a huge preview of the attractions to come. It wasn’t a show where you could afford not to take risks. Hopefully we can replicate that feeling in Aachen.” This CDIO at the end of June would be the first of several stops on the American team’s European tour before the world championships in Denmark.
Nick Wagman, San Diego, CA, and Don John finished 2nd with 69.761%, followed by Matthew Cunningham, San Diego, CA, and Ribery 27 with 65.5%.
The Grand Prix Ground Jury consisted of Magnus Ringmark, Freddy Leyman, Maria Collander, Jane Weatherwax and Birgit Epskamp-Valkenborg.
St. George’s Prize
Kathleen Raine, Murrieta, CA, and Figaro topped the CDI Prix St. Georges class with a 70.196 from judges Magnus Ringmark, Maria Collander and Jane Weatherwax. “I’m very happy with the progress of the 8-year-old and I think he’s been very solid in the Small Tour,” said Kathleen. “He was a bit scary at first, but then he recovered and he was with me the whole time.”
She foresees a ‘bright future’ for the Westphalian, hopefully starting with Saturday’s Intermediate 1. Rebecca Rigdon, Cardiff by the Sea, CA, and Iquem were second at 68.824%, and Laura Decesari, Tucson, AZ, and Flower-Power were third on the same score.
Amateur rider Eric Grimm of Irvine, Calif., called his Prix St. Georges test on Carlos Ramirez one of the best of their year-long partnership. “I really liked our pirouettes, which can normally be a problem. He had a lot of power today.” Retired after his 30-year career as a colonel in the US Army, Eric put his extra free time to good use in the arena, under the watchful eye of his trainer and wife, Faith Grimm. The extra work was reflected in their 60.685% drive.
International para-dressage competition took center stage in the Grand Prix arena at midday and riders were grateful for the chance to test their progress on an international stage and advance their quests. .
“The west coast is part of the route to world championships and other international competitions,” exclaimed Mia Rodier-Dawallo of Santa Barbara. Mia and the “horse that came straight out of my childhood dream”, Jayden, scored 67.323% in the CPEDI 3* PARA Team Test Grade II.
Jayden, aka “Pudding”, looks like the imaginary friend Mia summoned to deal with the bad times of her childhood. When Mia saw him at trainer Patty Mayer’s Balliwick House, the rider was immediately struck by his resemblance to the equine companion she had dreamed of years ago. It was for sale, but not in Mia’s budget. Instead, friends and strangers collected his purchase price and the rest becomes history. They have already completed their applications for the World Championships and the Festival of Champions. “Patty and Jayden made all my dreams come true,” Mia said after her ride.
Mia got her start at the Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center in Newbury Park, California. She shares that bond with Genevieve Rohner, Park City, UT, the 14-year-old who scored 64.167% on the FEI CPEDI 3* PARA Grade IV team test with Patty Mayer’s Cato.
According to family tradition, Geneviève announced her desire to participate in the Olympic Games at the age of 5. She was an ice skater at the time and her mother said she would have to give up everything else to pursue that goal. “I said no.’ I want to spend more time riding,” says Geneviève. And that is exactly what she has been devoting her time to for the past five years.
Tokyo Canadian Paralympian Winona Hartvikson made her trip from British Columbia more than worthwhile. She and Onyx’s fluid and energetic effort scored a 70.238 in the FEI CPEDI 3* PARA Grade I team test.
The CPEDI jury was composed of David Schmutz, Freddy Leyman and Birgit Epskamp-Valkenborg
The next generation
Sixteen-year-old Ellanor Boehning continued her quest for a spot in Region 7 of the North American Young Riders Championships by completing the Young Riders Team Test with Sir Junior. The Hanoverian was a surprise birthday present last fall, and the new pair made their CDI debut this winter in Wellington, Florida. “He’s gained a lot of confidence from the great atmosphere there, and he’s a confident horse that goes to new places – unless there are things that snap.” There were things that moved this afternoon. “He was a little scary by C, but he handled it really well,” the San Diego resident said.
Lucienne Bacon, Atherton, Calif., and Do Re Mi were second at 62.108% and Charlotte Dunn, Deer Mountain, Utah, and Golden Noir were third at 59.324%.
Also targeting the NAYC, Tiggy Gates and Shadows Dream had a great run at 67.010% in the Junior Team Test. “Our test was a little tight, and we’re working on it,” the Industry, ME driver said. “The atmosphere is quite intense in there, and he handles the pressure and the atmosphere like an absolute champ.”
Josephine Hinnemann, Murrieta, CA, and Copa Cabana MRF scored 66.263% for second place in this class and Katherine Nayak, Tuscon, AZ, and Gaspacho finished third with 63.081%.
Jane Weatherwax, Freddie Leyman and Birgit Epskamp-Valkenborg served as Junior and Young Riders judges.
The action continues throughout the weekend with qualifiers for numerous championships, from Grand Prix and Intermediate Championships I to the FEI World Breeding Championships for Young Horses.
Full results are available at foxvillage.com.