Wellington, FL - The 2016 Wellington, Florida dressage winter show circuit started this past week with a bang - in the form of severe weather. Although the weather caused delays and scratches in some cases, competitor Lisa Wilcox shone through the gloomy first week. Wilcox kept a bright outlook with the two horses she brought to the opening show of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Wilcox’s sportsmanship, horsemanship, and strong performances earned her the first Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award of the year.
The MVR Award presented by Custom Saddlery is given to one rider at each of the Global Dressage Festival CDI competition weeks who makes significant contributions to the success of the show series. Contributions can be made in varying ways, including outstanding performances, a great attitude, and excellent horsemanship. Wilcox, the consummate dressage professional, demonstrated each of those characteristics as the show season kicked off. Custom Saddlery, the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team and a sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, was happy to reward Wilcox for her top placings throughout the week.
Under Wilcox, Horses Unlimited’s stallion Gallant Reflection HU and Anita Fialkow’s mare Catherina each danced in the national Small Tour and were rewarded with scores over 70% and top placings. Gallant Reflection HU won Thursday’s Prix St. Georges with an impressive 72.961%, with Catherina placing second on a 70.132%. The horses were expected to compete again on Friday, but severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch kept them sidelined. They returned on Saturday with the ribbons reversed – Catherina won the Intermediare I with a 71.447%, and Gallant Reflection came in a close second with a 71.316%. In each class, Wilcox’s mounts were the only horses to surpass the 70% mark.
As Wilcox accepted the Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider award, she commented, “Horsemanship is everything. If there is one thing I would like people to understand, it is the horse. Horsemanship is, for me, the most important aspect for competing here at Global.”
This competition marked the first Prix St. Georges for Gallant Reflection HU. The remarkable chestnut Zweibücker stallion, by the legendary stallion Galant du Serein, moved up to the Small Tour this year after winning the 2015 Markel/USEF Six-Year-Old Young Horse Dressage National Championship. This was also Catherina’s Intermediare I debut. Last year, she competed with success at the Prix St. Georges, and Wilcox has been pleased with her development over the summer. “They are both exceptionally talented,” Wilcox said of Gallant Reflection HU and Catherina. “They are excellent competitors, and are very concentrated. They are also a true gentleman and a true lady. As a matter of fact, they are shipping back and forth in the same trailer on the diagonal from each other.”
As the new year begins, Wilcox has her sights set on a place on the 2016 United States Olympic team to compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wilcox is vying for a position on the team with two Grand Prix horses— Galant, owned by Jacqueline Shear, and Pikko del Cerro HU, another Horses Unlimited stallion. Both horses will compete at the CDI-W to be held at the end of January at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
As a winner of Custom Saddlery’s Most Valuable Rider Award, Wilcox received a ribbon, a beautiful Custom Saddlery saddle pad, a cloth bag, and an embroidered towel from the Aiken, South-Carolina based company — the maker of the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympics.
In addition to encouraging top quality riders through its MVR Award, Custom Saddlery produces top quality saddles for dressage riders and jumpers. The company’s advanced saddles are based on exceptional fit for both horse and rider. Custom Saddlery provides countless ways to customize saddles to help each individual horse and rider achieve their comfort and performance goals. Custom Saddlery also provides professional saddle fitting services and manufactures beautiful accessories including stirrup leathers, girths, and saddle pads.
For more information about Custom Saddlery, visit www.mysaddle.com or call 1-800-235-3865.