Final preparations are underway as 370 horses are about to descend upon the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Cal. for what is expected to be a record-breaking dressage competition at the 47th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show, September 25 - 28, 2014.
With an increase of more than 100 horses from last year, organizers predict that this will be the largest West Coast championship show in history, with nearly 1500 rides scheduled in six rings of non-stop dressage competition. "The CDS Championship Show gets better and better every year," said show manager Glenda McElroy. "But this is the first time that we've had to add a sixth ring and have so many additional stalls. I'm thrilled to see this growth as well as the enthusiasm and support of CDS members for this show. It makes it such a terrific event for everyone."
The success and excitement surrounding this competition is thanks to the California Dressage Society's administration of one of the largest and most lucrative championship programs in the nation. Not only will a multitude of CDS Horse of the Year championship titles and perpetual trophies be up for grabs for competitors at all levels from Training to Grand Prix and for open, adult amateur, & junior/young riders, but more than $45,000 in prize money and awards will be distributed. CDS will also present Grand Champion Awards, combining the best of the Horse of the Year classes with corresponding musical freestyles for First/Second Levels, Third/Fourth Levels, Intermediaire I, and Grand Prix. And the popular CDS Young Horse Futurity (including the Cal-Bred Futurity) for four, five, and six-year-olds is a perennial highlight of the CDS Annual Show and has grown to become the largest regional young horse program in the country. This year, entries have skyrocketed to almost 70 entries across Open and Amateur divisions, and will award well over $15,000 in prize money to riders, owners, and breeders.
The Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships will once again be an important part of the show, and riders competing in these classes can qualify for the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan, to be held November 6 – 9, 2014 in Lexington, Ken. Last year, several California riders including Akiko Yamazaki and Sheryl Ross made the trek across the country for the Finals and returned with national championship honors. Also returning to the CDS Championship Show will be the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Championships West Coast Series Final, where West Coast sport horse breeders will proudly show off the results of their breeding programs as well as young stars for the future.
Whether sitting in the saddle or in the stands, the CDS Championship Show is more than just great competition. With a festive atmosphere and special camaraderie that makes this event the highlight of the year for exhibitors, the CDS Championships offer a wide variety of complimentary hospitality, activities, and entertainment. Attendees get a head start on holiday shopping in the expansive Vendor Village. Special "Masters Series" discussions will once again be held on Thursday through Saturday, featuring an impressive lineup of educational speakers including former USEF Dressage Youth Coach Jeremy Steinberg; USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch; acclaimed trainer Volker Brommann; Reserve National Champion rider Sheryl Ross; and State of California Equine Staff Veterinarian Dr. Katie Flynn.
But the "can't miss" event of the weekend will be a special Saturday evening celebration honoring the illustrious career of dressage superstar Rafalca. Over seven years of competing at the international Grand Prix level with Jan Ebeling, the charismatic mare owned by Ann Romney, Beth Meyer, and Amy Ebeling garnered headlines in mainstream press and made "dressage" a household word as part of the 2012 United States Olympic Team. Fans will have the chance to bid farewell to Rafalca as she enters the arena one last time for a very special encore performance of her wildly-popular musical freestyle.
For complete information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show, including updates, schedule, ride times, and results, visit the CDS website:
The California Dressage Society, formed in 1967, is a non-profit organization devoted to furthering interest in dressage. It is one of the largest dressage organizations in the nation with more than 4,000 individual members in its 36 Chapters and a rich history of equestrian sport on the West Coast.
PHOTO CAPTION & CREDIT: California's best dressage horses and riders, like Adult Amateur & CDS Champion Whitney Harrington, will be competing this week in Burbank at the CDS Championships. Photo: Jennifer M. Keeler.