The wind kept temperatures comfortable and spirits high as the DASC Spring Benefit CDI, CPEDI and National Dressage Show, presented by Four Winds Farm, played out in four arenas at the Galway Downs Equestrian Center.
Yesterday, it was Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper drawing the biggest crowds to the Grand Prix Arena, where they dominated that test. This afternoon, it was Steffen’s Tokyo Olympic silver medal teammate, Sabine Schut-Kery, drawing spectators up the hill to Arena #2, where the Markell/USEF FEI Young Horse tests and qualifiers unfurled.
Newly relocated to San Diego, Sabine eschews predictions, but it was hard not to imagine that her Tokyo partner Sanceo may have a stablemate poised to follow his path. The KWPN stallion Gorgeous Latino wowed the crowd as much as the judges, who awarded him an 87.200 in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test.
Sabine was thrilled, too. “With a young horse you don’t always know how consistent they are going to be, so in that regard, he really exceeded my expectations. I am really pleased with how he constantly listened to me and was so immediately responsive. He didn’t get faster before or after the flying changes — he maintained the rhythm, and that’s the first time he’s done that so well in a test.”
The already-in-demand stallion, owned by Sandy Mancini, was waiting for Sabine when she returned from Tokyo in August. She plans to take him to the USEF Festival of Champions this summer in Chicago, but beyond that the agenda is all about patiently attaining training goals. “What we had hoped to accomplish this year is already in the pocket, so I’m thinking about next year already.” She predicts that Gorgeous Latino will be a credit to the slow development process she’s always used and to the US Developing Horse program just as much as Sanceo has been.
“I think he’s sort of that fairy tale kind of horse,” Sabine said of the stallion’s immediate popularity. “Obviously he has great quality, and he also has that black color and a really pretty face. And, he has a good head on his shoulders, which is something I think we need more of in our breeding program. He’s an exciting horse for me.”
Limandus, ridden by Michelle Reilly of San Diego, was second in the Markell/USEF 6-Year-Old FEI Test on a 78%, followed by Fuerst Magica RTH, ridden by Ericka Reinig, Rancho Murieta, earning a 70.80% from judge Maria Collliander of Finland.
Another show stopper in the Young Horse ring was Mozart EDI, the 5-year-old KWPN owned by Joseph Newcomb of San Diego. Having earned an 80.30 on Friday, Mozart displayed his “wonderful brain” by continuing to keep his cool in his first show on a day when older contenders were losing theirs. “He has lots of energy and he always really wants to work for me,” Joseph explained. “He is a lot of fun to work with.”
More potential was on display in today’s Young Horse Test of Choice, with 5- to 7-year-olds strutting their stuff. Six-year-old Lucky Luke earned the top score, a 79.20%, under the hand of Amelia Newcomb of Simi Valley. Five-year-old Eddie the Eagle and Marie Francesca Medosi, Cardiff, were not far behind with a 78%. Dawn White O’Connor, Encinitas, rode handsome Marmokus to a 77.200% and Marie Velden, Fresno, and Francisco rounded out the field on a 65.429%.
Small Tour Update
Going into the Intermediare I test, Laura DeCesari’s goal was earning scores needed to return to the USEF Festival of Champions in Chicago. She punched her ticket today with a class-topping 69.902% with Flower Power. “I was super proud of her, especially her relaxation. She can be a little fiery, so we’ve being going to a lot of shows to help with relaxation.”
As for the difference from Friday’s third-place-earning 68.824% in the Prix St. Georges, Laura said, “More than anything, I think I rode better today. I was more secure in the tack. Sometimes I can get a little too relaxed trying to make her relaxed. Today, I needed to sit up and be competitive and still reward her for the relaxation.
“Even if she is tense, she always knows when we are performing and she wants to do what I ask,” Laura continued. “It’s that balance between a horse that’s bred for a lot of power and can be a little reactive and keeping her relaxed.”
The Tuscon, AZ-based professional credited the mare’s owner Pamela Farthing, her groom Emily Tharp and her husband Tyson Clark, a farrier and partner in starting young horses, as critical to the mare’s progress.
As a relatively new addition to the USEF’s Developing Rider Program, Laura is one of several on the radar screen of George Williams. The Federation’s High Performance and Pathway Development Advisor is on the scene in Temecula to monitor the progress of contenders at various levels.
Federation In The House
“We come out to observe the riders and we feel it’s important to support the CDIs,” George explained. “Ours is a large country and we always want to do what we can to make it seem a little smaller. We do some talent spotting and get a sense for what is happening.”
USDF Region 7 has a strong Junior and Young Rider contingent, George noted. The improved performances from Friday to Saturday proves the benefit of staging CDIs and the atmosphere and excitement that come with them. “Today, the young riders, in general, were much more confident and it comes from really getting that confidence, which is why the CDI designations are so critical,” he said.
Today’s Young Rider Individual Test saw especially strong rides from victors Miki Yang and Donovan, with a 68.971%, and yesterday’s Team Test winner, Ellanor Boehning and Sir Junior, close behind on a 68.382%.
George expressed the Federation’s gratitude for organizer Regina Antonioli of Equestrian Concepts. “We are extremely appreciative of Equestrian Concepts stepping up to stage this event, and on a number of levels. It’s extremely valuable as a qualifier for the World Championships, the Young Riders and for all riders. The CDI can generate a certain amount of excitement for the sport. This one has an atmosphere, and the arena has its challenges, but so do all the international arenas and that’s part of why it’s so crucial to have CDIs.”
The DASC Spring Benefit CDI, CPEDI and National dressage action continues Sunday.
Full results can be found on www.foxvillage.com.