Dr. Cesar Parra of Jupiter, Florida, riding Adonis, came in second behind Michelle Gibson and World of Dreams in the I-1 class, but said he didn’t mind losing to her. "She’s world class. It’s cool to have that type of competitor, to be beaten by someone like that," said Parra. Before going into the ring he heard Gibson’s score over the loudspeaker and said he thought it would be impossible to beat since he’d never scored over 70% in I-1. But he turned in his best score ever, a 71%.
Adonis is a nine-year-old Hanoverian stallion by Aalborg out of a Hanoverian mare with Thoroughbred lines that Parra and his wife have owned since he was three.
Parra won the Intermediare I Musical Freestyle on Sunday with Adonis using choreography he created. They scored 73.875%. "This ride goes back to when I was in Maryland where Linda Zang helped me. Terry Gallo did the music. We call it Classical Latin. It’s a mix of Spanish guitars and salsa. The program is called ‘Miracles’. I like that word." Parra has been riding this freestyle with Adonis for a year and has revised it twice to accommodate the maturing horse. "Last year he was inconsistent because he wasn’t ready and I had to push him. It was important to get him in the show ring. Now he’s really through, he’s like a bodybuilder. He can keep the same tempo. If a horse isn’t strong enough, he can’t keep up with the music. But now he looks very pretty, like he’s dancing."
Calling himself a "show-off," Parra says he loves to do freestyles and especially enjoys "… fooling people, making them guess what I’m going to do and then surprise them. It’s cool to tease them." Parra named three movements from his winning ride that he feels are especially hard to do and that only a Grand Prix, Olympic caliber horse can perform. "Half-pass to counter-canter to pirouette. I love this movement. It says, ‘look at this horse, he’s strong!’" Parra’s other favorite highlights were the pirouette to half pass to counter-canter to pirouette; and the extended canter to collected trot to half pass.
But the highlight of his freestyle was definitely the finish, a one-handed extended trot down the centerline. "I want to make it obvious to the judge that he is still light in my hand right to the finish." He added, "I love this horse to death. I love to ride him."
Parra brought 12 horses to the show and several clients. "It was a nice weekend overall," said Parra. "It was a high level competition. If you made one mistake, you were out. The judges were very good, Gary Rockwell and Marianne Ludwig."
Parra was recently named a new member of the International Dressage Trainers Club. He is one of only four Americans in this prestigious group. The others are Guenter Seidel, Michael Poulin, and Gerhard Politz.