Heather Blitz Bookends Wins in CDIO 3* Week
RELEASE: April 14, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Jennifer Wood Media and Public Relations
Heather Blitz and Paragon (Susan J. Stickle)
- Blitz and Paragon finished first in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* with a 72.313%, narrowly beating fellow American Cesar Parra and Van the Man who finished second with a 72.208%. Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor rounded out the top three with a final score of 70.646%.
Judges for the class were: Linda Zang at E, Anne Gribbons at H, Mirabel Alonso at C, Joan Macartney at M, and Evi Eisenhardt at B.
The three-day, three-test format of the Wellington Nations Cup competition provided a championship-type schedule in which riders could prepare their horses. Despite Paragon's relative inexperience, Blitz was pleasantly surprised with how the ten-year-old Danish Warmblood handled the long weekend.
"He surprised me that he was plenty energetic today. I had definitely tailored my warm-ups all three days with that in mind; that he had to last for three tests. It's only (in) a CDIO that you would have the three (tests) and we're not practiced at it. We had it at the Pan Ams, but that was only small tour, so for him to have three days with piaffe and passage is big for him. He surprised me with enough energy and strength all the way up to the final salut, which is good to know," Blitz described.
As a rule of thumb, Blitz focuses Paragon's warm-ups on asking more of him mentally rather than physically, working mostly at the walk to fine tune the his level of rideability. "He's not really the kind of horse that has to blow off steam. He's much more just a mental horse and if I can organize him at the walk, then it's all pretty much there. I don't spend a whole lot of time doing movements and practicing the tests. I just work on getting the right connection and then we're ready to go," Blitz explained.
Blitz was thrilled to have a blue ribbon finish to an already successful weekend at the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO/CDI 3*. She competed with Paragon as part of Team USA 1, which finished first in Nations Cup team standings on Friday afternoon. Blitz and Paragon were major contributors to the team's victory with their first place finish in the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* with a 70.979%.
"I feel this [test Sunday] was his best Grand Prix so far. I liked the Grand Prix on Friday, but I really liked this one better. I didn't know if it would be possible to top that within just two days, but in this test today, he really only had two steps in the whole thing that weren't perfect for where is. It's a really good feeling that he started off with a bang and he ended with a bigger bang," Blitz beamed.
After a banner season at the AGDF, Blitz will pack up and head to her new home base at Cutler Farm in Boston, MA. She's working on putting together a European tour, which may include plans to prepare Paragon to qualify for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy. Regardless, Blitz looks forward to returning to Florida next winter for the 2014 AGDF.
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* sponsored by Stillpoint Farm
Rider, Country, Horse: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total%
1 Heather Blitz, USA, Paragon: 68.721%, 76.354%, 73.542%, 71.042%, 71.354%, 72.313%
2 Cesar Parra, USA, Van the Man: 72.708%, 72.813%, 71.771%, 71.250%, 72.500%, 72.208%
3 Shelly Francis, USA, Doktor: 68.646%, 71.458%, 71.458%, 69.375%, 72.292%, 70.646%
4 Susan Dutta, USA, Currency DC: 68.229%, 70.313%, 68.438%, 68.646%, 70.208%, 69.167%
5 Mikala Munter Gundersen, DEN, My Lady: 67.292%, 67.708%, 67.083%, 68.333%, 66.146%, 67.313%
6 David Marcus, CAN, Don Kontes: 65.729%, 65.938%, 66.146%, 67.083%, 65.625%, 66.104%