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Dressage In Florida 2003 Winter Season Wrap Up

WELLINGTON, FL (April 8, 2003) – From January through April, Florida hosted more than a dozen rated dressage shows, including four CDIs. Four dressage series, each hosting three shows, provided riders with a selection of competitions from Miami to Orlando: the Winter Equestrian Festival Dressage Show Series and the Gold Coast Dressage Association Series each presented three shows at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington; the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Series at The Horse Park at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee offered three shows, as did the Orlando Dressage Series at Clarcona Horsemen’s Park near Orlando. Tropical Park in Miami hosted two show, and Gainesville and Venice each were the sites of three shows.

The most closely watched classes this year were qualifiers in the ‘small tour’ – the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I – as these are the classes that not only will determine which American riders will compete in the Selection Trial for the Pan Ams, but foreign riders also used the classes as qualifiers for their country’s team. Dressage in Florida 2003 showcased Pan Am hopefuls from the US as well as Canada, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. Florida’s winter shows also provided qualifying classes for the USET Grand Prix Championships, the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, and the North American Young Riders Championships (NAYRC).

January 11-12, The Derby Series Kickoff, Loxahatchee, FL – The first show of the season at The Horse Park at Equestrian Estates saw a strong newcomer making a name for herself in the FEI levels during her first season in Florida – Shawna Harding riding Alistair won the Open PSG Section B (67.5%), and the Open Intermediaire I (68.5%); aboard Kestrel she also won the I-I Freestyle (66.375%). Veteran Carol Lavell aboard Much Ado has been slowly moving her giant mount up the levels over the years and solidly won the Open PSG Section C (67%). A highlight of the show was Sue Blinks and Flim Flam in the Grand Prix Freestyle, taking the win with 75%, which was the High Score of the show. In the Young Riders, Kayce Redmond aboard Lupin won the Team Test (65.778%).

January 17-19, GCDA Opener CDI*/CDIY, Wellington, FL – Next stop for riders was the first show in the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s Series, a CDI at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. Dr. Cesar Parra aboard his new stallion Pik-L won the Prix St. Georges (71%), which proved to be the start of a winning streak that lasted throughout the season. In the Young Riders, Jodie Stevens Kelly aboard Weltkaar won the Team Test (65.111%) and the Individual (66.066%), a preview of her success on the winter circuit.

January 25-26, Snowbird's Paradise, Clarcona, Florida – Moving northward, the first show of the Orlando Dressage Series at Clarcona Horsemen’s Park featured ABIC/USDF qualifiers as well as International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) classes. Olympian Michael Poulin is a regular competitor at this series, and launched his 2003 season aboard Chelan with two wins – the Open PSG (68.000%) and the Open I-I (66%). Jules Nyssen is also a consistent top performer at this venue and started his season off on Good Times with two wins – he earned the blue at Grand Prix (64.063%) and in the Grand Prix Special (64.4%). In the IPEC competition, Kathryn Groves on Freek won two Grade IV Tests with scores of 64.286% and 63.548%; and she also won a third class aboard Faleen, (53.929%).

January 30-February 2, Wellington Dressage, Wellington, FL–The first show in the Winter Equestrian Festival series was a qualifying event for the USET Intermediaire I Championship, which is the Selection Trial for the Pan Am Games. The hands-down star of the show was Jan Brons aboard Josien – this pair won both the USET Prix St. Georges (69.083%) and the USET Intermediaire I (70%). In the qualifying classes for the Grand Prix Championships, George Williams and Rocher won both the USET Grand Prix (73.889%) and the Grand Prix Special (73.400%). The Open classes also had their share of standout performances, notably the contingent of foreign competitors: Colombia’s Dr. Cesar Parra and Pik-L won the PSG B Section (70.625%), Intermediaire I B Section (67.250%), and the I-I Freestyle (72.417%). Also in the limelight was the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muniz aboard Inatana Las Marismas who won the Intermediaire I A Section (67.250%). Israel’s Oded Shimoni on Glenstern won both the Grand Prix (67.813%) and the Grand Prix Special (65.733%). Mexico’s Patrick Burssens on Marfil won the GP Freestyle (72.000%). In the Young Riders classes, Michael Shondel launched his winning streak aboard Wallaby, taking first place in the Team Test (67.630%). In the YR Freestyle, Trae LaPorte riding Fleetwood took the blue (65.292%) in a kur that proved to be unbeatable all season. Karen Lipp, who had two new youngsters debuting, took the High Score of the show with her Cheval V, earning 75.385% in Training Level Test 4.

February 7-9, Zada Enterprises LLC Southern Comfort, Clarcona – Some new faces were in town for the second show in the Orlando series. In the USET Qualifiers, Suzanne Dansby had a good show taking two wins on Goubergh's Kasper – the pair scored 68% in the PSG and 67% in the I-I – and she also logged a victory on Cooper, earning 65.825% in the GP Freestyle. Throwing his hat in the USET GP qualifiers, Michael Barisone on Safir won the Grand Prix (64.653%). Pamela Goodrich on Melville won the Special (65.800%). Several pairs in the Open classes proved to be contenders to watch for the rest of the season in the small tour: Tina Konyot on Liberty won the PSG (67.125%); Anne Gribbons, newly partnered on Leoliet, won the I-I (66.625%); and Kathy Priest on It's Me H won the Grand Prix (63.056%). In Young Riders, Jodie S. Kelly on Weltkaar continued her winning streak, taking the blue in the Team Test (62.333%) and the Individual (67.821%). In Junior Riders, Devon Kane aboard his new horse Douwe (Karen Lipp’s former Grand Prix mount) won the Team Test (62.179%) and the Individual (62.949%).

February 13-16, Florida Classic, Wellington – Riders returned to the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian grounds for the second show in the Winter Equestrian Festival Dressage Series. Yvonne Losos de Muniz and Inatana Las Marismas had everyone’s attention by now – they won both the Open PSG B Section (70.750%) and the Open I-I A Section (69.00%). Jan Brons and Josien continued their domination of the small tour for the Americans, winning the I-I B Section (71.250%) and the I-I Freestyle (73.667%). Of note also were the performances of Diane Hackley-Anderson and her Maikel – they won the A Section of the PSG (69.5%). Newcomer Shawna Harding again chalked up a win in the PSG C Section (68.500%). In the Grand Prix classes, George Williams on Rocher won both the Grand Prix (71.667%) and the Grand Prix Freestyle (73.042%). In the Grand Prix Special, Oded Shimoni on Glenstern was the victor (69.933%). In Young Riders, Nicole Levy on Korrado won the Team Test (67.926%) and YR Freestyle (68.667%) – she is a ‘barn-mate’ of Michael Shondell, and both train with Dr. Cesar Parra. Kayce Redmond, who trains with Karen Lipp, was in the winner’s circle again aboard Lupin – they won the YR Individual Test (66.752%). The High Score of the Show went to Melissa Marie Seward on Ghaston who won First Level Test 1-AA/JR with 75.185%.

February 21-23, Miami Dade Winter Dressage/CDI-W U.S. Freestyle Championship, Miami

Held at Tropical Park, this show combined an Open dressage competition with the US League Freestyle Championships and determined which two riders would join Wild-Carded Debbie McDonald at the World Cup in Gothenberg, Sweden, March 27-30. Several riders that were qualified to compete declared they would forego the World Cup, including Sue Blinks and Flim Flam. In the end, the two duos qualifying for the World Cup were Guenter Seidel aboard Nikolaus 7, and George Williams with Rocher. In the Grand Prix CDI-W, Williams on Rocher won (70.640%); Seidel and Nikolaus placed second (70.320%); and Blinks on Flim Flam were third (69.240%). In the Grand Prix Freestyle, CDI-W, Seidel and Nikolaus were the winners (77.650%); Blinks on Flim Flam placed second (76.700%); and Williams with Rocher were third (73.900%). In the Open classes, Dr. Cesar Parra was the big winner – riding Pik L he won the PSG (69.625%), the I-I (73.750%), and the I-I Freestyle (72.958%), and aboard P.F. Robinson, he won the Grand Prix (63.819%).

February 28–March 2, Palm Beach Dressage Derby. CDI***/Y, Loxahatchee – The second show in the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Series is one of the most prestigious shows on the Florida winter circuit. In the CDI *** small tour classes Tina Konyot riding Liberty won one section of the I-I (70.917%) and Dr. Cesar Parra on Pik-L won the other I-I section (73%). Jan Brons aboard Josien rode their kur for the first time in a qualifier and won the I-I Freestyle (75.250%). In the CDI*** Grand Prix classes, Shelly Francis on Gala was unbeatable, taking the blue in the Grand Prix (67.792%) and the Special (67.960%). Shannon Dueck riding Korona won the Freestyle (73.600%). In the CDI *** Young Riders, Michael Shondel on Wallaby won the Individual Test (66.974%). Trae LaPorte on Fleetwood continued his streak of wins in the YR PSG Freestyle (63.833%). In the FEI Dressage Test For 5 Year Olds, Jessie Steiner won with Wolkentana (68.200%) and in the FEI Dressage Test For 6 Year Olds, Jane Cleveland aboard Kavalier won with 81.600%, marking the highest score of the season. The second annual benefit for the Cancer Research Society organized by Mary Ross was a resounding success, raising $80,000 and showcasing a six-horse kur performed by Lynda Alicki, George Williams, Betsy Steiner, Bent Jensen, Pam Goodrich and Patrick Burssens, choreographed by Beth Zimsky.

March 13-16, Zada WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y – The third and final show in this year’s WEF Dressage Series belonged to Yvonne Losos de Muniz of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, riding Inatana Las Marismas – she won all three CDI classes in the small tour: Prix St. Georges (68.55%), Intermediaire I (70.250%), and Intermediaire I Freestyle (72.875%). Shelly Francis once again posted double Grand Prix victory with Gala, winning the USET GP (67.458%) and GP Special (68.080%). Patrick Burssens won the GP Freestyle CDI on Marfil (71.225%). Michael Shondel and Wallaby were untouchable in the CDI/Y Young Riders Team Test (64.978%) and the Individual Test (69.829%). Trae LaPorte on Fleetwood again danced to the win in the YR Freestyle CDI/Y (69.1%). In the Open classes, Tina Konyot and Liberty won the PSG (67.917%) and Intermediaire I (68.5%). Olympian Michelle Gibson and World Of Dreams won the Intermediaire 2 (70.569%). Shawna Harding and Kestrel maintained her debut glow, winning the Open Intermediaire Freestyle (71.750%). The high score of the show went to Mary Collier of Bayshore, New York, who earned 77.917% aboard her Riverdance in Open Training Level Test 3.

March 20-23 - Heidelberg Cup, Clarcona Park, Orlando – Wrapping up the triumvirate of shows at this venue, Carol Lavell and Much Ado earned the coveted Heidelberg Cup; Pierre St. Jacques with Lucky Tiger took Reserve. In the USET qualifiers, Lavell on Much Ado won the PSG (71.750%) and the I-I (71.500%). In the USET Grand Prix classes, Susan Jacoma on Jellowa won the GP (63.056%); Anne Gribbons riding Aureate, a pair that had been placing near the top in their debut season at Grand Prix, won the GP Special (65%) and the GP Freestyle (69.208%). In the Open classes Jules Nyssen had a great show on Good Times – the pair won the Intermediaire 2 (66.585%), Grand Prix (61.146%), and GP Special (63.267%). Michael Poulin was again successful riding Chelan, winning the Open PSG (67.375%) and the I-I (64%). In Young Riders Jodie S. Kelly reigned again riding Weltkaar – the duo won the Team Test (67.333%) and the Individual (67.521%). Trae LaPorte on Fleetwood yet again won the YR Freestyle (71.875%). In the Junior Riders Suzanne LaPorte on Wittus won the Team Test (64.103%) and the Individual (66.154%). Ten IPEC classes were contested: Robin Brueckmann and Faleen won four classes; winning two classes each were Kathryn Groves and Freek, Cynthia Ruiz aboard Cicero, and Rebecca Hart riding Mark.

March 28-30, Dressage at Equestrian Estates, Loxahatchee – Closing out the 2003 Palm Beach Dressage Derby Series, this event notched considerably more exhibitor attendance over last year as competitors extended their stay in Florida. One of the judges’ favorites in the small tour this season had been placing well and finally took the blues – in the USET qualifiers, Tara Stegen riding New Tango won the PSG (71%) and the I-I (71.083%). Carol Lavell and Much Ado won the I-I Freestyle (72.708%). In the USET GP Qualifiers, Ashley Holzer on Imperioso had her first win of the season (68.819%); Jan Brons and Fernando won the Special (70.40%). Patrick Burssens and Marfil won the GP Freestyle (74.208%). In the Open classes Silke Rembacz had a great show – she won PSG B Section with Millenium (67.5%); and riding Connecticut, she also won PSG C Section (67.250%) and the I-I (68%). Olympian Michelle Gibson and her World of Dreams won the Open I-2 (69.756%) and then made their Grand Prix debut winning the class with 65.833%. In Young Riders, Michael Shondel and Wallaby seem to be a lock for NAYRC – they again won the Individual (64.615%) and Team Test (63.333%). Krystalann Shingler and Skor won the YR Freestyle (67.833%). Suzanne LaPorte and Wittus ruled the Juniors, winning the Team Test (66.923%) and the Individual (70.598%). Dr. Cesar Parra and Silver Label won the FEI Test For 6 Year Olds (7.48).

The 2003 Florida Winter circuit not only served as a Mecca for dressage riders for four months, but also as a preview of the upcoming championships and international competitions. At the Pan American Games, the Prix St, Georges scores determine the team medal, while the Intermediaire I and Intermediaire Freestyle combined results determine individual medals. The USA’s Pan Am Selection Trial will be held at USET headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey, June 19-23, with the top 12 riders from the qualifying classes nationwide attempting to place in the final four that will represent the US at the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 17-31.

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