Dressage at Devonwood Brings CDI Style to the Northwest

When you think of dressage venues capable of attracting the big names in the show world, Sherwood, Oregon might not be a location that comes to mind. But Sherwood, located outside of Portland, is home of DevenWood Equestrian Centre, site of the 8th annual Dressage at DevonWood. This year's show had an impressive lineup of both officials and competitors.


Held July 27-29 and presented by the Old Spaghetti Factory and Oswego Lake Gallery, Dressage at DevonWood is magical. This year’s event had picture perfect weather – crisp mornings and warm afternoons – and an awesome list of officials, among them Anne Gribbons (O), Gary Rockwell (O), Lorraine Stubbs ®) and Lorraine MacDonald (R). Axel Steiner was also on hand because the 'L' Judges Program was run in conjunction with the show.

To top it off, Debbie McDonald and the incomparable Brentina were on hand to perform their 2005 freestyle to a packed audience enjoying Saturday evening’s exhibitor dinner party.

Photo credit: Mary Cornelius Photography


Brentina Stars at Devonwood

The competition’s hosts, Ginny and Justin Rattner, were thrilled when Debbie McDonald called them. "Debbie asked if we had room for her to bring Brentina. I told her it was like asking if you could bring Marilyn Monroe to your party!!," Ginny Rattner said.

Debbie brought six horses, husband Bob, and sponsors Peggy and Parry Thomas. This was Brentina's first Grand Prix outing since an injury kept her out of the limelight, where she clearly belongs. Brentina's Saturday evening performance had the audience clapping and cheering every step of the way. At the end, they pair received a standing ovation from the more than 600 spectators.

Brentina was in fine form and clearly on her way back to the top. It was an emotional evening for the Rattner family, who have dared to dream big for dressage in the Northwest. Ginny, Justin and their two sons and daughter (Evin, Noah and Jessica) have worked hard to make sure every detail is covered.

"We try and go above and beyond to make sure our competitors, staff, volunteers, and officials are happy. When someone like Debbie McDonald chooses our show for its quality and safety for a mare like Brentina, it means the world to us," Ginny Rattner said.

Photo credit: Sharon Fibelkorn for Mary Cornelius Photography


The Rattner Family Go All Out

Justin's background as Intel Corporation's CTO provides DevonWood with the planning skills necessary to build one of the most creative, equestrian technical networks in the world. He and his son, Evin, make additions to the network each year that improve the quality of the DevonWood experience for competitors and spectators alike. For example, after each ride, tentative scores are posted to one of two web servers that are immediately visible to exhibitors, visitors and family member's both on-site and around the globe. The system is 100 percent automated by the full-use of the Fox Village Dressage Software

Along with this fabulous scoring system, the show grounds is blanketed with Wi-Fi coverage for use both internally and by the public. A fiber optic network has also been embedded for lightning-fast transfer-speeds of critical data flowing from each of the judge's booths. Even the volunteer aspect of the show is digitally enabled via use of the contracted service, eZvolunteer.com, that allows the volunteer coordinator to accept volunteer requests electronically and then dynamically schedule users around the show schedule. Future plans include video playback on the scoring site that will be independently controlled by auto-sensing high-resolution video systems.

Photo credit: Mary Cornelius Photography



Friendly Family Fun - And Shopping Galore

No show the size of DevonWood would be complete without good shopping and good food. The Rattners lined up some unusual shopping opportunities as well as great Thai and more traditional food options. The annual show also boasts a silent auction to raise money for the YWCA programs that support battered and abused women. Many of the competitors and vendors were very generous in donating to this worthy cause. Donations included training and board (Jeremy Steinberg), a County Perfection Saddle, many fine Oregon wines, jewelry, iPods and a clinic package with Cara Whitham at DevonWood. The auction raised well over $6,000. Both the YWCA and DevonWood look forward to repeating this level of participation during Dressage at DevonWood in 2008.

DevonWood’s popularity attracts a good number of riders from a distance. International competitor Bonnie Bonello traveled from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to participate this year. Volker Brommann and his sponsor, Charmayne Harrah, made the trip from Reno, Nevada. They said DevonWood is the friendliest show they've ever been to and say they’re already making plans to return in the future.

Photo credit: Mary Cornelius Photography


Dressage At Devonwood - Raising the Standard

The Rattners’ main goal for Dressage at DevonWood is to raise the standard of dressage in the Pacific Northwest. As the quality of riders and horses improves within the region, riders from more distant places continue to give the local riders a run for their money. During the course of this year’s event, judges and spectators saw many exceptional rides over the course of the weekend.

On Friday the crowd was treated to a beautiful ride by Adrienne Lyle of Haily, Idaho on Peggy Thomas' horse Wizard, a 17.hand Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Pica). Wizard's metronome-like extensions and powerful delivery of the PSG earned them a 70.625 percent and the High Point FEI award sponsored by County Saddlery.

Photo credit: Mary Cornelius Photography


Diana Dusevic and Picasso Show Jumping Talent

Also in the category of extraordinary rides, was Diana Dusevic of Burnaby, British Columbia riding Picasso JR. This stunning grey, 16.1-hand gelding, gave the crowd (and rider) a shock in the middle of the freestyle. After performing more than half the freestyle, Picasso decided it was time to depart and bolted just after a very peaceful extended walk. After running straight for C, and around the arena, Picasso headed straight for the barn. As luck would have it, Debbie McDonald was able to catch him. Since Picasso is also an event horse, he had no problem soaring out of the dressage arena. But he’s quick to regain his composure. He and Dusevic returned to win the class later that afternoon. For her extraordinary conduct and attitude Dusevic won the annual Dressage at DevonWood Good Sportsmanship Award, which in this case was a girth donated by County Saddlery.


The effort the Rattner Family has put into making this a showcase facility is truly phenomenal and the last words many who attended this spectacular event are thinking are…

"CDI anyone?

Photo credit: Mary Cornelius Photography

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