The serene setting of the historic Flintridge Riding Club in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA belied the buzz of excitement surrounding huge scores and promising talent on display during Dressage at Flintridge CDI*/Y/J, held May 23 - 26, 2013. This competition once again hosted the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trial, one of only two Selection Trials in the country used to select horses and riders to proudly represent the U.S. at the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships in Verden, Germany this August.
In the six-year-old division, judges and spectators were treated to the vision of a future U.S. superstar as Charlotte Jorst of Reno, NV entered the ring. Riding Skagen Holding's striking chestnut stallion "Vitalis" (Vivaldi x D-Day, bred in the Netherlands by A.J.W. Th. de Crom), Jorst's selection trial victory was never in doubt as the pair posted eye-popping scores of 9.18 in the Preliminary Test (counted as 40%) and 9.20 in the Final Test (60%), for an overall two-test combined score of 9.19 from judges Jeanne McDonald (4* USA), Jane Weatherwax (4* USA), and Sandy Osborne (USEF S). "Vitalis" was purchased by Jorst late last year after the Dutch Warmblood-bred and Westfalian-licensed stallion competed as a five-year-old at the World Breeding Championships for the Netherlands, and now appears poised to return to Verden to compete under the American flag and give Jorst her first experience riding for an international U.S. Team. Earning the six-year-old division Reserve Championship was "Calvin Klein" (chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding, Dolany x Weyden), ridden by DG Bar Ranch's Ashlynn DeGroot to scores of 7.74 (Preliminary Test) and 7.90 (Final Test) for an overall 7.84.
California's DG Bar Ranch enjoyed additional success as products of their legendary breeding program swept both the Champion and Reserve Champion titles in the hotly-contested five-year-old division of the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trial. The lovely Dutch Warmblood mare "DG Dancing Queen" (Jazz x Junior) was ridden by 19-year-old Ashlynn DeGroot to narrowly win the first round of competition, earning a score of 8.12 in the Preliminary Test. But a much-improved performance in the next day's Final Test by DeGroot's second mount, the chestnut Dutch Warmblood mare "Dalina DG" (Jazz x Contango) earned a score of 8.72 to move the pair into the overall lead and claim the Five-Year-Old Selection Trial Championship over "DG Dancing Queen" (8.16). With their two-round combined score of 8.44, DeGroot and "Dalina DG" have also earned a spot on the USEF Short List for a possible invitation to the FEI World Breeding Championships in Germany this summer, as well as a bid to return to the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships presented by HorseShow.com, where last year "Dalina DG" finished in the top ten as a 4-year-old with rider Willy Arts.
Olympian Steffen Peters returned to California from a spring European tour just in time to present the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding and former jumper "Vaya Con Dios" (Odermus R x Glendale, owned by Paula Howard) in the CDI Prix St. Georges, winning the competitive class on an impressive score of 72.719%. But former Young Rider Amanda Harlan turned the tables on Peters in the Intermediaire I Freestyle, earning a score of 71.625% which was good enough to claim the champion's sash with Deborah Harlan's elegant 12-year-old Hanoverian mare "Rosenzauber 8" (Rotspon x Shogun). In the Intermediaire I class, Allison Dechant traveled from Colorado to finish one-two with mounts "Rufus" (10-year-old Westfalen gelding by Roh Magic, owned by Deborah Carter) and "Regulus 24" (1996 Hanoverian by Ramiro's Son II, owned by Dechant), on scores of 71.930% and 70.132%, respectively.
In the Young Rider classes, Katharine Cassidy won both the Team and Individual tests aboard Lisa Wilcox-Cassidy's Hanoverian gelding "Pellegrini" (Prince Thatch x Falkland) with a scores of 56.974% and 57.939%, respectively, while 16-year-old Rison Naness added two more CDI Junior victories to her resume with Kristina Harrison's Hanoverian mare "Venezia" (White Star x Espri), earning 68.964% in the Team Test and 67.061% for the Individual Test. Wrapping up the division was Canadian entry Mackenzie Thiessen-Ryall of Winnipeg, Manitoba, claiming the win in the Junior Freestyle (63.125%) with her own 15-year-old Warmblood gelding "Danao" (by Dornick B).
Dressage at Flintridge was the second-to-last 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 and conclude with a spectacular Finals in June. Amy Miller presented her Dutch Warmblood gelding "Encore" (Jazz x Sir Sinclair) for a decisive win in the four-year-old class (78.125%), while in the five-year-old division, Karen Ball and "Calimero" (gray Holsteiner gelding, Conteur x Lorentini I) rode to their second straight Talent Search victory with a winning score of 70.676% for owners Alan and Theresa Reese. Charlotte Jorst capped off a brilliant young horse weekend with her Dutch Warmblood stallion "Vitalis" (Vivaldi x D-Day) as they dominated the six-year-old class with 80.197%.
Complete results for Dressage at Flintridge CDI*/Y/J are available on the Cornerstone Event Management website at www.cornerstonedressage.com/show_results.asp.
The next Cornerstone competition in California will be Star Spangled Dressage in San Juan Capistrano, CA on June 28 – 30, which will feature the exciting conclusion to the Markel/Cornerstone Young Talent Search, as well as the California Dressage Society's popular Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) for the southern California region.