Cesar Parra brought Michael and Sarah Davis’s Grandioso to the International Horse Sport Palm Beach Champions Cup CDI*** in Loxahatchee, Florida to compete in his first CDI in the largest division of the show. Cesar Parra and Grandioso the 17.2 Westphalen gelding is by Grosso Z, dominated all weekend, winning the Prix St. Georges with a 71.579%, the Intermediaire I with a 73.114% and the Intermediaire I Freestyle with a 73.950%. Parra also successfully debuted Taunia and David Reed’s Swedish Warmblood Stallion Agastrofos (by Briar) placing second to Caroline Roffman and Pie in the Developing Horse Class, as well as managing a full schedule of students and horses at the show. DressageDaily caught up with Cesar after a busy weekend to learn more about Grandioso and his decision to concentrate of the small tour (CDI*)
DressageDaily: Congratulations on your "Hat Trick" this weekend at the IHS Champions Cup CDI, with Grandioso. You had stated you were training him in the Grand Prix and had begun competing him in the Intermediare II. Why did you decide to bring him out for the first time this year in the small tour, the Prix St.Georges/Intermediaire I?
Cesar Parra: Thank you; it was a great and exciting weekend for us. We are developing Grandioso for the Grand Prix, and he is learning everything really well. He has great talent for everything and is very very special. In addition I am really blessed to have very supportive owners in the Davis family who have been clear from the beginning that they are in no hurry with Grandioso. So we have no rush, and I felt it was in the horse's best interest to build more strength before starting him in a Grand Prix test. He is so massive and he really tries, so I would rather keep him sound in mind and body than push too much too fast. So the CDI small tour seemed like a perfect option. He can continue getting experience and at home he keeps schooling all of his GP work so he can build the strength he needs. We still have it very much in our mind London in 2012.
Cesar Parra: I do keep in touch with Jason and keep him updated on Grandi. They had a special relationship so I always update Jason on the results. Jason is very happy that Grandi is continuing his successes.
DressageDaily:You acquired Grandioso from Jason Canton who won the Markel/USEF 6-year-old Championships in 2007. Because of health issues, Jason sold him to you. Are you in touch with Jason, and how is he doing?
DressageDaily: As a trainer you have a busy schedule at both your Florida and New Jersey facilities. With so many students, how do you find the time to focus on your own horses?
Cesar Parra: I have a fantastic team; I could never do what I do without them! When it is time for me to ride they all help me. We all help each other to keep positive; to keep the faith.
DressageDaily: What was your favorite comment for what judges on your score sheets?
Cesar Parra: I loved the "10" from Stephen Clarke for my final centerline - I love to see 10's in a test, it’s really fun! And there were a couple of nine's here are there. It is really fun
DressageDaily: What do you feel were the highlights of your tests with Grandioso?
Cesar Parra: I loved the rideability he displayed throughout the weekend. I rode him very conservative and wanted to be sure that he stayed on my aids. I know that I can get many more points out of him when I ride full power, but I really wanted to get a feel for him in the ring at those tests. He was adjustable in the corners and listening so I was very happy with that.
Cesar Parra: Moving to the small tour classes has made me focus on all the little details and on always maintaining adjustability. It might sound strange, but the PSG was a harder test than the Inter 2. His size is difficult to keep around in certain movements. At first for us since the Intermediaire 2 have so many transitions and those transitions keep the horses sharp and listening. PSG, you want to go with a bit more freedom. But concentrating on the details is really helping Grandi and I with the piaffe and passage work at home, so I couldn't be happier! He wanted to piaffe when I asked in the warm-up at the show so I know that we are on the right track. Of course with horses and training there is no substitution for time and patience!
DressageDaily:What do you feel are the areas you can do better which you are addressing in your training?
I can tell you that really working hard with a good plan and a good team you can make a "Good Luck".
Also during the IHSPB Champions Cup, Parra debuted Dave and Taunia Reed's horse, Agastrofos. “I competed Aga this weekend for the first time in the Developing Horse class for young PSG horses. Even though we are a newer partnership, I was very pleased with how the weekend went with him. We finished first and second in very competitive classes!” Parra said, adding that he felt that Piaffe-Performance’s IHSPB Champions Cup was a huge success. “Everybody, horses, riders and everyone else, once again rose to the occasion and made it a very fun and successful weekend. We had a few debuts at this show and based on the results I believe that the spring and summer season should continue our Florida successes.”
Parra said he is very pleased when he looks back at the Florida winter show season. “This has been a fantastic season for us and the Champions Cup show was no different. We have such a tremendous team of people that made the Florida season not only a huge success, but a real pleasure at the same time. Every day I am extremely grateful to all of them. I have said it for years, and I firmly believe that dressage is a team sport!”
For more information on Parra or Piaffe-Performance visit their website at www.piaffe-performance.com.