Tuny Page and Wild One Victorious in Palm Beach Dressage Derby Freestyle
RELEASE: March 4, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Christine DeHerrera
The Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W/Y once again was the tournament of champions with Olympians like Lisa Wilcox and Courtney King-Dye in the winner’s circle during the four-day event, February 26-March 1. Classes in four rings meant strong competition for each ribbon in front of renowned international judging panels. Even the national classes were scored by the great Uwe Mechlem. Competitors and spectators alike were treated to special activities that can only be found at the Derby, such as the Inspection Reception hosted by Markel Insurance Specialist and Dressagedaily.com’s Mary Phelps, the Argentine Asado BBQ Competitor’s Party presented by Purina Mills with a fashion show by Horse of Course and the Taste of the Derby featuring hospitality presented by the Boutiques at the Derby on vendor row, as well as the recognition of Jan Brons as the inaugural recipient of the $25,000 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize. Naturally the CDI competition was a highlight of the show. Local favorite and USET member Arlene “Tuny” Page with her Wild One delivered a fantastic Grand Prix Freestyle that capped off the event.
“To win at the Derby is great, just great,” explained Page of victory, which earned a 71.45% from the judges. “It’s a great show.” Page credited the show’s Executive Director Mary Anne McPhail and her husband Walter McPhail for raising the bar of dressage in the Wellington area. “If it weren’t for them, there wouldn’t be half of the people [showing dressage in this area.]”
Page rode the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Wanderer to a medley of Scottish and Celtic music organized by Marlene Whitaker that was originally created for Claire, Page’s previous mount. The goal was greater risk and more forward movements, such as a canter extension right into the pirouettes. “This [ride] had the best feel to it of the shows this season,” she explains. While Wild One has always demonstrated Grand Prix talent, Page attributes the gelding’s newfound reliability to her reorganized game plan that focuses on a super consistent program and incredible attention to detail, from her daily assessment of the horse to a carefully timed warm-up. “If I ride him really, really well, he just simply goes better,” she says matter of factly.
Finishing a close second to Page with a 71.1% in the freestyle was Mikala Gundersen with Horses Unlimited’s RPSI stallion Leonberg. The pair also claimed the blue ribbon in the Grand Prix for Freestyle with a decisive victory and a 68.426% over Michael Barisone and Neruda who finished second with a 65.149%. “I’m so proud of Leo today,” Gundersen said. “He’s just getting better and better with each show.” The pair’s highlights included expressive two- and one-tempi changes, as well as powerful passage. She continued, “It all felt really good today. He’s a very sensitive horse, but now we completely trust each other.” The pair has had a winning Florida season, with several blue ribbons and top finishes at other CDIs. “I was almost crying when I texted my mom—that was when I really realized that we won! I am happy and thankful to have the ride on this horse.”
Although Neruda was just out of the winner’s circle in his classes, rider Michael Barisone didn’t leave the Derby without a blue ribbon. Riding Dr. Nancy Binter’s Olympus, Barisone claimed first place with a 65.362% in the Grand Prix Special. Although he had the unenviable first ride in a huge class of 21 horses, Barisone and the 12-year-old Dutch gelding impressed the judges enough to hold the lead throughout the class. This was only the pair’s second show together, although Olympus was a successful Young Rider horse in The Netherlands. Barisone was the reserve rider for the American Olympic team, an experience that he feels has greatly impacted his riding. Citing the month spent in Hong Kong with George Morris, Barisone has a renewed respect for the importance of setting goals and developing