Dressage at Devon Wraps Up
RELEASE: October 1, 2009
Two Champions "Three-Peat" as Breed Show Wraps Up
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Christina DeHerrera
When individual breed classes took center stage on day three of Dressage at Devon 2009, two horses who had dominated the news in the prestigious show's first two days continued to grab headlines. Perfect Qredit, a yearling colt by Quaterback, added an 83.80% win in the Oldenburg (GOV) division to his Grand Championship, Young Horse Championship, Colt Championship, and Yearling Colts and Geldings title for owner Michelle Coursin, an air-traffic controller based in Afghanistan. Iron Spring Farm's 11-year-old mare Rabiola, by Metall out of Fabiola, won the KWPN-NA Three Years and Older class with an 88.40%, adding to her Wednesday's Mature Horse Championship and Reserve Grand Championship. The KWPN Two Years and Younger class also produced another win for Iron Spring Farm and owner Mary Alice Malone: Catalina, a filly by Sinclair out of Contango daughter Persimmon, topped the class with an 80.20% score.
In the ISR Oldenburg divisions, Linda Santomenna's yearling colt BW-Raphael, a Royal Prince son out of Ariane, took the Two and Under title with a 74.80%, while Marissa Burton's six-year-old Warsteiner daughter Windlass won the Three and Older group with a 76.40%. Summit Sporthorses' yearling filly Popstar, by Popeye out of Faschon, finished first in the Sport Pony class with a 72.60%.
Maryanna Haymon had a big day with her horses winning both Hanoverian classes. The Two Years and Under class was claimed with an 80.20% by her filly Duet MF, by Don Principe out of Rotina. The Three Years and Older class was won by Haymon's mare Fuerst Dancer MF, by Fuerst Heinrich out of EM Rotina, who earned an 80.80%.
Another type of dynasty brought home the ribbons in the Gypsy Vanner Horse and Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse classes. Three-year-old EBV Airwalker and his weanling son Java Joe brought home the blue and red ribbons, respectively, in both classes for owner Mary Ann Riess.
A first for this year's Dressage at Devon was a class sponsored by the breed association US PRE, supporting the increasing popularity of Pura Raza España horses in this country. Both winner Icono HGF (66.80%), by Idilio II out of Escapada III, and second-placed Genio HGF (63.80%), by Grandioso III out of Ibiza, were bred at Michigan's Hampton Green Farm. Both three-year-olds will shortly be on their way to Olympic veteran Martin Schaudt's barn in Germany. Hampton Green owner Kim Boyer said Schaudt became interested in the youngsters based on the quality of their sires while working with FEI rider Courtney King Dye, who's now riding Grandioso.
This was the second year for a Nokota Horse class at Devon, sponsored by the Friends of the Nokota Horse Conservancy. These native horses, descended from those ridden by Plains tribes and still in need of protection and preservation, are gathering a small but growing—and, as the audience demonstrated, enthusiastic—group of supporters. Twelve-year-old winner Mickey Blue Eyes' distinctive white-and-black coloring grabbed immediate crowd interest, and the gelding's performance earned a 70.10 from judge Janine Malone. Owner Dorothy Bettle of Blue Goose Stables in nearby Cochranville, said he loves kids and foals, does tricks, and even paints the occasional T-shirt, earning him the name "Mickeyangelo." She added, "He's perfect for me. We're together forever."Jacqueline Brooks Victorious on North-American Bred in Dressage at Devon Grand Prix
Olympian Jacqueline Brooks and Balmoral clinched the main attraction on day four of Dressage at Devon by winning the Grand Prix for Freestyle. The Canadian duo impressed with a 66.936%, beating out second-placed Tina Konyot by less than .1%.
"He shocked me," Brooks said of the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding that was bred in a small town north of Toronto and is owned by Anne Welch and Brinc, Ltd. Balmoral, by Belcanto out of Charisma, is Brooks' younger mount and she was thrilled with his performance. "He was loving being in [the ring and under the lights,]" she explained. "I'm really proud of him."
Brooks was having so much fun she confessed to laughing during her test. The excitement of the win quickly crossed international borders as Brooks' parents listened to the Canadian National Anthem via cell phone. "It's just a fun night," she said.
Konyot was also pleased with her horse. This was Calecto V's fifth grand prix and his very first time under lights. "I didn't know what to expect," she said, but was thrilled with the way her horse handled the situation. "I was so happy I could go in the arena and ride my horse." She was especially pleased with the canter tour and expects her piaffe/passage transitions to improve as her horse matures. "He's going to be special. I knew that from the beginning," she said of the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Come Back.
In the Grand Prix for Special, Lars Petersen, a familiar winner at Dressage at Devon, once again claimed the blue ribbon. With Naomi, the Dane earned a 65.915% in front of the international judging panel that included Anne Gribbons, Linda Zang, Wim Ernes, Freddy Leyman and Christoph Hess.
"I'm always happy winning," Petersen said with a smile. "It makes it more fun." He's been paired with the bay mare for approximately one year and feels that she will continue to improve.
Finishing in second place in the Grand Prix for Special was Pierre St. Jacques and his partner of 10 years, Lucky Tiger. "Overall, I was very happy with him," he said of his ride that earned a 64.170%. "Tiger was good. I made some mistakes," he said humbly.
The Prix St. Georges division started at 8:00 in the morning and ran for more than eight hours as nearly 40 horses and riders showcased their skills. Topping an impressive international field was Cesar Parra aboard Lori Washton's Olympia, who received a 72.456% for their efforts. Parra said this was his ninth victory at Dressage at Devon. "This is a dream," he explained. "For me this is a very special place. I love the crowd here. There's no place like Devon." Parra has been riding Olympia for just five months and has high hopes for the horse. He explained, "This guy is a warrior. He's a wonderful, wonderful horse."
Finishing in second place was Christopher Hickey and Cabana Boy, a pair that has been victorious at Dressage at Devon on many occasions. The Contucci son has progressed from Born in the USA Breeder's Award winner at Dressage at Devon as a two-year-old to the reigning USEF National Developing Horse Champion. "I'm very happy with Cabana Boy," Hickey commented. "I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful animal." Like Parra, Hickey has warm feelings for Dressage at Devon and explained that it was the biggest, most important and fun horse show in America. "Showing at Devon is an honor," he said.
Kassie Barteau of Naperville, IL, has had an incredible season. She continued her winning ways at Dressage at Devon in the FEI Young Rider Team Test riding 10-year-old stallion GP Raymeister to a 67.193% for the victory. A Devon veteran despite her youth, Barteau called this year's Young Rider class "very competitive." She described her partner—who also won Thursday's Holsteiner class—as "such a tryer, and a high-energy horse. He teaches me a lot." Barteau is hoping to finish out her Young Rider career by competing at the World Cup for Young Riders in Frankfurt this fall. She is excited about the prospect of showing in Europe for the first time before she graduates from the Young Rider division.
Finishing less than 0.3% behind Barteau was another about-to-be-former Young Rider, Caroline V. Roffman of Wellington, FL, who earned a 66.930% on Bulgari, by Baryshnikov and out of Evita.
The USEF Four-Year-Old Test and the FEI Five- and Six-Year-Old Tests continued for the second day. Judges' commentaries after each ride enlightened spectators and riders alike. Those comments glowed for Ulla Petersen and her rides on the full brothers Sabati and Steinway, who topped the Four-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old classes respectively. Both youngsters are owned by Nancy Holowesko and are by Sandro Hit out of Rosalea. Four-year-old Sabati, who Petersen said had been a little rattled in the earlier class, took a big step up from his fifth place on Thursday to win Friday with an 8.4. A winner on both days, Steinway topped his Thursday 7.54 victory with a 7.76 on Friday.
Thursday's four-year-old winner, Aesthete, didn't compete in the Friday class, but rider Karen Monks-Reilly said that he "loves going forward, loves this test, and loves the crowd," and that therefore she wants to be especially careful "not to abuse his willingness to perform." The KWPN gelding, by Trento B out of Unusual, is owned by Betsy Spence.
The Six-Year-Old test produced another double winner. Horses Unlimited's Hanoverian stallion Pikko Del Cerro HU, by Pik L out of the Rohdiamant mare Rohweena, scored an 8.58 Thursday and an 8.32 on Friday. Mikala Gundersen, who has ridden the horse since the beginning of his four-year-old year, said "He's been coming here since age two; he's grown up at Devon and this year he's really come through. I feel that he's starting to carry himself enough for the Prix St. Georges." Cerro not only won the Overall Born in the USA Breeder's Award as a two-year-old, but has won all of the young horse classes at Dressage at Devon with scores above 80%, from the USEF Four-Year-Old classes in 2007 and both FEI Five-Year-Old classes in 2008. Owner Anne Sparks beamed with pride at the success of Cerro—"the first baby that I saw born"—and added that he and siblings Pikko Del Rio HU, who was second in both FEI Five-Year-Old classes, and Pikk Elena HU, fifth in the Four-Year-Old Test, had all been named by her "phenomenal" farm manager, Mario Sandoval.
Tina Konyot and Calecto V had a decisive victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday night, September 27, at Dressage at Devon. The highlight of the six-day event, the Freestyle featured Olympic riders piloting their horses to music as diverse as Billy Joel and versions of Dixieland classics. Konyot of North Stonington, CT, received a 72.60% for her efforts, which included powerful passage work, flowing half-passes and expressive changes.
"I was just thrilled with him," Konyot said of the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion. "I think he's a special horse—it's just a matter of putting it together."
Judge Linda Zang agreed. "I thought Tina did a good job today," Zang said. "[She] has a very nice horse with a big future."
Canadian Olympian Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, Ontario, finished second on Balmoral with a score of 69.80%. She rode to a soundtrack of original music in a freestyle that she calls a work in progress. "My horse is moving much differently than when we wrote it," she said of the music. Balmoral is her younger horse, but has proven he is more than up to the challenge of competing at one of the most electric venues in North America. Brooks continued, "Now I'm very excited about him."
Finishing in third place was Lauren Sammis Wellington, FL, with Sagacious HF. The duo performed to a fun mix of Billy Joel tunes with a score of 69.750.
Cesar Parra and Olympia continued their winning ways on Sunday in the Intermediaire I class with a 72.193%. Parra, of Whitehouse Station, NJ, admitted to upping his game after the walk work in the test. "In the canter I was a bit more risky," he said. Parra credited his team, including groom Jennifer Mandrecia, for his success and confessed to having a group of nearly 100 students, friends and family cheering him on.
George Williams of Delaware, OH, claimed the second position with the eight-year-old Donnerhall son Don Bailey, who is owned by Elizabeth Juliano. The pair earned a 68.772% for their work and improved from fifth in the Prix. St. Georges on Friday. "He was much more in front of me, much more energetic," Williams explained. This was the duo's 10th show together and Williams intends to let the young horse continue to build his strength in the small tour division.
Caroline V. Roffman of Wellington, FL, and Bulgari 5 also improved on Friday's performance and moved to the head of the class with a 68.263% in the Young Rider Individual Test. Roffman was thrilled with her victory, but was truly just happy to be able to ride and show her horse who sustained a severe tendon injury two years ago. Although every treatment was tried, the prognosis wasn't good for the 15-year-old Hanoverian. Fortunately, with time Bulgari 5 healed and was able to be ridden and shown. His 21-year-old rider explained, "It makes you have a whole new appreciation. Everyday is a gift."
Kevin Kohmann finished in second place with Dancing Queen. Third place went to Meagan Davis and Bentley.
In the Junior division, Nicole DelGiorno of Hammonton, NJ, was also riding a horse that has successfully recovered from injury. Lamborghini Dane, owned by Kathleen Faltz, had been out of commission for an extended period of time, but has been back in work with DelGiorno since February. "I really feel honored to be the one to ride him in his first show season back," said his 17-year-old rider.
The three top finishers in Friday's Grand Prix led the field in Sunday's Grand Prix Special competition, too, but judges Isobel Wessels, Wim Ernes, Anne Gribbons, Bo Jena, and Cara Whitham placed them in slightly different order. Finishing first with a score of 66.208% were nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wadamur (Weltmeyer), and owner Susan Jaccoma; they'd placed third in the earlier class. In second place, with a 65.625%, was fourteen-year-old Dutch mare Naomi, by Leolict out of Bruin, and ridden by Lars Petersen for owner Janet Bell; they'd won on Friday. Coming third with a 65.167% was Danish Warmblood gelding Lucky Tiger, by Lucky Light out of Teike, ridden and owned by Pierre St. Jacques; they'd been Friday's runner-up pair.
Jaccoma, who has owned Wadamur since he was three and a half, was delighted with her horse. "This was the biggest test he's ever been in, and he felt very relaxed; his ridability was a high point. He's a good mudder, and I took my time warming him up. We came out a little early and took several walk breaks to help him stay calm." She said the horse is "like the Eveready bunny; he conditions himself in his stall, and he loves to work." She said that in schooling him, "I try to be creative so he's not bored."
Lars Petersen (who'll be training Wadamur with Jaccoma in Florida over the winter), was very happy with Naomi's performance. Because the ground was still rather wet from a night and early morning of rain, "I rode very conservatively; I was a little unsure about the footing. But the tempis and pirouettes and the passage felt very good. We'll go home tonight and take a little time off before looking to the winter show season."
Earlier in the morning, "Dancing in the Rain" could have been a theme for all eight horses and riders in the FEI Young Rider Freestyle, judged by Christof Umbach, Bo Jena, Jayne Ayers, Freddy Leyman, and Anne Gribbons. The damp audience enthusiastically cheered every entry.
Caroline V. Roffman and her Hanoverian gelding Bulgari V, by Baryshnikov out of Evita, who were the winners of Saturday's Young Rider Individual Test, once again topped the field with a 71.00%. They performed a crowd-pleasing ride to a lively "Italian Holiday" medley; freestyle music-guru Terri Gallo put it together, Roffman said, "but [Bulgari] he really chose the music."
Though the victory was somewhat "bittersweet," because their Devon point total wasn't quite enough to surpass Freestyle runner-up Kassie Barteau in the chase to be the U.S. Young Rider representative at December's World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, Roffman was pleased with her performance. "This is the biggest thing I've ever had to fight for, and I kept it together," said the 21-year-old.
Just before Roffman and Bulgari's test, Kassie Barteau rode Ginna Frantz's 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion GP Raymeister, by Rantares out of Miss Nickel Annie, to the music from the film "The Man from Snowy River," scoring 69.35%. Part of their routine for success: the big hug she gives Ray just before they enter the ring and again just after their final salute: "He really does respond to that hug; it works on his mind to give him confidence." For her, as for Roffman, this would be her final show in the U.S. as a Young Rider; Barteau was happy to be doing the ride here because "I love Devon!"
Meanwhile, in the Gold Ring, morning classes included the FEI Individual Test for Ponies (CDN), Fourth Level Test 3, and the USEF National Young Adult "Brentina Cup, "which went to Adult Amateur rider Catherine Malone, riding her eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Don Sarok. In the afternoon, eight horses and riders competed in USEF Fourth Level Test 2, riding before judges Freddy Leyman, Jayne Ayers, and Christof Umbach. Finishing first, with a score of 68.258%, was 10-year-old Trakehner gelding Goldbaron, ridden by Stephan Cheret for owner Carolyn Korus. In second place were eight-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Sea Lord and Silva Martin, riding for owner Shannon Stimson; they earned a score of 64.318.
By noontime the sun came out—just in time for the "California Comes to Devon" exhibition of equine-and-human beach-ball tossing to classic "surfer" rock'n'roll, followed by the East Meets West Quadrille. And a little later, during a break in the Grand Prix Special competition, to the strains of "It's a Small World After All," nine intrepid contestants on mounts ranging from 9 to 14.2 hands took part in the Leadline Class Exhibition, with the rider of the tiniest equine, Miniature horse Princess Buttercup, turned out in shadbelly and top hat. Participants were judged on style, horsemanship, turnout, and cuteness; amazingly, the class ended in a nine-way tie, with all scoring 9.99. In the awards ceremony, several riders demonstrated mastery of the ceremonial "Queen Elizabeth wave"; in the victory lap, at least one displayed strong competence in posting.
The final class of the day was the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle, with 15 competitors riding before judges Linda Zang, Wim Ernes, Isobel Wessels, Cara Whitham, and Jeanne McDonald. Dr. Cesar Parra and Dr. Lori Washton's 13-year-old KWPN gelding Olympia completed their sweep of the Small Tour with a score of 73.85%. "This was a very emotional ride for me, to have a 'hat trick' at Devon," said Parra, who is based in New Jersey.
Finishing second with a 70.70% were Cabana Boy, a seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding from Maryland's Hilltop Farm, and trainer Christopher Hickey. Their freestyle was "very difficult," Hickey said, but constructed to give the horse some breaks, and done to music with a "beach-y, sunny" sound to match his personality. "He's happy in his stall, happy in the barn, and he hasn't ever been pushed beyond what he can do." Though they finished second in the Small Tour, Hickey and Cabana Boy did take home the High-Score American-Bred Trophy.
In 2010, Dressage at Devon occurs during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Although the date conflict cannot be resolved, the Dressage at Devon Horse Show Committee has decided to run a full show. To make the entry process very competitor friendly, the committee voted to eliminate the minimum qualifying percentages. Horse and rider combinations will still have to submit their highest score for the class level they want to enter and will be ranked until the class is filled. Details will be available in the prizelist.