Cross Country Commute Works for Joan Pecora and Talent After Two Wins at Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI


Loxahatchee, Florida – For the past five years, Joan Pecora has endured a weekly commute from Illinois to Florida in order to compete on the Florida winter circuit. At this weekend's Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI the effort she has put in to training and competing her horse paid off when she rode away with two blue ribbons in FEI competition. Pecora and Talent, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Jazz, won Saturday's Open Intermediaire I with a score of 65.789. The day before, they won the Open Prix St. Georges with a score of 70.263, which was a bit of a shock to Pecora.

"I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw that score on Friday," she said. "I'm ecstatic about this whole weekend. I just can't believe it. This is only the second I-1 that Talent has done and only about his sixth Prix St. Georges. I am just so proud of him."

Pecora is controller for Champion Packaging, a liquid chemical packaging company that was started by her father in 1971. While this busy adult amateur rider can do some of her work from Florida, she has to be in the office at least one day a week to sign checks and take care of other business. Hence, during the Florida show season, she is able to be in Florida to show only if she travels back home on Sunday nights to be in the office each Monday. "It's a marathon day. I start Mondays at 6:30 a.m. and work all day and then fly back to Florida on Tuesday," she said.

When in Florida, she rides in the mornings and then works in the afternoons, linking up to her office by computer. Pecora has been riding since childhood. She started with hunter/jumpers and later switched to dressage. She found Talent while on a horse-buying trip to the Netherlands and purchased him when he was three. With the help of her trainer, Patti Becker, she's brought him from Training Level to Intermediaire.

"He's a very hot horse," she said of Talent. "When you take him to a show, it's like 'Let's see what he's like today.' But he's also very talented and I'm very excited about him and where he's going." And where he's eventually going, Pecora hopes, is to Grand Prix. That would make him Pecora's first Grand Prix horse. "I've not ridden the Grand Prix before, so this is exciting," she said.

Pecora said the current plan is to continue working on the Prix St. Georges and the Intermediaire this year at the open level and then move onto the CDIs next year. "And after that, the Grand Prix," she said. "The way he's built and put together, the passage and piaffe seem easy for him. So, we should make it."

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