Julie McKean Tops the Junior Divisions in Quest for Junior Team Championships
Jupiter, FL— Dr. Cesar Parra’s Performance Farm team of juniors, young riders and adults took home armfuls of top ribbons at the toughest CDIs in Florida in February and March. Among the fine performances were those of Camden, Maine resident Julie McKean. The 18 year old won numerous blue ribbons in the competitive junior division, with hopes of competing in the USEF Junior Team Championships in Pebble Beach, CA in July. Julie would like to follow in the footsteps of barn mate Noel Williams who was on the gold medal winning team at the 2005 championships. To make these dreams a reality, McKean has devoted herself to riding for 10 years, first with Willette Brown and now with Dr. Parra.
“There are always results from training,” McKean explains of her scores that have regularly been above 65%. “It shows that the [scale of training] system really works.” McKean met Dr. Parra when she rode with him on a demonstration team at the Metropolitan Horse show in New York City. “He has a system and philosophy and he follows it,” she says. “He focuses on excellence at all time. When you ride with Cesar, you want to try harder; he inspires you to do your best. McKean has found the team atmosphere at Performance Farm to be particularly conducive to not only achieving top scores, but for having a lot of fun. “It’s the first team I’ve been on where I feel like I belong; it feels good to be part of something.”
Noel Williams Has Ride of a Lifetime with Horses Unlimited's Stallion Pik L
Although Noel Williams has been immersed in dressage her entire life, her father in George Williams, she still has had to prove herself as a rider. For the last year Williams has had the opportunity to ride Horses Unlimited’s Pik L. The duo won a gold medal at the USEF Junior Team Championships and now hopes to qualify for the Region 1 NAYRC team. “Pik L is awesome and he really makes you ride,” she says. “If you do things really well you can get really high scores, but if you stay [in your comfort zone] and don’t ride him, you will see that in the score.” One of the things that Williams likes most about Performance Farm is Dr. Parra’s striving to continually improve. She says, “I love it when he goes to Germany or does a clinic and comes home. He learns something every time and he comes back and teaches it to you. …He continually gets better and better. He keeps growing.”
Young Riders with the NAYRC 2006 as a Goal
Ashley Peterson would also like to qualify for this year’s NAYRC. With the nine year old KWPN gelding Augustus, Peterson earned a first place in the Young Rider Freestyle with a 67.33% at one Florida show. Peterson commutes to Florida on the weekend from New York, where she attends Fordham University as a student of international political economy. “Dressage is a difficult sport. [Dr. Parra] knows how and what to ask. My horse has improved so much, both his quality of gaits and mentally. I’m very happy with the way my horse is going. I have big dreams and I know [Dr. Parra] can help.”
Another young rider who has hopes of qualifying for a major championship is Emily Wagner of LaCygne, Kansas. The 18-year-old high school student met Dr. Parra at a clinic and began training with him this winter in Florida. Riding Michael Shondel’s Wallaby, Emily earned top ribbons in Florida in the junior division. Although Wagner has been riding since she was three, she appreciates the finer points of Dr. Parra’s teaching. “Cesar pushes you and is very strict, but it is always positive,” she says. “He is always after you about your position. When he is working with you on something, he always goes back to the rider and your position—it has to be perfect.”
For Wagner it also the high standard of horse care and horse happiness that impresses her. “[Dr. Parra’s] always asking, ‘is the horse enjoying it? Is he happy?’ I don’t know of a place that takes better care of their horses. When I go back home, I’m always sad to leave. It’s totally inspirational being there.”
Melissa Jackson Reaches New Heights with New Horse, in Record Time
Dr. Parra’s enthusiasm and success with helping people reach their goals is not just for young riders. It’s what prompted Melissa Jackson to join the Performance Farm team. Jackson has a busy family life and was nearly going to give up her riding dreams when she took a lesson with Dr. Parra. “He really got me excited again. He always has a plan and listens to your opinion. He’s a motivator and is like a mentor to me,” Jackson explains.
With her horse Wellington, a nine-year that Dr. Parra helped find in Germany, Jackson beat most of the top professionals to take second place in the CDI PSG with a 71% in the Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic. This was just one of her top placings in the CDI divisions that have had more than 30 entries at every show.
Dr. Parra and Senior Trainer Katie Riley Keep up With Students
Dr. Parra and Senior Trainer Katie Riley didn’t let the students have all of the fun. They won their own blue ribbons and high score awards. Riley, riding the five-year-old Kamelot, earned a 75% and the high score award at the gelding’s first show. “I was really pleased with his ability to focus,” Riley said of the youngster that she has been bringing along since last year.
With Horses Unlimited’s Galant Du Serein Dr. Parra won the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with a 71.93% at the Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic. “Galant really let me ride him during this class and all of our hard work in Germany finally paid off,” Dr. Parra explained. The pair spent last summer working with Hubertus Schmidt.
Dr. Parra also rode the recently imported horses Wild Dance and Furst Fabio to top scores. Furst Fabio won a couple of high score awards and several classes in his American debut. Horses Umlimited’s Wild Dance, a stallion performance licensing champion, debuted in the CDI Prix St. Georges classes and ably demonstrated the elasticity and quality of movement that have made him a star in Germany.
Performance Farm is dedicated to helping horse and rider reach their highest potential. Using the classical German training system, Dr. Cesar Parra has trained numerous horses and riders to the FEI levels, including grand prix. He commutes between New Jersey, Florida and Germany.
Horsesdaily 'On the Scene' 2006 Dressage at Equestrian Estates
HorsesDaily Who's Who - Dr. Cesar Parra
HorsesDaily Sales and Training - Piaffe Performance
HorsesDaily Sales and Training - Horses Unlimited
HorsesDaily Stallion Listing - Pik L
HorsesDaily Stallion Listing - Galant Du Serein
On the Scene at Dressage at Equestrian Estates