For the third year in a row, A’Dashi owner, Shirley Johnson has been the driving force behind her idea to “recognize the adult amateur riders who compete against the some of the nations best dressage riders and trainers during the Winter Dressage circuit in Florida”. Two years ago, Markel Insurance became the title sponsors for the series. This year more than 50 adult amateurs shared in the glory as the 2005 Markel Amateur Winter Dressage Championship winners received their jackets, coolers, ribbons and much deserved recognition.
Johnson converted her Wellington boutique into party central to host the Markel Amateur Winter Dressage Championships awards gala. Adult amateur dressage riders and many of their trainer’s were on hand for the awards ceremony. Markel representative, John Seger flew into to present awards and pitch in with festivities, along with Markel representative and DressageDaily mogul, Mary Phelps. Other presenting sponsors included Cetty Weiss and Rhett Savoie form The Video Guys. Celebrity bar tending was deftly handled by Wellington trainers, John Zopatti and Linda Smith.
The Weiss Family Chiropractic Center High Score Award went to Jennifer Aurilio for a score of 70% earned in the Prix St Georges aboard her handsome black gelding, Wizzard.
Aurilio and Wizzard also won the FEI Level High Score Championship and Prix St Georges and Intermediarie-1 Championships. “I just love this horse,” Aurilio exclaimed.
Other top winners included Grand Prix Champion, Emmy Adwers on PF Robinson, Res. Grand Prix Champion, Janne Rumbough on It’s Me H, Res. Champion Intermediaire-1, Jennifer Stanton on Al Pacino, 4th level Champion, Kristy Lund on Fabio and Res. Champion 4th Level, Lisa Defresne on Black George. Third Level Champion honors went to Debra Schoder on Ilona with the Res. Championship going to Elaine Berry DePulido on Beau Geste. Second Level Champion was Beverly Zimmer on Eurhythmic. First Level Champion was Heather E. Houck riding Tacolando Triple R followed by Res. Champion’s Jennifer Fulmer and Fatima. Training Level Champions, Lily Zilo and Edil I, also won the PRE Andulusian award with a score of 69.23% and the USEF Level High Score. Marcella Speranza and Commander took the Res, Champion honors at Training Level.
“Thanks to Markel's participation again this year, the Championships were an even bigger success”, said series creator, Shirley Johnson. Along with Markel, Johnson thanked the retailers who sponsored the Championships and the many trainers who came out to support their amateur riders. Attending the ceremony along with trainers, John Zopatti and Linda Smith, were Ashley Holzer, Juan Matute, Jane Savoie, Kathy Priest, and Karen Lipp. “It was great to see these trainers’ supporting their rider’s,” said Johnson, “it’s a real tribute to the program.” Next year the Amateur Winter Championships may take a different path, as Johnson is selling A’Dashi to spend more time with in her family, “but there is no doubt that this is a program that is worthy of continuing”, added Johnson. The room full of champions agreed.