California's spring CDI season got underway this weekend at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair & CDI 3*/Y/J, February 22 - 24 in Burbank, CA as riders were looking to get their 2013 international competition season off to a strong start. Some of these exhibitors were also showing off fresh-faced mounts, and in the case of Olympic veterans Guenter Seidel and Steffen Peters, their extensive experience helped guide their exciting new horses to blue ribbons.
During the Grand Prix competition, all eyes were on Guenter Seidel with his new partner "Coral Reef Wylea" (Weinberg x Saluut) in their much anticipated CDI debut, and they did not disappoint. A solid performance earned a winning score of 70.021% from judges Gary Rockwell (5* USA), Jeanne McDonald (4* USA), Eddy de Wolff (4* NED), Brenda Minor (4* CAN), and Magnus Ringmark (3* SWE). David Blake and Melanie Pai's Danish Warmblood gelding "Ikaros" (Akinos x Fernando) finished a close second with 68.957%. In the Grand Prix Special, Seidel's partnership with Coral Reef Ranch's 13-year-old Westfalen mare continued to grow, improving their winning score to 71.313% while Blake and "Ikaros" had to settle for a strong second with 68.125%. For the Grand Prix Freestyle, the Canadian national anthem was played in honor of Karen Pavicic's victory with the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding "Don Daiquiri" (Don Cardinale x Rubinstein I) on a score of 70.100%.
In the small tour, 2012 U.S. Olympic Teammates Steffen Peters and Jan Ebeling showed up-and-coming prospects from their stables to finish one-two in both the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediaire I tests. Presenting Paula Howard's 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding "Vaya Con Dios" (Odermus R x Glendale), Peters earned winning scores of 72.061% and 69.956%, while Ebeling rode "Descartes", a 12-year-old Oldenburg stallion (De Niro x Quattro B) owned by Cathy Shelton for two red ribbons (68.904% and 67.281%, respectively). Young Rider National Champion and NAYRC gold medalist Brandi Roenick rode Jen Hlavacek's "Weltino's Magic" (Westphalian gelding Weltino x Diamond Boy) in open company in the CDI small tour, earning the tricolor and a score of 72.350% for their Intermediaire I Freestyle performance.
In the Young Rider classes, Cassidy Gallman won both the Team and Individual tests with "Woden" (Hanoverian gelding Weltmeyer x Ankum) with a scores of 59.684% and 59.789%, respectively, while CDI Junior competitor Rison Naness rode Kristina Harrison's Hanoverian mare "Venezia" (White Star x Espri) to sweep her division with 64.081% in the Team Test, 63.316% for the Individual Test, and 66.000% in the Freestyle.
The Mid-Winter Dressage Fair was the first official qualifying competition for the Markel/Cornerstone Young Talent Search Finals, a new program designed to identify and reward talented young horses on the West Coast which also will pay out over $10,000 in prize money and awards. In the four-year-old division, Karen Ball rode "Sir Spiderman" (Oldenburg stallion, Sir Donnerhall x Rubinstein I) to a winning score of 75.208% for owners Alan and Theresa Reese. Tamra Smith and the Oldenburg gelding "Quincy" (Quaterback x Brentano II), owned by Jennifer Mason, topped a field of five-year-olds with an impressive score of 77.069%, while Kathleen Raine presented Sandy Harper's Dutch Warmblood mare "Ceolieta" (Sir Donnerhall x Zeoliet) to win her division with 66.714%. A total of ten young horses earned the first of two required qualifying scores of 65% or better towards an invitation for the inaugural Finals, which will be held during Star Spangled Dressage, June 28 – 30, 2013 in San Juan Capistrano.
The next Cornerstone competition will be the Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J, to be held March 27 – 30, 2013 at “The Oaks” in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, CA. Entries close Friday, March 8.
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