Kathleen Raine Tops Grand Prix

Kathleen Raine Tops Grand Prix on First Day of California Dreaming Productions' Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W
BURBANK, CA - An impressive line-up of West Coast riders including some of the top-ranked competitors in the nation gathered at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, Cal. for the first day of competition at California Dreaming Productions' Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 presented by Hof Kasselmann.

By Yellow Horse Marketing for California Dreaming Productions
As the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the many on-site amenities including beautifully-decorated arenas and a luxurious ringside VIP tent, dressage fans from around the world tuned in via live streaming video to see past World Equestrian Games Bronze medalist Kathleen Raine score a decisive victory with Breanna in the CDI Grand Prix on a score of 70.260% over second-place finisher Brian Hafner and his Hanoverian gelding Lombardo LHF (by Londonderry) with 68.780%.

After reluctantly scratching from last month's Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI in Burbank due to Breanna's incurring a small superficial wound just prior to the show, Raine was particularly anxious to get back in the ring with her  long-time partner and begin their quest for a position on the U.S. Team and a return ticket to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held in France this summer.  "I was thrilled with her, especially with the consistency and relaxation – she felt very solid," said Raine of the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Brentano II x World Queen by Weltmeyer).  "We haven't shown since the Festival of Champions last fall in Kentucky, so I knew we needed to get back in the arena.  Now that we have this first ride of the year under our belts, I feel like we're ready to push on and add more to it, and I feel like this success sets the tone for the rest of the year to come."  
The judging panel rewarded Raine with scores good enough for the confident win, and noted they were particularly impressed with the mare's strong piaffe work.  "I particularly liked their power and steadiness in the test, and Kathleen rode 'spot-on'," said Sarah Geikie (4* USA).  Stephen Clarke (5* GBR) agreed.  "I appreciated the control they showed in the test, and I feel like there's even more in expression there that now can be shown."
Another highlight of the full day of national and CDI classes was the hotly-contested CDI Prix St. Georges class, where an expectant crowd gathered to see the international debut of Steffen Peters' new prodigy: Four Winds Farm's Rosamunde, more affectionately known as "Rosie".  The seven-year-old Rheinlander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady by Fidermark) did not disappoint, earning the unanimous win under judges Stephen Clarke (5* GBR), Bo Ahman (4* SWE), and Lorraine Macdonald (4* CAN) on a score of 73.772% ahead of Elizabeth Ball riding Cadence LLC's Dutch Warmblood gelding Avanti (Tuchinski x Fleur by Naturel) with 71.096%.  "The overall quality of the horses in this class was very good, and the top five placings were hard fought," noted Clarke.  But Macdonald noted that Peters and Rosie were ultimately impossible to beat today.  "For me, Steffen and this horse rose above the rest and were the clear winners, in a class of their own," Macdonald explained.  "The horse is so cadenced and expressive, and yet there's still room for improvement and even better scores.  You can already see the Grand Prix coming into the horse and that she's going to have a really big future."   
Coming off two CDI Young Rider division wins at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair, Anna Buffini once again wowed the judges with her skill and poise aboard her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Sundayboy (Kennedy x Eezelma by Zevenaar), earning a score of 69.184% over Cassidy Gallman with Grand Makana (Hanoverian gelding by Goodman, owned by Joan Cvengros) with 63.132%.  "This is a rider who could go to Europe and compete against the best," said judge Bo Ahman (4* SWE) of 19-year-old Buffini.  Rounding out the CDI, Canada's Hannah Beaulieu claimed the champion's sash in the Junior Team Test with Nancy Olson's Rheinlander gelding Pharoah (by Fidermark) on a score of 64.820%.  Finishing in second with 61.802% was Emily Park and Pretty Lady (Dutch mare, Iglesias x Ivonne by Sit This One Out, owned by Tracy Roenick).  
Complete results are available on the California Dreaming Productions website, http://www.californiadreamingproductions.com.  Live video streaming of CDI classes with expert commentary by FEI judge Axel Steiner (presented by Iron Spring Farm) resumes at 9:30am PST on CDP Live, http://www.californiadreamingproductions.com/live-stream-test/.

PHOTO CAPTION & CREDIT:  Kathleen Raine & Breanna made their return to the Grand Prix arena a winning one at the Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W.  Photo: Terri Miller