We're on the countdown toward spring and it'll be a busy weekend in the dressage show world all across the southern portion of the U.S. The popular Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI (www.pbderby.com) kicks off on Thursday in Loxahatchee, Florida. And northward in Conyers, Georgia, The Good Horseman Foundation/Collecting Gaits Farm Three Horsemen Dressage Show (www.goodhorseman.org) will be held this weekend. Moving even further northward – a clear sign that spring really is around the corner – the Majestic Farm Dressage I (www.majesticfarm.net) will be going on this weekend in Batavia, Ohio.
Traveling westward, the Freestyle Farm Frostbite Dressage I and II (www.freestyle-farm.com) will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Katy, Texas. And way out west in Somis, California this weekend, there will be the Dressage at Mission Pacific (www.barronsgateevents.com) dressage show.
At this past weekend's Mid-Winter Dressage CDI, held in California at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Jan Ebeling and Rafalca took the win in both the CDI Grand Prix and the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle. Their Freestyle win was earned with a 71.80 percent. Second in the CDI Grand Prix was Guenter Seidel with U II and third were Wendy Christoff and Pfalstaff. That pair then finished second in the Freestyle. Finishing fourth in the CDI Grand Prix was Sharon Merkel-Beattie riding Essence of Glory. They followed that up with the win in the CDI Grand Prix Special.
And in Florida this past weekend, riders and friends gathered at Ingred Lin's White Fences Equestrian Center to honor her memory during the first show of the Welcome Back to White Fences series. Despite some rain and chilly temperatures, the show was, as always, highly popular and a huge success. Ingred was most certainly there in spirit and her two top Lusitano stallions, Queba and Quemacho, made an appearance to greet fans and friends. One very happy team at the show was that from Performance Farms. Team member Nadine Buberl and Whoopie Gold took a Second Level win and team member Kevin Kohmann put a 10 percent gap between his first-place ride on Weekend Pleasure and the rest of his First Level competition. Ingred would most certainly have been pleased at the turn-out for the show and the good time had by all.
In a sign of the economic times, one of Europe's most popular dressage shows – Dressage at Hickstead – might be cancelled this year. The show, which is also hosting a leg of the World Dressage Master's competition, is scheduled to be held July 26 – August 1, but it's short of sponsorship funding. Horse shows in Europe traditionally have a much easier time securing corporate sponsorship than do shows in the U.S., but companies, like people, are hurting and money is getting harder to find. Dressage at Hickstead was founded in 1993 and in 2003, it hosted the European Dressage Championships. It's considered one of the world's top outdoor dressage shows. Organizers are hunting for more corporate funds, so it's not on the chopping block yet. Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=295390.
It's always nice when young dressage riders get a bit of attention from their hometown news. Ohio young rider Jackie Lipton was featured in her local newspaper for her success in dressage. Her father is the police chief in Broadview Heights and last year, Jackie was ranked sixth in the nation in the Performance Horse Registry's Silver Stirrup Award for Second Level Dressage for Junior/Young Rider. She trains with Fallon Walker at Schwung Farm in Sharon Center, Ohio. Read more about Jackie at http://www.cleveland.com/sunstarcourier/index.ssf/2010/02/younger_lipton_of_broadview_he.html.
Also making the local news in Bishopville, South Carolina was Trisha Dingle, trainer and manager for Whitehaven Plantation. She was named the South Carolina Dressage & Combined Training Association (SCDCTA) First Level Dressage Champion with her mare Ima Bustn Loose and got some local press time for her honor. Fancy, as the 16-hand purebred Arabian mare is nicknamed, was bred by Valour Arabians of Smyrna, Delaware. Trisha and the mare won the award by having the highest median dressage score at SCDCTA recognized schooling shows throughout the state. You can read more about this pair at http://www2.scnow.com/scp/news/local/article/whitehaven_trainer_wins_dressage_award/106102/.
The upcoming 2010 Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games will also be hosting the Para-Equestrian Dressage competition and no doubt, those riders will be an inspiration to us all. One example is New Zealand rider Ilona Lawrence. Four years ago, she was a tetraplegic after a car crash, but horses helped this mother of three put her life back together. She's not sure she'll make the WEG, but she is aiming for the 2010 Paralympic Games in London. When Ilona was in the hospital after her accident, her roommate was a dressage rider, Anthea Gunner, who was determined to ride again. She gave Ilona the dressage bug. Ilona had never ridden before, but after she left the hospital, she contacted a riding stable for the disabled. The rest is history and she rode at her first show last year. Read more about this inspiring rider at http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/sport/weekly-star/3379113/Ilonas-determined-to-live-her-dream.