Unseasonable thunderstorms and heavy rains dampened the best of intentions and drenched the competition arenas for Friday’s Opening day at the Annual Flintridge Riding Club’s Dressage Show. The annual show which is managed by Cornerstone Events Management and is sponsored by the Flintridge Riding Club as well as by Markel Insurance Company where Flintridge is the location for the 2008 USEF/Markel Young Horse Dressage Western Selection Trial for the FEI World Breeding Championships, has become a favorite meeting place of both competitors and spectators over the long Memorial Day weekend.
Photo: The judges shopped at Target for rain boots to weather the storm. Lisa Seger, Lelo Fore, Jane Weatherwax, John Seger from Markel.
Members of this famous riding club pull out the stops to make the weekend special for horses, riders and spectators. Each arena is appointed with red, white and blue flowers and banners, and the central FEI arena boxes are decorated for the dinner and evening program of FEI and musical freestyle rides. For Southern Californians, Flintridge is also important as it is the last qualifier for many of the National programs: FEI Junior and Young Riders, USET Intermediaire I Championships, and the Five- and Six-Year-Old Finals. This year, most of the riders who remained to compete were those committed to achieving a qualifying position in one of these national programs.
The torrential rains that hit the Los Angeles area Thursday and Friday muddied the arenas, which caused many to scratch. By Saturday, less than two-thirds of the competitors remained. The judges shopped at Target for rain boots to weather the storm, and show management faced difficult decision after difficult decision. Glenda McElroy said, “It has never rained during this show weekend since I have been managing it.” One tough decision was to cancel the Saturday evening musical freestyle program. The catered dinner was still on and moved to the cozy clubhouse, but the program was cancelled. This was a huge disappointment, as one of the highlights of the program was to be the debut of top Grand Prix partners, Ravel and Steffen Peters’ newly created freestyle. Now, we will have to wait until June’s Selection Trials to see it!