David Marcus of Campbellville, ON, was the top-placed Canadian at the CDI5* World Dressage Masters Palm Beach held January 23 to 27 in West Palm Beach, FL.
In a 15-horse starting field that featured riders from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United States, Marcus placed seventh in Friday’s Grand Prix test. Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital, 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chrevi’s Cavallo x Weinberg) owned by Deborah Miculinic, earned a score of 70.66% from the panel of five international judges and qualified to advance to Saturday night’s Grand Prix Freestyle.
In front of a packed house at the Jim Brandon Center, seven of the world’s best performed their individually choreographed musical freestyle programs. Marcus introduced his new Freestyle program, compiled by Joost Peters of The Netherlands. Featuring music from WHAM! and George Michael, the extremely difficult choreography highlighted Chrevi’s Capital’s strong canter work, including quality pirouettes and elegant half-pass, while impressive piaffe and passage were also rewarded with high scores from the judges. The pair’s final score of 70.75% ranked them sixth overall in their World Dressage Masters debut.
“I felt very honoured to be in a competition with such high caliber riders, and am proud to have held my own and achieved over 70% in both classes,” said Marcus who operates David Marcus Dressage outside of Toronto.
Of his new musical freestyle program, Marcus commented, “Joost had arranged some of my favourite freestyles at the 2012 London Olympics, and we felt that Capital was ready for a world-class freestyle. It’s a hard thing to perform a freestyle for the first time and the degree of difficulty in the program is high, but he is ready for it and can do the work, no problem. I thought Capital handled himself well in the tense environment.”
In addition to competing with Chrevi’s Capital in the CDI5* World Dressage Masters, Marcus also campaigned Don Kontes in the CDI3* Sunshine Challenge, which was held concurrently. With a score of 67.53% to place second in the Grand Prix, Marcus would have qualified to contest the World Dressage Masters had he not already been invited with Chrevi’s Capital (competitors in the World Dressage Masters are limited to one horse per rider). As it was, he went on to win Sunday’s CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle with Don Kontes with a score of 70.825%.
“Don Kontes has become such a reliable partner,” said Marcus of the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding that won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at last fall’s CDI-W Dressage at Devon. “We had a really good time in the Freestyle. His freestyle was done early in his grand prix career, and I’m looking forward to start working on a new one that has a higher degree of difficulty.”
Having been the highest placed Canadian in the CDI5* World Dressage Masters Palm Beach and winning the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle with Don Kontes, Marcus enjoyed a great weekend of sport. That success would not be possible without the support of his owner Deb Miculinic (nee Kinzinger), trainer Robert Dover, partner Nicholas Fyffe, and the entire team at David Marcus Dressage.
“I would like to thank Deb and Robert for everything they have done to support me up to and including this point,” said Marcus. “I would also like to thank Nicholas for his support, especially as he was supposed to be riding in the World Dressage Masters himself. It showed great sportsmanship that he was there to support me in an event that I know he would have liked to be competing at.”
Marcus concluded, “Our success this weekend was a very big achievement in an international competition with such diversified countries. I am always proud to represent Canada, and the World Dressage Masters provided a great opportunity to do that.”
“This has truly been a very, very exciting start to 2013 for David and for Canada,” said owner Miculinic, who was in attendance cheering on her horses. “Both Capital and Don Kontes continue to inspire us as they achieve scores in the 70’s at this level. To see Capital and David finish last season with a win at Dressage at Devon, and then to be invited to ride in the World Dressage Masters with such international riders like Tinne Vilhelmson, Patrik Kittel and Steffen Peters, is a dream come true. It was only a year ago that David, Capital and Don Kontes were all learning the grand prix. It is truly a testament to the incredible job that David, Nicholas and Robert have done in such a short period of time. I am truly grateful to be a part of this team, and look forward to the exciting days ahead!”
Marcus will next compete at the CDI-W Wellington Dressage from January 31 to February 3 with Chrevi’s Capital. The pair is currently ranked second in the North American World Cup League standings, and Marcus hopes to be one of the top two athletes in the North American League rankings that earn an invitation to the 2013 FEI World Cup Final from April 24 to 28 in Goteborg, Sweden.
Marcus is based at Stillpoint Farm in Wellington, FL, for the winter season, having brought 12 horses south from his David Marcus Dressage training facility in Campbellville, ON. In addition to Chrevi’s Capital and Don Kontes, Marcus is developing the seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Betrina, as well as training several sales prospects. His students, including 2012 North American Young Riders’ Championship individual bronze medalist, Alexandra Reid, are also competing alongside Marcus in the Junior, Young Riders’, and Adult Amateur divisions.