Amateur Dressage Riders Honored at the Markel Amateur Awards Ceremony

Neither Rain, nor Sleet, nor Broken Limb Could Keep Amateur Dressage Riders Away


The winners in the 2004 Markel Amateur Winter Dressage Championship series were recognized at an awards ceremony held at the Derby Kickoff Dressage Show at Equestrian Estates, Loxahatchee, Florida January 15. Shirley Johnson of A’Dashi along with Mary Phelps and John Seger of Markel Insurance hosted the gala awards ceremony, which created quite a stir with participants and spectators alike.

Also on hand for the event, were several of the presenting sponsors representing Beyond the Barn, Dianne Sausser, Swedish Exclusives, Caracol Sterling Silver, Horse of Course, Sho Clothes, The Paddock, Tackeria, The Video Guys,, Weiss Family Chiropractic Center, Harmony in Motion Massage, Kada Properties, Corks Stitching, Dressage Tutors and EuroAmerican Saddlery.


Over $5000 in Prizes Awarded




Three years ago, Shirley Johnson, owner of A’Dashi an exclusive equestrian apparel boutique, became the driving force behind her brainchild to recognize adult amateur dressage riders with a special championship program. Johnson solicited the help of other equestrian retailers to make her dream a reality. This year over 50 adult amateurs shared over $5000 in prizes.


Last year Markel Insurance became the title sponsor of the championships adding additional financial support."Sponsorships are a good thing," said Mary Phelps, whose full coverage of the event is featured on her website"It was fun to see that most of the horses who won are insured by Markel, including both of our High Point winners.I know the fine folks at our corporate offices in Glen Allen, Virginia are as pleased as the riders here today."

Photo - Debra Schoder and Ilona


Dr. Kristy Lund and Fabio Win Weiss Family Chiropractic Center High Score




The High Score Award for all levels was sponsored by Weiss Family Chiropractic Center and was won by Dr. Kristy Lund with a 3rd level score of 68.889 earned aboard her gelding, Fabio. Lund, owns Lund Animal Hospital, and is known as Dr. Kristy in her office. Dr. Lund broke her wrist while loading a friend’s horse to come to the show. While she was at the hospital Dr. Lund’s trainer, John Zopatti offered to accept Kristy’s awards for her, but Lund would have none of it.


Even though she had to be lead into the arena, she accepted her awards, dressed in show clothes riding Fabio, with a cast on her left arm from her shoulder to her hand. “Maybe I can compete in the leadline class tomorrow”, joked Lund, who despite obvious pain accepted her awards with a satisfied smile.

Photo - L-R: John Seger, Katie Hoog, Kristi Lund and Fabio, Dr. Cetty Weiss, and Mary Phelps


Michael Schondel and Wallaby Top off a Great Career Together




The FEI Level High Score went to college student and Marine, Michael Shondel. Shondel rode his new horse, Silver Label in the awards ceremonies. Shondel, who will be returning to the Marine Corps after the show season for six more weeks of basic training, won the award on his Intermediaire partner, Wallaby with a score of 67.9%.


Wallaby is now for sale and Shondel will compete his second seasoning as an Adult Amateur on his new horse under the guidance of trainer, Caesar Parra. “My last year with Wallaby will be one to remember. Getting the high scores for PSG, I-1 and FEI was a great feeling. The great jackets I won from Markel and Adashi were wonderful and had good timing due to the cool weather that weekend. It was also nice to receive the award from Mary Phelps since both of my horses are with her and Markel, which has been a great relationship.”


More Winners, More Prizes




Emmy Adwers, another of Parra’s students accepted the coveted Grand Prix championship title at the awards ceremony. Adwers, a stock analyst on Wall Street, commuted from New York City for the show and the awards ceremony. Other top winners recognized included 4th level Champion, Jennifer Brinkley, and 2nd level Champion, Debra Schoder on Ilona, 1st level Champion, Beverly Zimmer on Eurhythmic, training level Champion, Debra Gyulay on Ferrari and training level Res. Champion, Randi Phillips on her gelding, Baroque.


While the weather was cool and rainy, the spirits of these adult amateur riders simply couldn’t be dampened. Many other amateur riders who attended the show vowed to compete in the Markel Adult Amateur Series in the upcoming season. And the entire winner’s expressed gratitude to Markel, A’Dashi and the many other sponsors for recognizing their efforts. “Most of these amateur riders hold down full-time careers and ride and compete their horses”, stated Shirley Johnson of A’Dashi, “They are truly amazing”.


Party Time For The Kickoff




Further recognition and celebration came at the end of the day when Angela Bordwell of National Financial Services, a new sponsor joining the Markel Amateur Championships for 2005, hosted a celebratory Fiesta for the competitor’s –complete with a real piñata! In spite of the nippy weather, everyone was cozy in the beautiful Equestrian Estates “Mansion” the backdrop for so many of the photos from Derby events. Bordwell has several horses in Florida in training for the winter. Together with her husband Tony Bordwell, Angela combines her life with her dressage horses, and her business, providing financial services to fellow equestrians.


Competitor Randi Phillips summed it up well, “Thanks to the efforts of these generous sponsors, I think everyone feels like a champion tonight”.

Related Links
Complete Results for 2004 Champions