Dressage Getaway at Indio II Heats Up Competiton as Sue Blinks Dominates in the Open Grand Prix
By Kathy Beal for DressageDaily.com - Photos by Christina Beale
Indio, California -- Dressage Getaway at Indio II held February 15-17, 2008 drew a healthy crowd of talented international-level competitors despite unseasonably cold weather. A cold, northern storm had sprinkled the mountains surrounding the desert region with snow. The cold weather, however, didn’t deter competitors from gathering from gathering at the HITS show grounds February 15-17 to school and compete at the first High Performance and Young Rider qualifier of the Dressage Getaway series. The three-day show gave riders the opportunity to compete before a panel of noted international judges that included Jane Weatherwax, Lois Yukons, Marianne Ludwig and Natalie Lamping.
The Dressage Getaway series is managed by Patricia Aiken and has become a welcome addition to the dressage circuit in Southern California. Held at the original HITS show grounds in Indio (HITS opened a new show grounds down the road in Thermal), Dressage Getaway’s hallmarks are great footing and a show management eager to satisfy competitors’ expectations. When asked how her first HP qualifier went, Aiken responded, “It will take time for the word to get out and for sponsorship to increase. We filled the Prix St. George portion of the I-I qualifier. And interestingly, there were relatively few lower-level rides. The majority of rides were at the FEI levels.” FEI riders took advantage of being able to ride before a panel of judges similar to the Selection Trials and Festival of Champions panel.
In the Open Grand Prix, Olympian Sue Blinks dominated both days, Friday on Leatherdale Farm’s Mark with a 69.028 percent and Saturday on the Minnesota Group’s Robin Hood with a 72 percent. Blinks was delighted with both the performance of both horses.
When asked about her plans for them during the Selection Trials qualifying season, she responded, “This was Mark’s first time out after two years off. I am just going to appreciate each day with him and also each day with Robin Hood.” Mark is a 14-year-old Dutch gelding by Edison out of Gina. Under Canadian Leslie Reed, Mark competed at the 2003 Pan Am Games, 2004 Athens Olympics and 2005 World Cup.
Photo: Sue Blinks and Robin Hood
The Leatherdales purchased him in 2005 for Blinks to train and compete. Robin Hood is a 10-year-old Dutch gelding by Jazz out of Lionne. Blinks has trained him to Grand Prix and recently returned from competing with him in Europe this past fall. She has entered him in the March Selection Trials Qualifier and The Dressage Affaire CDI in Del Mar. They are a pair to watch during the Selection Trials qualifying season!