Diamante Farms' head trainer Michelle Gibson and the farm's stallion Don Angelo made their Grand Prix debut recently, competing at the Poplar Place Farms May Dressage Show. This was the pair's first show since winning the USEF National Intermediarire I championship last year, and they were awarded the FEI division championship as well as the Collecting Gait Farms FEI high score award for their Grand Prix tests. Diamante Farms is a dressage training, showing, and boarding facility in Wellington, FL, which is owned by Terri and Dick Kane.
Michelle Gibson and the nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion Don Angelo won second place in the FEI Grand Prix with a 62.340%, and first place the next day with a 70.213%. The pair took home the FEI high score award sponsored by Collecting Gait Farms for their score of 70.213% in the Grand Prix and were also champion in the FEI division for the weekend.
"I was very happy with Don Angelo's debut; it just felt really easy," Gibson stated. "He went in there and did everything. The first day we had some mistakes, but it was our very first Grand Prix, so it's okay, it's allowed."
Don Angelo has been in training since the championships last year and has not shown since then, so overall, Gibson was very happy with how things went. "We have spent a lot of time working on his Grand Prix test," she explained. "He has to do it pretty regularly at home so that we can build the strength that he needs to be able to carry himself through all of that very collected work. We have just been training, trying to put things together and get him stronger and more confirmed."
At this point in his training, Gibson is very happy with Don Angelo's canter tour. "For sure, his whole canter tour is his biggest strength right now; he does everything beautifully," she smiled. "He has gorgeous half passes, the zigzag is easy for him, he can sit and do a pirouette, the flying changes are great. The one tempis are so straight and big and forward. They are beautiful."
Gibson added, "I am really happy for the Kanes because we have had him since he was five years old, and he is really developing beautifully. I think I can speak for them as well as for myself in saying that we are very happy with his progression through the training and what it has done for him."
Terri Kane takes a lot of pride in owning Don Angelo and was also very pleased with his debut. "I was just thrilled with how well he did," Kane smiled. "He is always very nervous when he starts a new test and it takes him a little bit to get to where he is comfortable, but he did much better than we expected and we are excited about his new future."
Kane rides Don Angelo on the weekends when he is not showing and praises his personality and demeanor. "He is just the sweetest little stallion; he loves to be hugged and he loves attention," Kane stated. "He is so easy going, and that is what I love about him. There are not too many Grand Prix stallions that just anyone can get on."
"He is so good, he lets me sit up there and pretend like I know what I am doing," Kane laughed. "He knows I am his mom and he is so sweet with me; he is like a big teddy bear."
Michelle Gibson will be traveling to Gladstone, NJ, next week to coach Devon Kane and her horse Prins, who will be competing at the 2009 Collecting Gait Farms/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions in the Brentina Cup championships. Then Kane and Gibson will be taking their horses to Germany at the end of July to train for two months with Olympic gold medalist Hubertus Schmidt. They will continue with their training there and hope to do a couple of small horse shows to prepare for the winter show circuit in Florida.
For more information, please visit www.diamantefarms.com.