Daphne Haagmans recently won the Best Performance by a Foreign Rider at the 2003 Sydney CDI*** held May 7-11, 2003 at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre in Sydney, Australia.
Haagmans was the sole Canadian representative at the competition and competed on borrowed horses generously donated by their owners for the competition. In Thursday's Prix St. Georges class, Haagmans rode Oscar Bravo, a 10-year-old 17hh warmblood cross gelding, to a 17th place finish in a class of 28 competitors. In Friday's Intermediare I class, they improved their standing to 13th place. Haagmans then had to get used to a new mount for the Derby competition with Barnclueth Harvest Moon, a 17.1hh warmblood cross. They capped off the weekend with the Prix St. Georges Derby class, where they were awarded 6th place individually and 3rd in the team competition.
The Sydney CDI*** is presently the only CDI held in Australia each year. This year's judging panel included Mr Bernard Maurel (FEI "O" - France), Mrs Maribel Quinzanos (FEI "I" - Mexico), Ms Minako Furouka (FEI "I" - Japan), and Mrs Jan Bird (FEI "I" - New Zealand). Countries are invited to send representatives to compete in the Derby classes, and since foreign riders cannot easily bring their own horses to the CDI because of strict quarantines and expensive shipping costs, arrangements are made to ride on borrowed horses. This makes for an interesting competition as riders do not have the luxury of thoroughly knowing their mounts.
"The purpose of our sending riders is to allow them to gain international experience in a warm and friendly environment." explained Kim Goodyear, Chair of Dressage Canada's High Performance Committee. "We send the best representatives we have at the advanced level that have not had a lot of International exposure. It has proven to provide our riders with confidence and several riders we have sent return home and experience improved performances in the stressful environment of the show ring."
Canada has participated at this event for the past several years. In 2002, Canada won the Gold & Silver medals when Jacqueline Brooks (Individual Gold & Team Silver) and John MacPherson(Team Silver) made the trip overseas to compete in the Derby.